How to Run a Successful Giving Tuesday Campaign

by | Nov 2, 2023

In late November and early December, most people are thinking about the upcoming holidays. But charities and nonprofits are focused on one of the most important days of their year – Giving Tuesday.

Since it was first organized more than a decade ago, it’s become a significant part of the financial picture for many nonprofits, who look forward to a surge in donations related to the giving-focused event.

But a successful Giving Tuesday doesn’t happen by accident. The best organizations undertake a dedicated, carefully planned campaign to make the most of the opportunity. This requires coordination and cooperation throughout the nonprofit, from leaders and program staff to financial employees and accounting support.

So, read on as we break down the most crucial factors of running a successful Giving Tuesday campaign.

Kickstarting Your Giving Tuesday Campaign

The most challenging work of pulling off a thriving Giving Tuesday happens long before the day itself. Here are the best ways to set up a firm foundation for the event.

Setting Goals and Planning in Advance

Getting started requires a clear picture of where you want to go with the campaign. Take the time to define your campaign objectives in as much detail as possible, with the goal of creating a compelling narrative that resonates with donors. Then, start developing your strategy to get there.

Start by figuring out the resources you’ll need and penciling together an early draft of your budget. An excellent starting point is last year’s Giving Tuesday efforts – what worked well? What didn’t?

Remember to keep your organization’s mission and vision in mind when tackling this part of the process as these can be clarifying forces when you’re at risk of getting bogged down in details.

Engage with Stakeholders Early

The best Giving Tuesday campaigns are a team effort, ranging from longtime board members to the newest staff and volunteers. You’ll need all of these folks rowing in the same direction for optimal results, meaning they need to be just as invested as you are in the campaign’s success. That’s why getting them involved early is essential.

Each group of stakeholders will have the opportunity to help craft and give feedback on various pieces of the Giving Tuesday plan so that, even if their ideas aren’t always integrated, they feel an investment in the success of the campaign and organization.

Don’t forget to engage with stakeholders outside of the nonprofit as well and build partnerships with local businesses and other organizations to increase your visibility and impact.

Leverage Technology Where You Can

The importance of tech has only grown since Giving Tuesday’s founding in 2012. These days, it’s critical to use a variety of online platforms and social media sites for outreach to prospective donors.

Using savvy social media tactics, whether it’s viral informational posts or funny memes, can boost your visibility and provide incredible bang for your buck compared to traditional advertising.

Additionally, you should do whatever you can to simplify the donation process for would-be donors, removing as much friction as possible between the impulse to donate and the money being sent.

  • Simplify donor information pages to remove nonessential fields

  • Ensure pages are optimized for mobile devices

  • Allow but don’t necessarily require donors to create accounts

You should also opt for flexible, trusted payment processors like Stripe, Paypal for Nonprofits, and others that can be easily integrated into webpages and emails.

On the back end, every nonprofit should take advantage of donor management software. These:

  • Improve donation management efficiency

  • Improve donor retention

  • Provide better data integrity for analytics and compliance

Master Your Giving Tuesday Marketing

Marketing around Giving Tuesday shouldn’t just be the same old message you’ve been sounding the rest of the year. With the potential for fresh new eyes and many new willing potential donors, crafting the perfect message and delivery is even more vital than usual.

Focus on Storytelling and Messaging

It may be simple, but it’s worth reminding yourself of the basics of nonprofit marketing – attracting donors requires crafting compelling campaign narratives that appeal to their hearts and minds.

The best method for doing this may vary depending on the organization, but all should leverage multimedia content to tell stories about the problem they’re looking to address or the impact they’ve already had. These success stories can be particularly important, as they evoke emotion and put a real “face” on the people or causes benefitting from donations.

Be creative when considering how to best use media to tell your story.

  • Is it a short video shareable on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok?

  • What about a well-thought-out email campaign?

  • Is it a long video that provides more detail and in-depth storytelling on YouTube?

There are also podcasts, infographics, and plenty of other storytelling techniques that supplement traditional outreach.

Don’t Slack on Marketing and Promotion

This is the heart of the success or failure of your Giving Tuesday campaign, so it’s important not to skimp here. Leaders should develop a multi-channel marketing plan that can reach potential donors wherever they are. Based on data you’ve previously collected about past donors, tailor your messages or outreach methods in the most effective way.

¬†As we’ve mentioned, social media and hashtag campaigns play an increasingly significant role in promoting nonprofits, especially on days like Giving Tuesday, where people are often bombarded by emails and texts.

While some ignore or are cutting back on paper mailers or snail-mail outreach, this can leave out potential donors who are less tech-savvy. All of these marketing and promotion methods can be used in varying amounts depending on the circumstances and goals of each nonprofit.

Managing the Giving Tuesday Campaign with Data Analysis and Performance Tracking

In the few short years since Giving Tuesday has become a national movement, data analytics and reporting have grown nearly as fast. They’re among the most valuable but underused tools by many organizations that may not be familiar with how to best take advantage of them.

Use them to analyze and manage your Giving Tuesday campaign by determining key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide objective readings of the success of your efforts, which can range from average or total donation amount to email open rate.

In general, anything that could be used to analyze donor or would-be donor behavior and engagement should be tracked, as it provides crucial data for future campaigns. With technology that provides real-time reporting, it’s even possible to tweak current strategies quickly based on this information and feedback.

Post Giving Tuesday Campaign Management

The work isn’t over just because the calendar has now switched to Wednesday. Your actions after Giving Tuesday are nearly as consequential as the ones leading up to it. Keep these critical steps in mind for the best results.

Acknowledging Donors and Stewardship

A simple thank you can go a long way in life; relationships with donors are no exception.

Express your gratitude promptly to those who gave with a note or email acknowledging their generosity. This additional point of contact can allow you to provide more information on your mission or learn more about donors.

Within your organization, design and implement a donor stewardship program that fosters long-term relationships with donors, from first-timers to regular contributors. All of this can do wonders to improve donor retention, a critical factor for any nonprofit.

Post-Giving Tuesday Campaign Evaluation

With the frenzy of Giving Tuesday now behind you, it’s time to look back and see how you did.

Conduct a thorough post-campaign analysis to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. It may turn up surprising results or valuable insights that can be used to optimize future campaigns, like next year’s Giving Tuesday.

It’s equally important to recognize and document where you were successful to ensure these techniques are repeated in the future.

Run a Successful Giving Tuesday Campaign

Having a plan is vital for making the most of Giving Tuesday, a day that can provide a major financial boost to nonprofits of all kinds. But by running a campaign that follows the outline above, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of the opportunity.

Still, it’s also crucial to integrate proper financial planning and accounting support. The Charity CFO is the best choice to help, with our extensive familiarity with the nonprofit sector and experience in all types of financial management.

Contact us today to learn more and get started – Giving Tuesday will be here before you know it!


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