#GivingTuesday Secrets to Success

4 min read

What will you be doing on December 3, 2019? If you’re like many in the social sector, you already know you’ll be knee deep in your #GivingTuesday campaign, hopefully watching the dollars roll in to support your organization’s mission.

As most of you already know, #GivingTuesday is the annual, global day of giving that was started at the 92nd Street Y in New York City in 2012, and has continued to grow exponentially each year since. It’s the nonprofit world’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

In 2018, donations reached an all-time high of $380 million, a record 45% more than the previous year. If you thought #GivingTuesday was all hype, these numbers tell a different story. However, it’s worth noting that #GivingTuesday may not be for everyone. Historically, larger nonprofits earn more, but each year, smaller organizations continue to gain ground.

Not yet thinking ahead to December or questioning whether or not to even participate this year? Let’s dive into #GivingTuesday. I’m sharing some creative approaches that might spark inspiration. 

Make #GivingTuesday About More Than a Day

Why am I writing a post about #GivingTuesday in July? Because if you’re going to participate, it shouldn’t be an afterthought. The truth of the matter is that organizations that experience success with #GivingTuesday view it as more than just one day. They leverage #GivingTuesday, as well as the days leading up to it and following, as opportunities to cultivate existing donors, educate people about their work, showcase their stories of success and inspire people to engage with their mission on a level deeper. 

It makes sense for most nonprofits to integrate #GivingTuesday with overall fundraising and end-of-year campaign efforts. This allows you to educate, engage and activate current and potential donors over the course of several weeks and months, while using #GivingTuesday to create both excitement and urgency. The good news is that many of those who give on that day may be first-time donors, and data also shows they are likely to give again within the next six months.

Diversify Your #GivingTuesday Tactics

#GivingTuesday is by and large a digital effort. This means you should be thinking big about all the tools you have in your online toolbox including your website, social media channels, e-newsletters, Google grants and online fundraising platforms. Each should play a role in your #GivingTuesday campaign. And, if done right, it will be worth your effort. In 2018, Facebook users alone raised $125 million on #GivingTuesday. 

This year, consider: 

Launch a social media account takeover. 

Go all in on #GivingTuesday by changing your cover photos and creating multiple posts to support your efforts and encourage people in your community to donate throughout the day. You can take a page from Skidmore College’s book. Among the many things it does on #GivingTuesday, the school has taken to Facebook Live to interview students, professors and alumni throughout the day to generate excitement. In 2018, they activated 450 donors on that day alone.

Promote peer-to-peer fundraising. 

Camp Kasem, which operates free summer camps for kids whose parents have cancer, raised more than $2 million on #GivingTuesday from 40,000 donors through peer-to-peer fundraising. The organization enlisted more than 5,000 college students who promoted the day on social media, many making big bets with fans and followers to encourage donations.

Send multiple e-newsletters. 

According to online fundraising platform, Classy, donations come in throughout the day, but there are some peak giving times on #GivingTuesday. Consider sending emails when people are most likely to be giving: in the morning, around lunchtime and again in the early evening. 

Join forces. 

Strapped for time and resources but still want to take advantage of the giving day? Join other nonprofits in your area of expertise to pool resources and campaign together. As an example, three Seattle-based nonprofits, Abundance of Hope Center, Arms Around You and New Horizons, teamed up on #GivingTuesday 2018 to host a winter clothing drive.

Match donations. 

Who doesn’t love to multiply their impact? Maybe your board is willing to match gifts up to a certain amount, or you have an organization or individual that’s ready to make a major gift to match others. #GivingTuesday is a great day to introduce a matching component as part of your fundraising efforts, and to get donors really excited about making an even bigger impact for your organization together. 

Make #GivingTuesday About More Than Just Money

While #GivingTuesday is a great day to ramp your fundraising efforts, it can be about more than just money. You can also encourage in-kind donations of products and services your organization needs or welcome people to volunteer for the day. Also think about ways to showcase your mission and your work, like Coastside Hope, a community assistance center in San Francisco that hosted an open house last #GivingTuesday.

While planning for the big day can feel overwhelming, it’s a huge opportunity to increase awareness of your organization, get creative, try new tactics, reach new donors and hopefully raise more funds. If you need assistance maximizing your #GivingTuesday success, reach out to us!

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