Article

Giving Tuesday Best Practices & Ideas for Nonprofits [2022]

Candace Cody
Candace Cody

What are the best Giving Tuesday best practices and fundraising ideas to make you stand out in 2022?

Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a worldwide day of (mostly) online giving. Set on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is as famous as the shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday that precede it. Throughout the years, Giving Tuesday has only grown in popularity with millions of people coming together to celebrate generosity, share kindness, and drive giving. 

Last year, on #GivingTuesday 2021, an estimated 35 million adults participated in many ways, totaling a record-breaking $2.7 billion donated in the United States alone — a 37% increase compared to #GivingTuesday 2019. This year, we can only expect participation and the amount raised to trend upwards.

Planning for Giving Tuesday 2022

It’s no secret that you have the opportunity to capitalize on the momentum of Giving Tuesday to fundraise for your nonprofit: the challenge is what Giving Tuesday best practices and ideas will help your nonprofit capture attention?

Giving Tuesday has historically been famous for engaging audiences on social media: in fact, it’s estimated that there were an astounding 14.2 billion social media impressions and over 110 community coalitions in 2018, meaning supporters weren’t just giving, they were engaging with organizations online.

With Giving Tuesday 2022 coming up on November 29th, the time to start planning is now. To help your nonprofit get in on the conversation and stand out on #GivingTuesday, here’s our top #GivingTuesday 2022 best practices and fundraising ideas:

  1. Prepare Early
  2. Set Goals
  3. Show Progress
  4. Enable an Impact Meter
  5. Tell Good Stories About People
  6. Create a Video
  7. Engage Your Supporters Throughout the Day
  8. Drive Large Gift Commitments With Pledge Now, Pay Later
  9. Get A Matching Grant
  10. Make Partnerships
  11. Boost Revenue by Selling Exclusive Merch
  12. Consider a Soft Launch
  13. Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising To Raise 2x More
  14. Incorporate #GivingTuesday Into Year-End Giving
  15. Capitalize On Social Media
  16. Test Your Donation Form
  17. Thank Your Donors

Download your Giving Tuesday planning guide below:

1. Prepare Early

One of our top Giving Tuesday best practices for 2022 is to start preparing your campaign early (aka, now).

In surveys from past Giving Tuesday campaigns, many organizations noted they anticipate spending more time preparing for their campaign in future years. Campaign planning is the ideal way to ensure your campaign goals align with your organization’s goals.

If you can spend just a few hours in the upcoming weeks brainstorming your campaign, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Here are a few things you should discuss with your team as we head towards the holiday season:

  • Themes to tie your fundraising together.
  • Fundraising techniques, such as peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, and special event fundraising (especially if you’re looking at how to move your events to virtual).
  • Potential corporate or major donor gift sponsors/matches.

Watch our Nonprofit Leader Panel from our 2020 Digital Fundraising Summit that dives into the details of how Fiver and Catalogue For Philanthropy successfully planned and executed their Giving Tuesday campaigns:

Trust me, learning best practices from real fundraisers who have run successful #GivingTuesday campaigns will pay off in the long run.

And check out our 60-Day Year-End Fundraising Plan for a day-by-day guide to help you prepare for Giving Tuesday & year-end fundraising.

2. Set Goals

Giving Tuesday is inherently a short-term initiative, so having a specific fundraising and impact goal set for your campaign has been proven to help drive urgency and donations.

Here’s why having a fundraising thermometer, countdown, and impact goals are specifically important for Giving Tuesday:

  • Demonstrates the need to your donors
  • Drives urgency for donors to participate in reaching the goal.
  • Shows your progress so your donors visually see how their donation moves the needle.
  • Allows donors to celebrate with you when your goal is achieved.

But goals don’t have to be just dollars. Including an impact goal alongside your fundraising goal ties dollars to impact – and 68% of donors agree that knowing how their donation makes an impact is important to their gift.

In their annual Peanut Butter Drive, North Texas Food Bank had a goal to raise over 220,000 pounds of peanut butter. 

givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-impact-goals

By including the amount of peanut butter funded through monetary donations, donors can see just how their dollars are being used.

You can make this even more effective by making frequent updates on their progress throughout the day on social media. This ultimately builds momentum for the campaign.

This Giving Tuesday, think about the ways your organization can set SMART goals to give your campaign a more relatable target. 

impact-tiers-giving-tuesday-best-practices
Another way to demonstrate impact & reach your fundraising goals is to illustrate what giving at different levels provides.

Consider setting any one or more of these goals:

  • Awareness: How many people do you want to educate about your cause?
  • Donors: How many donors are you looking to get overall? How many new donors are you looking to attract?
  • Financial: How much do you want to raise?
  • Personal fundraisers: How many individuals are you looking for to raise funds for your cause?
  • Impact: How much impact do you want to see from the funds raised? How much money does it take to create this impact?
  • Partner: How many partnerships are you looking to build?
  • Pledges: How many people do you want to pledge a donation to the cause?
  • Reach: How many impressions do you want your campaign to get on social media?
  • Volunteers: How many people do you want to commit as volunteers?

Perhaps not every one of these goals will apply to your campaign, but it’s still important to assess which goals you want to set. Not only do the goals give you a good way to communicate with potential donors, they’ll also help you build out your plan as we move forward.

You can easily reflect your fundraising goals, end date, and impact on #GivingTuesday using CauseVox’s free crowdfunding sites. Build your Giving Tuesday campaign for free in 30 minutes using CauseVox.

 3. Show Progress

Since a Giving Tuesday campaign is usually a shorter, time-bound campaign, it’s important to showcase fundraising progress as donations roll in, in real-time. 

Fundraising thermometers are one of the most basic forms of gamification (taking elements of game play and integrating those elements into non-game scenarios such as fundraising). They provide instant gratification for your donors and can help ramp up engagement (and donations!). It’s psychological and it works because both the goal and how close they are to reaching it are front and center. Check out our free fundraising thermometer here!

4. Enable An Impact Meter

These days, donors are more focused on impact than ever.

“People want to see that their donation made an impact for the entire campaign,” said Makenzie Delmotte, Events Manager at N Street Village.

virtual-walk-giving-tuesday-best-practices

There’s no better way to see the immediate impact of a donation than through an impact meter, like N Street Village did here by showing the number of meals donations provided, or like North Texas Food Bank did in the example above. It reinforces what you’re doing with why you’re doing it.

These handy tools located directly on your nonprofit and personal fundraisers’ fundraising websites track the campaign’s progress and intended impact in real time. Seeing what their gift is poised to do may be the extra push needed for individuals who are on the fence about donating on Giving Tuesday.

5. Tell Good Stories About People

More than ever before, this year is about connecting your donors to the people they’re helping. 2022 has been stressful, and many people are feeling like they don’t have control over a lot. You can put a little bit of control back in their hands by giving them the power to help someone else.

In order to do that, you have to tell a good story that shows donors who they’re helping and how it works.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with Giving Tuesday to develop the #MyGivingStory initiative: a space for donors, volunteers, and nonprofit staff to tell the story about why they give. This initiative helps an organization’s supporters find the words and inspiration they need to activate and rally others to get involved.

Stories help to connect people. Not only that, but they help your donors to place themselves in your organization’s work: they can see what their role is and how it impacts someone else.

giving-tuesday-best-practices-good-story

By telling the story of someone your organization has helped or sharing the reason why a donor is giving, you are putting your audience in their shoes, fostering empathy. This empathy is the inspiration that activates your donors to give.

giving-tuesday-best-practices-testimony

For Giving Tuesday 2022, think through what stories your nonprofit has to share and how you want to share them with your online audience. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to get your supporters involved.

Get your supporters involved in your storytelling:

  • Ask your donors to tell #MyGivingStory, but be sure to ask them to tag your nonprofit in the post
  • Create your own hashtag storytelling challenge or picture sharing challenge on social media. (ie Volo City Kids Foundation asks their donors to change their profile picture to a childhood picture of themselves playing a sport)
  • Give them the opportunity to create their own personal fundraising page, where they can share their own story and fundraise on your behalf on Giving Tuesday.

You can use their direct testimonials to build out larger stories to share.

giving-tuesday-best-practices-peer-to-peer-fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising page on CauseVox

6. Create a Video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth…so much more. An impactful video is a powerful tool that rallies support by igniting our passions and stirring up our emotions. 

80% of the highest-grossing campaigns on CauseVox have embedded videos on their online fundraising campaign. In fact, 57% of people who watch nonprofit videos go on to make a donation.

Making a quality video isn’t easy. It’s going to take planning and time. When it comes to creating a powerful and compelling nonprofit video, you want to make sure you’ve hit on the following:

  • Set a goal – Whether you’re wanting someone to donate or showcase impact, setting a goal will help determine the overall message of your video. 
  • Share compelling stories – Show, don’t tell your viewers by providing testimonials and interviews that illustrate journeys from trial to triumph.
  • Have a clear call to action – If you want your viewer to donate – make sure it’s clear.
  • Keep it simple – You may have grand ideas but we recommend not getting too ambitious and coming out with a sloppy product. In other words, keep it simple!  
  • Share your video – Once you’ve completed your video, it’s time to put it out to the world! Blast it out on social media, include it on newsletters, or feature it on your website. 

Pro Tip: Keep the message of your video positive even when presenting tough or uncomfortable topics. It’s not what you say but how you frame it.

7. Engage Your Supporters Throughout The Day

Once your campaign is in full-swing, engage with your supporters and keep them updated throughout the day.

giving-tuesday-hourly-updates

Here are a few top-notch communication and engagement ideas to get you started:

  • Post regular updates about your fundraising progress on social media (“With 5 hours left on #GivingTuesday, we’re only $5,000 away from meeting our goal.) This is a great way to celebrate wins as they come but also helps to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to donate.
  • Share how the funds raised so far will help the communities and populations you support. Ex: (“We’ve raised $5,000 so far to provide meals to 5 families for one month”)
  • Go live on Instagram and Facebook to interact with your donors
  • Use Instagram reels and Facebook stories to do shoutouts and updates.
  • Consider giving your donors a personal, behind-the-scenes look at #GivingTuesday at your nonprofit

Remember, your donors are participating in Giving Tuesday but it’s so much more than just one day. They’re part of the greater movement for change.

8. Use Giving Tuesday To Drive Gift Commitments With Recurring Donations Or Pledge Now, Pay Later

Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to just be one day of giving: you can use Giving Tuesday as a day to inspire a long-term commitment to generosity.

Running a recurring giving campaign or a pledge now, pay later campaign is one of the top Giving Tuesday 2022 ideas that will help you stand out and drive more donations year round. Here’s why:

  • Recurring donors have a 90% retention rate, as opposed to 45% for one-time donors
  • Recurring donors give 42% more annually than one-time donors
  • 81% of Americans donors surveyed said they would give more if they could commit to a large gift and pay in installments using a service like Pledge Now, Pay Later.

Using Pledge Now, Pay Later, you could get more large gifts committed to your organization on Giving Tuesday, broken up into installments that would be automatically fulfilled over the course of 12 months. For example, a donor could pledge to give $1000, broken up into 12 monthly installments — making it an easy $83/mo payment.

givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-pledge-now-pay-later

This year, don’t miss out on the opportunity to drive gifts year-round, beginning on Giving Tuesday. Even if you only get a small commitment upfront, you’ll set yourself up for ongoing fundraising success throughout 2023.

The spirit of Giving Tuesday isn’t just meant to be one day; it’s a global movement of generosity. Getting donation pledges and recurring gifts may be the best ask you can do this #GivingTuesday.

Learn more about how you can use CauseVox’s Pledge Now, Pay Later to get more large gifts committed through installed payments.

9. Get A Matching Grant

One of the top-performing Giving Tuesday fundraising ideas and best practices is having a matching gift in place. A sponsor or donor pledges to match donations up to a certain amount for a specific dollar amount or amount of time. For example, a donor or donors can commit to matching gift up to $5000, or will match all donations given between 3-6pm on #GivingTuesday.

In fact, mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals has been found to increase the response rate by 71% and result in a 51% increase in the average donation amount.

This has been proven time and time again as one of the top Giving Tuesday fundraising strategies. For example, Adult Congenital Heart Association has been using matching gifts to blow their #GivingTuesday fundraising goal out of the water for the last 4 years. Last year, they raised over $50,000 — twice their goal — with the help of a $15,000 matching grant challenge donated by their board of directors.

givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-matching-gift

To secure a matching gift for your Giving Tuesday campaign, try asking:

  • Your board
  • A major donor
  • A group of donors that have given annually
  • Or, reposition a gift that’s already been pledge as a challenge grant
givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-challenge-match

Letting donors know that their dollars will be doubled is a huge motivator and a great idea to help you stand out on Giving Tuesday 2022.

For more tips, here are 5 ways you can effectively market your matching gift.

 10. Make Partnerships

Giving Tuesday isn’t just about soliciting donations from your audience; it’s about drawing attention to your cause and building relationships with current and prospective supporters.

Henry Timms, the founder of GivingTuesday, noted, “Giving can be transactional, but at its best, giving creates life and shares warmth. Giving is empathy in action.”

Giving is about collaboration and working together to create positive impact. Timm even credits that collaboration with GivingTuesday’s rapid growth.

We can see from past GivingTuesday campaigns that truly successful organizations do it with partners.

One great example of partnerships is the Give Local initiative hosted by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. This organization didn’t focus on raising funds for themselves, but instead spent their #GivingTuesday 2020 sharing other causes.

givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-partnerships

This partnership gave donors a sense of confidence in the nonprofits that Catalogue for Philanthropy highlighted. Plus it allowed Catalogue for Philanthropy to focus on one of those non-monetary goals we mentioned earlier: awareness. They got to spread their message and increase awareness of their own goals.

givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-partners

When nonprofits work together using the same media kit, social media hashtags, and share one another’s campaigns online, beautiful things happen. These actions foster community engagement and give the community something to rally around. This can be especially powerful when you connect with other local organizations and focus on building community in your area.

This year, consider expanding your partnerships with corporations, local businesses, marketers, and other nonprofits to increase your exposure and build new relationships.

Here are a few ways your organization can partner with others:

  • Obtain a matching grant from a corporation that shares the same community values and vision as your own
  • Find businesses that support your cause and ask them to leverage their networks for your campaign, donate a portion of sales on #GivingTuesday, or donate their product/space to host an event
  • Connect with other nonprofits that have supplemental services to yours and consider running a joint event or a competitive campaign
  • Reach out to marketing agencies to donate a certain amount of media for your campaign
  • Research influencers or celebrities that care about your cause and ask them to be an advocate
  • Develop a relationship with media outlets in varying mediums (print, digital, video, etc.) to get the word out about your campaign

If all that sounds overwhelming, we’ve got a few tips to help make it a bit easier:

  • When working with a business, also cater to their employees. Offer opportunities to engage such as by becoming a personal fundraiser.
  • When building a partnership, make sure expectations are clear on both sides. The relationship should be two-sided.
  • Provide a toolkit for your partners to promote your campaign on social, through email, on their website, and in person. Offer customization to better reach the partner’s audience as needed.
  • Follow up with a thank-you note after the campaign ends and ask your partners for feedback.

11. Boost Revenue By Selling Exclusive Merch

Incentivize giving by offering your donors a little something in return for supporting your cause.

If you have the bandwidth, setting up an online store is a great way to boost revenue.

There’s no shortage of popular branded items you can sell:

  • Stickers
  • Shirts
  • Exclusive Giving Tuesday swag
  • Travel Mugs 
  • Hats
  • Reusable Totes

Be sure to promote your store by linking it in your campaign, including it on email blasts, or by sharing it on social media. What makes this even better is that an online store doesn’t have to be used exclusively for #GivingTuesday. Also, when someone uses or wears your merch, they’re effectively increasing visibility to your cause and promoting your org. 

12. Consider A Soft Launch

A soft launch is an “unofficial pre-campaign” where you share your Giving Tuesday campaign with a small group of individuals. Share with your staff, board of directors, volunteers, and most generous/enthusiastic donors before fully kicking-off. 

The purpose of a soft launch is to solicit feedback and create social proof for your #GivingTuesday campaign before you share it out to the world.

By front-loading donations and generating support in advance, people view your cause worthy and are more inclined to donate, maximizing the success of your Giving Tuesday campaign. 

When it comes to timing a soft launch, aim to start three weeks in advance and no later than one week before #GivingTuesday. We recommend setting a soft launch goal to raise a certain percentage before your official launch – ideally, somewhere between 10-30% of your overall goal. 

A soft launch does take a bit of work upfront but once Giving Tuesday rolls around, you’ll have built up momentum around your campaign!

13. Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising To Raise 2x More on Giving Tuesday

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns help you engage your audience to fundraise on your behalf: so you reach new networks of donors you would have never reached before, while at the same time building your community.

And, since Giving Tuesday has always been focused around individuals giving back, peer-to-peer fundraising is the perfect ask: it gives your community members a tangible way for them to participate in Giving Tuesday for your organization and allows them to tell their own stroies.

Here’s how using peer-to-peer fundraising will help you stand out on Giving Tuesday 2022:

  • It exponentially increases your network to everyone your fundraisers share their page with.
  • Social media prioritizes individual’s posts (above company/organizations posts). This means your fundraisers will organically get more traffic and engagement on social media.
  • Individual’s emails will stand out in a crowded inbox – above the many emails sent directly from organizations
  • You’ll drive more donations: peer-to-peer fundraising tends to drive about 2x as much as crowdfunding.
  • Peer-to-peer is a primary driver of new donor acquisition. SOS Children’s Villages shared that 75% of their new donors all year came through their year-end peer-to-peer fundraiser.

Fiver Children’s Foundation has been using CauseVox to run their Giving Tuesday peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for years. They recruit board, staff, and volunteers to fundraise on their behalf on #GivingTuesday and throughout year-end.

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Stand out on Giving Tuesday with peer-to-peer fundraising! Build out your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with CauseVox for free.

14. Incorporate Giving Tuesday Into Year-End Fundraising

Since 2012, nonprofits have incorporated Giving Tuesday into their year-end fundraising and seen amazing results. In fact you’ll probably notice that your year-end strategies will be very similar to your Giving Tuesday strategies.

Think of Giving Tuesday as the launch pad for your larger year-end fundraising campaign. It’s the day you start telling the story you’ll tell for the rest of the season. It’s the first hard ask.

Participate in Giving Tuesday with a clear fundraising goal for the day, but keep talking about how that figures into your larger year-end goal. Make it clear that while the first step is definitely launching your fundraising rocket, your goal is to get it to the moon.

Most organizations that do this will set a small goal for Giving Tuesday itself — ie: $5,000. Then, after Giving Tuesday comes to an end, update their fundraising goal to $30,000 and change the end date to December 31.

givingtuesday-2021-ideas-best-practices-year-end

You can even use this concept to inspire you when you think about your branding. Imagine your year-end fundraising campaign as one event with GivingTuesday as the kick-off. Use names like “30 Days of Generosity” or “The Holiday Generosity Quest”. You can always start with Giving Tuesday branding and change the name or content on the page to be more year-end focused after Giving Tuesday ends.

You can use your branding to send the message that your campaign will keep going through the end of the year. Remind them you’ve got a big goal, and that people can keep participating in the journey after they make a single donation.

15. Capitalize On Social Media

When it comes to getting your supporters to turn out this Giving Tuesday, social media is going to be your best friend. With well-curated and engaging social media content, start to build anticipation a week out from the big day. 

Go all in with your social media platforms by changing your profile pic and header images to align with Giving Tuesday. Be sure to have a link to your campaign page on your description or info page. 

As Giving Tuesday nears, continue to count down the days and post Giving Tuesday content and graphics on all platforms. These posts function not only help to ramp up interest but remind your followers that Giving Tuesday is just around the corner. As always, make sure your posts are shareable

On the day of the event, provide regular updates. Include things like how much you’ve raised thus far, the anticipated impact of the amount raised, and how close you are to reaching your overall goal. Try counting down the hours until the end of the day to create a sense of urgency. 
Pro Tip: Plan your social media content using a social media calendar and/or templates and schedule out posts to save time.

16. Test Your Donation Page

As a virtual event, the ability to accept online donations on Giving Tuesday is a must. This means your donation page is critical to the success of your campaign. 

To avoid any hiccups on Giving Tuesday, remember to test your form out prior to the big day. Send your donation page to staff members and have them make a small donation to ensure that your form is working properly.

Here’s a few elements to consider when testing your donation page:

  • Branding – People are 6x more likely to give when a donation form is branded. When styling your donation form, be sure that it reflects your nonprofit’s logo and colors. 
  • Recurring gift option – Recurring gifts are gifts that keep on giving. As mentioned earlier, recurring donors give 42% more on average than one-time donors. Take advantage of this opportunity by enabling a recurring gift option on your donation page.
  • Mobile-optimized – Be sure to test your page on a mobile device such as an iPad or phone. The majority of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile-users. A mobile-optimized donation page should make the giving process a seamless experience.
  • Donation tiers – Add suggested giving levels and tie each amount back to impact. For instance, $1000 can provide after-school tutoring for 20 children for 1 month. When donors are able to conceptualize the tangible impact of their gift, average contributions increase by 12%. Refer to your organization’s gift history to inform your current donation tiers.
  • Simplicity– It’s tempting to want to collect as much information as possible from your donors but you risk putting them off from donating entirely. Try limiting the number of form fields to the essentials: name, email, phone, payment and billing info. You can always follow up with your donors at a later time if you have their contact info.

Pro Tip: You may also want to consider making your donation page mobile-wallet friendly. These days, donors are more likely to visit your page on a tablet or mobile device. To expedite the process and increase convenience, enable a mobile wallet feature.

17. Thank Your Donors

Did you know that new donors who receive a thank you within 48 hours of donating are 4x more likely to make another gift?

Goodwill and gratitude go a long way. This is especially true if you want to increase the odds of retaining your donors after the campaign. Let’s be real: your donors are what makes your campaign a success. So let them know how much their support means to you and the communities you serve with a warm and heartfelt thank you. Reiterate how their gift will be used and the impact that it will make.

Depending on your bandwidth, here’s a few ways you can thank your donor and make them feel appreciated:

  • Sending an acknowledgement letter or email
  • Giving them a call
  • Highlighting them on social media (but also being mindful to their privacy & communication preferences)
  • Sending branded thank you gifts

Thanking every donor after your #GivingTuesday campaign ends should be a priority, not an afterthought

Pro Tip: To save time, leverage pre-drafted templates that let you plug and play post-event.

Plan Your Giving Tuesday Campaign

As you can see, Giving Tuesday isn’t just a “Day of Giving.” Nonprofits can also use the movement to foster a giving community focused on impact and relationships. It’s an opportunity to build something positive during an otherwise rough year. It’s a chance to change people’s perception of giving to something that ordinary people build together.

Yet, without a strategy, an organized effort to make this change is impossible.

So follow these ideas and best practices to ensure you start your Giving Tuesday 2022 campaign planning on the right foot.

Raise More With Less Effort On Giving Tuesday

CauseVox makes it easy for you to run a Giving Tuesday campaign that’s designed to help you get more donors.

We make it easy for you to setup and brand your Giving Tuesday campaign with less effort.

Plus, all of our forms are conversion-optimized and mobile-optimized. They also support 1-click mobile payments (with Apple or Google Pay), so you’ll get more donations through your site.

Build your Giving Tuesday campaign for free in 30 minutes using CauseVox.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2021 and was updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in October 2022.

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