This year, the Giving Tuesday movement turns 10 years old and is poised to have its strongest participation yet. In 2021, the campaign—which happens on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year—generated $2.7 billion in charitable giving in the United States alone. It has become an important day for nonprofits to leverage the generous spirit of the holiday season and encourage year-end gifts from supporters.
To get the most out of this day’s momentum, plan to engage your supporters in a holistic way. You’ll also need to employ strategies that encourage giving and allow you to receive donations from multiple channels. If you’re looking to increase the value of your Giving Tuesday campaign this year, here are six strategies to try.
1. Grow Support With a Pre-Launch
It’s always nice to work out any campaign kinks during a dress rehearsal rather than in the middle of a live event. Before Giving Tuesday kicks off in full force, have a pre-launch of your campaign. You’ll use the same campaign page you’ve set up for your main event and the same branding and messaging through your email outreach, but you’ll send this information to only your most devoted supporters.
Reach out to this cohort around one to three weeks before Giving Tuesday. This group may include recurring and long-time donors, past Giving Tuesday participants, volunteers, board members, or other key mid-level donors you’d like to target. In your outreach, let these individuals know that you’re reaching out to your most committed supporters to help launch your Giving Tuesday campaign. Tell them what your fundraising goal for the day is and ask for their support in ensuring you reach it.
Doing a soft launch like this helps you:
- Build momentum: When your Giving Tuesday event officially kicks off, you’ll already have a list of donors secured, which encourages others to join in.
- Strengthen current donor relationships: When you give early notice to your key supporters, it helps them see that you truly value their connection to your nonprofit, rely on their support to make a difference, and appreciate what they have to offer.
- Work out any issues in advance: Launching your Giving Tuesday campaign early for key supporters gives you time to adjust any bumps in your email marketing or campaign page, as well as receive feedback from your supporters to ensure the big day goes off without a hitch.
2. Share Your Progress in Real Time
The goal proximity effect refers to the fact that people are more likely to give when you’re closer to meeting your goal. As you get closer to reaching your fundraising target, supporters will feel as if their donation could be the one that gets you there and want to help make that a reality.
To benefit from the goal proximity effect, plan to give frequent updates on Giving Tuesday to show supporters how you’re progressing toward your goal. This shows them how they can help you reach it.
You can do this by using:
- A progress bar on your campaign page that fills up in real-time based on donations.
- Social media updates with graphics showing your progress and that tag supporters as a thank you.
- Email updates that let supporters know how much time you have left to reach your goal and how many donations you need to get there.
When updating supporters on your progress, use a visual like a progress bar, pie chart, or other graphic that fits with your brand. This helps donors more easily process your campaign’s status.
Also don’t shy away from giving shout outs to supporters in real time. For example, you could send a social media update with a graphic of your campaign’s progress and text that says, “Thanks to generous donations from Janet, Beth, and Carrie in the last half hour, we’ve raised 68% of our goal! Can you help get us to 75% in the next 30 minutes?”
3. Build a Bridge to Continued Engagement Next Year
Giving Tuesday is a time when you have the attention of a much larger audience than usual. People are more tuned into charitable giving, so it’s the perfect moment to form new relationships that you can carry into the new year.
To get the most out of your Giving Tuesday campaign, consider strategies that invite continued donor engagement beyond the holiday season. For example, you can:
- Provide Giving Tuesday donors with a promo code for early registration to your first event in the new year
- Promote recurring giving options on Giving Tuesday to jumpstart your monthly budget in the new year
- Use your thank-you notes as an opportunity to talk about what you hope to accomplish in the coming year and the support you’ll need to keep doing that
- Include an invitation to a volunteer event in the new year with your thank-you note
4. Partner With a Corporate Sponsor or Local Business
Many for-profit companies are also looking for ways to give back during the holiday season. By partnering with a local business or securing a corporate sponsor for your Giving Tuesday campaign, you can increase your audience reach and fundraising ability.
There are several ways you can pitch a partnership to a corporate sponsor or local business. Some ideas to consider include:
- Get a match donation. Eighty-four percent of donors say they’re more likely to give if they know their donation will be matched. Receiving a match not only increases your year-end fundraising total, but also encourages greater participation in your campaign. Donors feel like they’re making an bigger impact if they know their $25 donation translates to $50 with the match.
- Accept a percentage of Giving Tuesday sales. A local business could offer to donate 10% of all their sales made on Giving Tuesday. This can benefit them by driving shoppers to their store who want to help out while also giving you another way to tell donors how they can help you reach your goal.
- Ask businesses to do a “roundup” campaign. A local business might also consider hosting a Giving Tuesday round-up campaign on your behalf. In this scenario, any customer who makes a purchase on Giving Tuesday will be asked if they want to round-up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar amount, with the round-up amount going to your campaign.
- Use your partnership for cross-promotion. Regardless of how you choose to partner on Giving Tuesday, it’s a great opportunity to expand your reach. If another business is sharing information about your nonprofit and fundraising goal, you’ll be able to get in front of a wider audience with people who may be learning about your work for the first time.
5. Create Inspiring and Actionable Content
On Giving Tuesday, you’ll need to tell a compelling story to drive donations. Create content for your email and social media marketing that evokes the emotion of your mission. For example, focus on a person who benefited from your services and show your impact through their eyes.
Also plan to lean into using short videos to connect with your audience, as they’ve shown to have the highest conversion rates when compared to other content types. Including a video on your landing page can also boost your conversion rate by 80%.
In addition to having content that encourages supporters to give, you’ll want to create content that they want to share. By creating short videos and creative posts, you can organically expand your reach as supporters share your messages to their wider networks. When posting Giving Tuesday content, don’t be afraid to ask your supporters outright to help you share your message. You can even ask supporters to tag a friend who believes in your cause.
6. Promote Donations as a Great Gift Option
Since the holiday season is what drives Giving Tuesday, remind your supporters that they can also donate on someone else’s behalf. You can frame donations as a great alternative for loved ones who take a minimalist approach with the holidays, not looking to acquire more items. A donation is a meaningful gift that offers positive impact and low waste.
To support the idea of gifting donations, consider incorporating an “adoption” campaign as part of your Giving Tuesday. For example, if you’re a wildlife rehabilitation center, you can frame donations as “Adopt a Raptor” and highlight the different owls, hawks, and falcons in your care that donors can symbolically adopt. You can then send a photo of the bird, an adoption certificate, or other branded swag to the donor or gift recipient.
Employ a Successful Giving Tuesday Campaign With Creative Strategies
Giving Tuesday is a powerful day for nonprofits. Many people are looking to support causes they care about and want to help nonprofits reach their goals. To leverage this momentum to its fullest, plan for strategies that make your Giving Tuesday campaign stand out from the crowd and make participating easy and enjoyable for supporters.