Giving Tuesday Best Practices & Ideas for Nonprofits [2022]

Candace Cody
Candace Cody

GivingTuesday Ideas & Best Practices

What are the best #GivingTuesday fundraising ideas to make you stand out in 2021?

Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a worldwide day of (mostly) online giving. On GivingTuesday 2020, $2.47 billion was donated to US based nonprofits — a 25% increase compared to GivingTuesday 2019.

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

#GivingTuesday has historically 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.

To help your nonprofit get in on the conversation and stand out on #GivingTuesday, here’s our top #GivingTuesday 2021 fundraising ideas and best practices:

  1. Prepare Early
  2. Set Goals
  3. Tell Good Stories About People
  4. Drive Large Gift Commitments With Pledge Now, Pay Later
  5. Get A Matching Grant
  6. Make Partnerships
  7. Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising To Raise 2x More
  8. Incorporate #GivingTuesday Into Year-End Giving

Download your #GivingTuesday planning guide below:

1. Prepare Early

One of our top #GivingTuesday best practices for 2021 is to start preparing your campaign early (aka, now).

In surveys from past #GivingTuesday 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 The 2020 Digital Fundraising Summit that dives into the details of how Fiver and Catalogue For Philanthropy successfully planned and executed their #GivingTuesday campaigns:

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

2. Set Goals

#GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday

  • It demonstrates the need to your donors.
  • It drives urgency for donors to participate in reaching the goal.
  • It shows your progress so your donors visually see how their donation moves the needle.
  • It 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. 


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, ultimately building momentum for the campaign.

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

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 own #GivingTuesday campaign for free with CauseVox. Build your #GivingTuesday campaign for free in 30 minutes using CauseVox.

 3. Tell Good Stories About People

More than ever before, this year is about connecting your donors to the people they’re helping. 2021 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 #GivingTuesday 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.


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.

For #GivingTuesday 2021, 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:

  • 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 #GivingTuesday.

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

Peer-to-Peer fundraising page on CauseVox

4. Use #GivingTuesday To Drive Gift Committments With Recurring Donations Or Pledge Now, Pay Later

#GivingTuesday doesn’t have to just be one day of giving: you can use #GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday 2021 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 #GivingTuesday, 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.


This year, don’t miss out on the opportunity to drive gifts year-round, beginning on #GivingTuesday. Even if you only get a small commitment upfront, you’ll set yourself up for ongoing fundraising success throughout 2022.

The spirit of #GivingTuesday 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.

5. Get A Matching Gift

One of the top-performing GivingTuesday 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 GivingTuesday 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.


To secure a matching gift for your #GivingTuesday 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

Letting donors know that their dollars will be doubled is a huge motivator and a great idea to help you stand out on #GivingTuesday 2021.

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

 6. Make Partnerships

#GivingTuesday 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.


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.


When nonprofits work together using the same media kit, social media hashtags, and share one another’s campaigns online, 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.

7. Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising To Raise 2x More

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 #GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday 2021:

  • It exponentially increases your network to everyone your fundraisers share their page with.
  • Social media prioritizes individual’s posts (above company/organizations posts) – so 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 #GivingTuesday peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for years — recruiting board, staff, and volunteers to fundraise on their behalf on #GivingTuesday and throughout year-end.


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

8. Incorporate #GivingTuesday Into Year-End Fundraising

Since 2012, nonprofits have incorporated GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday strategies.

Think of GivingTuesday 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 GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday itself — ie: $5,000. Then, after #GivingTuesday comes to an end, update their fundraising goal to $30,000 and change the end date to December 31.


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. You could use names like “30 Days of Generosity” or “The Holiday Generosity Quest”. You can always start with #GivingTuesday branding and change the name or content on the page to be more year-end focused after #GivingTuesday ends.

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

Plan Your #GivingTuesday Campaign

As you can see, #GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday 2021 campaign planning on the right foot.

Raise More With Less Effort On #GivingTuesday

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

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

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

Build your #GivingTuesday campaign for free in 30 minutes using CauseVox.

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