3 Rules for Working Smarter, Not Harder, on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is getting competitive. On Tuesday, Dec. 1 (Giving Tuesday’s 2020 date), your supporters will likely be inundated with dozens of donation requests from scores of organizations. Each year, more and more nonprofits jostle for limited attention and wallet share on this single day of fundraising.

The old-school Giving Tuesday strategy involves spending months gathering campaign materials (emails, videos, photos, social media posts, etc.), then releasing them all in a single-day dump of content and appeals. The problem is, countless other organizations are doing the exact same thing. If you follow this outdated methodology, there’s a good chance your hard work will get drowned out.

The new rules of Giving Tuesday are about working smarter, not harder. And the good news is that you’ve got a secret weapon: your Snowball fundraising platform. Check out our easy, last-minute tips to harness your online fundraising tools and make your Giving Tuesday campaign more effective—even when you’re short on time.

1. Giving Tuesday Is the Starting Line, Not the Finish Line

The first step is a simple mindset shift. If you haven’t already done a ton of outreach and legwork, it doesn’t make sense to think of Giving Tuesday as a fundraising final destination, complete with a make-or-break single-day financial goal. Giving Tuesday is becoming more of a launchpad into the Giving Season—your greatest window of fundraising opportunity in the year.

People want to give during and after the holidays, including the 10 percent of giving that happens in the final three days of the year. Fundraising is a long game that’s all about creating opportunities to ask for support—that’s why nearly 60% of nonprofits make up to three touchpoints in their year-end campaigns. So consider Giving Tuesday your first touchpoint in a campaign that will extend into the end of the year.

Unlike fundraising through Facebook or other social media outlets, Snowball gives you instant and easy access to key retention information about your donors, including their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Creating a quick Snowball campaign page for Giving Tuesday can help you widen your list of potential donors, expand your network, and cultivate relationships with the supporters who do give. Thus, donor retention should be your real Giving Tuesday goal.

Snowball Tip: Direct Donors’ Attention to Donation Frequency, Leaving Credit Cards on File ✔

Every Snowball donation form includes two simple tools that are designed to turn one-time supporters into repeat donors. First, there’s a “Donation Frequency” dropdown, which allows supporters to choose weekly or monthly donation commitments. Second is a checkbox on the credit card form to “Securely save this information for future transactions,” which comes pre-selected. In your Giving Tuesday communications, encourage your supporters to deepen their commitment by taking these easy steps when they make a gift. You’ll get long-term supporters by just asking!
Donors can select the size and frequency of their Giving Tuesday gift.

2. Tell Your Story with Video

Your GivingTuesday campaign should tell a story about who your organization is and what you’re trying to accomplish. To make the most impact possible, you also need to create empathy, have a clear call-to-action, and inspire your supporters to act. Connecting with your audience is key.

Luckily, one of the most effective ways to check all of those boxes at once is also one of the easiest: a testimonial video. Video is a terrific way to reinforce the campaign theme or overall mission on your donation page, social media, or other communication channels. In particular, constituent testimonials put a face to your cause. They help donors understand how their support directly impacts the lives of real people. A filmed testimonial can be an incredibly moving and powerful storytelling tool.

And it’s easy to fold video into any existing campaign, even at the last minute. You don’t need a fancy camera, professional lighting, or a seasoned director. All that’s required is an existing constituent who’s willing to talk about their personal experience and a smartphone camera. Once you’ve filmed your video, you can upload it to any number of free video hosting service websites (such as YouTube and Vimeo) and share it from there.

Snowball Tip: Embed a Video ✔

If you have a video promoting your organization or Giving Season campaign, you can embed it directly into your Snowball Campaign Page. Start by clicking the “Edit Page” button on your Campaign Page dashboard. Then, copy the embeddable HTML code for your video provided by your video hosting service, and paste it right into the Description field of your Snowball Campaign Page. If your video hosting service gives you additional embed options for “responsive” or “fixed-size” video sizing, choose “responsive.” That way, your video player will always fit nicely wherever you put it (including on mobile devices!).
Here's a look at the back-end of your Giving Tuesday campaign and how to add videos to your appeals.

3. Focus on the Followup

Following up immediately with your supporters after every donation is critical for retention. Being attentive to your donors and showering them with recognition is the secret to cultivating long-term supporters. So as soon as you receive a donation notification, be sure to thank your supporters for their gift—within 24 hours, if possible. Don’t have time to mail out individual thank-you notes or make phone calls? No problem. Send them a quick thank-you video from your executive director, a board chair, or an impacted client.

Snowball Tip: Customize Receipt Messaging and Add Hyperlinks ✔

You can start thanking supporters as soon as they donate by including custom messaging right in their Snowball receipt. Click the “Edit Page” button on your Campaign Page dashboard, then scroll to the Organization Contacts & Messaging area at the bottom. Enter any messages that specifically relate to your supporters and this campaign in the open text field on the right, under Email Receipt Messaging. You can also paste hyperlinks—perhaps that thank-you video link, or a URL for your upcoming virtual event—into this field, which will appear as clickable links in their receipt.
Be sure to thank your supporters for their Giving Tuesday gifts.

In addition to thanking supporters, it’s also critical that you get them to share your Giving Tuesday campaign with their networks—whether it’s via social media, email, or text messaging (Snowball’s sharing tool makes it easy to do all three). Be sure to include a clear message in your donation confirmation page asking supporters to share your campaign on your behalf.

A great and low-effort way to encourage a long tail of support on social media is to turn your campaign theme or title into a #hashtag. Tag your Giving Tuesday social media posts with your unique #hashtag while encouraging your supporters to use it in their feeds. Bonus: A well-crafted #hashtag can make your campaign more memorable and easy to understand at a glance.


With these no-sweat tips, you can feel confident going into Giving Tuesday—whether you’ve been planning for months or you’re just getting started. By making the most of your Snowball Fundraising platform and industry best practices, you’re sure to bring in significant revenue for your organization and jump into the year-end giving season with ease. Best of luck!

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