#1 Get the word out early

Yes, you’ve heard it a thousand times. But there’s a reason.

The University of Wyoming planned ahead like a champ, posting in early November across their social networks and creating a Facebook event for people to save the date. They even employed a countdown two weeks out to pump up their community!

Colorado State University used early emails to energize their student and alumni populations by highlighting the urgency of helping individuals facing food insecurity and tying dollars raised directly to meals provided.

#2 Shout it from the rooftops!

Not literally. Well, if you literally do that, great, but maybe also try pursuing some PR opportunities.

Penn State leveraged their on-campus newspaper and their digital news outlet to place stories about their upcoming initiative. They created stories for different audiences (alumni, students, administration, athletics enthusiasts, etc.) to reach the maximum number of supporters. They also took advantage of a #GivingTuesday stream-a-thon on Forbes.com by granting an interview to Devin Thorpe about their efforts to broaden their reach.

#3 Be social, not socially awkward

You can’t just talk at people to start a conversation, they need to feel heard and included. In the same vein, you can’t just post at your followers and expect a flood of interaction.

The University of Illinois at Chicago used a social media toolkit with example posts and optimized images to make it easy for their followers to share their content and get the word out. Penn State made sure to tag donors as gifts came in to acknowledge their contributions and engage followers with their attitude of gratitude.

#4 Make your site a respite

With all the clutter and noise of #GivingTuesday, your site should be an oasis that provides a clean and clear user experience.

Obviously, we feel you should work with a technology partner that can help your site shine, but the design efforts you put in are just as important. All of our clients created beautiful, optimized pages with clear calls-to-action, quick give buttons, unique and appealing images for each story, and messages that reflected their mission and brand.

#5 Match the excitement with matches

Matching gifts are a vital part of increasing engagement by incentivizing certain groups to give or even individuals to increase their gift size.

Fun fact: nearly 2/3 of gifts are offline. Leveraging these intelligently lets you boost your progress bar and boost morale for digital donors landing on your site.

The first step is to partner with your major gift officers early to identify and communicate with prospects whose priorities align with the stories you’re telling. One strategy is to request that any major gifts that are already committed be made that day and/or spread as incentives for gift types or amounts to certain areas.

Penn State used a matching challenge that targeted alumni from the last decade by matching every $10 donation with $100 more. Northwestern and Colorado State University both used a $25,000 matching gift for donations dollar for dollar up to that amount.

#6 Appreciate the appreciation

The giving doesn’t stop on Tuesday. Give thanks to everyone that gave to support you!

You should update your site, social media banners and photos, and even consider sending a personalized message and video of thanks like the example from Colorado State University below. Check out these examples of different messages that went out from our clients for inspiration.