Nonprofits that provide essential services are needed now more than ever, and many nonprofit organizations develop Giving Tuesday campaigns to reach their fundraising goals so they can work toward their missions. Participating in a Giving Tuesday campaign will not only give your organization an opportunity to increase revenue, but it will also allow people to become more aware of the important work you are already doing. Here are some Giving Tuesday ideas and a five-step campaign plan so your organization can run a successful campaign.
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Ideas for Your Giving Tuesday Campaign
Every fundraising campaign will be different because every organization is different. Regardless of what type of campaign you choose to do, don’t lose sight of your cause. Make sure to keep your cause front and center of everything you do so people can understand what your mission is and get behind it. Here are some Giving Tuesday campaign ideas for you to consider.
1. Create an Uplifting Challenge
People love a fun or silly challenge. What challenge can you create that will get people involved and increase awareness of your cause?
Giving Tuesday Campaign Challenge Ideas
- Ask people to donate enough children’s books to fill half a football field when they are laid flat side by side
- Start a read-a-thon leading up to Giving Tuesday to track how many books or pages kids can read in 30 days
- Ask people to donate enough cat or dog food to weigh the amount of 3 tigers, 10 wolves, or a hippopotamus
- Offer a prize for whoever shares their personal registration code and gets the most people to attend your event
- Volunteer the Executive Director to jump in an ice-cold pool or lake if you reach your fundraising goal for the campaign
- Have a staff member volunteer to get a pie smashed in their face for every fundraising milestone you reach
This is an area of opportunity where you get to be super creative to get people to rally around your cause and have fun while participating in it.
Tip: When marking milestones or getting people excited about how close you are to your fundraising goal, it helps to share your progress in real time. That could mean a tracker on your website, a retro fundraising thermometer on your wall, or a daily social media post about where you are in the campaign.
2. Host a Community Event
Events are part of the nonprofit fundraising toolbox for a reason. People enjoy gathering for a fun time together, and they are a time-tested solution for raising funds. Whether you choose to hold an event on Giving Tuesday or on another day in honor of Giving Tuesday, there will always be an abundance of event options, so you get to host one that fits your organization’s budget, audience, and cause.
- Throw a kids’ carnival to bring the community together
- Start a fun run with a theme that aligns with your cause
- Invite people for coffee, cookies, and a tour of your facility
- Host an adult prom dance
- Hold a live auction, hold a silent auction, or do a combination of both
- Have a BBQ with outdoor games like bocce ball or cornhole
- Present a nice pay-per-plate dinner
- Host a paint night
- Prepare a breakfast burrito drive-through
- Have a hug-a-puppy booth as part of a pet adoption push
- Throw a bingo or bunko brunch
- Host a chili cookoff
- Set up an ice cream bar with all the toppings
- Have a bowling or skate night
- Throw a car wash
- Host a mini-golf tournament
3. Announce a Gift-Matching Sprint
If you have a major donor or corporate sponsor who’s willing to participate in a gift-matching program, introduce a gift-matching sprint for your Giving Tuesday campaign or a portion of it.
Your campaign might go the entire month of November, so you could set one week of that apart as a gift-matching sprint toward your goal. If you are running your campaign for Tuesday only, you could have gift-matching be a part of the entire day if your donor is willing to offer that. Or you could run the gift-matching sprint for the final 7-hour countdown of the day.
Regardless of the option you and your donor choose, be sure to communicate the gift-matching sprint across all of your channels to make sure your supporters see the message and understand how much further their gift will go, regardless of its size.
Also, don’t forget to thank the gift-matching donor for their generosity. Even if they want to remain anonymous, you can make sure your message of being grateful for their support is shared widely.
4. Crowdfund for Your Cause
Crowdfunding is proof that a little can go a long way. When many people give small gifts, those gifts add up, and when some of those gifts are larger, that certainly helps too! Create a campaign page (see below for tips) and share it on your website, in your newsletters, on your social media accounts, and in your direct mail.
Tip: Pair your crowdfunding campaign with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign by asking your supporters to share your mission and campaign page with their family, friends, classmates, and coworkers.
Free Giving Tuesday Campaign Checklist
We created a checklist to help you plan your Giving Tuesday campaign. It outlines ideas for Giving Tuesday, steps to take before you launch, and what to do during and after the campaign.
Click on the checklist image below to open the PDF version and print it out.
5 Steps for Launching Your Giving Tuesday Campaign
Step 1: Make a Plan
In the weeks or even months leading up to Giving Tuesday, meet with your board of directors and any key staff members or volunteers to create your Giving Tuesday fundraising plan. Brainstorm who you can collaborate with and how they can help spread the word about your campaign. Divide the responsibilities and decide who will be responsible for what so there are no surprises.
Step 2: Create a Campaign Page for Donors
Create a campaign page for your website, and make sure you have a clear Donate button for people to donate online. Don’t make people search for it. Design the donation page around Giving Tuesday, with graphics that are specific to the event. Make sure your donation form is clean, clear, and simple, and consider using suggested donation amounts since many donors will click on one of your default suggestions rather than enter an amount of their own.
If you have a Text to Give option, display it on the page so people know that is another way they can give to your cause.
Tip: Include a recurring donation option on your donation form or widget. Donors may not think to give monthly until the idea is presented right in front of them. Give them the opportunity so they know they can get involved more regularly if they are compelled to do so.
Step 3: Spread the Word
Email your people to let them know about the campaign and/or event, and post regularly on your social media channels throughout the next month or so. Share the various ways people can participate in your campaign, including ways that may not involve donating money.
Tip: The Giving Tuesday website has lots of free resources for you to use during your campaign, including GIFs, Instagram stickers, stock photos and videos, logos, banner templates, photo booth props, and more. They encourage you to download and use whatever you’d like! Not only that, they encourage you to make it your own and “create something that’s authentic to your community.” Brand the logo with your organization’s colors or modify the logo to align with your mission.
Share Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer opportunities are great options for people to get involved with your organization if they aren’t able to give financially or if they happen to have some extra time on their hands and want to make a tangible difference.
If there are ways people can volunteer, let them know. Volunteers may be able to help by:
- Making phone calls
- Sharing social media posts for wider exposure
- Helping plan an event
- Selling tickets for an event
- Running a booth at an event
- Handing out flyers
- Writing thank you notes
There may also be areas where volunteers can specifically help based on what your organization does. If your work involves pet adoptions, they can help clean kennels. If you work to feed people who are unhoused, volunteers can help prepare food or mingle with the people coming for food to get to know their names, understand their situations, and show them that they are seen and cared for.
Tell Compelling Stories
Tell stories about how your nonprofit is giving back and who you are able to help. You don’t need to make it all about you, but don’t be afraid to share what you are doing because that’s why people will choose to give to your cause.
Heartfelt stories can go a long way. Don’t forget to tell stories of how people are volunteering and stepping up to help your nonprofit during this campaign in addition to those who are being impacted through your mission. These stories will help people feel connected to your organization, and those people might be inclined to give or get involved.
Stories can be told in so many ways. Here are a few perspectives to consider:
- Someone who has been directly impacted by your mission and what has changed in their life because of it
- A volunteer’s experience working with your nonprofit and how volunteering has affected them or changed how they see the world
- A staff member who can speak of having a meaningful job they care about and enjoy doing
- A local politician, official, or community member who has seen the difference your organization is making in the city and can speak about the impact it has had
- Someone in a partnership organization who can talk about how you work together to create change in the community
Showcase these stories in various ways and on different platforms. Some may be written, some may be videos, some may be told through photojournalism, and some may be verbally told during a physical or virtual event. Then share those stories in your newsletters, emails, on social media, and perhaps even on local news outlets.
Tip: Don’t forget to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday on your social media posts to share how you are participating in the movement. It can also help others find your organization when they search for posts using the hashtag.
Step 4: Thank Your Supporters
After Giving Tuesday, the day itself might be over but the campaign won’t be. Don’t leave your supporters hanging. Wrap up the campaign well and show your supporters how much they mean to you.
Thank everyone who participated in the event, whether they donated a lot or a little, or volunteered during or before. Personalizing your messages is essential. Use people’s names, handwrite cards if you have the time, leave voicemails, or text them directly if they have opted in to receiving texts from your organization.
When they feel like their gift mattered enough for you to take the time to thank them, people will be much more likely to donate again in the future. They also might become recurring donors, which would be a huge sign of success for your Giving Tuesday campaign.
Share the Impact
Share the results of your campaign with your supporters and explain what impact you have made and will be able to make because of their support. Use specific and engaging messaging, such as:
Because of your generous support of $4,342 this Giving Tuesday, we are able to provide [insert number here] families with a hot meal every day for the entire month of December. That means each of these family members will not go hungry this year.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Campaign
Gather your original brainstorming team together to evaluate how your campaign went. What were the highlights? Were there any friction points? What went well? What are opportunities for improvement? Did you have everything you needed to accomplish your goal? What can you directly replicate for next year to simplify your planning process? Write down the results so you can plan next year’s Giving Tuesday campaign using the data you compiled from this year.
Then get a head start for next year’s Giving Tuesday campaign by marking your calendar with a campaign start date at least a month ahead of Giving Tuesday. If you plan to hold an event, back that start date out even more so you have time to prepare and execute the event.
Tip: Some organizations start to plan months in advance to maximize the impact of their Giving Tuesday campaigns. If you want to run a longer campaign during the entire month of November, for example, you will need to have everything in place before that, so make sure you build in enough time before your start date.
Additional Ideas for Giving Tuesday Campaigns
What are some additional ways your nonprofit has participated in Giving Tuesday? Let us know in the comments.
Free Webinar: Giving Tuesday Checklist
Planning ahead can help your organization maximize its impact on Giving Tuesday. Dan Kimball, fundraising expert, shares what your organization needs to get started, along with tips and tools to make your campaign more successful. In this webinar, we:
- Review the checklist of a successful digital fundraising campaign
- Identify key elements for you to prepare in advance
- Show you how to customize online giving tools to highlight Giving Tuesday
Fill out the form below to access the recorded webinar for free.