Make the Most out of #GivingTuesdayNow: A Nonprofit Guide

Make the Most out of #GivingTuesdayNow: A Nonprofit Guide


GivingTuesday is usually held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The global celebration runs for 24 hours and begins at midnight local time.

However, due to the unprecedented impact, the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on the world, GivingTuesday had announced #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity, that took place on May 5, 2020. It was a one-time event created only for the year 2020.

GivingTuesday was also committing $200,000 to launch The Starling Fund, to support its existing network of official community and country leaders. The priority went to leaders in the regions of greatest crisis or lowest resource to strengthen their #GivingTuesdayNow initiatives. 

#GivingTuesdayNow, 2020’s first Giving Tuesday (the regular event was held on December 1), brought together individuals, nonprofits, communities, and businesses to provide a unified platform for giving back.

The world saw an unmatched need for cross-sector collaboration, generosity, citizen engagement, and unity.

“As a global community, we can mourn this moment of extreme crisis while also finding the opportunity to support one another.” GivingTuesday CEO Asha Curran. “We each have the power to make an impact with acts of generosity, no matter how small, and to ensure the sustainability of organizations and services that are crucial to the care and support of our communities,” she added.

In 2021, Giving Tuesday is going back to its earlier form, set to take place on 30th November. Nonprofits will be using #GivingTuesday to promote their donation campaigns on social media and other online channels.

What #GivingTuesdayNow Meant for a Nonprofit?

#GivingTuesdayNow presented an unparalleled opportunity for your nonprofit to raise funds for your mission. Especially in those challenging times, this could ensure that you could continue doing the work that matters.

In many ways, giving has accelerated as the coronavirus has spread. Rapid-response funds have sprung up, and wealthy donors, foundations, and people are stepping up their giving every day.

#GivingTuesdayNow was most certainly an opportunity for your nonprofit, more so because you were probably also dealing with a lot of changes from the coronavirus’s impact on your nonprofit. For example, you might have had crucial fundraising events canceled or you might be facing great challenges in servicing your beneficiaries.

It became highly confusing and troublesome for charities to prepare for this event while also handling everything else on their plate.

Donorbox was there to help!

These were some insights, tips, and recommendations that helped nonprofits make the most out of #GivingTuesdayNow in 2020.

How do I Get Ready for #GivingTuesdayNow?

Note before you proceed: #GivingTuesdayNow was a one-time event dedicated to the pandemic-struck year of 2020. It is different from the regular Giving Tuesday annual celebration event that takes place every year on the first Tuesday after American Thanksgiving. In 2021, it is taking place on 30th November and is to be celebrated only with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

giving tuesday now

Before you get started with anything else, join in!

Go over to the GivingTuesday website and list your nonprofit organization. Also, check out our Giving Tuesday Toolkit.

Here’s how you can plan your Giving Tuesday Now Campaign:

1. Plan a Campaign

Yes, planning is still important – even if the Big Day is only a month away!

There might not be enough time left to create innovative brand elements or test new systems. However, there is sufficient time to create a branded campaign that will elevate your GivingTuesday marketing efforts.

First, set a campaign goal. A campaign goal serves as your campaign framework. It should reflect your organization’s current priorities. Set a #GivingTuesdayNow goal that is ambitious enough that your team will be motivated to achieve it.

Here are some possibilities:

Dollars Raised

Total Donors

New Donors

Recurring Giving Program Subscribers


Then, determine your campaign message and map out a quick campaign timeline to share internally with your staff.

GivingTuesday already has some design elements for you to use, so all you need to do is customize those visual elements a little. Perhaps you can create your own tagline and select a few of your powerful images to use throughout the campaign. Visual assets are at the heart of powerful communication.

Think about a specific project or program that you want to highlight to raise funds for this GivingTuesday. A compelling story of someone your nonprofit helped in the past should be shared to put a strong message across. Tie these in with the overall GivingTuesday branding, and you’re all set!

Pro tip: Show your donors the progress towards your fundraising goal. Feel free to raise the goal if donations start pouring in and try to seed early donations to get started!

Meals for NHS - GivingTuesdayNow

Meals for the NHS using a progress meter on their Donorbox donation form

2. Spruce up Your Online Donation System

If your nonprofit doesn’t have an online donation page, now is the time to get one up and running right away. With Donorbox, you can set up appealing and effective donation forms with a plugin that is very simple and fast to set up. Donorbox lets you collect both one-time and recurring donations, and it offers multiple payment gateways to your donors. Check out more Donorbox features here.

It’s crucial to use a fundraising tool that lets you showcase your organization’s branding, create pre-defined giving levels, and automatically delivers donation receipts and notifications to your new donors.

While you should regularly test your donation page anyway, now it’s more important to do so than ever. Go through the process on your website (both computer and mobile). Donate $5 to make sure the donation flow performs correctly and smoothly.

Website, marketing, and donation processing should be reviewed and optimized for #GivingTuesdayNow. Everything should be simple, intuitive, and welcoming.

Pro tip: Have a donation page that delivers a compelling call-to-action. The page should focus on telling a story that can cut through a wide array of messages. In all of your communications, link to your own donation page, not to the GivingTuesday website.

3. Attend the #GivingTuesdayNow Webinar

In 2020, November 5, Julia Kerrigan had held a webinar on Quick Tips for #Giving Tuesday to help you create a successful #GivingTuesday strategy that lasts well beyond a one-day event. You can still find the recorded webinar on the same webpage.

The webinar outlined a step-by-step framework to use when planning, launching, and carrying out a successful #GivingTuesdayNow campaign online, on a shoestring budget, in half the time.

Pro tip: Check out Community Campaigns in your local area. GivingTuesday is all about coming together, so see if there are any matching grants you can participate in. Also, check if you can collaborate with other local organizations. Not only is that more in the spirit of GivingTuesday, but it also lets you access potential new supporters and participate in new marketing and media opportunities.

4. Create a Public Calendar Invite

Use iCal or Outlook Calendar to create a public calendar invite. This invite should remind your audience to take action on Nov 30..

While it’s important to post updates on social media (and perhaps also create a Facebook event), calendar notifications are a very powerful reminder.

Schedule regular social media messages and send a newsletter or e-blast to make sure your community has Nov 30 marked on their calendar.

Pro tip: Send a “Two Weeks to Go” email, newsletter, and social media messages to make sure your board, staff, and community know that you are in the final countdown for GivingTuesdayNow! You can do the same with “One Day to Go” a day before.

5. Use Social Media

giving tuesday now 2020

Announce your participation in GivingTuesday to your networks and email lists in advance.

Be hyperactive on social media and consider running ads throughout the day. Have your major supporters schedule tweets that say “I gave to @YourNonprofitHere #GivingTuesdayNow”.

Contests, challenges, matching funds, and other “gamification” methods do really well on social media. This helps make the whole process more fun for the team and the donors. For example, look into the #Unselfie challenge that has been popular for a few years now.

Add your #GivingTuesdayNow Campaign logo/visual to your social media channels.

Talk about giving and generosity using the hashtag #GivingTuesday and share the GivingTuesday posts on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. You can also tag their profiles on your social media posts.

Consider using LinkedIn to elevate your thought-leadership profile around #GivingTuesdayNow. You or a member of your leadership team could write a long-form article to publish on LinkedIn. This article should explain why your organization believes in the power of generosity to impact the situation we’re facing today.

Pro tip 1: Use Instagram’s and Facebook’s ‘Donate’ buttons to lead donors to your donation page. Also, make sure that your online donation pages include easy social media sharing functionality so that your donors can help spread the word.

Pro tip 2: Have your assets ready. Download sample social media and assets here.

Screen Shot 2020 04 08 at 17.49.04

6. Amplify Stories

Storytelling is always a potent tool for nonprofit organizations looking to raise funds, but now stories are more powerful than ever.

Heart-warming stories of human generosity and courage during the COVID-19 pandemic have been flooding the internet.

To supercharge your GivingTuesdayNow campaign, look to your supporters for great fundraising stories that you can bring attention to.

Pro tip: Share a few YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram videos with recorded “I gave because” from your most keen supporters – with a donate button. Release it on Monday, November 30. These don’t have to be TV production quality; in fact, having the supporters film the videos on their phones in their houses will only add to their relatability and authenticity.

Screen Shot 2020 04 08 at 18.07.04

7. Utilize Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fundraising method that utilizes an organization’s donors’ existing networks. These fundraisers encourage supporters to reach out to their peers (friends, co-workers, and family members) and ask them to donate.

Since we’re less than a month away from #GivingTuesdayNow, it’s crucial to set up a simple peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that’s easy and fast to execute.

If you have assets ready, it won’t take too much effort to reach out to your key supporters and ask them to join in.

Give your community a theme that aligns with the #GivingTuesdayNow messages and provide them with all the tools they need to help spread the message about the campaign.

Peer-to-peer fundraisers are powerful because they help you reach donors outside your usual network. Plus, we tend to trust friends and family more than strangers or organizations. If you have time and capacity at all, don’t miss out on running a peer-to-peer fundraiser this month – even if it’s more toned down and simplified than you’d ideally like it to be.

Screen Shot 2020 04 08 at 17.55.42

8. Run an Online Event

Consider running an event online on Nov 30 or on one of the days leading up to it. Some types of events can work just as well as virtually as they do in-person.

Over 100,000 online-only events were hosted on Eventbrite in 2019.  Here’s a detailed guide on how to create an online-only event on Eventbrite. Create a Facebook event and encourage donors and supporters to click ‘attending’ to increase reach and visibility.

Go for a webinar if you have content and slides to share with your attendees and a live stream if you’re addressing a larger audience.

Humans are social creatures and we yearn for connection. Now that in-person events are canceled and/or banned, online events can help satisfy that need. You can also encourage your supporters to run their own virtual events as part of their peer-to-peer fundraisers.

Pro tip: Current events are bringing live streaming to the forefront. If you’re interested in live streaming your event, read our guide here (while it’s written for religious organizations, nonprofits of all kinds can use it and be successful).

Nonprofit Pro Tips for Giving Tuesday 2021

#GivingTuesdayNow was a huge success but now it’s time we moved on to make the most of Giving Tuesday 2021. Donorbox has some really essential and useful tips for nonprofits participating in this event. The below Donorbox video will explain to you the Giving Tuesday process (great, if you are a visual learner) as well as offer some pro tips.

Moving Forward With Courage

#GivingTuesdayNow stood ready to bring the world together at one of the most critical times in the history of mankind. The event brought good changes and relief to thousands of lives across the globe. With that spirit of positivity in mind and our heart, we move ahead with the culture of giving in 2021 as well. This year Giving Tuesday is all set to take place on 30th November.

Visit the GivingTuesday website, Facebook page, follow @GivingTuesday on Twitter, and check out #GivingTuesday on social media platforms. For youth interested in joining the movement, visit GivingTuesday Spark for inspiration and project ideas.

You should also check these below resources by Donorbox for making the most of your Giving Tuesday campaign in 2021 –

Organizations like Feed the Frontlines NYCFeed the Frontlines Boston, and Meals for the NHS used Donorbox to collect donations online during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. We reduced our platform fee to 0.5% for nonprofits working directly in relief for those affected by the coronavirus for 2 months.

Donorbox continues to be an affordable option for nonprofits with no signup fees or monthly contracts. For more tips on Giving Tuesday and other nonprofit-related resources and ideas, do visit our blog here.

Raviraj heads the sales and marketing team at Donorbox. His growth-hacking abilities have helped Donorbox boost fundraising efforts for thousands of nonprofit organizations.

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