Giving Tuesday Ideas to Carry Nonprofits into the New Year

Oct 25, 2018

Halloween has come and gone and holiday decorations line the shelves at most retail outlets. Black Friday shopping bleeds over and starts on Thanksgiving Day. Those who want to avoid the crowds spend hours browsing Amazon on Cyber Monday. But as fundraisers, we have a different Thanksgiving related day circled on our calendars, Giving Tuesday. You might have some short term Giving Tuesday ideas already planned, but let’s take a look at the bigger picture.

Charitable giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been on the rise every year since Giving Tuesday was first recognized in 2012. A prediction by Whole Whale figures nonprofits will raise $331 million on this Giving Tuesday. That’s a $57 million increase from last year!

However, we find many organizations don’t make the most of the occasion. Sure, bringing in some extra money through a series of small donations is helpful. But a more thorough plan can have your nonprofit reaping the benefits of this Giving Tuesday months, or even years down the road.

More than a Day of Giving

Instead of looking at Giving Tuesday as a single day to raise as much as you can, consider using the day as the focal point of a mini fundraising campaign. We’re talking about going beyond simply sending one or two emails on November 27. Like any fundraising campaign, you need to need to plan a comprehensive communication strategy.

You also need to be ready to follow up with those who give.Your follow up is a great opportunity to build relationships with new audiences and re-enforce those with your current donor base. Though the average online donation on Giving Tuesday 2017 was $134, you may know from experience that most, especially smaller, nonprofits see the majority of gifts in the $5 to $50 range.

Who Will Participate?

Focusing on small asks make it easier for younger, but passionate donors to get involved. But you will need to put in some work to get them invested long term. In a recent blog post, Classy reported Giving Tuesday donors are more likely to become repeat donors than those who give in the last five days of the year. Encouraging participation, even with small gifts, is a great way to discover a whole new set of donors. You will have to be ready to engage with them after they give if you want them to stick around.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t include your regular and major donors when brainstorming Giving Tuesday ideas. Really it is these donors that offset those $5 and $10 gifts and raise the average contribution to that $134 mark. You might incentivize them by issuing a challenge. Consider offering to match any Giving Tuesday donations and see how many regular donors rise to the occasion.

A Seamless Transition

You might be feeling hesitant to reach out to your regular donor base with an appeal just weeks before your end-of-year fundraising push.

“What if they feel like I am asking too much?”

We understand where you are coming from, but these fears are largely unfounded. Your regular and major donors already feel a strong connection to your organization. They will enjoy being part of something bigger on Giving Tuesday, especially if your ask is significantly less than their usual gift!

This year, Giving Tuesday is 35 days before December 31. If you don’t tie in your Giving Tuesday ideas into your end-of-year push, you’ve made a huge mistake! Giving Tuesday is mainly about small gifts and participation. But integrating your strategy into larger campaigns can have a huge impact in the long term. You can even view your Giving Tuesday appeal as a soft touch to warm up major donors for a larger gift to close out the year.


According to, “#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities.” Social media has powered the day of giving ever since its inception in 2012. Some organizations actually reach more people with their message through social sharing than by their internal efforts!

Your nonprofit can take advantage of the social nature of Giving Tuesday to reach a wider audience and build new relationships with those who choose to give. It’s one thing when your organization advocates for itself. But when others see their friends, family and peers posting about how they donated to this great charity, your message speaks even louder.

You will have to move fast in order to make the most of this Giving Tuesday. The clock is ticking. If you want to roll out an integrated marketing plan for Giving Tuesday, you should start now. Now that you know the strategies behind a robust Giving Tuesday campaign, check back for next week’s blog post. We will get into specifics about how these Giving Tuesday ideas should look and feel to have the biggest impact.

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