10 Creative Giving Tuesday Ideas [Updated for 2023]
You must be prepared with the right tools and tactics to boost donations and increase outreach during your Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign. This article will help you get started on the right track with several effective tips, proven Giving Tuesday ideas, and inspiring examples. Read on!
Giving Tuesday is set to take place on November 28, 2023.
But are you stuck on Giving Tuesday ideas that will help boost your fundraising on this day? Maybe you’re even a little bit confused as to what exactly Giving Tuesday is and how your nonprofit can benefit from it.
Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving powered by social media, collaboration, and campaigning. #GivingTuesday was created back in 2012 by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y – a cultural center in New York City – and has become a global philanthropic movement.
Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, U.S. organizations raised a whopping $3.1 billion in donations on Giving Tuesday – a 15% increase over 2021.
Many value #GivingTuesday and see it as a way to counterbalance the consumerism of the holiday season. The idea of the day is to step away from buying and focus on giving after the sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And what says “holiday season” more than giving back?
Is Giving Tuesday Right for Me?
A variety of organizations, from local schools to big international charities, participate in #GivingTuesday. It’s a great day to launch your giving season campaigns!
Giving Tuesday is right for your nonprofit if you’re ready to commit for at least three to four months (September – November) and if you have the resources to run the accompanying campaign(s).
If you choose to commit to running a Giving Tuesday campaign, here are some of the potential benefits:
Increase in donations and new donors
Greater brand awareness
An opportunity to promote a recurring/monthly giving program
Increased social media engagement
Increased networking opportunities
Hundreds of organizations across the globe utilize Donorbox’s powerful tools to raise funds during Giving Tuesday. Here’s an example of a successful campaign created on Donorbox by A Red Circle to raise funds on Giving Tuesday 2022. Take inspiration from this and many other organizations that leveraged this global day of giving.
What Does the Fundraising Process Look Like on Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday ideas aside, what the fundraising process looks like will very much depend on your nonprofit – the size of it, the resources at your disposal (staff, time, money), and the priority the campaign is given.
Even so, there are a couple of steps that your nonprofit organization can follow to ensure success on this #GivingTuesday.
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1. Plan, Plan, Plan
When is the right time to start planning your Giving Tuesday ideas and campaign? As early as possible!
Hold a campaign retrospective and brainstorm new ideas with your team. Decide which of last year’s elements you’ll be using to achieve success this year.
Hold meetings and brainstorming sessions to set your campaign narrative, brand elements, and more.
Decide on a goal for your fundraising – use the SMART method.
Consider your target audience – who do you want to inspire to give?
Determine your campaign message – consider having only one message for all of your year-end fundraising outreach.
Size up your resources – time, money, staff.
Set a campaign budget.
Identify a pipeline of sponsors, especially for a matching gifts campaign.
Compile a list of donors (new, return, major) as well as current or potential peer-to-peer fundraisers.
Plan your social media and email strategies.
Think about what has worked for your nonprofit so far – consider replicating it.
Map out how you want to inspire your audience to give.
Create a timeline of activities – including deadlines, responsible staff members, and a list of everyone who needs to be kept in the loop.
Decide on internal communication methods – teamwork and communication within the team and the organization will be essential.
Pro tip: When planning, never rely on Giving Tuesday as your main source of funding. The best thing for nonprofits is to establish a dependable source of income through recurring donations. Donorbox Recurring Donations makes it simple for you – and convenient for donors! You can easily add up to five different recurring donation intervals to your Giving Tuesday donation form. After giving, donors receive login details to access their own accounts and manage their recurring plans, where they can upgrade, pause, resume, and cancel!
Preparation should take up the bulk of your time before you even start with fundraising activities and outreach.
Create a document/folder where everything related to Giving Tuesday will live. Everyone involved should have easy access to it.
Carefully craft your fundraising appeal – clearly communicate what you’re trying to accomplish this Giving Tuesday and why it matters.
Example: “In 24 hours we’re raising $50,000 to provide 50 women the opportunity to go to college.“
Create and collate assets for the campaign (videos, photos, logos, slogans, text for buttons, and more).
Write copy, determine what other graphics are needed for the campaign, and, if possible, schedule some social media posts and emails in advance.
Consider logistics and assign clear responsibilities to the team in order to make all of your Giving Tuesday ideas come to life.
Start developing your fundraising page – this is where your campaign’s donation form will be hosted to receive online donations.
Start creating your content – videos, flyers, blog posts (anything you identified that will support the strategy you decided on in the planning stage).
Identify community partners, corporate sponsors, and/or major donors who will help promote and match donations. Increase donation matching even further by using Double the Donation’s free online gift-matching tool this Giving Tuesday.
Ideally, you’d do a soft launch first (with the board, staff, volunteers, and long-term donors) so you can collect early feedback and create social proof by asking for early donations. When you officially launch your campaign, inform your supporters of your goal, the impact of their donations, any matching gift campaigns, important sponsors, and special incentives.
Start promoting your Giving Tuesday campaign at least two to three weeks before #GivingTuesday.
Send an email announcing the campaign to your supporters at least a week before Giving Tuesday.
Increase the frequency of the emails around #GivingTuesday – sending at least one email the day before and one the day of.
Promote your campaign across your social media channels using the content and images you created.
This is the basic process your nonprofit can follow to run a Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign. If you’re interested in more specific Giving Tuesday ideas, continue reading.
10 Giving Tuesday Ideas to Maximize Online Fundraising
1. Have an online fundraising page
Perhaps one of the most important items to check off the Giving Tuesday to-do list, an online fundraising page is essential to successful fundraising. This is especially the case with Giving Tuesday, which is primarily driven by social media and online donations.
Create a dedicated #GivingTuesday fundraising/donation page. Make sure the page is responsive, fast to load, well-designed, and clear in its messaging. If a donation page is disorganized, difficult to navigate, overwhelming, or confusing, it defeats its own purpose: increasing donations.
A donor should be able to find your donation link within a couple of seconds of your website loading. A good practice is to place the link on the top navigation found in the website’s header. Highlight this button/link by using a color that contrasts with your website and catches the eye.
Not every visitor to your website visits with the intention to give. Most have to be persuaded. Having a brief, but enticing and compelling “why” helps do just that. Your donation page shouldn’t feel like purely a payment processing form.
Pro tip: Donate $5 to your nonprofit organization both on desktop and mobile so that you go through the entire donor experience yourself. If you have trouble reading the text or clicking a link, your donors will too. Take note of any potential improvements and then make the necessary adjustments to your donation page and/or form.
2. Showcase real-time progress
With relatively short-lived campaigns like this one, it’s important to show real-time progress to your donors. You can do this by displaying a fundraising thermometer on your donation/fundraising page.
Your fundraisers will be more motivated to fundraise thanks to a visible tracker of progress, and your donors will be able to see the impact their donations are making in real-time (especially since the thermometer’s progress bar automatically rises as donations flood in).
Fundraising thermometers work because the goal and the progress are so visible. Additionally, seeing the thermometer rise because of a donation being made provides a sense of immediate gratification.
Finally, a fundraising thermometer is a way to build social proof. Check this great example out from The Alex House Project. This Giving Tuesday campaign utilizes crowdfunding and was created on Donorbox.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a Giving Tuesday idea with a lot of fundraising potential. Often underutilized, an organization’s best resource is typically its current base of donors and other supporters.
Your current donor and supporter base can help spread the word that you’re participating in #GivingTuesday to their networks. They are also the most likely to donate on the big day.
Ask your supporters to make personal fundraising pages so they can rally their family, friends, and acquaintances and get them to donate to your cause. This is a breeze withDonorbox Peer-to-Peer! You can enable peer-to-peer on any fundraising or crowdfunding campaign and then invite supporters to fundraise or allow anyone to sign up right from your campaign. From there, they can customize their own fundraising pages to raise funds for your organization.
Here’s an example from last year – a supporter created this fundraising page to raise money for Behind the Book’s Giving Tuesday campaign.
Make sure you give your fundraisers a specific fundraising goal – this will help motivate them. Finally, don’t leave them on their own – they are doing this for your cause after all! Send them some fundraising tips – or, if you have the resources, train them. Follow up with them, encourage them, and help them gain momentum.
Ideally, you’d equip your fundraisers with:
A suggested goal
Inspiring pictures and graphics to use on their pages and profiles
Email templates to send to their networks
Sample social media posts
An email series with tips, encouragement, and a sincere thank you
You can also share this guide to show them how to use Donorbox Peer-to-Peer. Having as many resources as possible makes it much easier for your fundraisers to reach out to their friends and family with confidence!
4. Use price anchoring
Anchoring is the tendency to accept and rely on the first piece of information received before making a decision. Typically, this effect is used in pricing to help encourage consumers to spend more money overall by showing significant discounts on items. The anchor price, then, is the cost of the item before the discount – so consumers feel like they’re getting a deal!
But the anchor effect can also be used in fundraising. In a recent study published by Cambridge University Press, researchers found that, when people are given a higher anchor donation to start with, they are willing to donate more than in a situation where they’re given a low anchor donation – or no anchor at all.
This is why you should ask for a specific amount from an individual based on that individual’s history of giving and capacity when making direct fundraising asks.
You should also specify a suggested amount using your donation form options and content.Donorbox Donation Forms allow you to highlight several suggested ask amounts and add impact information to them.Here’s an example to give you inspiration and help you customize your own Giving Tuesday donation form for 2023.
5. Create and nurture strong partnerships
Giving Tuesday was designed to be a collaborative effort. Implement this Giving Tuesday idea to avoid competitiveness and nurture relationships!
Giving Tuesday is about raising money for your cause, but it’s also a time to connect with prospective and current donors. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with businesses, other nonprofits, and movements in your local area.
This will help increase your exposure and your reach. With that, more donations will trickle in, more individuals will pledge to volunteer, and more people will know about your nonprofit. The potential that lies here is enormous!
Whether you choose to partner with only one or two organizations (businesses or nonprofits) or you choose to join a large-scale movement – partnerships matter. Whatever you choose to do, ensure that you:
Use the same media kit and social media hashtags.
Share one another’s campaigns online.
Reach out to celebrities and social media influencers that care about your cause and ask them to speak about it in public.
Reach out to media outlets, local and national, and ask them to donate media time to your cause this Giving Tuesday.
Develop compelling visuals (images and videos) and share them across the board.
Retweet, share, mention – give your partners a lot of love!
Get clear on the terms of the partnership – better to set expectations and avoid any potential issues.
Donate to other organizations yourself this Giving Tuesday and lead by example!
Pro tip: Matching gift campaigns are a crucial part of an efficient fundraising strategy. Donorbox integrates with Double the Donation to enable you to add a donation-matching widget to your donation form. This widget helps donors find out if their employers would match their donations. After the donation is completed, Donorbox sends the donors necessary details to complete the process at their end. It’s the most hassle-free way to double (or even triple) your Giving Tuesday donations!
In your Giving Tuesday campaign, make sure the donors know where their money will go. How is it going to make a difference? Be as specific as possible.
Look at these two sample fundraising appeals:
“Please donate $10 to help prevent violence against women in Africa.”
“Your donation of $10 will equip one health care worker to respond to domestic or sexual violence calls in Kenya for one day. Empowerment counseling interventions help prevent or reduce violence against women.”
Although both appeals ask for the same amount of money to create the same result, the second one has a much clearer pull to it. The second one clearly states a plan of action with a resulting outcome – the impact is visible.
To place focus on your impact in your external communications, it’s important to channel your inner Simon Sinek and ‘figure out your why’ first. Your organizational ‘why’ needs to be clear for you and the entire team before you can communicate it to anyone else. You’re not simply asking for donations because it’s Giving Tuesday (hopefully). If not, then why are you fundraising?
Pro tip: Leading up to Giving Tuesday, your donors will likely be trying to sort through a deluge of fundraising emails – many of which will look alike. Try to get creative with your subject line and remember to stay donor-centric in your communications.
7. Storytelling and video
Giving Tuesday is a big global movement! While it’s completely possible to achieve your Giving Tuesday fundraising goals, this time of the year is very busy.
People are constantly bombarded by fundraising appeals and many organizations are vying for their attention. In that kind of noise, it’s important to stand out and find a way to win over donors’ hearts.
As humans, we’re hardwired to remember stories and find them compelling. Stories also allow for emotional connection. To tap into the power of storytelling:
7.1. Create a video
Videos are an increasingly popular way to tell stories of impact, making it the way to go to raise more funds and grow your reach in 2023. In fact, 51% of people are more likely to share videos with their network than any other type of content.
Nonprofits sometimes resort to negative messaging in order to evoke feelings of guilt. However, research shows negative messaging doesn’t often lead to donations. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t talk about tough stuff; many nonprofits exist in order to deal with very negative circumstances. It’s a matter of framing your story in a positive way. How are you making a positive impact on a bad situation?
7.3. Pick 2-3 key messages about your organization
You may want to include more for a full communications plan, but, for Giving Tuesday, two to three key messages will suffice. Think about your “why”, not your “what”!
7.4. Pick your characters
People relate to people. Having relatable characters is essential because they bring the issues your work addresses down to a personal level. It can be hard for the everyday person to relate to big social issues like poverty or hunger.
Pro tip: If you’re struggling to decide which of your stories to share and what will move your audience to act – ask them. Ask your donors (perhaps in a survey) why they got involved with your organization in the first place and what motivated them to give. Ask your long-term supporters why they stayed and what aspects of their involvement have been the most rewarding. Equipped with that information, you can better customize your stories and communications.
8. Go big or go home on social media
This Giving Tuesday idea is a must. Giving Tuesday is very much driven by social media shares and mentions. Most of the fundraising is done online, and the movement depends on heavy online campaigning and peer-to-peer fundraising.
Here are some things you can do to stay on top of your social media game:
Tap into the digital natives by mobilizing them to share #unselfies – An #unselfie is simply a self-portrait where the subject writes about the cause they support with the hashtag #unselfie on a piece of paper and then posts a picture of it on social.
Brand your social media accounts – Set your profile image to the #GivingTuesday logo. Change your cover photo to a branded #GivingTuesday one.
Check in with your platforms throughout the day to re-tweet and share your supporters’ messages about your campaign.
Share your own content (videos, images, blog posts) on social media.
Mention and thank those who shared your posts, especially donors as they make donations during the day. Promptly reply to any comments you receive online.
Go live on Instagram and Facebook and interact with your donors or show behind the scenes of your office.
Your posts should include a link to your campaign or donation page. The link should send users directly to your donation page.
Pro tip: Social media campaigns are essential to your Giving Tuesday success. But don’t forget about email! Email is still an incredibly effective fundraising tool. If you’re planning your campaign well in advance, create an email drip campaign (an email series) to engage your supporters. Make sure to segment your donor base, craft engaging subject lines, and always include a link to your donation page! Donorbox Donor Management lets you easily segment your donors to help create personalized communication pieces.
9. Promote a monthly giving program
Now, this might not seem like a Giving Tuesday idea, but #GivingTuesday is the perfect time to launch or promote your recurring or monthly giving program.
When a donor sets up a recurring donation, they choose to give a predetermined amount of money on a regular basis. Many people like to give monthly, bi-monthly, or yearly, but they can give as frequently as they’d like.
Great monthly giving programs have a much higher return on investment compared to one-time giving programs. The average recurring donor will give 42% more in one year than those who give one-time gifts. Monthly donors also have a greater lifetime revenue per donor.
Finally, 52% of Millennials are more likely to give monthly vs. a large one-time donation. They prefer the ability to show their support without a huge financial commitment by donating more regularly toward a cause they care about, but for a smaller amount at a time that won’t have as much of an impact on their wallets.
A monthly giving program is the most effective and effortless way to retain the Giving Tuesday donor support beyond the 24-hour social media buzz. Check out how this Giving Tuesday campaign encouraged supporters to sign up for recurring giving with monthly as well as other donation interval options. This campaign and the customized recurring donation form are built on Donorbox.
Pro tip: Raising funds is important and encouraged on Giving Tuesday. However, Giving Tuesday is called ‘Giving Tuesday’ and not ‘Fundraising Tuesday’ for a reason. Make sure you offer other opportunities for your supporters to get involved with your cause (e.g. volunteering or becoming an ambassador for one of your programs).
10. Don’t forget about the after
After #GivingTuesday, it can be easy to forget about acknowledging your donors. However, this step is essential for maintaining a good reputation and great relationships with your supporters. After Giving Tuesday:
Write a blog post summarizing the success of your Giving Tuesday.
Post thank-you graphics everywhere on your social media the day after.
Send an email to donors thanking them for their donations.
Ask super fans to become ambassadors for the next year and fundraise on your behalf using peer-to-peer.
Send an email to those who did not give and let them know that you are extending the campaign for another week.
Update your website to include a “Save the Date” for 2024 with an email opt-in.
Officially flip the campaign into a year-end campaign.
Don’t reach out to your donors asking for another gift too soon. This might be off-putting. However, this doesn’t mean radio silence for a month. Stay in touch with your donors by sharing stories of impact and how their donations are being put to use. You should also respect the donors’ desires about how frequently they want to be contacted.
Pro tip 1: Don’t make another ask in your thank-you letter. There will be plenty of time for that later, but the purpose of that message is to celebrate what the supporter has already done.
Pro tip 2: Don’t forget about your team! They worked hard, probably working long hours for the campaign to be a success. Celebrate your achievements with a cake and a team get-together.
Giving Tuesday is an amazing opportunity for nonprofits around the world to raise much-needed funds for their worthwhile causes.
It is also a great time to connect with your donors, create partnerships, boost your finances, and try new fundraising ideas without having to commit to them for a full year! Organize a physical event, find a corporate partner to match the donations, or create a cartoon – whatever it is that will get your creative juices flowing!
Don’t forget to visit our Giving Tuesday Toolkit. We have included downloadable resources, branding materials, logos, and much more.
Also, check out Donorboxfor a powerful online donation system that will ensure you receive and manage your Giving Tuesday donations! Our products and features will help boost giving to your campaigns and enable you to engage and retain more donors. Sign up today to start fundraising!