For many nonprofits, Giving Tuesday is a two-fold opportunity. The first opportunity is to engage current donors — the inner circle of supporters who are most likely to respond — and reiterate your vision, as well as the difference they can make by partnering with your organization. The second is to reach out to a broader audience, increase their awareness of your organization, and give them a chance to support your work. While actual dollars raised can vary, sharing your vision and engaging with current and potential donors can have a positive impact on your long-term fundraising goals and marketing efforts.

To give you fresh ideas and inspiration for next year’s Giving Tuesday, the following SPN members graciously shared their 2018 approaches and the lessons they learned through these campaigns.

Approach: Request a specific gift amount linked to an institutional priority.

Georgia Center for Opportunity launched a five-part “$75 to the 75 Campaign” email campaign highlighting how 75% of people who don’t finish high school, get a steady job, or marry and have a family fall into poverty.  The emails came from different staff members and were short, conversational, and informative with a clear ask: the Center invited donors to give $75, a memorable and meaningful number, to help break this cycle and give Americans the opportunities they need to escape or avoid generational poverty.

Results: The amount donated did not surpass the previous year, but they did have an increase in the number of donors and most gave the requested $75. Next year they plan to feature stories of the people they’re helping and ask a donor to match donations.

Approach: Personalize your Giving Tuesday reminders with video. 

The week before Giving Tuesday Maine Heritage Policy Center sent their supporters a video featuring their Development Associate, the followed up with a reminder video the day before. The videos highlighted the Center’s unique value-add in Maine and requested a small but specific donation.

Results: The personal, timely touch worked! The Center saw a 40% increase in donations and a 45% increase in the total amount donated. Next year they plan to feature more staff members and explain their mission.

Approach: Stand out from the crowd by asking for a small (humorous) donation.

Knowing their audience would be getting a lot of asks on Giving Tuesday, Truth in Accounting asked their supporters for a small donation: the equivalent of buying them a cup of coffee or a cocktail.

Results: Truth in Accounting saw a big increase in donations — 16 times that of last year — and received a lot of compliments from their audience on the campaign.

Approach: Participate in Facebook’s matching grant with PayPal.

By taking donations via Facebook, Truth in Accounting was eligible for Facebook’s Giving Tuesday donation matching.

Results: One of their major donors gave them a large sum through Facebook, which Facebook matched (at least partially).

Preparing for next year

The best way to make the most of Giving Tuesday is to schedule it on your organization’s calendar and build it into your fundraising and content plans. In addition to noting the actual day, schedule time in the spring or summer to set your goals and develop your game plan. Pro-Tip: While all staff can have a role in supporting a Giving Tuesday campaign, a successful Giving Tuesday campaign is best driven by the development and communications staff.

If one of the previous approaches caught your eye or if you have your own innovative ideas, these questions will jumpstart your planning and help you land on the right approach for your organization:

  1. Audience: Who do you want to engage?
  2. Benefit: What’s in it for them? How will your campaign make them the hero of your fundraising story?
  3. Organizational Goals: What’s your objective? Consider both fundraising goals and engagement goals, such as email open rates and sign-ups.
  4. Channels: How will you promote the campaign? Will you use email, Facebook, or a combination of channels?
  5. Evaluation: What metrics will you track to determine whether the campaign was successful?

Save the date: The next Giving Tuesday is December 3, 2019.