Giving Tuesday Success: How DeSales High School Sparked Online Giving in 24 Hours



Since 1956, St. Francis DeSales High School has had a mission to shape young men to be moral, ethical and responsible leaders by providing a personal, comprehensive, Catholic education.

As they have grown and expanded since 1956, so has their fundraising. They are always looking for new ways to innovate and reach more prospective students.

With the impact of COVID-19 on today’s current environment, DeSales was looking for ways to continue to provide the best school experience they can offer to their students with their continued fundraising.

With an in-person event planned in the spring, they not only wanted to reevaluate one event for a virtual setting but also take a look at their whole fundraising calendar for 2020 and heading into 2021. One of those campaigns was their annual Giving Tuesday campaign.



Like most schools and nonprofits, St. Francis DeSales relied on in-person fundraising events to power their mission year-round. COVID-19 swept in and erased any possibilities for in-person fundraising for the time being.

They wanted to differentiate themselves in a nonprofit world full of virtual events and engage and center their community around their mission, even if it was from home.

The advancement team felt a duty to empower and aid our school and community in the midst of COVID-19 and in the altered fundraising reality we are living in for the time being. We wanted to make sure our we didn’t stop fundraising and host events virtually in the spring of 2020 and into 2021,” said Misty Scurlock, Director of Advancement at St. Francis DeSales High School.



As soon as the advancement team at DeSales started gathering information on the current landscape of virtual fundraising events, they knew they needed fundraising software to reach their community and donors.

With the switch to virtual, we were looking at our fundraising solution as a way to power every campaign and event for our school that would carry us into the new year. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of the fundraising tool at our disposal for the entire year?” said Scurlock.

The ability for everything to be in one place on each fundraising site minimized donor confusion in a virtual world and increased reach—especially in their 2020 Giving Tuesday campaign.

DeSales High School used their fundraising software to take advantage of the global day of giving and unity that took place on December 1, 2020.

Every Giving Tuesday gift benefitted the DeSales High School Fr. Jude Cattelona Annual Fund which provides unrestricted support to a variety of operational costs including educational programs, capital needs, and financial aid.

DeSales Giving Tuesday


They used several key online fundraising tactics that led to their success. Let’s check them out!

Fundraising Incentives

In such a short campaign, it was important to incentivize giving and let the giving wildfire spark. DeSales accomplished this with impact statements and a matching gift campaign.

Impact Statements

According to the OneCause Social Donor Study, almost 60% of respondents said they donated because they knew their gift would make a difference. The DeSales High School Advancement Team used images and impact statement features, which are built into the OneCause platform, to communicate how meaningful a gift would be.

DeSales HS - Impact statements

By making giving easy, communicating the mission, and showing impact, DeSales’s donation-only fundraising effort engaged a new donor network to get involved, give, and make a difference.

DeSales-Matching Gift

Matching Gift

In a 24-hour campaign, they caught their donor’s attention with a matching gift incentive. If donors made a donation before 12 p.m. on December 1st their donation was doubled!

Matching gifts have plenty of untapped potential and DeSales took advantage of this fundraising tool thanks to a generous matching gift donor.

Word spread fast on social media, and donations came rolling in.

Donor Recognition

Showing recognition in the nonprofit world is an essential tool for retaining supporters and creating long-term donor relationships. Not all donors are recognition-motivated, but all donors like to receive some sort of acknowledgment that their donation was received and appreciated.

Enter: The Donor Wall. The OneCause Online Giving Solution includes a donor wall that showcases who donated, giving digital recognition for each donation.

Donor Wall - DeSales

DeSales even included donor levels based on gift amount. A fundraising solution that automates this process allows you to “set it and forget it” so you never miss an opportunity to thank your donors.

Social Media Promotion

To make the most impact in 24-hours, DeSales High School spread the word on social media.

DeSales-Giving Tuesday-Social

They capitalized on the growing social opportunity by strategically using social media to increase the reach of their campaigns while increasing donations.

They also used a specific hashtag to their campaign, #DeSalesGives20, to connect your supporters online.

(Pro-Tip: Search to see if someone is already using the hashtag you have in mind—you want it to be unique to your campaign.)

There are literally millions of new donors waiting to be engaged online, and social media is the perfect channel for online fundraisers to have the widest reach.

But their Giving Tuesday campaign wasn’t all they tackled in 2020. Check out their fundraising calendar below for the campaigns they executed (and will execute) using OneCause Fundraising Solutions. This totaled 4 events in 2020 with 6+ more events coming in 2021.

St. Francis DeSales High School: 2020-2021 Campaigns

Hall of Honors October 22, 2020 A Facebook live streamed event celebrating the men and women who exemplify the mission at DeSales.
Trivia NightNovember 7, 2020A trivia night with team fundraising.
Open HouseNovember 15, 2020Virtual open house with each tab highlighting a different department of the school.
Giving TuesdayDecember 1, 2020A donation campaign to join the #GivingTuesday movement.
Benefit FeastFebruary 6, 2021An online auction and raffle event with a livestream program to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis DeSales.
PhonathonFebruary 22, 2021An annual phone drive to generate a portion of operating funds for the year.
Men's RetreatFebruary 27, 2021A site to communicate the retreat details for the men of DeSales.
Spring RaffleJune 1, 2021An event centered around a fixed price raffle.
Donation CampaignDecember 31, 2021A donation campaign where donors can choose the fund or scholarship to support.

Let’s see how all their fundraising efforts paid off!



The DeSales Advancement Team took action in a time when COVID-19 took the wind from the sails of the nonprofit industry and beyond. Their fundraising never stopped.

  • $15k raised in their 24-hour Giving Tuesday campaign
  • 4 campaigns executed in 2020
  • 6+ campaigns currently planned
  • 100% more raised than cancelling their events

The best is yet to come with a full calendar of fundraising events taking place in 2021 on the OneCause software!

We wanted to take advantage of our investment in fundraising software, and we sure did. Keeping our fundraising year-round offers multiple touch points for donors and our community to connect with DeSales. We’re so excited for what we have planned in 2021,” said Scurlock.

Connect with a Cause

To learn more about St. Francis DeSales High School, check out their website.

Wrapping Up!

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