#GivingTuesday is fast approaching. The third national day of giving back falls on December 2nd, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Are you interested in participating in a social media phenomenon that harnesses generosity but unsure how to go about it? Here’s a short primer on what you can do between now and December 2nd to maximize your nonprofit organization’s participation and impact on the day.

#GivingTuesday was conceived by Henry Timms, who is now Executive Director of the 92nd Street Y (92Y) in New York City. It follows “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” and is about mobilizing generosity and our collective desire to contribute, volunteer and taking to social media to share our good intentions and actions. Try typing in the hashtag right now on any social media platform and see what comes up!

Last year, #GivingTuesday was tweeted as many as 700 times per minute and trended for 10 hours straight, reaching more than two billion users of Twitter and more than 300 million people on Facebook. Charitable donations associated with #GivingTuesday grew 90 percent from the inaugural year and the average gift size grew 40 percent, from $101 to $142.

Here are eight steps your nonprofit can take to tell a compelling story, reach new donors and, hopefully, raise some money on December 2nd.

1. Set Your Goal

This is the point where you identify the one or two objectives you are trying to accomplish with your #GivingTuesday campaign. Your goals can include increasing total donations, acquiring new donors, revitalizing old donors, increasing brand visibility and awareness locally and nationally, organizing a volunteer project, and highlighting the work of another nonprofit.

Whatever the goal is, be ready to tell people about it and incorporate it into your agency’s messaging.

2. Develop Your Strategy

This is where you take inventory of your current contacts and supporters online and offline, including the number of email addresses in your database and social media followers.  Next, review or develop the types of tracking you have for each communications channel and create a communications timeline. You should connect with local and national #GivingTuesday efforts and convey your plans.

3. Divide Your Database

Consider segmenting your existing database so that you can communicate differently with volunteers, major donors, new donors, or others who appreciate the work that you do.  This segmentation will help to increase email open and click-through rates since the messaging will be targeted to that specific audience.

4. Plan Your Resources

List all of the resources you will need to support and launch the campaign, including staff, partners, and existing or new technology. Create a #GivingTuesday landing page on your current website and update your online donation page to include #GivingTuesday-specific messaging.

5. Develop Your Messaging

This is your most crucial step! Your organization must determine the focus of its message in its emails, social media posts, and on your dedicated landing page. You must identify the theme for your #GivingTuesday campaign or activity and identify the issues that will resonate with your audience. It is vital to create compelling content that utilizes storytelling techniques and connects on a personal, emotional level. Make sure your #GivingTuesday ask is closely tied to your organization’s mission.

6. Be Social

Now that messaging is in place, it’s time to gather your creative materials, including photos, memes or infographics.  Since there are only a few weeks until December 2nd you need to spread the word immediately by sending emails to your database and scheduling posts and tweets.  Make sure to add the appropriate tags and hashtags (double check to make sure you are tagging the correct organization) to create buzz and start conversations with existing and potential new partners, donors, or “brand ambassadors.”  Thank people for sharing or retweeting.  Be sure to tag @GivingTuesday and mention #GivingTuesday in your posts early and often in order to increase exposure and allow others to get involved.

7. Nurture Your Donors

Create a special series of emails for donors (new and old) who make a gift on #GivingTuesday. Make sure to keep your donors engaged and turn them into advocates for your organization or, even better, repeat donors! Encourage your supporters to take #UNselfies – photos that highlight their participation in #GivingTuesday and broadcast their allegiance to your organization. Use your communications to educate them on your organization’s mission, programs, and what’s to come in the new year.


#GivingTuesday represents an incredible way to get your entire organization involved in brand awareness and fundraising, and can be a very effective tool for both when used properly.  We are just beginning to see the power and potential of online fundraising in general (remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?) and #GivingTuesday in particular. I am excited to see where things go from here. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see what #GivingTuesday can do for you and what you can do for #GivingTuesday.

I’d love to discuss #GivingTuesday ideas with you and help brainstorm your unique approach to the movement. Don’t hesitate to email me at rkasper@theevansconsultinggroup.com or call me at 215-830-0304.

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