Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a day of giving back to nonprofits within the community, either monetarily or by taking action in support of the nonprofit’s mission. It’s grown from a simple concept to a global celebratory day of the year, with millions taking part. Giving Tuesday is the perfect time for nonprofits to gear up and launch a fundraising campaign that reaches all potential donors.
Giving Tuesday 2019 raised $511M in donations in the US alone and $1.9B worldwide.
Importance of Giving Tuesday for Nonprofits
The vast majority of nonprofits rely on donations from the public to continue funding educational, research, advocacy, and support programs to further their missions. They can also use donations of in-kind items that support their work; there are many ways to help out each individual organization.
Because Giving Tuesday has become a worldwide phenomenon, much of the work related to promoting the day and sharing its meaning has already been done. The key for nonprofit organizations is to direct donors to their sites, in the midst of a wide sea of Giving Tuesday solicitations.
At a time when we are all experiencing the pandemic, generosity is what brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together across the globe. Generosity gives everyone the power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can act on.
As a nonprofit you can maximize your fundraising efforts and Giving Tuesday is the perfect opportunity! Here are ways you must participate:
- Collaborate with sister organizations and other nonprofits
- Showcase all the good happening and share your stories of impact and service
- Appreciate your supporters and show love to your donors
- Thank your community, volunteers, everyone who have contributed toward your nonprofit in big or small ways
- Showcase other nonprofits’ work and support them
- Share live updates with your audience- show them your work in real-time
- Fundraise creatively!
Let’s Get Started!
Table of Contents:
- Pre-Prepare! Include Key Messages
- Social Media Overview
- Email Campaigns
- Press Releases
- Explore Creative Ideas
- The Day of Giving
1. Pre-Prepare! Include Key Messages
Giving Tuesday is a global day of generosity set to take place on Dec 1, 2020. Join the Giving Tuesday Movement to get quick access to Giving Tuesday resources.
The key messages are like the standard communication that can be used by all nonprofit organizations – it covers all key communication and messages to be used by all nonprofits. Giving Tuesday has released its key messages such that the whole community can understand its meaning and communicate it effectively.
Refer to all of their key messages and make sure to put across the exact right messages and effectively reach out to your audience.
Your audience and donors will be coming together to your donation page, make sure your online donation page is ready with all necessary features- you must offer the best possible donor experience to your Giving Tuesday donors.
If you are a foundation or funder, learn how you can participate in Giving Tuesday.
If you don’t have a donation form in place, start now! Create a Donorbox campaign. You have options – make it a pop-up, or embed it as a WordPress plugin. You’re able to choose colors to match your site’s branding, and there are other customizable ways to fit the platform onto your website.
2. Social Media Overview
Social media is one of your primary playgrounds for Giving Tuesday- it is a cost-effective and high-impact way nonprofits can reach their audience and encourage Giving Tuesday donations.
And, it’s not rocket science – you have to basically rally your supporters online.
Brand your online channels with Giving Tuesday, use your personal accounts as well to brand, and talk about your participation. This will help inform both your nonprofit and your own audience about your nonprofit’s participation in Giving Tuesday.
Remember to not change the name of your nonprofit account anywhere on social media- this can make it hard for your supporters to find your profile.
Next, start creating your content.
There are different strategies for each social medium; for example, Twitter is more conversational than LinkedIn, and Instagram is more reliant on eye-catching graphics than copy-centric Facebook. Develop a sound communication timeline to include all channels in an effective manner.
Create content that talks effectively about your mission, your impact, and the current work and situation of your nonprofit. Your content needs to educate your audience about your cause and work. Further, your content needs to give people a reason to support your cause, create appealing content to build an emotional connection.
Remember to use #GivingTuesday to amplify your reach on the day. Giving Tuesday also promotes tagged posts on their channels.
Begin promoting two months before at least once a week. Building anticipation about your participation in Giving Tuesday is important.
When you’re approximately a month away, begin upping your posting. The two weeks before, you should be posting 3 to 4 times per week, and the week before, an almost-daily basis is critical.
Having a communications plan will help execute your campaign successfully. Note that after announcing your participation, you have to expand promotions, accelerate communications in November. And, as the countdown begins, start preparing communications for the day of Giving Tuesday.
If used correctly, each source of social media outreach will be equally effective.
Facebook is one of the most fluid platforms to use for spreading awareness and, in turn, raising funds. Their donation pages are quick to set up and even easier for users to navigate.
The straightforward approach utilizes clear directions, with one-click buttons that enable users to donate easily.
- Use the description box to your full advantage. Introduce your nonprofit, explain what makes it different, describe what the funds are going toward, and include examples of past successes.
- Have individual members post to their walls, then invite their friends who are passionate about the nonprofit, its mission, and/or its employees.
- Note whether you’re matching donations, and post this in your description and social sharing. From Facebook: “Fundraiser creators, verified profiles and verified Pages can set up matching donations for their fundraisers.” Here’s the toolkit to successfully build your nonprofit’s match.
- Make it possible for all to support you. For those who may be unable to donate money, encourage them to share the posts. Everyone’s efforts have value!
- Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need – be it monetary donations, in-kind donations, partnering with larger companies, or sharing the mission statement across social media.
- Don’t be too pushy for donations. Some people do not have the option to donate Again, it’s important to emphasize that sharing your post is just as helpful.
Short and sweet is the name of the game on Twitter. Twitter is also great for linking up with potential donors by engaging in conversation and searching through hashtags. And it’s the most casual platform, with jokes and memes dominating timelines.
- Follow hashtags relevant to your nonprofit, then utilize these hashtags in your own tweets.
- Don’t forget to use #GivingTuesday with camel caps.
- Engage with your followers! Twitter is all about communication, and people love to engage with organizations that have missions they believe in.
- Link to your donation page in every tweet. Followers are unlikely to search around for the page – give it to them immediately.
- Don’t be afraid to tweet multiple times per day. (Refer back: six THOUSAND tweets per second!) You won’t clog up someone’s feed by promoting your campaign – in fact, you’ll probably catch others’ eyes. Just make sure to convey your message in multiple ways, rather than tweeting the same thing 10 times in an hour.
- Don’t forget to do your research on the best times to post – find out when your tweets are most likely to be seen and engaged in.
Pro Tip: Organize Twitter chats or AMAs with your nonprofit key members to talk about your cause, work, and impact.
You can download all social media branding images here.
Use eye-catching graphics for Instagram. In this case, a picture does speak one thousand words. For captions, you have two options: short and to the point (think 1-3 sentences), or long and personal. People are less likely to read a long paragraph if they can’t relate to it, so hook them in with a cool graphic and poignant caption to follow.
- Create a logo specifically for Giving Tuesday. Use your colors (or the colors of the cause you’re representing) for a custom design that stands out from other organizations.
- Include photos of volunteers and staff at work. It shows donors where their dollars are going and includes them in the good you’re inspiring.
- Engage with other pages. Whether you’re commenting on other Giving Tuesday posts, responding to your posts’ comments, or following fellow nonprofits, engagement is key and will often be reciprocated – in likes and in donations.
- Utilize the stories. This way, you’re not clogging people’s feeds and coming off as annoying – people will still see your story, but they won’t feel irked.
- Don’t, under any circumstances, copy someone else’s graphics. Not only can it get you into legal trouble, but you might also appear lazy to your followers for not creating your own, therefore alienating your base.
- Don’t spam other pages. Comment thoughtfully and in response to the caption, then gently promote yourself. This is best to do a few days in advance, so other Instagram pages’ eyes will be on you.
The most professional of the platforms is LinkedIn, specifically built for networking and finding work opportunities. Your tone of voice should be slightly conversational with full intent. The goal is to showcase what’s special about your nonprofit, and therefore draw in donors. Proper sentence structure? Crucial.
- Link back directly to your donation page. It’s guaranteed to receive more clicks.
- Break up paragraphs so there are approximately 2-4 sentences in each one. Choose which sentences further your message.
- Go through your connections for potential partnerships. Post about Giving Tuesday, then personally reach out to those you are connected with who would have an interest in supporting you on that Tuesday.
- Don’t use slang terms. Write posts as if they were a thesis and its dissertation. Professionalism is key.
- Don’t reach out to just anybody within your network. Think through which types of donors and businesses you’re hoping to pair up with are, then tailor your message to each person.
2. Email Campaigns
Email Campaign is your next main playground on Giving Tuesday. While it might seem outdated with social media and smartphones, people still religiously check their emails every morning. Crafting a campaign doesn’t have to be difficult! There are plenty of ways to approach creation.
Send out your first email a month before Giving Tuesday – it’s close enough to be relevant, but far enough away to not seem pushy.
Create a schedule, your email calendar should build the apprehension for Giving Tuesday, and keep the interest alive. A communication timeline is important.
2.1 Choose a Catchy Subject Line
There are many ways to start off an email, and the last thing you want is for someone to delete the email without opening it – or even reading the entire subject.
The best way to start off is with some form of exciting information. Rather than “Donate to Us on Giving Tuesday,” say “Feed a Hungry Child Today.” Make them care!
If you have merchandise, are there any discounts should they want to purchase something on Giving Tuesday? Put that as one of the first keywords in the subject. “Giving Tuesday Is Here” is vague and doesn’t sound as though a deal is being made by supporting them. Try “Giving Tuesday: All Products 25% Off” instead. People will be enticed to open – and read.
2.2 Start With a Captive Introduction
Hook the reader immediately. Paint a picture for them – who are they helping by supporting your cause? Why were they having problems before? How are you helping this group now? Personal, touching information is held closer to the heart.
If there is a specific story that you think would tug on the heartstrings, use that to convince the reader to continue on and see how they can help. Putting a face to a group does wonders.
“Allan was sick, but he did not have a child specialist at the hospital. [Insert image.] That’s why we do XYZ.”
2.3 Summarize Your Story
No one has enough time in the day to learn an entire story of a nonprofit. So, in 3-5 sentences, explain what you do, why you work toward the cause, how you started doing it, and what you’ve accomplished.
Going back to the one-liners: this is the perfect spot for writing out what you’re hoping to accomplish now.
For example: “Our company was founded in XZY year. Since then, we’ve done XYZ. We’re now looking to accomplish XYZ.”
2.4 Make an Obvious CTA
Now is not the time to be vague. Get straight to the point: what do you need, and why? If you crafted your email with the past three tips, you shouldn’t need anything more than the point.
For example, if you’re a pet rescue, you might say: “We’re looking to raise $50,000 in order to provide chemotherapy to dogs.”
2.5 Write a Day-Of Email
Giving Tuesday has finally arrived! If you emailed them previously, you are now sending a follow-up on the day of. Promote it as much as possible in the subject line. You won’t come off as too pushy – just make sure the rest of your email has a gentler tone.
Avoiding Donor Fatigue
Donor fatigue can work against all your Giving Tuesday campaign efforts, so you must be careful and sensitive to avoid reaching a point that is counterproductive is driving donations. It is noted that the frequency of your messages and posts are not as likely to cause donor fatigue as the quality of your content can. Make sure your content is fresh, appealing, and not repetitive. Your content should be engaging rather than preachy. Provide substance to your audience, and you will be less likely to cause your audience to unsubscribe from your updates due to fatigue.
3. Press Releases
Press releases are straightforward and similar to email campaigns: you announce that you’re joining the Giving Tuesday movement, explain who you are and what you do, where you’ll be hosting your fundraiser online, what these donations will go toward, past success, and a summary of the contents.
You can send press releases to local media, potential partners, and other charities you’re hoping to align yourself with. Download Giving Tuesday Sample Press Release.
- Write in the third person. While it may seem appealing to write in the first person, press releases are written from an outside perspective. Consider this your spokesperson.
- Include a quote from someone high-up. Have your executive director, spokesperson, or board president share their insights in the press release. This will add a layer of personality, while still remaining professional.
- Don’t rush a press release. This is an official document which, if published, could reach thousands of potential donors, so take the time to be thorough and thoughtful.
- Don’t send out press releases blindly. Research organizations that you believe you fit with, partners who share your morals, donors’ official businesses, and media that covers your type of organization.
4. Explore Creative Ideas
Explore some alternate creative ideas to rally your supporters towards your nonprofit. For example, send a calendar invite to your supporters and subscribers for the day of Giving Tuesday. They will receive a reminder on the day of giving- one personalized into their personal calendars. Explain the exact steps to them on how to go about donating on Giving Tuesday.
As you execute your campaign, send a series of emails to build anticipation. Share something creative and new in your emails adding increasing value and attention to your cause. Countdown to the day of Giving Tuesday.
If you are behind a powerful cause, you can consider holding a virtual rally to create a powerful movement- learn how.
5. The Day Of Giving
It’s the day of Giving Tuesday! Now is the time to go full throttle. Post the morning-of on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Send out an email with an urgent subject line at midnight, so night owls will receive it immediately, and early birds will receive it the moment they wake up.
Post multiple times on Twitter – 6,000 tweets per second, remember? You don’t want to get lost in a sea of tweets. Just make sure to edit each post to be different.
- Including a different, branded graphic can help. You can also retweet other nonprofits, mentions of your organization, and interesting articles around your nonprofit’s mission.
- Talk about your different work in each tweet. The key is to ensure that you are sharing the impact-driven by your nonprofit and your effect on the community. This is the time to showcase your work.
Connect your Facebook to your Instagram so, when you post stories, they appear on both platforms. This way, you only have to post once or twice (at most) on the two platforms.
Go live on various social media platforms, discuss your work from the last year, highlights of your efforts and impact, bring forth the most interesting topics and questions for an engaging live stream. Talk about how your nonprofit is coping with the effects of Covid-19. Share inspiring ways your team and organization have fought this year to reach your goals.
Follow-Up the Day After
You did it! You’ve brought in donations, found potential donors, and connected with your base.
Make sure to send out an email at the end of 24 hours. Thank your email list profusely – if you have stats from the day, add those to your email. Should anything notable have happened, you should also include these events. It’s important to share how you will be using these donations to drive impact, share the expected results, your mission, and impact-goal.
On social media, you should also express gratitude. Create a thread on Twitter to give yourself room to write as much as you’d like, create a catchy caption on Instagram with a beautiful graphic, write a longer post for Facebook with accomplishments, and include a link to the finished fundraiser to post to LinkedIn. You want to cover all of your bases.
Giving Tuesday is crucial for nonprofits, so utilize every aspect of each platform possible. You’ll be sure to bring in donations, raise awareness of your organization, and connect with others. There are many ways to engage and grow your following on this day. Make it your most successful holiday yet! Get started at Giving Tuesday’s website.