Giving Tuesday 2021 Playbook: How To Execute a Campaign and Retain Your New Donors

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By Tim Sarrantonio

Believe it or not, the holidays and year-end are rapidly approaching. You’re probably working hard on your annual appeal, which will hopefully bring in lots of cash both by mail and online. But there’s a new opportunity for nonprofits to bring in that much-needed year-end money and promote the importance of the nonprofit sector: Giving Tuesday (often stylized as #GivingTuesday).

The inaugural Giving Tuesday was held in 2012 as the charitable cousin of retail holidays, Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving). This decentralized generosity movement had more than 240 campaigns, ranging in size and scope, throughout the United States in 2020 and had activities occurring in more than 75 countries around the world. This year’s Giving Tuesday is on Nov. 30.

So how can you get in on Giving Tuesday and jumpstart your year-end giving?

First, join the global movement by visiting Giving Tuesday‘s resource hub for campaign planning. Anyone can become an official Giving Tuesday partner by simply stating they’re trying to spread generosity on Nov. 30. Giving Tuesday has worked to create shareable content that you can then adjust and personalize for your own campaign.

Make a Plan

To be successful, you’ll need to do more than write a Facebook post declaring your intent to be part of Giving Tuesday. Given the timing, Giving Tuesday could serve as a great way to kick off your year-end campaign — but is that right for your organization? Is there a specific population that you want to target, or a certain segment of donors? Do you have a goal for how much you want to raise? Think of your Giving Tuesday plan as a miniature version of your overall fundraising plan.

A few key performance indicators of success will be:

  • Number of donors retained from last year’s campaign
  • Number of donors retained who haven’t donated in 2021 yet
  • Number of new donors
  • Number of recurring donors initiated
  • Average donation amount for Giving Tuesday donors

It is also important to tie Giving Tuesday to your overall end-of-year giving plan. Organizations who initiate a Giving Tuesday campaign see an overall increase in their important December-giving time period. Seeing the growth in giving tied to initiating a well-run Giving Tuesday campaign is an excellent way to tether the work toward a larger campaign goal.

Hype It Up

Perhaps Giving Tuesday’s greatest strength is its reputation on social media. The #GivingTuesday Twitter hashtag is popular year-round and huge on the day itself. If you’re not already using social media, this is a great time to start. If you are, make sure you use the #GivingTuesday hashtag and post about your plans for Giving Tuesday on Facebook, your website and any other social streams. Depending on your constituent base, it may be useful to communicate both online and offline, perhaps with a postcard or even a phone call. You can even consider kicking off a livestream that updates supporters throughout the day on the impact that they are making.

If you’re struggling with ideas on how to stand out from the ever-increasing number of nonprofits, then keep things simple. First, you are crafting a Giving Tuesday message for your community. Lean into the identity of your supporters versus this is a day of the year that they should care about you. This is a moment that they can activate their love and passion for your work.

Here are a few key prompts for action:

  • Craft a unified strategy that ties to the message you’ve been telling all year long.
  • Thank people. Don’t ask for money. Use the day to give back to your community.
  • Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising challenge campaign that leverages your most ardent supporters.
  • Work with other nonprofits toward a bigger goal, such as collecting data for an important research project that pertains to all of your missions.

Don’t Let Your Giving Tuesday Donors Disappear

We have found that your organization can kickstart a large amount of recurring donors on Giving Tuesday, yet not everyone is going to have a deep affinity for your organization if you’ve acquired them through this campaign.

Remember that they are donors just like any other donor, and need to be appropriately acknowledged and stewarded. Make sure they receive your fundraising materials and consider sending them a targeted e-blast in December to update them on how much you raised on Giving Tuesday with their help.

Giving Tuesday is a fantastic opportunity to reengage your current and lapsed donors, bring on new donors through social media and other channels, and harness the collective power of the nonprofit sector. Good luck on Nov. 30.

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