Your 4 Month Guide to Giving Tuesday

Your 4 Month Guide to Giving Tuesday

When is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is December 1, 2020. In July, this (#GivingTuesday), seems like Christmas — far away, and hardly worth a second thought.

But before you know it, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving will be here.

If your nonprofit hasn’t participated in Giving Tuesday in the past, this is the year to start. If you have, now’s the time to ramp up your efforts.

Why? Well, last year, charitable giving declined by 1.7 percent in the U.S., according to the annual Giving USA report, and experts wonder if the same thing will happen this year. I realize 1.7 percent sounds small, but that drop, combined with inflation rates of almost 2 percent this year and an expected 2 percent next year, could put many nonprofits under financial pressure.

It a day of global giving powered mainly by social media, which keeps overhead costs low and allows even the smallest nonprofits to jump in. This day’s efforts have historically brought in a sizeable amount of donations in a day’s time, about $380 million in 2018, which is even more impressive considering that the average  gift was $134.

Of course, even though this is a one-day event, it takes many days and hours to make it a success. If you haven’t already, start mapping out your strategy. Here’s a basic timeline, which you can tweak to fit your nonprofit’s needs.

AUGUST – 4 Months Out

Register at Giving Tuesday website

Register at by clicking on the Join the Movement button. You’ll be asked to complete and submit a brief form with your nonprofit’s name, address and website, and your contact information. When you complete the form, your organization is added to a list of participating nonprofits and placed on an email list for newsletters and updates. Also, this site is packed with valuable information, so spend time looking at the toolkits, sample news releases, logos and other tools and templates there.

Brainstorm campaign ideas

One of the first things you and your staff should do is review examples of successful #GivingTuesday projects, on the event’s website. It might spark ideas for your campaign. While your team is together, brainstorm ideas, talk about what has worked in the past and what didn’t, and what you’d like to do differently.

Set goals for your Giving Tuesday campaign

Will you raise money, collect donated items, put volunteers to work, have an event? No matter what you do, sum up your goal in a sentence so you, your staff and volunteers can succinctly explain your campaign’s purpose. The sentence will also be the foundation of your marketing.

Example 1: “Our goal is to raise $5,000 so we can send 10 inner-city teens to computer programming camp.”

Example 2: “We hope to collect 500 winter coats for needy children.”

Create a campaign timeline

Use Google Docs or a similar program so all staff members have access to the schedule you create for tasks tied to your campaign–from social media posts and sending press releases to mailing postcards about events.

Audit email and mailing lists

Direct mail and email messages are good communication tools for giving campaigns. Audit your lists now to rid them of undeliverable and duplicate addresses. A direct marketing firm can clean up lists and make suggestions about ways to maintain your mailing lists.

SEPTEMBER – 3 Months Out

Round up campaign partners

Corporate partners can support and add credibility to your campaign. Likewise, matching gift challenges from partners or from individual supporters build excitement and motivate others to donate. If partnerships are part of your plan, reach out to these companies and donors. Personal phone calls are effective, but you could also ask board members to reach out, by phone or personal letter, to 10 friends and associates who they think might want to provide a matching gift or corporate support. If your list of corporate supporters is long, consider sending a letter from your executive director. Your direct marketing firm can help you design a form letter that is personalized.

Determine how to track results

Tracking results will help you make adjustments and improve your campaign next year. Call in computer experts to determine what data should be tracked and how to collect it.

OCTOBER and NOVEMBER- 1-2 Months Out

Now’s the time to ramp up social media, increasing your posts as the day nears. Use blogs, Facebook posts, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to tell stories. Always use the hashtag #GivingTuesday so the information will be disseminated beyond those who follow your organization. Explain your campaign’s goal, interview and picture people who will benefit from the funds you raise, do Instagram posts that build excitement for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Talk about last year’s campaign and the difference it made and use specific stories to illustrate your points. Approach local media about having your board chair or chief executive appear on a news program or write an op-ed column about the importance of their support. 


Keep your audience informed with posts and tweets throughout the day. If you are hosting an event, post photos to Facebook or use Instagram Stories to show supporters how the day is progressing and provide updates. Use tweets or email blasts to alert supporters when more gifts are needed to earn a significant matching gift. Keep your messages lively and positive, but don’t hesitate to let people know what your campaign needs from them.

After #GivingTuesday: Keep communicating

Thank everyone who supported your project and, if you can, thank them in several ways. People really do like for their help to be acknowledged, and when they make a donation, they want more than a form for tax purposes. Pay special attention to new donors; in the months ahead, send specialized mailings their way to ensure their continued support. After all, keeping those new supporters engaged is just as valuable as bringing in hundreds of donations.

If you’d like to talk about the many ways Bluegrass Integrated Communications can help make your Giving Tuesday campaign more effective, give us a call.

Interested in how Bluegrass can help?

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