Since it began in 2012, #GivingTuesday has used the power of social media and the generosity of people around the world to kick off the charitable season. Many nonprofits use Giving Tuesday to launch their end-of-year fundraising efforts.

In 2017, the #GivingTuesday Data Project recorded $274 million was donated by over 2.5 million people. That was the biggest year ever for the movement!

How can your organization help make 2018 even bigger? We have a few tips and ideas to maximize your donations and make people want to contribute.

giving tuesday ideas

When is Giving Tuesday?

First, it’s important to know that Giving Tuesday is always celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday 2018 is November 27, 2018.

Next, be sure to sign up your organization on the official Giving Tuesday website. While you’re there, check out their free tools and resources for your Giving Tuesday 2018 campaign.

Giving Tuesday Ideas to Run a Great Campaign

It’s not enough to tweet a donation link on #GivingTuesday and hope for the best. Some careful planning will go a long way and may make all the difference in reaching your year-end goals.

Here are our top Giving Tuesday ideas to make your campaign better than ever:

1. Let Everyone Know You’re Participating

Once you’ve signed up on the official Giving Tuesday site, let the world know you’ll be taking part in #GivingTuesday! Announce it on your social media accounts, in your email newsletter, and on your website. Tell your volunteers and any employees that are public-facing to mention it to visitors when it’s appropriate. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday when you announce it.

2. Set SMART Goals For Your Campaign

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. Since this is a one-day fundraising drive, creating a few SMART goals should be relatively easy. Having a goal to raise a certain amount of money is an obvious choice, but you may also set secondary goals, like getting a certain number of newsletter subscribers.

How do you set a SMART goal? Take a look at your needs, past fundraising efforts, and your reach on social media. What is realistic and attainable for your organization? Your goals will be unique to your nonprofit. While raising $1 million and getting 10,000 new subscribers would be great, it isn’t feasible for most nonprofits. But maybe $1,000 and 10 new subscribers is. Decide what’s achievable for your organization and then work toward making it reality.

3. Find Someone to Match Your Donations

This isn’t required for Giving Tuesday, but finding a large donor or local business to match the donations your organization receives is a surefire way to boost your efforts. It gives you double the donations for the same amount of work, and people are more likely to donate if they know their donation will be matched.

To find a match, create a list of your organization’s most loyal donors and any local businesses you have a relationship with and hit the phones. Explain your goal, your cause, and what their donation will go toward. You can also mention your hunt for matching donors to your organization’s Board of Directors. You might be surprised at how eager they are to pitch in.

4. Make Donating Easy

Don’t make people work to figure out how to contribute to your cause. When the process is too long or complicated, people are likely to get frustrated and click away from your site altogether. Make your donation buttons easily visible on your site and make sure the donation process is simple. Never make people create an account to submit a one-time donation!

If your organization has a Facebook page, make sure you’ve added the “Donate Now” button to your page so people can donate right on Facebook. It’s also a good idea to look into text-to-donate services so people can simply text their donation.

5. Choose a Specific Cause or Project to Focus Your Efforts On

While some people might be happy to donate to your organization as a whole, having a specific cause you’re raising funds for can make a big difference in the outcome of your Giving Tuesday campaign.

Not sure what cause or project you should choose? Look over your blog posts and social media analytics to see what resonated most with people over the past year. For example, if people were especially engaged on posts about a restoration project, it would probably be a good idea to use #GivingTuesday to fundraise for your next one.

6. Create Donation Tiers

Instead of just letting everyone choose how much to donate, give them a little guidance with donation tiers. Donation tiers, sometimes called “giving levels” are suggested levels/amounts your donors can choose from on your website or donation form.

A great way to make your donation tiers even better is by making them item-based. An item-based donation tier compels people to donate by telling them exactly what their money will be used for. Using the restoration project example from before, the donation tiers for your #GivingTuesday restoration project campaign look something like this:

  • Give $10 to purchase a new doorknob
  • Give $20 to purchase a gallon of paint
  • Give $50 to purchase 5 gallons of paint
  • Give $100 to purchase a new door

Always give people the option to donate the amount they want but use tiers or levels to guide them and perhaps give them an idea of where their money is going.

7. Get Creative

Since Giving Tuesday is a one-day campaign, you can try something new without committing to a long fundraising campaign. Of course, you don’t want to do anything too different and sabotage your whole day.

Try using social media differently: go live on Facebook, use Instagram stories throughout the day, or create a hashtag for your Giving Tuesday campaign. You can also tie your campaign to a physical or virtual event like a 5K or someone doing something specific (getting in a dunk tank, etc) if your goal is met.

8. Share Donor Testimonial Videos and Use Visuals in Your Campaign

If you have testimonials from donors, now is a great time to share them. Social proof, the idea that people will follow the lead laid out for them by others, is a very real motivator. Hearing past donors talk about what donating meant to them might be the push someone needs to donate to you.

In addition to donor testimonial videos, be sure to use plenty of visuals in your campaign. Share photos to show people who their donations impact and the effect they have on the community. You should also create graphics to promote your #GivingTuesday campaign. (Great visuals also help grab people’s attention when they’re scrolling through social media!)

9. Have a Main Go-to Person for the Day of the Campaign

While you probably have a team that works together to plan, organize, and execute your #GivingTuesday campaign, it’s best to appoint a go-to person to help streamline and oversee all the activities on the actual day.

This person should:

  • Help keep everything organized
  • Take care of last-minute details
  • Put out any fires throughout the day
  • Share status updates so the whole team knows how the day is going
  • Report on the success of the day to management and/or your board of directors

10. Don’t Forget to Thank Your Donors

Whether it’s with an email right after they donate or with a handwritten card sent through the mail, thank your donors! They’ve done a wonderful thing by contributing to your nonprofit. Make sure they know how appreciative you are.

We hope these tips help you make this #GivingTuesday your best one yet! And if it’s your first time taking part, we hope these Giving Tuesday ideas get you off to a great start. Do you have other tips for maximizing your donations? Share them with us on Twitter!