Six Last Minute Ideas for Giving Tuesday

7 min read

November is already halfway over, and if you followed our end-of-year fundraising timeline perfectly, your campaign should already be well on its way. Giving Tuesday communications should be buttoned up and ready to go, and you should be kicking up your feet and watching the donations start to roll in. But we all live in the real world, where timelines get pushed back by factors outside of our control and we have to put our scrappy last-minute superpowers into action.

Don’t be deterred if you aren’t prepared for Giving Tuesday just yet. 

Here are six last-minute tips and ideas to help you make the most of Giving Tuesday when you have just a few weeks (or days) to make magic happen.

Last Minute Giving Tuesday Tip #1: Focus on the Story

Donors care about the stories in your campaign more than they care about beautiful design or a clever turn of phrase.

Donors care about the stories in your campaign more than they care about beautiful design or a clever turn of phrase. Click To Tweet

Giving Tuesday is the perfect platform for telling stories about your organization’s impact through the eyes of the people you serve. Make those stories the focus of every Giving Tuesday communication you send, and you can’t go wrong.

In studies of annual giving, campaigns that include individualized, personal stories almost always outperform those that do not. Think about your stories by asking, and then answering, the same questions you would if you were writing a novel:

  • Who is the main character? 
  • What makes them unique? 
  • What are they trying to achieve? 
  • What barriers do they face along the way? 
  • How do their strengths help them overcome those barriers? 
  • How do their lives change as a result?

Then, work your organization into the story by discussing how you helped the people you work with use their own strengths to overcome the barriers they faced, remembering to always keep your message asset-based rather than deficit based.

Last Minute Giving Tuesday Tip #1: Keep Your Tech Simple and Test Carefully

Giving Tuesday is only 24 hours long. Make sure you don’t waste even one of those precious hours with a tech problem. Since you’re short on time, keep your donation page and the backend processing connected to it as simple as possible. Then, test carefully. Here are some steps to follow when testing:

  • Make a test donation
  • Check that the payment through correctly on your payment processing system
  • Test your entire donation workflow in different web browsers, on your mobile phone, and using an incognito window, which will account for anything that might be performing a different way for you because you’ve already viewed your pages or are logged into your system
  • Have someone else on your team, or even a friend or family member, test your donation page
  • Check your backend systems to make sure all donor records are going where they should

Last Minute Giving Tuesday Tip #3: Get Your Supporters Excited

Giving Tuesday is top of mind for everyone who works in the nonprofit sector, but many of your donors probably don’t have it on their calendar as prominently as you do. Make sure the day doesn’t pass by without their notice by reminding them that it’s coming early and often. If you haven’t already, start teasing your campaign via email and social media today. Then, amp up these reminders right before Thanksgiving, and again on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They’ll be a nice break from all the consumer-driven advertising your donors are likely to be inundated with over this time period. Make sure to remind your donors:

  • How much you’re aiming to raise this Giving Tuesday
  • What sort of impact those funds can have
  • How and when to donate
  • How to share your campaign and their donation on social media
  • How grateful you are for their support

Last Minute Giving Tuesday Tip #4: Add a Match

There’s nothing to take a last minute Giving Tuesday campaign to the next level like a donation match, and pulling one together in the eleventh hour might not be as hard as you think. Does your board already commit to donating a certain amount each year? If so, simply seek their approval to message that amount as a match that will supplement all donations made on Giving Tuesday. For example, if you have 10 board members and each is committed to giving $5,000 this year, you can say your board will match every donation made on Giving Tuesday, dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000. This is a no-brainer for most boards and can incentivize giving among individual donors. Some boards even get so excited about these match campaigns that they agree to increase their match during the day on Giving Tuesday if the match cap is met, which you can plan to announce as a way to keep your campaign revved up throughout the day.

Last Minute Giving Tuesday Tip #5: Create Powerful Visuals

If you’ve made it through steps 1-4 and still have some time to spare before Giving Tuesday, try amping up the visuals in your campaign. This doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply add a few images to your emails, or use Canva to make your social media photos more engaging (and clearly brand your posts as #GivingTuesday content). Ideally, you’ll include photos of the individuals whose stories you’re telling, but if that’s not possible, make sure you’re using the most personal photos you have on hand. Then, aim to create interesting, infographic-like treatments for any stats or data you plan to share in your Giving Tuesday communications. Many donors love numbers, but a well-designed presentation of numbers is something few can ignore.

Last Minute Giving Tuesday Tip #6: Plan Real-Time Updates 

Throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, let your supporters know when you hit key milestones (like 25%, 50%, 90%, and – woohoo! – 100% to your goal). Don’t worry too much about over-communicating on Giving Tuesday. It takes more touches than you might think for your donors to start paying attention and take action. Most folks know how important this day is to organizations like yours and won’t mind the extra nudges. If you’re not able to suppress those who have already given in real time from your emails, just make sure you include a note at the bottom of each one. Here’s some sample language for your emails in this vein: “If you’ve already given, thank you! We’re so appreciative of your support. Please rest assured that your gift has been processed and we’re simply keeping you in the loop on the rest of our communications for Giving Tuesday.” Make sure you update on and celebrate your progress and thank your donors on social media as well. You can’t say thank you enough on Giving Tuesday.


It’s not too late to make an impact on Giving Tuesday. Focus on the tips above, keep it simple, and remember to have a little fun along the way. You’ve got this! Here’s to your Giving Tuesday success.

Want to learn more about how to tell an effective story on Giving Tuesday? 


Regardless of your background or the culture in which you grew up, you’ve heard and told countless stories in your lifetime. As a nonprofit development or fundraising professional, you’ve leveraged storytelling into fundraising success before — and you can do it again. Download our resource, The Nonprofit Storytelling Checklist.

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