Giving Tuesday is an international day that encourages giving back. After the consumerism-fueled Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday aims to create a moment focused on supporting organizations that make the world a better place.
Beginning in 2012, this event has grown to raise millions of dollars in over 150 countries. In 2018, over $400 million was raised from 3.6 million gifts, making 14.2 billion social impressions. This movement has helped ignite the social aspect of giving, starting off the year-end giving season with a bang.
This year, Giving Tuesday will be held on December 3, 2019.
Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to leverage the buzz and excitement that is created on an international scale. This 24-hour event activates the herd mentality and encourages people to jump on the bandwagon, which could be helpful to bring awareness and financial support to your organization. Donors are often inspired by short time-frame activities and are more compelled to take action if there is a clearly stated end.
This holiday is a great event to rally your community around, but that doesn’t mean it will look the same for every organization. You can scale your participation up, starting with a basic approach.
Basic engagement in Giving Tuesday is a subtle approach to fundraising. This may not bring in large amounts of money, but it will serve as an awareness campaign and provide an outlet to people to give that may be looking for a place to support. This version may include an email or two, mentioning Giving Tuesday as a reason to give in phone calls from student callers, and posting on the organization’s centralized social media accounts on December 3rd. This activity will most likely bring in donors that were undecided about where to give, so your prompt can help convert them to a donor for your organization.
If you are looking to scale up your #GivingTuesday participation, an intermediate approach may be the right engagement level for your team. This approach is primarily a centralized effort, driven by your annual giving team. Create a centralized project for your organization, something that has broad appeal. A great example of this is Rams Against Hunger, hosted by Colorado State University. The university found a fund that had universal appeal; who can object to feeding students on campus?
This level approach can include a series of lead-up emails to get people excited to make a gift of Giving Tuesday, as well as one or two reminders on the day. Before the big day, it is best to reach out to other areas of your organization and encourage them to share about the fundraising effort. Include your campaign as a key talking point if you have a call center and encourage people to give to this specific effort in honor of Giving Tuesday. As with the basic approach, post on your social channels and share impact stories about your fund.
A more involved approach to Giving Tuesday is to launch a full-scale, multi-fund and multi-channel event.
The first step of this process is to begin recruiting project teams to participate in Giving Tuesday fundraising. This can be a call out to campus partners, outreach to other organizational chapters, or rallying of various research teams.
For this take on Giving Tuesday, it is important to have a wide variety of projects being featured. A university could come at this featuring student teams, research projects, and Greek organizations. A non-profit may want to highlight different initiatives such as a local dig day, lobbying activities, and a community clean-up.
Regardless of the type of organization, the key is to provide donors with a large swath of specific projects to support. This style of giving event allows donors to get to know the different activities your organization supports and give them the chance to give to a narrowed area of interest. Donors today want to know exactly where their money is going and what the timeline will be. By providing these tailored projects, it is easier for the teams to follow up and provide impact reports or updates after fundraising has concluded.
Once teams are selected, provide training to ensure they know what is expected of them before, during, and after the event. Check out our comprehensive #GivingTuesday Guide to see what types of information you will want to distribute to teams.
Using a multi-channel approach will help increase excitement about your day. Try creating a save the date postcard and send it out to your donors or most connected constituents. Include the date, a quick summary, URL to your giving page, and instructions for action. Direct mail is a more expensive investment so being strategic about who this is distributed to will help keep costs down.
In addition to the individual project groups, reach out to other volunteers and staff that can serve as ambassadors. It’s best to create a customizable template for social posts and emails to make it a breeze to share about your campaign.
As with the other campaign approaches, you will want to integrate your other digital channels. Create a series of lead-up and day-of emails, change centralized and distributed website banners, ask people to support their favorite campaigns on the phone, and post organically on social media. Another way to integrate up-and-coming digital content is to run social ads about #GivingTuesday to your followers or email list. Check out our blog post that covers how to run these types of social ads.
For this type of full-scale event, an in-person element can help create buzz, increase donations, bring the community into the fold, and create images to leverage on social media. Consider some sort of pop-up event on campus or at a centralized location related to your organization. Invite people to come to a photobooth for photos, provide snacks, and have a donation-station setup. Encourage people to share their snaps and use a specialized hashtag specific to your #GivingTuesday event.
This approach is a much larger and time-intensive event but will galvanize your community and increase awareness around your organization and the importance of giving back.
There is a lot of activity happening on #GivingTuesday, so try something new and fun to stand out! These ideas can be incorporated into any level of Giving Tuesday approach.
Consider the following ideas to spice up your campaign:
- Find a matching donor or corporation: This allows you to talk about the importance of giving on that specific day. People are more willing to give if there is a match that will double their donation, so try engaging your larger donors. This is also a great opportunity to connect with your community and find a corporate sponsor to help maximize exposure and action for both organizations.
- Create a goal: Having a realistic goal can be extremely encouraging for donors, especially if you are nearing your goal. Try talking to some donors beforehand and getting commitments, then deciding on a goal 3x as large. As you near the finish line, people are more likely to make a gift.
- Make sure you have a cohesive narrative: If you will be focusing on a basic or moderately complex approach, make sure to home in on one storyline. People are compelled by stories and faces. Learn how to tell a great story by reading our blog about building a better narrative.
- A unique approach to Giving Tuesday is a “voting” giving campaign. The Maryland SPCA hosted a campaign for people to vote cat or dog by donating to one of two projects. The campaign set-up created an environment for people to weigh in on the age-old question, bringing a fun element to giving.