A Giving Tuesday Guide for Small Nonprofits

A Giving Tuesday Guide for Small Nonprofits

Giving Tuesday is an online event that has the potential to maximize your fundraising reach. When done right, you can market your small nonprofit to the world, shining a light on the incredible impact you have in your local community.

What is Giving Tuesday (or #GivingTuesday)?

According to the official website Giving Tuesday is a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.”

GivingTuesday has grown substantially over the last seven years, inspiring millions of people to come together in a celebration of generosity. It really is a global movement, one that every nonprofit, large or small, should take advantage of.

Giving Tuesday (which you’ll often see written as #GivingTuesday) takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. After starting in New York City, it’s become an annual day of giving, celebrated nationwide.

It also rings in the beginning of the Christmas and Holiday giving season. Giving Tuesday reminds us where our hearts should be all the time, especially during the season of giving. Giving Tuesday is wonderful opportunity for nonprofits of all sizes. Often, platforms like Facebook will agree to match donations up to a certain amount, encouraging users to participate.

Why Should Your Nonprofit Run a Giving Tuesday Campaign?

Presented as the biggest giving day around the world each year, Giving Tuesday is not to be missed. It’s a fantastic way to amp up your nonprofit marketing plan while raising the funds you need.

When your organization participates in Giving Tuesday, you’ll have the opportunity to make a big splash in a very short period of time. It’s a great opportunity to raise a lot of money while attracting new donors. People are looking to make a difference in their communities through Giving Tuesday. As it continues to grow, make sure to include it in your annual fundraising strategy.

Doing #GivingTuesday Right

Inspire Through Positive Action, Not Guilt

Giving Tuesday is not an event that rose from disaster or disease. Donors feel a sense of joy because they’re making a visible difference in the causes they care about. Create a fun, engaging campaign that inspires people to give happily.

Offer a Reflection of Your Community

Your campaign for Giving Tuesday should represent the positive changes you want to make in your community. After an intense weekend of hard-core consumption (Black Friday through Cyber Monday), Giving Tuesday allows everyone to take a breath, step-away from commercialism, and remember what matters.

Think about the community that surrounds your organization. Before you launch your campaign, make a list of what inspires them to care, and what it is about your cause that affects them personally.

Collaborate with Other Nonprofit Leaders

Giving Tuesday definitely helps you establish your nonprofit brand in your community, but it also helps to connect nonprofit leaders and their organizations globally. Instead of creating competition, Giving Tuesday fuels collaborations.

Being a part of a worldwide, community-driven online event can grow into partnerships, new funding sources, and other growth opportunities for your nonprofit. The Giving Tuesday brand is easily recognizable as encouraging lifted spirits, connection, and joy.

Who Gives on Giving Tuesday?

The best part about Giving Tuesday is that everyone gives. There are no distinctions between race, social status, or ethnicity, as every day should be.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from or how far away you live from potential donors. If your organization strikes a chord within a human being half a world away, they can give regardless of location.

Keep in mind, Giving Tuesday isn’t about only about cash. Volunteers are abundant on Giving Tuesday, whether they’re helping out with a campaign or signing up to offer their time throughout the year. Remember to recognize those people who want to be a part of your mission for the long term!

Giving Tuesday Campaign Strategy

Your campaign strategy is important. You can potentially reach hundreds of thousands of new donors and put your small nonprofit ahead financially for the coming year. How’s that for boosting your annual planning?

Brainstorm ideas with your team to draw in donors. Be flexible and creative, and don’t be afraid to take a chance on a new approach. Here are a few fantastic ideas for your Giving Tuesday campaign.

Set Up an Online Fundraising Page

The (admittedly obvious) place to start is with a dedicated fundraising page.

The vast majority of Giving Tuesday contributions come in online. Make sure you have this page in place early.

Make sure it’s responsive to multiple devices, quick to load, clear, concise, and well-designed. 

There are several ways to go about this, and we recommend using the free GiveWP plugin for WordPress to create your donation page. It’s fast – and did we mention free? 

If you’re pressed for time and aren’t as tech-savvy as you’d like to be, we can help.

When a donor comes to your fundraising page, they should be able to start their donation right away. Even though visitors arrive intending to give, don’t be afraid to persuade them a bit more. Many will be hearing about you for the first time.

Tell visitors your why, and a bit about your story. It doesn’t have to be long or extremely detailed, but it does have to sell. Be sure to test the donation process yourself before you share the page!

Peer to Peer Fundraising

It’s time to call in the troops! The chances that you have a following within your community are high. Use them to promote and share your Giving Tuesday campaign.

Peer to peer fundraising is an incredible way to execute a campaign for Giving Tuesday. After all, your best resource is your current supporter base.

Ask your donors to create their own fundraising pages to rally friends, family, even acquaintances, to donate to your cause in the name of Giving Tuesday. The fundraiser may take place on whatever platform your volunteers choose, such as Facebook Fundraisers or Go Fund Me.

Both of these platforms are easy to set up and even easier to share. Be sure to give your team a specific fundraising goal to motivate them, along with a few talking points. Offer plenty of encouragement, and watch as they gain momentum.

Equip your volunteer fundraisers with:

  • Goals
  • Images they can use
  • Sample social media posts
  • A sincere thank you (from you to them)

By activating the strong feelings that your current donors already have for you and your cause, you’ll reach thousands more through them.

Showcase Your Progress in Real-Time

Let everyone know how close you are to reaching your goals by showcasing your progress in real-time. This showcase is the perfect way to encourage others to help reach your goal as you close in toward the finish line.

Your Giving Tuesday campaign is short-lived, and showing progress through the use of a fundraising thermometer will create a subtle sense of urgency as the day passes. A visible tracker creates motivation among donors and volunteers.

If you make your progress toward your campaign goal completely transparent, you let everyone know how well you’re doing and what you still need to meet your goal. This type of clarity provides social proof and instant gratification for those who donate.

How to Prepare Your Small Nonprofit for Giving Tuesday

A to-do list will take the stress and the guessing out of preparing your organization for Giving Tuesday. Of course, there will be a few small things to do here and there before the big day, but this guide should help take care of most of the heavy stuff!

Build a Content Calendar and Timeline

Content calendars are a lifesaver when it comes to social media marketing in general. You should have one anyway. For Giving Tuesday, create a new one, so you’re sure to carefully target your message.

Offer your followers new information with every post that you share. If you repeat the same message all day long, interest will quickly wither away.

Provide just the right amount of information about your organization without getting too wordy, and plan out the time of day each post will go live. A content calendar is a perfect place to ensure that the posts you create for Giving Tuesday are original, relevant, and catchy. 

Try Hootsuite, CoSchedule, or Loomly for scheduling your social media posts.

Assemble Your Team and Set Concrete Goals

Everybody has a place on Giving Tuesday. Make sure your team knows where they’re supposed to be. Even virtual events require scheduling and ongoing management.

You’ll want volunteers or employees ready to troubleshoot any potential issues with your donation page, as well as fielding questions across social media platforms. Be sure that you have a way to contact them right away throughout the day, either through group chat or email.

Make Sure Your Campaign has a Unifying Theme

Giving Tuesday donations come in primarily through social media channels. Most of the gifts you receive on this day will come in from somewhere around the web.

Heavy campaigning on social media channels means making sure you’re not posting content that is all over the place. You love your nonprofit, and you want to tell everyone as much as you possibly can about it, but Giving Tuesday is the time to choose the broadest aspect and advertise the heck out of that one thing. Stay on brand, and stick to your core message.

Inspire Your Previous Donors to Give and Make the Process Simple

It’s a good idea to begin reaching out to previous donors before your Giving Tuesday campaign begins. Get them excited, ready to participate in the event, and sharing with their friends, family, and social media connections.

The more donors you have on board before the actual day, the more donations will come rolling in on Tuesday morning, continuing throughout the day. Preparation is key.

Be Prepared to Show Gratitude

As soon as the donations begin to roll in, be ready with a prompt thank you email or message. While giving is a selfless act, donors enjoy feeling appreciated as well. They want to know they’ve made a real difference, and getting personal is the perfect way to do that.

You’ll find that Giving Tuesday brings you plenty of new donors, so make a plan to properly welcome them, even in the inevitable chaos of the day. Let them know you’ve received the donation, recognize that they are new, and tell them a little more about what you do.

Preparing an automated email series in advance, starting with the thank you, will ensure that you stay on top of this throughout your campaign. Bonus: it will give a boost to your ongoing donor relationship management.

Prepare a Press Release

If you’ve stuck to your marketing plan and followed the guide, Giving Tuesday should be huge for you. Let everyone know how much you’ve raised, and how grateful you are for their support.

Write up a press release that will allow you to plug in the number of donations you’ve received. It’s a great way to thank everyone who gave to your organization on Giving Tuesday. Plus, it’s the perfect way to round out the experience.

Getting Ready for Giving Tuesday Takes Time

There’s no one way to prepare your nonprofit for Giving Tuesday. Every organization and team is different, and you’ve got to do what works for you.

However, these strategies will work for nearly any nonprofit campaign – whether it’s Giving Tuesday or your annual gala. The goal is to keep your team members, volunteers, and current donors on the same page.

Giving Tuesday could be one of your biggest fundraisers of the year. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start planning now, and good luck!

Dr. Lisa Richardson

Dr. Lisa is the head geek behind drlisadotco. Count on her for help with content strategy, marketing automation, and websites that do more than look pretty. Grab your free tactical session and start feeling more relaxed and confident in your business.