Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving driven by the power of social media.

It’s celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and gives people a chance to focus on charitable giving for the holidays.

Some folks say Giving Tuesday is a waste of time.

I say if they have no plan, they’re right.

It’s definitely not a ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ activity. It requires preparation to hit your goal.

So, what does a good Giving Tuesday plan look like?

How do you leverage this growing day of giving to raise money for your nonprofit?

Let’s look at what has worked for many Get Fully Funded clients in the past few years.

#GivingTuesday made simple

Let’s review U.S. holidays toward the end of November:

  • The 4th Thursday of November is Thanksgiving.
  • The Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday when people go crazy with retail shopping.
  • Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day to support local businesses.
  • Sunday is just Sunday.
  • Monday is Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.
  • And Tuesday is Giving Tuesday, meant to kick off holiday giving.

Giving Tuesday is quickly becoming a very big day for fundraising.

People make donations online to their favorite charity and some urge their friends to do the same, bringing in even more donations.

Giving Tuesday started as a day for anyone, anywhere to give.

And fueled by social media, it’s grown into the biggest giving movement in the world.

Hundreds of millions are given each year and every year it gets bigger and bigger.

According to, $400 million was given in 2018 worldwide with an average gift size of $105.

That’s huge! And you don’t want to miss out.

By the way, is a tremendous resource – they have a full toolkit you can download and use, containing images and materials you can use right away.

Preparation for Giving Tuesday

Over the past few years, I’ve helped dozens of small nonprofits create successful Giving Tuesday campaigns, ranging from raising money to rescue dogs, to raising money to buy hay for horses, to raising money to fund scholarships for Girl Scout camp.

I’ve figured out a way to put together what I call a “quick & dirty” campaign that doesn’t take too much time and will get the results you’re looking for.

It’s best to start about 6 to 8 weeks ahead of time with your planning. You may need a little longer if you like to take things slow and think through them.

Here are 5 things you’ll need before you start your campaign:

1. Something specific you need funding for and a goal for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Make this as tangible as possible because people love helping with something specific. Don’t ask people to help you reach your goal of $10,000. Tell them that for $77.80 they can sponsor a child in your program for a year and you have 150 kids that need to be sponsored. It’s okay if the ask amount is high. Remember that the AVERAGE gift given on Giving Tuesday is over $100.

Giving Tuesday2. A graphic to use both online and in your promotional emails that highlights your campaign. A video of your organization in action would be even better. What should your graphic look like? A photo with your Giving Tuesday goal and options for giving would be great.

3. A team of ambassadors to help promote your campaign. These can be Board members, volunteers, donors, friends – anyone who is willing to help spread the word about your campaign. And the more people you can get, the better, because that means you’ll be able to spread the word farther.

4. A matching gift. You need a donor to give you a large donation like $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more that you can use as a match. That donor could be an individual, a family, a business, your Board – whoever is willing to give. Campaigns with matching gifts ALWAYS raise more, because when you tell someone “Your gift will be doubled this year” people tend to give more.

5. A Giving Tuesday donation page on your website. On that page, you’ll need a short description of what you’re raising money for, photos or video of your organization in action, and a donation form. You should create a Thank You Page that people land on after they donate to thank them immediately for their gift. Oh, and go ahead and write the thank you email that automatically goes out when people give. Both the thank you page and the automatic email need to reference the Giving Tuesday campaign. Before you go live, test EVERYTHING to make sure it’s working correctly.

Once you’ve nailed down these details, put them all in a planning page so you can easily share it with your Board, staff, key volunteers, and your Giving Tuesday campaign Ambassadors. You’ll use this info to write your emails and social media posts, so it’s helpful to have everything in once place.

One more thing. Be sure to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag in your materials and any hashtags you have for your nonprofit, your cause, or your campaign. It might just help someone find you online and the more eyes on your campaign, the better.

Quick & dirty #GivingTuesday campaign

Okay, here’s your quick & dirty Giving Tuesday campaign. There are 11 steps and that may seem like a lot, but just work through them one at a time and you’ll get it done. Actually a lot of these are repetitive and since you’ll be using the same message and image over and over, it’ll go much faster than you think. Okay, here we go.

Giving Tuesday1. On Tuesday two weeks before Giving Tuesday, send a teaser email to your whole list, letting them know what you’ll be raising money for and how they can help on Giving Tuesday. Mention the matching gift if you one. Use the image you’ve created in the email to get people acquainted with it since you’ll be using it again and again. Mention ways that people can help you, like sharing with their friends or giving early. Then share the link to your giving page on your website. You might also change your email signature to include a line about your Giving Tuesday campaign and urge your Board, staff, and volunteers to do the same. Post the same message on your social media channels, letting people know that Giving Tuesday is coming and what you’ll be raising money for. Again, mention a match if you have it and share the link if people want to give early.

2. One week before Giving Tuesday, send another teaser email to your whole list. This can be similar to your first email and should include your special Giving Tuesday graphic. Again, remind people that they can give early and invite them to share with their friends. Same as before, post a reminder on your social media that day, letting people know what you’re raising money for, the goal, the match, and finally, the link to give early. Use your Giving Tuesday graphic again.

3. On Thursday of that week which is Thanksgiving in the US, send an email with a thank-you image or video to your whole list. Thank-you videos are incredibly powerful to let people know how much you appreciate them. Also post that video on your social media that day so you can get it in front of as many people as possible.

4. On Monday before Giving Tuesday, send another email reminder and post on social media. If people have already been giving, share how much you’ve raised toward the goal. You can use largely the same message and image as in previous emails for consistency. If you have people that you normally text with, send them a text that day to remind them about Giving Tuesday.

5. Early in the day on Giving Tuesday, send out a reminder email about the goal for the day, how much has already been raised, and how people can give. Be sure to include your special Giving Tuesday image and the link to your Giving Tuesday page on your website. Also early in the day, post on your social media channels to let people know the goal for the day, how much has already been raised, and how people can give, either through Facebook or on your website. Again, use your Giving Tuesday graphic for consistency.

Giving Tuesday6. Just past lunch time, do a Facebook Live to talk about why your campaign is important and how lives will be changed. Talk about how the donor can help make a difference and ask people to give. Tell them how you want them to give (through Facebook fundraiser or by going directly to your website).

7. Mid afternoon, send out another email telling people how they can give. Give them an update on the total so far and how much is left (if any) on your matching gift. Use your Giving Tuesday image and include the link to your Giving Tuesday donation page on your website.

8. Late afternoon, do another Facebook Live to tell a story of a life that has been changed by your nonprofit or someone waiting for services. Ask people to give and tell them how you want them to do that (either Facebook Live or through your website). Use your Giving Tuesday graphic again.

9. After dinner, send out one final email about Giving Tuesday with an update. Remind people of the goal you’re trying to reach before midnight and that you’d love their help in reaching it. Ask them to share with their friends. Include your Giving Tuesday graphic and a link to your Giving Tuesday donation page.

10. About 8 pm, do another Facebook Live talking about the Giving Tuesday campaign, why it matters, how lives will be changed, any money left on your matching gift, and ask people one last time to give.

11. Wednesday, the day after Giving Tuesday, send out an email about mid morning with the results of your Giving Tuesday campaign. Thank everyone for being patient through all the emails and remind them how important your work is. Share a thank-you video in this email. Also post a thank you on your social media with the results of your campaign along with your thank-you video.

Won’t people unsubscribe if you send too many emails?

You may feel a little nervous about sending so many emails to your list, especially if you don’t email them very often now.

Trust me – it’ll be fine.

You may have a few opt outs and that’s okay. Those are people who don’t need to be on your list anyway. If you keep your message focused on those you’re helping, people won’t mind hearing from you repeatedly.

You may have heard that Facebook offers a match on Giving Tuesday. Okay, here’s the deal about that: Millions of nonprofits are trying to get a piece of that pie and it’s usually gone within minutes. Don’t promote the Facebook matching gift because chances are good you won’t get any of it and it just raises false hope with your audience. Get your own matching gift and ask your donors to give toward that.

The Bottom Line

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a terrific opportunity to communicate with your list, sharing the real story of what your nonprofit does. It’s a time to gain new donors and spread the word about your cause. If you plan your campaign well, choosing the right thing to ask people to support, you’ll have no problem raising money during this focused appeal.

People who say Giving Tuesday doesn’t work are typically the ones who don’t plan. And it’s true – you can’t just show up that day online and say “Here we are – give now!”

Smart nonprofit leaders know that if they plan ahead, ask people to give to something that matters, and consistently share that message, they’ll get good results. It’s those good results that help you change lives. And that’s what matters.

Additional resources

Find the Giving Tuesday logo, sample materials and all kinds of resources at

The Best of Giving Tuesday 2018 from Get Fully Funded

Kindful Giving Tuesday Resources for 2020

The Nonprofit’s Guide to Social Media Ambassadors by Julia Campbell