Step by Step Guide to Creating a #GivingTuesday Strategy

Congratulations! If you're reading this blog I'm assuming it's because you've decided to implement a #GivingTuesday campaign. Remember, as your end of year fundraising efforts comprise about 28% of your total donations, leverage the energy of the #GivingTuesday movement and incorporate it into your year end campaign.


As a brief reminder, #GivingTuesday was created to promote the Holiday season as a season not only of getting but also of giving. In the Western world, the Holidays usually start with Thanksgiving. So we have a day to give Thanks, two days of consumerism (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) and a day of giving (Tuesday after Cyber Monday). For more background information about this global movement, read my blog: Do You Have a #GivingTuesday Campaign?, and check out my Infographic: Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Participate in #GivingTuesday.

Step by Step Guide to Create a #GivingTuesday Strategy

Step One: Set Your Objective

What are you trying to accomplish, (whether this translates into receiving $x in donations, involvement of x new volunteers for a special event, or increasing awareness to an issue close and dear to your organization by having x number of people watch a video), try to come up with definable goals.


Step Two: Evaluate Resources

Human Resources

How many people do you have to work on this campaign? Think of which corporations you want to partner with for matching funds. Find a passionate cheerleader to spearhead this campaign. Do you have any board members that can amplify your efforts? As Aaron Sherinian, VP of Communications and Public Relations, United Nations Foundation suggests, "Invite the media, not only to cover your initiative, but invite them to participate". Do you want to join forces with another local nonprofit or corporation? In the example below see how FEDEX joins forces with @Direct Relief.

Technology Tools

Take stock of the technology you currently have or don't have. Do you have a CRM (Constituent Relationship Management)? If so, make sure your data is as clean as possible. Know your constituents. Segment them by putting them into different groups so that you can ensure the emails that are sent to each of them is appropriate. So for example, the email that you send your biggest supporters is going to be different to the one that is sent to those that participated in an event 2 years ago but you haven't heard back from since then. Make sure you know how to create automated Welcome letters and Thank you letters to your supporters through your CRM or email system. Integrate your website with your communications strategy (step 3 below), so that any communications related to #GivingTuesday are linked to your #GivingTuesday campaign landing page. If you don't know how to do any of the above, contact us or enlist the help of somebody who does.


Step Three: Communications Strategy


Start telling different stories. Evaluate and see which messages and visuals resonate more with your constituents. Your story should be specific, so tell prospects how their participation will make a difference. It is a global movement with implications at a local level. In Jamie McDonald's video (Founder, GiveCorps), one of her tips is "to be creative, evoke emotions and make it fun". Let's face it....everybody wants to have fun! Write your Welcome and Thank You messages now. In her webinar, Beth Kanter suggests "experimenting with new fundraising strategies".


Determine which channels of communications will be used (social media, email, SMS, offline, etc.). This will depend on who it is you're trying to attract and what channels they tend to use. For example, as stated by Sharon Feder (Chief Digital Officer, Rachael Ray) women in their 40s, 50s+, are entrenched in Facebook and Pinterest. Whatever mediums you choose to participate in, make sure you're continually monitoring it so that you can continuously engage in the conversation. The beauty of using Social Media is that you can tap into your community to increase your reach, ie., look for highly engaged constituents and ask them to act as your ambassadors. Have them disseminate your story to their networks or have them participate in a Peer-Peer Fundraising. In the past 2 years, organizations that used the #GivingTuesday hashtag saw more donations than those organizations that didn't.


Come up with a calendar as to which messages are going to be sent when and through which channel. Start using social media NOW to give your constituents and prospects sneak previews of what your plans are for #GivingTuesday, and to create excitement about your campaign. Do this in "drips" so there's no information overload. The goal here is to get more new prospects, more followers, more people engaged. As people start interacting with your organization, don't forget to send those Welcome emails to nurture them and move them up the engagement ladder. As you get closer to Thanksgiving, it'll be time to bring out the "big guns". You can communicate more often and you can do the asking. Think about how you will followup with your new donors....maybe create a thank you video, ask them to volunteer for a future event, ask them for donations right before Tax time, or give them a shout out in cyberspace. The Bmore Gives More campaign in 2013 had a very lofty goal...they wanted the City of Baltimore to become the most generous city in the nation and they surpassed their goal of $5.0M.

Create a Consistent Story Across Different Platforms

Integrate your website with your communications, so that there's a consistent brand and voice across the landing page and your messages. At a minimum, use the #GivingTuesday logo in conjunction with yours.


Step Four: Measuring, Testing, and Reflecting

Figure out which key performance indicators should be measured. Don't forget....these indicators should be aligned with your goals (amount raised, # donors, average amount donated, etc). Continuously look at your reports and see what's working and what needs tweaking.


Step Five: Sign Up

Click here and sign up with #GivingTuesday. Their website has a toolkit that is full of ideas & examples, logos & banners and sample tweets and press releases... all for free. As this is an open movement, feel free to customize any of the information to the needs of your organization. For example, Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides clothing for women that are re-entering the workforce, tweaked the hashtag to make it more pertinent to their ask.


Need More Information?

Check out Giving Tuesday's step-by-step toolkit and other resources to get you started, as well as upcoming events. If this is too much, we are here to help. Give us a shout.

Contact Linda for help

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