#GivingTuesday Digest

#GivingTuesday 2019 was a huge success this year! We've selected some of our favorites from the day as a way to showcase the different elements that make up a compelling fundraising initiative.




Dollars Raised




Avg Gift Size

Best Concept: Colorado State University


Colorado State University started the Rams Against Hunger #GivingTuesday initiative in 2014 as a way to fight food insecurity for students in need. Since then, they have provided over 35,000 meals and inspired the adoption of many similar initatives within Higher Education. This is a universally appealing subject that humanizes fundraising while providing clear focus with a single message, two foundational components behind the psychology of fundraising.

This year, we also saw food insecurity initiatives from two additional clients, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of California Santa Cruz.




Best Project Page: No Barriers


No Barriers created engaging campaign pages from their wider #GivingTuesday initiative, making it easy to fundraise for both the organization as a whole and to drive donations individually to each story. They used rich descriptions with compelling images, created rewards to incentivize giving tiers, and featured videos for each of their campaigns.

Having all of these elements allows campaign teams to maximize the ROI of engagement from personal networks they drive to the page, while also encouraging donors that click through from the page listing all of your stories to dive deeper into their area of interest.





Best Video: UC Riverside


The University of California Riverside created a video for their main landing page that was concise, well thought out, and emotionally resonant. By featuring human faces and creating a narrative that shows the possibility that education creates for students of every age, they tapped into the core story of their organization.

To truly create a unified brand experience, consider looking at your vision and mission statement as a way to storyboard your video. This will help people see the impact possible, even if the video isn’t tied to a single story.



Best Giving Tuesday Video

Best Challenges – Tied: University of Illinois at Chicago and UC Riverside


Challenges are a great way to engage both project teams and donors to participate throughout your entire event. A variety of challenges can be created to target different segments of your population, such as Young Alumni, students, or donors from all 50 states. These can be set up as a benchmark that unlocks funds, rewards a team for the most donors or dollars, or as a ratio of funds to be distributed. The University of Illinois at Chicago and UC Riverside both did a stellar job providing a variety of fun and unique opportunities to keep their communities engaged all day.





Best Matches: The Principia


Matches are another way to encourage giving to  your organization. When matching funds are available, people are often more compelled to make a gift than they may otherwise be. With a match, the impact of a gift is perceived as greater. Reseach has shown that a 1x matching gift is as equally compelling as any other ratio; the determining factor is simply the existence of a match.

The Principia took an interesting approach with their matches by focusing on the Annual Fund. Some schools find it challenging to fundraise for unrestricted funds, but The principia was able to leverage the matching funds to support this necessary area. This approach is a great way to encourage giving to a fund that is a focus for your institution.

For more information about matches, see our free guide.




Best Social Toolkits: Buena Vista University


Champions are the foundation of any successful online fundraising event. Cultivation of a key group of advocates for your organization will allow you to reach more people with your message. Supplying your champions with toolkits will make it much easier for them to promote your content and will help keep information on-brand. Buena Vista University had an extensive set of images and messages available for people to use to spread the word about their participation in #GivingTuesday.

Learn how to prepare your own champions with our guide.




Best Social Presence: University of Wyoming


The University of Wyoming did an amazing job of posting throughout the day with fresh content as well as tagging donors, utilizing a hashtag, and including informative images around challenges!

Generally, you should try to organize your social messaging around the big 4: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The trick is to optimize for each channel while still including best practices like shortlinks, optimized images, and tags for relevant people in your audience. You can read more about how to creat a robust social media schedule in our Giving Day Messaging Guide here.



Best Updates: Buena Vista University


Updates throughout an event help you stay in contact with your community and it encourages them to feel invested in the progress. This content can include information on reaching certain milestones, photos of how an in-person element is going, or announcing stretech goals. Buena Vista University consistently shared their progress during the day, pushing their community to reach additional goals before the end of the event.

One of the best ways to use updates is to send out information post-event once the funds are spent. Showing the gifts in action make donors feel appreciated, part of the process, and more trusting. By sharing a quick picture of students using equipment or attending the event, it can dispel any questions about how funds are being used (a common problem fundraisers face). For more information about updates, check out this blog post.





Best Range of Stories: Portland State University


Portland State University had 180 diverse stories as funding options during #GivingTuesday! They used categories and search to make the interface easy for the donor to navigate, and employed challenges to incentivize campaign teams to drive engagement for additional funds.

The key to identifying donor passions is offering a range of topic areas that will help uncover the motivators behind a donor’s desire to make impact. By giving your community the ability to self-identify, you can increase conversion YOY by offering a more tailored giving experience.





Best Follow-Up: UC Santa Cruz


UC Santa Cruz focused #GivingTuesday fundraising efforts on their Slug Support program, stocking up the basic needs pantry available to students in an effort to combat food insecurtiy. The campaign was follow-up with some excellent stewardship touches. In addition to an immediate receipt, the university also sent a thank you and post-campaign wrap-up the following day. Two days after the campaign ended, a video thank you message was sent out from the Slug Support team from the food pantry they were fundraising for. The video included additional information about how the funds would be used along with a message of gratitude.





Learn How This Can Work at Your Organization

Katie Haystead

Katie Haystead

Senior Vice President, Partnerships

With over a decade of experience working with K12 schools and higher education institutions’ fundraising efforts, Katie Haystead now oversees the partnerships team at Community Funded. Her passion for partner success and satisfaction aligns with Community Funded’s priorities and Katie’s unique background is well suited to manage the day to day operations of our partnerships team as well as new market acquisition.

Prior to joining the team at Community Funded, Katie served many roles within the Fundraising Division at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Her experience ranges from working onsite and remotely with clients executing phonathon programs, developing annual giving strategies, onsite consultations and also developing multichannel strategies allowing for strong synergy between annual giving channels and creating strong major and planned gift pipelines.

Katie is based in Metro Detroit and is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she worked for the phonathon for 3 years while working towards her History Major.

Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Kim Jennings, CFRE is a skilled fundraising leader who believes in the power of Christian education to raise up thoughtful, strong, committed leaders who can make our world a better place for all.

Kim Jennings

Todd Turner

Director of Digital Strategies, Generis

In addition to his 11 years overseeing Chuck Swindoll’s Insight Living Ministries communications department, Todd Turner has worked as a digital strategist for faith based organizations across the globe..

Kim Jennings

Jennifer Perrow

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Jennifer is a skilled fundraising and communications professional who helps ministries articulate vision, communicate mission, and raise abundant funds to advance Kingdom priorities.