Does your organization have a plan for how you’re going to raise money for #GivingTuesday? Or are you still searching for the perfect Giving Tuesday ideas?
Giving Tuesday occurs annually at the end of each year, and people around the world come together to support nonprofits, both local and worldwide. In 2020, even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, people still gave time, money, supplies and spoke out to assist communities and movements. Because Giving Tuesday has excellent momentum going into 2021, you’ll want to prepare your fundraising plan accordingly.
A common mistake that nonprofit organizations make when participating in Giving Tuesday is lacking a concrete strategy for getting the most out of the worldwide push for support. Without a strategy, you might get a few donations by simply posting on social media with links to your online donation forms, but you won’t truly maximize your potential.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Giving Tuesday resources and ideas, along with some crucial context for how to make the most out of this momentous day. In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
To learn more about how to leverage this powerful fundraising opportunity, we’ll start with the basics. Let’s jump in!
What Is Giving Tuesday? & Other FAQ
Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving in which millions of generous individuals worldwide choose to support mission-driven organizations and other charitable causes. The annual tradition began in 2012 as a way to celebrate the generous nature of humanity.
The worldwide event is always held the Tuesday following Thanksgiving—landing on November 30 in 2021. The idea is to leverage the giving spirit that rises during the holiday season and encourage individuals to make a positive difference any way they can.
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How do you participate in Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is a no-cost movement for nonprofit organizations to participate in. You’re simply joining a global push for generosity towards mission-driven causes.
If you’re an organization, you can promote ways to help in your community and beyond. If you’re simply looking to participate as an individual or in support of another cause, you can look into how you can give time, money, or goods to those in need.
Here are some no-cost ways you can encourage your team and others to support your mission:
- Show kindness to those around you
- Volunteer virtually or in a socially distanced way
- Devote your voice and platform to a cause
- Show gratitude to frontline workers and those who aid your community
- Use social media to spread your word
- Post using the hashtag #GivingTuesday
- Repost GivingTuesday social media content
- Announce your participation in GivingTuesday to your networks and email lists
With these simple but impactful steps, your organization can empower supporters leading up to the next Giving Tuesday.
Is Giving Tuesday effective?
Yes. Many nonprofits raise an incredible amount of funds each Giving Tuesday. In fact, despite the economic hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it’s reported that Giving Tuesday brought in $2.47 billion for nonprofits in the U.S. alone. This is record-breaking in comparison to the $1.9 billion raised in 2019.
Additionally in 2020, amid a global health and economic crisis, the team behind Giving Tuesday introduced a one-time emergency response to increased need called Giving Tuesday Now. This springtime event brought in more than $503 million. Although it is not planned for 2021, it shows ample support behind the #GivingTuesday initiative worldwide.
Consider, if nonprofits like yours have raised significant funds in the past, despite a global crisis, just imagine how much you can raise with the right strategies for this upcoming Giving Tuesday!
Best Practices for Successful Giving Tuesday Ideas
Giving Tuesday is a huge event for nonprofits everywhere, which means it will take a significant amount of preparation beforehand to make your campaign stand out. We have put together a few tried-and-true tips to get started with an effective fundraising plan.
Giving Tuesday Planning Tips
With these tips, you’ll be able to make a plan for your Giving Tuesday fundraising methods well in advance. Be sure to:
Have an online donation page in place.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, many organizations have flocked to online giving, even those with little to no prior experience with it. However, it’s not good enough to have just any donation page. Your nonprofit may already have an online donation form for giving, but you want to make it the best one possible leading up to the influx of donations you’ll receive on Giving Tuesday.
You have to have a fully-optimized, informational, and user-friendly form to truly maximize your online fundraising. Check out the six key features we suggest implementing in your online donation form:
- Organization background: Be sure to provide a brief background on your nonprofit, including explaining how you’ll use the donations and why. This is important for your Giving Tuesday campaign because you’ll be exposed to new potential donors who may not know much about your mission, and want to learn more.
- Donor contact information: This data is how you’ll communicate with donors going forward. For example, it’s where you’ll send donation receipts and thank-you messages. It’s a good idea to ask for their full name, phone number, and email address.
- Fundraising thermometer: When donors see that you’re close to reaching your overall fundraising goal, they tend to be more inclined to give. Therefore, it’s a great idea to embed an automatically updating fundraising thermometer in your donation forms.
- Suggested gift amount: Although you should allow donors to enter their own dollar amount, it’s a good practice also to provide a few suggested donations. This way, potential donors better understand what a “normal” donation is. Plus, your suggested numbers can lead to an increase in your average gift size.
- Payment information: You’ll need to collect each donor’s payment information at this point to actually collect the gift. Accepting multiple payment forms, such as ACH bank payments, credit and debit cards, or even PayPal, can provide a more convenient donor experience.
- Recurring gift option: Make sure donors always have the option to easily turn their one-time gift into a recurring one. You might be surprised at how many people register for a regular giving program when it’s as easy as checking a box.
Many of our favorite Giving Tuesday ideas (which we’ll list later) involve using an online donation form—from mobile giving to dedicated email fundraising campaigns. Plus, it’s a good resource to have year-round.
Start promoting early.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start promoting your Giving Tuesday campaign. Instead, start early in the year to effectively plan and market your fundraiser. Otherwise, you risk your campaign getting lost in all the digital clutter that occurs on Giving Tuesday.
You must remind potential supporters that you’re participating so they can contribute to your cause!
Set a fundraising goal.
Fundraising goals are essential for any campaign you run, Giving Tuesday included. Because of the popularity surrounding the giving day, you may want to set your goal a little higher than usual. If you’ve participated in prior years, it’s a good idea to consult your previous fundraising data to determine a good starting point.
Once you have your numbers, here’s how to craft a SMART fundraising goal for your team:
- Specific: Be very clear about what it is you’re striving for.
- Measurable: Use numbers, percentages, or dollar amounts to calculate success easily.
- Attainable: Make your goal lofty (to encourage donors) but not unrealistic.
- Relevant: Your goal should relate directly to your Giving Tuesday campaign.
- Timely: Be sure to set a date by which you hope to reach your goal (by the end of Giving Tuesday).
An example of a SMART goal might be:“To raise $10,000 in donations during our Giving Tuesday campaign by the conclusion of Giving Tuesday on November 30, 2021.” Then, you’ll set your fundraising thermometer to $10,000 and you’ll know exactly when you hit your goal.
After Giving Tuesday: Tips for Follow Up
So what happens when the clock strikes midnight after Giving Tuesday and the global day of generosity has officially ended? Just because the event is over doesn’t mean your job is done! Let’s walk through a few of the most important elements to keep in mind post-campaign.
Thank your donors
As one of the most crucial aspects of any fundraising campaign, the importance of thanking your donors is no different on Giving Tuesday. We recommend the following ways to show your appreciation and say thank-you:
- Phone call: This is great for mid-sized to large donations that deserve a little more than a basic thank-you note. Plus, a phone call allows you to build more personal relationships with your donors and encourages them to feel more connected to the cause.
- Handwritten letter: Who doesn’t love getting a handwritten letter in the mail? It shows that someone took the time and effort to write a message for each recipient, rather than just copying and pasting a generic note.
- Email: A thank-you email is the easiest, although the most impersonal, way to say thank you. Even so, the right email software can help you customize each email to the recipient, including personalized subject lines and salutations, as well as specific gift details.
Take note of first-time donors who give to your organization on Giving Tuesday. They may have only limited background knowledge of your mission, so it’s a good idea to share educational resources about your cause, your history, and your current operations to create a relationship that will last.
Share donation impact
Following your Giving Tuesday fundraiser, take the time to update your supporters on the impact that it had on your overall mission. For example, you might consider sending out an email or social media blast to let every donor know when you’ve hit your fundraising goal, and what their money has helped accomplish.
Donors like to know exactly where their money is going. That’s why a follow-up email like this can be useful: “Thanks to your gift of $X to our Giving Tuesday fundraiser, X families were provided with toys to make wonderful holiday gifts. Kids like Bobby and Allison are so grateful!”
By adjusting the wording to fit your cause and individual donors, you can effectively communicate the impact that each donation has on your mission. In doing so, supporters can clearly understand their role in helping, feel as though they’ve made a difference, and will be more likely to give again in the future.
Encourage continued support
Throughout the promotion and execution of your campaign, you’ve likely expanded your network of support to include new donors. However, you don’t want this to be their first and final donation! Instead, make sure each individual is invited to partake in any upcoming fundraising events for your mission. You might even use this opportunity to promote recurring gifts!
Extending the excitement around Giving Tuesday is crucial in leading your nonprofit into a successful year-end fundraising season. In fact, more than 12% of total annual giving takes place in the last three days of the year—which means you’re just getting started!
The key takeaway from planning your Giving Tuesday campaign is that it’s not something that your team should leave until the last minute. The more you can have ready to go ahead of time, the better equipped your organization will be as the big day approaches
Fantastic Giving Tuesday Ideas for Raising More
Now that you understand the meaning behind Giving Tuesday and the basic elements that go into planning a successful campaign, it’s time to talk about fundraising ideas. What is encouraging revenue on this philanthropic day? Here are twenty of our favorite Giving Tuesday ideas:
1. Online Donation Page
Creating a donation page that captures the majority of the donations you’ll receive during Giving Tuesday is a crucial strategy. From the design of your donation page to its accessibility through your appeals, it can either transform potential supporters into donors or drive them away, losing their contribution.
To develop the most effective donation page for Giving Tuesday, you have to consider the donor journey. So, how exactly do you do it?
- Make your donation page link easy to find. As soon as a potential donor sees your social media content or browses your organization’s website, it should be intuitive as to how to give to your cause.
- Have confidence in your data security measures. Your donors are providing sensitive personal and financial information. Make sure your donation page and payment processor both have security measures in place for rectifying this.
- Remain consistent in your branding. When your organization’s site and content have an established look and feel donors trust and can begin to recognize your brand. You can do this by including your logo and consistent coloring in the design of your donation page.
- Ensure your page is optimized for all devices. Make sure your donors can give from wherever they are. Whether they’re donating via laptop or cellphone, it should be an easy process.
- Provide other ways to get involved. Now that your supporter has given to your cause, make sure they know other ways to engage with your organization. Include these opportunities once the gift is completed so that users aren’t distracted.
With these attributes, your donors will have a positive experience giving through your online donation page on Giving Tuesday.
2. Text-to-Give Campaign
Text-to-give campaigns have grown in popularity in recent times—and for a good reason! Mobile fundraising is effective because supporters can give whenever and wherever they want, whether that’s from the couch, during a lunch break, or anywhere else. The convenience of mobile giving is what makes it the perfect fundraising idea for Giving Tuesday.
In case you’re new to the idea of text-to-give, the process is simple. A donor texts a predetermined keyword to your dedicated text-to-give phone number. Then, they automatically receive a link with instructions to complete a brief online form.
Here are the essential steps to launch a text-to-give campaign:
- Choose a text-to-give provider: Because there are many great platforms to consider, it’s a good idea to take the time to find the best match for your cause. For example, you may want to compare different pricing plans, key features, and additional giving solutions before deciding. We recommend Snowball’s powerful text-to-give software for organizations of all shapes and sizes.
- Receive a dedicated mobile giving number: Once you’ve selected a text-to-give software provider, you’ll receive your mobile giving number. Essentially, this is the phone number that donors will text to make a gift. Within seconds of sending a message, the donor will receive a link to follow instructions for completing a quick mobile-friendly donation form.
- Set a memorable keyword (or keywords): It’s best to use a provider that allows you to set as many keywords as you’d like. For example, you can use keywords like “GIVINGTUESDAY” for any donations directed for that campaign, or more generalized keywords like “DONATE” or “” can go toward your overall fundraising budget.
- Promote your campaign: Use social media, email, direct mail, and other communications tactics to spread the word about your text-to-give campaign. Not only should donors know that you’re participating in Giving Tuesday and offering a mobile giving solution, but they should also understand how convenient it is to give via text message.
- Explain the process: For some donors, especially the less tech-savvy ones, the text-to-give process may be new and potentially overwhelming. To minimize these negative preconceptions, be sure to provide an easy-to-follow explanation walking through the mobile giving process step by step. For example, take a look at this infographic detailing the process below:
Even if your organization is already utilizing text-to-give, it’s important to ensure that your giving process is optimized for the most efficiency.
You should start promoting your text-to-give tool at least a week before Giving Tuesday, letting donors know that the option will be available on the big day and boosting excitement leading up to it.
3. Matching Gifts Drive
Matching gifts are a foolproof way to quickly multiply any money you raise through your Giving Tuesday fundraising ideas. However, many donors and even nonprofit teams are unaware of the extent to which matching gifts can make a difference.
While you should be promoting matching gifts year-round, it’s essential to amp up your marketing efforts during Giving Tuesday to let donors know how their gifts can (easily) go farther.
To do this, you can:
- Create a dedicated matching gift page on your website. Use this as a place where supporters can learn more about guidelines and requirements for submitting a request and how to find their employer’s matching gift program.
- Embed a matching gift search tool on your donation forms. These tools allow donors to easily search for their companies’ matching gift programs. The information provided will let them know if their gifts qualify and suggest the next steps to request a match.
- Share information about matching gifts on social media. Use images and videos to grab your donors’ attention—and don’t forget to link to your matching gift page where donors can learn more.
Make sure to brush up on the matching gift programs of the companies your supporters work for. That way, you can provide donors with specific information on their matching gift guidelines and how to submit a request before it’s too late. 360MatchPro has a great list of the top matching gift companies to help you get started.
4. Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser
While Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to encourage existing donors to contribute more to your cause, if you want to maximize your fundraising potential, you should also be using this as a chance to draw in new supporters. And what better way to acquire new donors than to launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?
These fundraisers will do the following to raise money:
- Create individual fundraising pages
- Set personal fundraising goals
- Ask their friends and family members to contribute
This type of fundraising is so effective because your fundraisers will be asking for donations from people they already have a close relationship with, so their loved ones are more likely to contribute.
Keep in mind, just because your fundraisers are the ones soliciting donations that doesn’t mean you can sit back and let the funds roll in. Your organization needs to participate in assisting fundraisers and welcoming new donors into your organization’s network.
To assist your fundraisers successfully, your organization should:
- Recruit fundraisers by looking for supporters that regularly contribute or attend fundraising events.
- Create email and social media templates and other resources to help your participants ask for donations.
- Host online or in-person workshops before the campaign launch date to teach fundraisers how to create their peer-to-peer fundraising page and share some tips and best practices.
- Send out thank-you letters to fundraisers and supporters, along with welcome packets and other resources to first-time donors.
Creating a peer-to-peer campaign for Giving Tuesday can help you discover new donors and provide unique opportunities for loyal donors to support your organization on a new level.
5. Virtual Event
Another way to encourage donors to participate in Giving Tuesday is by hosting a virtual event. While fundraising events have largely been held in person in previous years, virtual solutions have taken precedence since the beginning of COVID-19. By hosting a virtual event, your organization will gather supporters and celebrate your cause— from a safe distance.
Moreover, you can use your event to promote your various giving methods and encourage donors to make additional donations through your other online giving solutions.
A few fundraising events that pair well with the excitement of Giving Tuesday include:
Whichever fundraising event you decide to host, make sure that you include activities that encourage guests to make additional donations. For example, if you’re hosting a themed online auction, consider organizing a raffle to go with your event. The incentive of winning an additional prize can motivate donors to participate and give more.
Events can also be a great way to gather information on your donors. Before Giving Tuesday arrives, you can set up an online event registration page that captures your supporters’ contact information with additional fields that can help fill in the blanks in your donor data.
Even if your event is free to attend, it’s in your nonprofit’s best interest to set up a page where guests can RSVP to collect valuable data and help you anticipate the extent of future Giving Tuesday events. For example, Snowball offers the opportunity to retain pertinent information to build your donor database from event registrations.
Additionally, be sure to use your event as an opportunity to share your achievements and thank donors for all the support they’ve given throughout the year. You might even consider asking a few constituents who have been significantly impacted by your mission to share their own stories so that donors can see firsthand who they are supporting.
Throughout the event, make sure to display your fundraising goal in a prominent location, so guests know how much they’ve raised so far—and how much is left to go.
6. Charity Fundraising Gala
As a nonprofit professional, you’re aware of the excitement and pomp that surrounds annual galas. A gala is a dinner party that incorporates various fundraising tactics, like text-to-give or a charity auction. The main focus of the night is driving your mission forward by thanking key supporters, providing an engaging way to learn more about your organization, and using your event platform to update your supporters on your goal progress.
There are a few key items to consider when planning your charity fundraising gala. These include:
- Picking an exciting theme for your event. For example, the holiday season is a popular time for this type of event. More supporters are likely to give, and it’s an excellent way to reflect on the past year’s achievements. Because Giving Tuesday is so close to the holidays, this is a perfect opportunity for holiday spirit!
- Determine how you’ll accept donations. Your organization will receive donations throughout the gala, as everyone is in the giving spirit by attending. This is the best time to raise additional funds for your organization, as your gala ticket price may not have been enough to reach your goal. Consider implementing donation kiosks, text-to-give, and mobile donation forms.
- Will it be held in-person, or virtually? Due to the constraints of social distancing due to COVID-19, determine if you’ll be hosting your charity gala online or in person.
With these considerations in place, you’ll be able to host a successful charity gala. Be sure to promote your event well in advance, and build up excitement for the big day with your content!
7. Fundraising Walk-a-Thon
The classic charity walk-a-thon is an active and memorable event for supporters of all ages. Here’s how it works: with peer-to-peer fundraising strategies, registrants can encourage friends, relatives, and colleagues to sponsor them as they walk or jog a certain number of laps around your predetermined course.
It’s commonly believed that hosting a walk-a-thon can require a lot of planning and money upfront. However, if you have the right steps and tools, your event can be surprisingly simple and cheap to host. Plus, you don’t have to ask for donations as an organization—your walkers will handle that part!
Whether your event is virtual or socially distanced due to COVID-19 restrictions, you’ll be able to run a successful and engaging event for your supporters either leading up to or on Giving Tuesday.
8. Branded Merchandise Sales
Selling branded merchandise is a great way to help your organization boost funds on Giving Tuesday. In fact, studies show that donors are more likely to donate if it means receiving an item in return. Plus, having a t-shirt or mug with your nonprofit’s logo means that your supporters are actively promoting your mission when using that item.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose a fundraising platform. There are plenty of options available, from crowdfunding websites that offer merchandise as giving incentives to fundraisers with dedicated product fundraising platforms that allow you to sell merchandise directly to your donors. The important thing is to look for a vendor that will print and distribute your products for you. That way, you can focus on promoting your campaign and building relationships with new and existing supporters.
- Design your merchandise. Your merchandise design is completely up to you, but you should brand the items with your nonprofit’s logo and colors to best represent your cause. In other words, when people see your merchandise, they should have a decent idea about your nonprofit’s mission.
- Set your prices and goals. This is where your organization will determine a price for your merchandise. Keep in mind that most sites take a percentage of the funds raised to complete printing and distribution, so it’s important to take those fees into account when creating your price. When it comes to goals, it’s a good idea to aim high without being unrealistic.
- Start promoting to your community. At this stage, you’ll share your online sales page or product store with donors via email and social media. Encourage your supporters to make a purchase, and be sure to reiterate that proceeds go to support your mission.
The items you sell can be adjusted to your particular supporter audience. However, t-shirts are a favorite across organizations. Or, you may even choose to sell branded face masks to leverage the current pandemic in your fundraising tactics this Giving Tuesday.
9. 50/50 Raffle
In this simple raffle fundraiser, you’re able to raise a chunk of money for your mission through a hands-on game. Here’s how you can host a successful 50/50 raffle for your organization:
- Individuals will purchase tickets for the chance to win an undefined sum of money.
- When a ticket is sold, that money goes towards the jackpot.
- At the conclusion of the raffle, the money is totaled and a ticket is chosen at random.
- The winner with the matching ticket receives half the sum of money, while your organization gets the remaining half.
This is a great fundraiser to host in tandem with another charity event, such as a festival, gala, charity concert, and any other Giving Tuesday fundraising ideas you choose!
10. Virtual Pledge Campaign
In a virtual pledge campaign fundraising, pledges are different from typical donations. The pledges earned by your donors represent the amount a supporter will contribute in the future. Your team can host this over the 24 hours of Giving Tuesday, or for days leading up to the big event.
This idea is popular because pledges are typically used for urgent fundraising needs such as disaster relief and advocacy work. Furthermore, they are used to mitigate any unforeseen expenses your nonprofit may experience.
To launch a successful pledge campaign, be sure to:
- Set a fundraising goal
- Announce your mission and why donors should contribute pledges
- Track progress with gamification features like fundraising thermometers that encourage contributions.
Then, all you need to do is watch the pledges roll in as your supporters advocate for your organization and cause.
11. Charity Auction
Charity auctions are powerful fundraisers for all types of nonprofit organizations. Over the past year, due to social distancing guidelines and the overall COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of fundraising auctions and other events have been moved to the online space.
That being said, an online auction is a great way to engage with your supporters and raise money for your cause on Giving Tuesday in an exciting way.
Let’s walk through the main steps involved in planning and pulling off a successful virtual auction:
- Begin the item procurement process. The items you plan to auction off are essentially the stars of the show. That means the collection of items is one of the most important parts of the planning process. Put together a procurement team of volunteers and staff members who will bring in auction items for your event by asking for donations from family, friends, and local businesses.
- Decide on the type of auction. When it comes to hosting an online auction, you have key stylistic decisions to make. For one, you’ll have to choose whether to hold a live or a silent auction. While a live virtual auction will include a significant live-streaming element, a silent auction depends more on having the right online and mobile bidding tools.
- Invite supporters to your upcoming event. Now that you have a basic plan in place, it’s time to start spreading the word about your auction far and wide. Be sure to promote the event through social media and other mass digital marketing tactics while also sending personalized invitations to previous donors and supporters. Encourage those who plan on attending to register and/or purchase a ticket online beforehand.
- Release your online catalog and open it for bidding. While the main event should take place on Giving Tuesday itself, you may want to consider opening your catalog early for attendees to get a sneak peek. This is a great way to boost the excitement surrounding your auction, which leads to increased revenue as a result.
- Collect payments and send out items. After your event, it’s time to announce each winner, notify individuals, and collect payments equal to the highest bids. The auction software you used to run the event will most likely have basic functionality to streamline each of these processes. Finally, you’ll have to send items to the winners. Be sure to effectively communicate your shipping plans to guests so they’ll have an idea of what to expect and how soon they might receive their winnings.
Much like merchandise sales, auctions are effective fundraisers because donors get to walk away with something for themselves while supporting a good cause. In all the excitement surrounding Giving Tuesday and the holiday season, an auction can fit right in!
12. E-Card Campaign
E-cards are digital cards branded to your organization that are typically sent around the holidays, but are perfect for raising Giving Tuesday awareness. Your organization can use e-cards as an effective campaign to reach new supporters. Supporters can purchase a card to email to their friends and family, spreading information about your mission and encouraging others to contribute with a card purchase!
Make sure that the e-card service used will allow donors to personalize their messages to recipients—no one wants to receive a generic “Dear friend” card for the holidays. Once you have your e-card platform established, embed a link to an e-card form on your website and promote the link widely on your social media and email marketing channels.
13. Social Media Campaign
Social media is the driving force behind Giving Tuesday. Especially in 2021, your fundraising will occur primarily online, and you’ll need to post compelling content to get donations. You’re aiming to have others share your posts with their social media networks. This way, your cause quickly gains traction with those who want to support causes their loved ones care about.
Here are some things you can do to supplement your social media posting strategy:
- Ensure each piece of content is native to the platform you’re posting on. For example, a long-form Facebook post cannot be replicated as an Instagram caption.
- Create a Facebook fundraiser to attract donors who follow your page.
- Make a hashtag for your specific organization on Giving Tuesday. Use on all posts regarding your campaign. For example, #NonprofitGivingTuesday21
- Change your accounts’ profile picture to one that includes the #GivingTuesday logo.
- Shout out donors and volunteers to raise morale, and expound upon your donor relationships before Giving Tuesday.
- Encourage shares of your Giving Tuesday content by offering small giveaway incentives.
- Consider hosting a live-streamed session to answer any questions about your campaign.
No matter what content you post, your profile and captions should include a link to your campaign or donation page. Start planning your social media plan calendar early to start building the excitement up to the big day.
14. Donation Wish List
When requesting donations for a cause, it’s important to consider that some supporters are unable or unwilling to provide financial support but may consider non-monetary donations instead. That’s where donation wish lists can really come in handy, both for Giving Tuesday fundraisers and otherwise! Here are two easy ways to get started with collecting in-kind donations:
- Accept physical donations: If your organization has a large network of local support, you might want to consider accepting donations of goods in-person. For example, you could encourage supporters to drop off food, clothing, or supplies at your nonprofit office or another meeting place. You could even partner with a local business or restaurant to collect physical donations on your behalf in a dedicated drop-off area.
- Provide an online wishlist: For supporters who want to get involved but might be outside your geographic location or otherwise unable to bring physical items to donate, it’s a great idea to start an online wishlist as well. Popular online retail sites like Amazon allow individuals and organizations to create and populate an online registry to share with supporters. Then, individuals can browse your list and purchase items to be sent directly to your organization.
Donation wish lists are popular with donors because it’s quite clear how their contribution will be used. By reducing the mystery surrounding nonprofit donation usage, cautious donors can help out in a way that best suits them. Plus, considering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some supporters may not have the money to spare. However, they might be willing to clean out their closet, for instance, and donate any unused clothing items.
15. Give-it-Up Challenge
This fundraiser is perfect for the days or weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday. This effective campaign challenges your supporters to give up something they enjoy (but don’t require) for an amount of time while they raise money for your cause. The items supporters typically give up include:
- Meat, or animal products
Then, they give the money that they would have spent on these items over a specified time period to your fundraising campaign instead.
Your challenge will be even more successful when promoted on social media. This way, your supporters can see what others are giving up and feel inspired to give something up themselves! Make sure to set a time period for your campaign so your supporters know how long to fundraise, but especially when they can resume their favorite activities.
16. Recurring Gifts Drive
Recurring donations provide your organization with a stable, predictable source of revenue.
This can help you avoid the need for emergency fundraisers to meet your monthly, quarterly, or annual targets. When you run a recurring gifts drive on Giving Tuesday, you’ll simply provide the option to make their donation one that repeats on a regular basis throughout the year.
Often, the reason donors don’t opt to make recurring donations is that they aren’t aware of the opportunity. A recurring donation drive focuses on spreading awareness about the opportunity to make recurring donations.
To accomplish this, prioritize recurring gifts in your Giving Tuesday marketing materials and offer tiered contribution amounts on your donation form, so your supporters can easily select the amounts they wish to continually give.
17. Email Campaign
More than likely, you already have a substantial contact list with donors’, volunteers’, and other supporters’ email addresses. That can be one of your most powerful fundraising tools and one that we definitely suggest making the most of for your Giving Tuesday campaign.
To get started, let’s walk through the main steps involved in hosting an email fundraising campaign:
- Craft intriguing email subject lines. This is arguably the most important element of any email. It’s the first impression you make on the recipient and precisely the message that decides whether donors click on your message or send it to the trash. Be sure to include a sense of urgency or curiosity to really encourage supporters to click through and read the rest of your message.
- Write the body of your email text. Next is the body text. Here, you’ll want to provide a brief description of your organization and your mission. Share what you’re doing for Giving Tuesday and how the recipient can get involved.
- Use software to customize messages. This can be as simple as addressing each recipient by name or as detailed as summarizing a donor’s previous giving history with your organization. Either way, personalizing your emails to each individual leads to higher click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CR).
- End with a clear call to action. Once the recipient has read through your email, it’s important that they quickly and clearly understand what the intended next step is. For a Giving Tuesday campaign, it’s probably to donate. Therefore, you must include an eye-catching call-to-action that links to your online donation page.
Email is a great way to connect with donors during any fundraiser. Because of the significant popularity of Giving Tuesday, it might take a little extra to make your messages stand out in your supporters’ inboxes. After all, other organizations are likely vying for the same support that you are!
Crowdfunding is a particular type of mobile fundraiser that relies on a wide variety of donors making small- to midsize gifts on a specific platform to your Giving Tuesday campaign. No matter the size of the donation, the combination of all of your supporters contributing adds up very quickly. This is a great low-pressure way for people to contribute what they can on their own terms, and anonymously if they choose.
Your crowdfunding campaign can be shared effectively through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Encourage your supporters to share a single, centralized donation page you’ve created for Giving Tuesday to their own networks to promote involvement.
19. Viral Video Campaign
Many nonprofit organizations remember the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that overtook social media for some time and raised a ton of money for a good cause. Why not host your own challenge for your Giving Tuesday initiatives?
To get started, a viral video contest involves some sort of outrageous or humorous stunt performed on camera— but this time it’s the participant who is creating the content. After taking part in the challenge, the participant posts their video to social media, makes a donation to your nonprofit, and tags the next person in line to form a chain to raise awareness surrounding your cause.
20. Letter-Writing Campaign
Taking things a step further from email is a direct mail campaign. When you consider the costs of writing and sending each letter, it’s also a bit more expensive than an email campaign. However, the payoff is usually worth it due to the high ROI. Here are some tips for ensuring the most effective letter-writing campaign possible:
- Write each letter by hand. Hand-printed notes show a higher level of interest and care than typed and printed pages of the same letter over and over again. It’s a more personal touch that communicates that someone at your nonprofit took the time to write and send each donor a letter.
- Sign every letter you send. While your notes can be written by anyone on your team (including volunteers!), you might want to consider getting them signed by a key board member or executive director. Regardless of who signs your notes, the most important part is that it’s signed by a real person—rather than by your organization as a whole.
- Put thought into the look and design. What you don’t want is a letter scribbled down on a sheet of notebook paper. Instead, make sure it looks like you put some time and effort into it. Choose nice stationery, write neatly, and incorporate your organization’s color scheme.
Don’t forget to thank your donors in every letter you send. This may be an acknowledgment of a previous donation, a future gift, or even just the consideration and time taken to read your letter.
If you can’t narrow it down to just one fundraising idea—no problem! A multi-channel approach can be a powerful way to boost engagement, reach a wider audience, and bring in more total fundraising dollars. For example, you may choose to run a text-to-give, or email campaign alongside a matching gifts drive. Or, start an email campaign to boost excitement and invite donors to participate in your online auction.
Giving Tuesday Campaign Examples
Sometimes the best way to prepare for a fundraiser is to take a look at the examples that have seen success for organizations in previous years. Let’s take a look at three effective Giving Tuesday campaigns—and why they were so powerful.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is known for its powerful fundraising skills and Giving Tuesday participation. Raising money for critical Parkinson’s research, the team behind this foundation decided to boost donations by offering a dollar-for-dollar donation match up to $2 million for their 2020 Giving Tuesday campaign, following their same initiative in 2019.
What you can learn from this campaign:
Donation matches can provide compelling motivation for your supporters to get involved. Without reaching back into their own pocket, they know their donation is essentially making twice as much impact on the cause.
While your organization may be unable to provide the match yourself, it’s a great opportunity to encourage donors to seek matching gifts from their own employers through eligible corporate giving programs.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a powerful organization raising money for cancer research and support for patients and their families. For their 2019 and 2020 Giving Tuesday approach, they encouraged individual supporters to take on a larger role in the campaign by becoming fundraisers themselves. Many took to social media to share their stories and what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society means to them.
Here is an example of one person’s fundraising page that raised nearly $1,500 for LLS from their own family, friends, and other supporters.
What you can learn from this campaign:
A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign like this one is a great way to increase your reach and connect with new supporters. When an existing donor takes the time and effort to promote your organization, especially on a big day like Giving Tuesday, their own social networks are significantly more likely to respond and donate than if you had asked them yourself.
The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization working to prevent suicide among LGBTQ+ youth in America. For their 2020 Giving Tuesday campaign, the team behind the Trevor Project took to Facebook to host an effective fundraiser and bring in thousands of dollars for their cause.
What you can learn from this campaign:
Social media’s power is not something to be forsaken when planning any fundraiser, but especially one for a significant international day of giving like Giving Tuesday. Thanks to much-used social media platforms, users can donate quickly and easily, as well as share the campaign with their own friends and followers. As you can see in the above example, the fundraiser ended up bringing in more than 110% of its original fundraising goal.
Learning from the wins (and losses) of organizations before you can be a great way to ensure your fundraiser goes off without a hitch. For example, you can pick and choose elements from each you’d like to emulate in your own campaign while excluding those that might not fit your own.
Now that you’ve read through our tried-and-true Giving Tuesday ideas and best practices, you’re ready to start planning your own fundraising strategy. Find a variety of creative ideas that best suit your mission and audience, and see how fast you’ll be able to reach—or exceed—your fundraising goal.
If you’re looking for more fundraising ideas and suggestions, check out these additional resources:
- Virtual Fundraising: The Comprehensive Guide for 2021 & Beyond. In light of the coronavirus, nonprofits everywhere have rapidly shifted to entirely virtual fundraising strategies. Read through our guide to find out how to maximize virtual practices and bring in more revenue for your organization.
- Free Fundraising Software for Nonprofits: 15+ Top Providers. Are you looking for powerful fundraising software that won’t break the bank? Check out our list of favorite free and low-cost fundraising software providers designed specifically for nonprofits like you. Find out the best tools to use—and how to use them with this guide.
- Text-to-Give | Complete Guide for Nonprofits and Fundraisers. Mobile giving is a popular strategy for organizations employing virtual fundraising tactics. In as few as two clicks, supporters can donate to your nonprofit, making it an efficient resource for both you and your donors. Learn more with our complete guide.