With an event as big as#GivingTuesday, we know the pressure is on! While our number one piece of advice is plan early, we know life sometimes gets in the way. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top things you should have ready on November 28 and resources from around the web to help you if you’re strapped for time.

Don’t wait until #GivingTuesday to send your first appeal! Make sure you’re building awareness around your initiative at least a month in advance to ensure you have the traffic you need to meet your goal. Email remains the #1 way to reach digital donors and drive gifts, so make sure you don’t skimp here. Try to tell your story using hero images; that and a narrative that puts the people who are being impacted front and center. Check out some great examples below.

10 Giving Tuesday Email Templates

Calendar Out Your Social Media Posts

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Having a presence on social allows you to promote your effort to a larger network, track who’s participating, and leverage social ambassadors using their own pages to share your original content. It’s important to identify where your constituents live, so make sure you take a look at your existing channels and evaluate where you get the most engagement before spreading yourself thin. If you’re starting from scratch, focus on getting one channel spun up and invest your time in identifying existing groups that will help you extend your reach. Below is a toolkit from #GivingTuesday as well as a content calendar to easily track your activities.

Social Media Toolkit

Social Content Calendar

Create a Press Release

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Creating media opportunities through local outlets and publications that are relevant to your cause can help you widen your net to reach people you wouldn’t otherwise. This can be a time-intensive tactic looking outside your organization, as you will need to research which publications would be interested in your piece and identify the contacts who review submissions. However, consider approaching your collegiate newspaper, radio station, or magazine for a feature for an easy win. Below is a #GivingTuesday PR template to get you started.
Giving Tuesday Press Release Template

Produce a Compelling Video

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A concise video (2-3 minutes) is a critical element to delivering your message in an impactful way. The important thing isn’t to make it high-budget or sleek looking — many compelling videos are shot on a smartphone. You need to describe the struggle at the heart of your campaign and how it affects individuals. Even if you’re raising funds for something inanimate like a piece of equipment, give it a voice by telling the story from the perspective of someone who will be impacted. For more information and resources to help you quickly spin up a great video, check out our guide below.

Video Creation Guide

Identify Online Ambassadors

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An online ambassador is just a fancy way of saying people who will help you spread the word before, during, and after your #GivingTuesday initiative. They can also be nurtured as early donors so you launch with momentum. Consider volunteers from student orgs, deans of fundraising, stakeholders within advancement, major gift prospects, and alumni who are highly involved. Whoever you identify, make sure they’re willing to commit their time and that you give them a clear outline of what you’re asking of them. Below is a resource with an outline of ambassador responsibilities and a social media toolkit you can duplicate to send to your ambassador prospects.

Promoting an Ambassador Toolkit

Market Matching Gift Opportunities

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One of the first steps in identifying a matching gift is speaking to your major gift officers to see if there are any prospects who would be good candidates. Another opportunity is corporate or business sponsors. Many corporations match donations made by employees to a wide range of nonprofits, to support employee charitable giving, and to extend corporate philanthropy. Matching donations, or matching gifts, are free money that nonprofits often miss out on because of limited information on donors’ employers, complex corporate giving programs, and because the corporate matching process is usually unknown for employees. Use the guide below to easily identify and promote a matching gift program that will speak to anyone who accesses your site or content.

Matching Gift Tactics & Examples 

Optimize Your Mobile Fundraising

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46% of Americans say they check their smartphones as soon as they wake up, while they’re still in bed. Email and social media are the first apps opened. Mobile fundraising is an all-encompassing term that spans from text-to-give to mobile email and beyond. Luckily, each of these can easily be incorporated into your nonprofit’s existing donation efforts, such as #GivingTuesday. The bottom line is that your nonprofit most likely already has all of the necessary tools in your fundraising toolkit to get your mobile fundraising efforts off the ground. All you need to do is to give each tool a little tune-up. Check out our guide on mobile fundraising and text-to-give below to get more information on how to optimize and implement each.

Guide to Mobile Fundraising & Text-to-Give

Determine Your Goal

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The amount you intend to raise should be realistic and take into account your current network size. In order to properly plan for an attainable #GivingTuesday campaign, you need to understand how much your network will allow you to raise and what work you need to do if you’re not quite there. Check out our quick exercise on examining your goal based on your email and social lists, donation rates online, and average donation amounts for digital fundraising campaigns.

Exercise: Determine Your Goal Amount

Plan Your Staff Schedule

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#GivingTuesday is a 24-hour event, meaning you’ll need to account for staff time starting at midnight if you plan to push for funds and monitor giving in the early hours. Making sure you have a set schedule that assigns shifts and responsibilities will help you avoid confusion and overlapping efforts. Make sure you consider how to maximize your staff’s time by starting with capacity planning (a look at available hours) and then creating a clear document that outlines the day from start to finish. You can find a great example below from The Miami Foundation.

Staff Roles & Schedule Example

Say Thank You!

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After all is said and done and the blood, sweat, and (hopefully not too many) tears you’ve put into your effort have paid off, it’s time for the fun part: thanking everyone who helped you get there! Stewardship needs to be timely, authentic, and about the thanking, not asking. There is certainly room to appeal to your donors to help you with your end-of-year efforts, but first, you need to show them your sincerity. To nail the tone, messaging, and timing, check out our guide on exemplary stewardship below.

Pocket Guide: Thank & Retain Your Donors