Held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday has since become a global movement that leverages social media, community engagement, creative storytelling, and feel-good generosity. Many nonprofit and community benefit organizations also use Giving Tuesday – and the popular #GivingTuesday – to kick off their year-end appeal campaigns.
In 2023, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, November 28.
There are many ways to launch a #GivingTuesday campaign. In this article – your guide to Giving Tuesday – we’re going to cover the basics you need to set one up. We’ll also share a few words from the wise on what Giving Tuesday is good for, what it’s not, and where you should save your energy.
What Giving Tuesday is Good for – and What it’s Not
Giving Tuesday is a prime opportunity to activate your audience and create a platform for your constituency to share your work. It can turn your social media followers into evangelists and maybe even convince them to become donors.
That said, while Giving Tuesday may be a part of your year-end appeal campaign, it shouldn’t be your whole year-end campaign. In other words, don’t rely on this one-day donation drive to bring in the bulk of your donations for the season, and don’t use it to secure high-level gifts from your major donors who require a much more personal touch.
What does this mean? Take care that you don’t sink a ton of your time into producing Giving Tuesday tactics and outreach. What you’ll learn in this guide to Giving Tuesday is how to keep it simple, fun, and look at it as just one facet of your overall giving season campaign.
How to Participate
At its heart, Giving Tuesday is about generosity and engagement, in whatever form best suits you and your work. You do not need to join a particular group or use a specific fundraising tool to participate in Giving Tuesday, though plenty of those exists. To keep it simple, you could launch your campaign straight from your social media with a link back to your website, which is how we are going to start in this guide to Giving Tuesday.
Get Started with a Landing Page
Begin by creating a specific landing page on your website just for your #GivingTuesday campaign. This one web page should have five things on it:
- A brief, enticing story about your work, why it’s important, and where the money that you raise will go.
- A short explanation of what #GivingTuesday is.
- An embedded donation form (our friends at Donorbox have a wonderful one you can set up in fifteen minutes flat).
- A few easy-to-share resources such as social media graphics and sample tweets that anyone can grab and post to their own networks (more on those below).
- A list of ways people can get involved with your work – beyond donating – for those who may not be able to support your mission financially at this time but still want to give back in some way.
JOYA Scholars has a good example of a Giving Tuesday campaign page. This page is hosted by Donorbox and includes a recurring donation form, suggested amounts, a goal thermometer, and an excellent description of the campaign, complete with eye-catching visuals.
Line Up Your Communications
Before we get into your communications, understand first that Giving Tuesday can be a day of digital bombardment when some people may get dozens of emails. All asking for money. All day long.
A word of advice here: Don’t try to cut through the noise with more noise.
Respect your access to people’s inboxes and don’t pepper them incessantly with emails. The last thing you want to do is annoy anyone enough for them to unsubscribe out of exasperation, especially right as you launch your year-end appeal campaign. As a rule, exhibit restraint with sending Giving Tuesday emails, especially if you plan to send more out in December as part of your broader year-end appeal. Social media, on the other hand, offers a little more leeway and you will want to dive into that mix with all you’ve got.
So what to line up? First, head over to Donorbox’s Giving Tuesday Toolkit to take inspiration and download a helpful collection of free resources, toolkits, and branding materials.
At a minimum, you’ll want to write up some sample tweets and posts that people can copy and paste into their social media along with some graphics that anyone can drag and drop into their posts. If you don’t have a graphic designer on hand to help you, Canva.com is an easy (and free) way to create some graphics using their social media templates. Be sure to grab the official Giving Tuesday logo to drop in there as well. And definitely use #GivingTuesday on every post!
Always keep in mind that whatever you create should be easy for people to share. Once you have your communications all lined up, reach out and activate your team and your network to spread the word about your Giving Tuesday campaign as broadly as possible.
Be Present on Giving Tuesday
The big day is here! And it has come after the food and family-filled Thursday, the scrambling for deals on Friday, the weekend of stress recovery, and the online deals madness of Monday.
Exhausted already? Everyone is. So forget multi-tasking and make Giving Tuesday about one thing: being present. Online, of course.
It’s time to nestle up in front of your computer with your hot beverage of choice and order in lunch from your favorite restaurant. Spend the day loving up your audience, sharing real-time updates, retweeting, responding, live streaming, and showing gratitude for each little mention.
Chances are, you may be surprised at who steps up. People you never considered as donor prospects may give in the moment. Those whose lives have been positively impacted by your work may also give back to you by sharing your Giving Tuesday campaign with their networks. Often, they’ll add stories of their own that show how you’ve helped make their world a better place in some way.
Gather all that goodness and share it with your nearest and dearest. Then, send thank you notes immediately to your new donors and shower your team, board, volunteers, and constituents with an appreciation for all they’ve done. Everyone loves a good affirmation and Giving Tuesday tends to give just that. It’s the fuel that will get you through to December 31!
*This guide to Giving Tuesday was first written by Open Rivers. Open Rivers has dozens of articles with practical tips for raising money for your mission. They also offer worksheets, templates, and checklists to get you started.