Giving Tuesday: 7 Awesome Best Practices for Your Cause

GivingTuesday has spurred millions of donors across the world to donate millions of dollars to their favorite charities. Like clockwork the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, has become synonymous with frenzied and focused giving.

There is no doubt, Giving Tuesday has become the world’s largest giving day! When nonprofit fundraisers hear GivingTuesday, their reactions range from excitement and eagerness to tap into new donor pools, to sheer dread at the planning required to make a splash on this big day.

GivingTuesday need not inspire fear. We got your easy path to success that any nonprofit can use to create a winning GivingTuesday campaign!

To fully capitalize on GivingTuesday, nonprofits need a branded, easy-to-use (and easy-to-create online!) presence. Investing time in an online giving or Text-2-Give microsite is the number one way to reach GivingTuesday donors and stand-out.

In order to get the most out of GivingTuesday planning, and keep it easy, here are 7 best practices to put into play this year:

  1. Choose the Right Giving Tuesday Software
  2. Recruit Fundraising Ambassadors to Lead the Charge
  3. Take a Multi-Channel Approach to Giving Tuesday Promotion
  4. Make Day-Of Donations as Smooth as Possible
  5. Build Strong Relationships with Giving Tuesday Donors
  6. Keep the Momentum Going Throughout Year-End Giving
  7. Place Your Giving Tuesday Strategy Top-of-Mind Year-Round

#1 – Choose the Right Giving Tuesday Software

GivingTuesday has gained serious momentum in the last few years, thanks in large part to viral fundraising challenges and social media hashtags like #GivingTuesday.

Along with the rise of social media and mobile communications, donors are now accustomed to ease, especially their fundraising.

Making GivingTuesday easy for your donors is the first step to success. This is why finding and selecting the right fundraising software is so critical.

Nonprofit fundraising software is your most powerful ally. It streamlines the donor experience. And nothing says easy like taking your giving online.

As you research GivingTuesday software solutions, look for a platform that includes:

  • Customizable online giving forms that allow donors to pick and choose donation amounts, leave messages, and share with their networks.
  • Branded microsites that showcase your mission, impact, and expand your reach through social proof and built-in social engagement tools.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) technology to get more people engaged before, during, and after GivingTuesday through things like social media and Ambassador Fundraising.
  • Text-to-donate functionality that makes it easy for people to quickly donate to your cause throughout the day regardless of where they are.

#2 – Recruit Fundraising Ambassadors to Lead the Charge

Modern fundraising thrives on social connections, and GivingTuesday is no exception. One of the hottest fundraising strategies this year is adding is to recruit Ambassadors.

Ambassador Fundraising allows nonprofits to tap into their most ardent supporters, harness them to lead the charge and become active fundraisers in your GivingTuesday campaigns.

The most important part is selecting the right Ambassadors. They should be well-versed in the mission and vision of your nonprofit, passionate about the cause, and well-connected in your community. Look to board members, volunteers, staff, committee members, or past donors.

Once you have selected your Ambassadors, it’s time to get them set up for success. This means providing the right tools and resources for them to engage with their networks, connect with potential donors, and share your message.

Nonprofits should be ready to provide Ambassadors with:

  • The goals and mission of the GivingTuesday campaign and what exactly Ambassadors will be responsible for.
  • The guidelines and rules for any competition or game that will be played.
  • Links to all social media accounts and sample posts to share with followers.
  • Detailed messaging and content for them to populate their own social posts.

Introducing fun, competitive and socially based peer-to-peer elements into your GivingTuesday can supercharge any campaign.

#3 – Take a Multi-Channel Approach to GivingTuesday Promotion

One great thing about modern fundraising in general is that it uses many digital channels to reach donors and engage them in your giving campaigns.

Creating a robust multi-channel campaign is a key step to success. Here’s the core channels to utilize when planning your next GivingTuesday campaign:

  • Email: is a huge part of GivingTuesday promotion. Create an email calendar that increases in cadence the closer you get to the big day (i.e., goes from monthly, to weekly, to daily communications).
  • Social Media: is the king or queen of GivingTuesday promotion. Find ways to engage your donors, supporters, teams and board to share and like your messages, to reach the ultimate reach.
  • Hashtags: Come up with a great hashtag. Certainly include #GivingTuesday, but consider creating a hashtag specific to your nonprofit and your campaign. This will attract new donors and allow supporters to connect with each other across platforms.
  • Website: make your your GivingTuesday campaign has a prominent place on your home page. To drive donations, include a modal, in-line form or link to you online mircosite.
  • Traditional Marketing: don’t forget to promote your GivingTuesday campaign on traditional channels like posters and direct mail.
  • Text Messaging: If you have cell phone numbers for your donors, use your fundraising software to send out a text message to supporters. By including a shortened link in the text, people can click and donate right from their phones to your donation page.

#4 – Make Day-Of Donations as Smooth as Possible

If there is one thing that can turn donors off from a nonprofit, it’s a poor donation experience.

On Giving Tuesday, when hundreds if not thousands of donors will be accessing your donation site, your team and your tools better be able to handle the demand.

Just as you should leverage different promotional channels, your team should also try to provide different ways for supporters to be engaged and donate this GivingTuesday.

Effective fundraising tool include:

  • Online fundraising: this is probably going to be your most ‘crowded’ channel, so look for a fundraising platform that can handle a high volume of donations at once.
  • P2P fundraising: by giving your top supporters the ability to create their own fundraising micro-pages, your message can be spread and heard by even more people on different channels.
  • Text donations: this channel is great for spur-of-the-moment donors or people who stumbled upon your message as they looked for ways to get involved on GivingTuesday.
  • In-person events: whether you want to host a large-scale gala or just set up a few tables at a charity fair, it’s a good idea to have at least one way people can make donations in person.

#5 – Build Strong Relationships with GivingTuesday Donors

One of the most amazing, exciting parts of GivingTuesday is how it acts as a conduit for connecting nonprofits with new donors and supporters.

With so many social campaigns, organic promotion, and word-of-mouth support, people are often introduced to new nonprofits on GivingTuesday that end up being life-long causes. Many people use GivingTuesday as a way to actively explore new charities to find one that connects with them long-term.

For this reason, nonprofits must also focus on a long-term picture that extends past the 24-hours of GivingTuesday. While day-of engagement and donation experience is important, creating and maintaining strong relationships with these donors is also critical.

The same standards that are in place throughout normal year giving should still stand: personalized thank you’s, follow-ups, and messages to engage with them long after GivingTuesday has concluded.

#6 – Keep the Momentum Going Throughout Year-End Giving

Over 17% of all giving happens in the last month of the year, making this prime time for nonprofit strategy and engagement. Luckily, with GivingTuesday leading the charge, nonprofits really just have to keep this momentum going strong through the end of the year.

Keep these year-end giving best practices in mind when planning your GivingTuesday campaign.

  • End-of-year giving is the perfect time to go all-out with new campaign ideas.
  • Create a theme and combine your GivingTuesday and year-end campaigns.
  • Host your end-of-year black-tie gala and auction for top donors and supporters.
  • Look outside the box and try a new channel, like text-to-donate, to drive last-minute donations.

Double-down on longer campaigns to keep your nonprofit top-of-mind heading into the new year.

No matter what you decide, this is the time to get creative and strive for the highest engagement levels possible.

#7 – Place your Giving Tuesday Strategy Top-of-Mind Year-Round

Just because GivingTuesday is a single day on the calendar doesn’t mean nonprofits can ignore it until the fall rolls around. The best way to have a successful GivingTuesday is to plan well in advance, starting even after the previous GivingTuesday ends.

Typically, nonprofit teams will have clear ideas in mind of new things they want to try moving forward.

This is also a great time to do research and look to thought leaders for guides, checklists, and best practices.

It’s never too early to start planning for GivingTuesday 2020. As you wrap up this year’s campaign, sit down as a team and share lessons learned and key wins.

Make sure next year’s campaign plans include:

  • Scope out potential Ambassadors
  • Evaluate the success of your fundraising platform
  • Map out continued engagement and year-round campaigns to engage new donors
  • Brainstorm potential campaign themes for next year
  • Continue to post GivingTuesday content to engage and educate supporters

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of enthusiasm towards the biggest giving day of the year, one thing is for sure: GivingTuesday can no longer be ignored.

Want More? Check out our GivingTuesday and Year-End Fundraising Resources.

Whether you’re a GivingTuesday pro or you’re doing your first campaign, here are a few additional resources to get you on your way to having an amazing giving day (and month):