"Giving Tuesday" is a global day of charitable giving and it's right around the corner. Giving Tuesday has gained notable popularity since its inception in 2012 and is now a global movement, with participation from people and organizations around the globe. It serves as a reminder of the importance of generosity and giving, especially during the holiday season.
Always on the Tuesday after US Thanksgiving, it typically falls on the first Tuesday in December. Giving Tuesday was created in response to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are known for shopping deals and deep discounts. The goal of Giving Tuesday is to encourage people to shift their focus from shopping to giving back to their communities, and supporting nonprofit organizations and causes.
On Giving Tuesday, individuals, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to make donations to charitable causes, volunteer their time and expertise, or just generally engage in acts of kindness and generosity. The day is dedicated to philanthropy and making a positive impact on the world. It’s not uncommon for nonprofits and charities to run special campaigns and promotions to encourage donations and support for their missions on Giving Tuesday. This day is one of the few days of the year where donors are looking for charities to support, rather than the other way around.
Is It Worth the Extra Effort?
Recent analysis from CanadaHelps.org shows that participating charities benefit from Giving Tuesday enormously, raising 256 times more than charities that don’t participate. The data also suggests that participating charities continue to perform throughout the entire month of December, raising 5.6X more after Giving Tuesday than charities that didn’t participate. If that isn’t reason enough, Giving Tuesday can be a springboard for building lasting and loyal relationships with donors and supporters into the future.
Building Blocks of a Strong Giving Tuesday Campaign
A successful Giving Tuesday campaign, like anything, requires thoughtful planning, clear messaging, and seamless execution. Below are some key building blocks that make for a good Giving Tuesday campaign:
- Clear and Compelling Storytelling: Tell a strong and emotional story (known as “emotional marketing”) about your organization's mission and the impact donations have. Use storytelling to connect with your audience on a personal level.
- Set Specific and Achievable Goals: It’s important to set clear and realistic goals for Giving Tuesday, and is ideal to tie specific goals to each of the elements of your campaign. Not only will this help future campaign planning when you’re able to look back and know what worked and what didn’t, but sharing the overall goal with your supporters can create a sense of urgency and motivation.
- Create Engaging Content: From videos, to graphics, to well-designed social media posts, you should create powerful content that highlights your cause and campaign. Visual and interactive content tends to perform well on social media - which should be a core part of your campaign and message distribution strategy.
- Architect a Multi-Channel Promotion: It's important to use a variety of communication/distribution channels, including email, social media, your website, as well as partnerships with influencers or supporting organizations, to promote your campaign and reach a bigger audience. And if budget permits, you may want to consider direct mail. Digital channels have become more and more cluttered, while mailboxes still have room!
- Develop a Campaign Landing Page: While a multi-channel campaign is important, you still need a place for people to land. It’s always best practice to build a campaign Landing Page where you showcase information about your nonprofit’s mission, create dates and even countdowns to Giving Tuesday, and embed your online donation form. It’s always a good idea to feature program success stories and any special offers.
- Build a Mobile-Friendly Donation Process: Often overlooked, it’s critical that your donation process is mobile-friendly because many people will be donating from their smartphones. Be sure to make it as simple and user-friendly as possible.
- Start Early: Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to kick your campaign off. There’s a lot of competition out there for donor dollars and the earlier you start communicating your campaign, the more likely it is that you’ll get your fair share of the pot.
- Provide Regular Updates: Keep your supporters informed about the progress of your campaign throughout the period it is running. Share updates on social media and via email to keep excitement and engagement high.
- Thank and Acknowledge Donors: Always show appreciation to your donors as quickly as you can, both publicly and privately. Personalized thank-you messages go a long way in building donor relationships.
- Follow-Up With Performance Reporting: After Giving Tuesday, you always want to provide a report on how the funds were used and the impact achieved. Transparency and accountability can build trust with your donors and keep them coming back.
- Promote Long-Term Engagement: You should of course, use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to engage new donors and supporters, but it's important to have a plan for how you will continue to connect with them throughout the year.
- Ensure Compliance and Transparency: As is the case with everything, the devil is often in the details. Make sure your campaign complies with all relevant fundraising regulations and is transparent about how the donations will be used.
- Show Gratitude and Celebrate: Last, but certainly not least, you should celebrate the success of your campaign with your supporters by sharing stories of impact, and acknowledging the collective effort that made it all possible.
Creative Ideas for Giving Tuesday Campaigns
We’ve talked about best practices when building a Giving Tuesday campaign, or “the how”, now let’s shift gears and talk about the “what”. A good campaign has a few core ingredients; reach, heart-tugging content, and consistency and repetition. In a nutshell, your campaign needs to anchor around a compelling story, always stay on message (over and over again), and get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Below are some creative aspects of a good Giving Tuesday campaign.
- Matching Gifts: One thing you may want to consider is a matching donations program. Check in with your corporate sponsors to see if they are open to matching all gifts up to a certain amount. You get the dollars and they get the goodwill. A win-win all around.
- Build a “Challenge” Campaign: It’s always a good idea to develop fundraising challenges to incentivize and inspire donors. One of the most famous, of course, is the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. Be sure to build in a viral component and watch awareness for your cause spread like wildfire.
- Build a Peer-to-Peer Program: Passionate people often make the biggest difference. Try to get your supporters to become fundraisers themselves. Peer-to-peer fundraising gets your donors to engage their own networks about something they are personally passionate about, which ultimately expands your overall reach.
- Partner with Influencers/Celebrities: A celebrity partner is a great part of any Giving Tuesday campaign because it helps your nonprofit access a new, larger audience (more reach). Connect with influencers who are aligned with, and/or passionate about your cause and see if they are willing to participate. These arrangements are a win-win as your nonprofit reaches more people, and influencers get associated with the goodness going on in the community.
- Setup a Facebook Fundraising Campaign: Chances are, your nonprofit is already engaging with your supporters on platforms like Facebook and Instagram (Meta). Since fundraising became available on these platforms, over 100 million fundraisers have raised more than $7 billion for various causes worldwide as of November 2022. It’s always a good idea to develop a comprehensive Facebook fundraising plan for your nonprofit. Learn more about building your campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/gpa/best-practices/nonprofits
- Consider Digital Advertising: Specifically, retargeting ads. Retargeting ads are the ads that feel like they follow you around on your internet journey. Have you ever visited a retailer’s website and looked at their products, only to have them pop up on other sites you visit after the fact? That’s retargeting. It’s always a great idea to run a retargeting campaign in the months leading up to Giving Tuesday for anyone who has previously visited your website.
- Raise More than Money: There’s no reason why your Giving Tuesday campaign can’t ask for more than money. At a time when nonprofits are facing significant volunteer shortages, why not ask for volunteer hours? And if it aligns with your core mission, you can ask for food, clothes, toys, etc. Not everyone has money to give, but they can support in other ways. All you have to do is ask.
- Sell Something People Want: People love “stuff”. From t-shirts to aprons to candles to calendars, it’s easier for some people to give, when they are getting something in return. A Giving Tuesday fundraiser anchored around product sales not only generates important funds, but it can turn your supporters into walking billboards.
- Enable “Passion” Sharing: While some people prefer to be anonymous donors, others want to proudly share who and what they are passionate about. Make it easy for your donors to share their support of your causes with pre-built social media images, stickers, or other visual endorsement materials that they receive after donating.
Get Ready for the Best Giving Tuesday Yet!
Well, that’s a wrap. By no means is this an exhaustive list of ideas and best practices, but it should get the creative juices flowing. From campaign planning to creative tactics, there are thousands of ways to bring in those donations. All of us at Enkel wish you the very best Giving Tuesday imaginable!