Three Steps for Launching Successful Giving Tuesday Campaigns

Giving Tuesday originated in 2011 when a Huffington Post article urged consumers to consider their philanthropic motivations after their Cyber Monday shopping. It became official the following year as several charities and causes joined the movement. Since then, it has continued to evolve into a global, holistic day of giving — with volunteering, acts of kindness, and awareness efforts creating meaningful stewardship and radical generosity.

Radical generosity is a level of philanthropy that encompasses both:

  1. Heartfelt and connected giving connected to the mission, cause and benefactors.
  2. An intent that is transformational in its potential to create meaningful, positive change. It taps into the fundamental belief that everyone has something to give and can contribute to the greater good.

Giving Tuesday also officially launches the end-of-year giving. It is a great opportunity to connect with current and potential constituents to keep your cause top-of-mind during the season of philanthropy.

According to the Giving Tuesday Data Commons, an estimated “35 million adults participated in many ways on Giving Tuesday 2021 in the U.S., a 6% increase over 2020. Giving in the U.S. alone totaled $2.7 billion, representing a 9% increase compared to Giving Tuesday 2020, and a 37% increase since 2019.”

So now is the optimal time to firm up your Giving Tuesday and year-end giving strategies and ensure your organization is top-of-mind during this critical time. Start by making Giving Tuesday an important part of your overall strategy for this important time of year.

1. Develop Your Strategy

Determine your goals to help guide your strategy development. Is your organization focused on file growth and prioritizing as many donors as possible, or is the focus on maximizing the average gift from each new donor? Your goals will guide your strategy and help you to measure success and ROI objectively.

2. Take an Audience-First Approach

For the general messaging, consider reinforcing your mission, sharing impact stories that evoke emotion, and focusing on gratitude and generosity. Leverage your existing segments to define who you are trying to reach and develop tailored messaging that speaks to their relationship with your organization.

For example, for your non-monetary constituents, the tailored messaging may be around why every dollar and donor matters, including an ask string with lower dollar amounts to support this message. The message could include lending your voice to sign a petition or committing to volunteer at a specific upcoming event. Emphasize your personal relationship with these individuals, meeting them where they are and engaging them in ways that are appropriate and meaningful, based on the data you have about that audience and that individual.

Next, identify what channels make sense for each audience and each message you have defined. This will be influenced by your goals and dependent on what data you have, such as email, SMS/MMS, social media audiences, etc. Develop an integrated, omnichannel approach by building the outreach strategy for one audience at a time — tailoring the message, identifying the channel and determining the cadence. Look at pre-Giving Tuesday opportunities, day-of events and post-Giving Tuesday activities to decide how to parlay this into the rest of your year-end strategy.

Consider recruiting influencers (partners, donors, vocal supporters, loyal volunteers). Ask them in advance if they can contribute on Giving Tuesday. Then share their intent to participate on their social media networks and share again after their participation to inspire others.

3. Track, Report and Iterate

Track progress against your goals and tweak your campaigns to improve performance. If paid media isn’t performing, consider shifting that budget to renewal or co-targeting through direct mail outreach. Establish weekly reporting that tracks KPIs. Also consider benchmarking your results against similar organizations. A good resource is Giving Tuesday’s Giving Lab, which aggregates reports from different data sources and allows filtering by key themes.

  • Make it easy for people to donate to your organization. Do this by offering donor-centric giving platforms. If you’re not set up for text-to-give, spend the next few months building and testing it, so when the time comes, your team is ready.
  • Be authentic and evoke emotion. Use real people to share what your mission is, why it matters and how your organization is uniquely positioned to help. Let donors and benefactors tell their stories about why they give to or how they’ve benefitted from your organization.
  • Create a sense of urgency. Drive home the reason for doing this now versus putting it off. Have a challenge; put a timeframe on it and be specific about what happens if you reach it (i.e., matching donation, helping people before the holidays, etc.).

Finally, as you develop plans for 2023, consider creating excitement around a date specific to your organization. Think Amazon’s Prime Day, 7-Eleven’s July 11, or a baker’s March 14 “Pie Day.” You could use a founder’s birthday or an important milestone (e.g., a one-millionth gift, or a 10th anniversary). Leverage existing opportunities, such as awareness months (e.g. October equals breast cancer awareness). Even identify a significant number, such as an average 300 days of treatment to promote a $300 donation.

By adding organization-specific opportunities, you can expand your key times of the year to complement Giving Tuesday and year-end giving.