How Universities & Schools Can Leverage #GivingTuesday To Engage Alumni

At CauseVox, we know that engaging your alumni to give is often difficult. However, we believe that #GivingTuesday is the perfect day for your college or university to rally your current supporters and bring new ones into the fold.

#GivingTuesday has grown tremendously since it began back in 2015. Just last year, this day of giving raised $116.7 million for nonprofits, charities, schools, and other causes across the globe.

And, not only do your alumni know about #GivingTuesday— there’s a chance they already have plans to give when it rolls around on November 29th.

Make sure that it’s your university that’s top of mind for alumni on #GivingTuesday. Here’s how your university can leverage #GivingTuesday to engage alumni this November.

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1. Start The Conversation

Start promoting your #GivingTuesday campaign early to maximize the number of alumni aware of the event.

To do this, create a plan alongside your marketing and communications department that uses all the resources you have going out to start the conversation around #GivingTuesday.


  • Homecoming events and related promotional materials
  • Fall alumni magazine
  • Online alumni portal
  • Your website
  • Alumni-focused social media accounts

It may also benefit you to segment donors based on whether they’re currently giving, lapsed, one-time donors, or prospects. Then target email, mail, and phone communications to each group.

For example, you can put together a list of your most active donors by year and ask them to assist in the efforts by sending out personal emails to alumni in their class. Or, you can have volunteers call lapsed donors to discuss this new opportunity to give.

Starting the conversation early will help bring everyone in the loop in time for #GivingTuesday.

2. Use Social Media

When it comes to #GivingTuesday, social media is your greatest tool.

If you haven’t already, start establishing your social media connections now. First, create (or update) your alumni Facebook page.

At the same time, start posting more often on other social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. These social media platforms are a great place to share campus and alumni-related news (including your #GivingTuesday campaign) with those living near and far from campus.

When sending out alumni e-newsletters or making updates on your alumni web page, don’t forget to include social sharing buttons. That way, you’ll already be connected with your audience well before you’re using social media to promote your #GivingTuesday campaign.

For the big day, use the resources available from CauseVox and the #GivingTuesday website to help design a social media campaign that produces results. The sample tweets, Facebook posts, Snapchats provided can all be used to inspire your alumni to give.

3. Secure A Match Or Incentive

I’m going to give a shout-out to my alma mater here because Centre College in Kentucky sure does know how to engage and mobilize alumni.

In 2014, the College announced a one-day giving event. If 500 people gave a gift before midnight, 2 anonymous donors would contribute $100,000. By using social media, videos, phone calls, and targeted mail, the school raised an unprecedented $440,000 from 1,499 donors in a 24-hour period.

For many, myself included, it wasn’t just giving to the school that was important, it was leveraging our own donation (no matter how big or small) to secure an even bigger one.

And you can do this too— especially during a one-day campaign like #GivingTuesday. Start by talking to your board members or major/legacy donors. Ask them if they’d be willing to match donations up to a certain amount or possibly even consider a larger gift to use as an incentive for younger or less active alumni to get involved.

Once you’ve hammered down the details, start marketing efforts immediately. You want your alumni to immediately think of your donation match when they think of #GivingTuesday.

4. Promote A Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a perfect way to engage current alumni donors and bring in new donors for #GivingTuesday.

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Again, this is a time when you’ll need to tap into your base of active, loyal alumni donors and ask them to become personal fundraisers for the campaign. The power behind peer-to-peer fundraising comes from these alumni because classmates of these donors (who are already familiar with your school) will be more inclined to give if they see their friends fundraising on your behalf.

The Foothill-De Anza Foundation, which funds both Foothill and De Anza Community Colleges, used peer-to-peer fundraising for their #GivingTuesday campaign. They used the social power of alumni and their board of directors to raise over $25,000.Foothill De Anza #GivingTuesday engage alumni

When you choose to run a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you’re continuing to develop a strong relationship with your supporters (ultimately helping with donor retention), while also ensuring that your campaign is shared with alumni (and others) that may not have given before.

You can use CauseVox to power your University’s #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign. Our software offers a user-friendly interface and toolkits for your personal fundraisers. Plus, automated donation receipts and thank yous make it easy on you and your fundraisers to keep track of all correspondence.

#GivingTuesday is the perfect opportunity for your university to mobilize donors for either a single day of giving or to kickstart a seasonal giving campaign.

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No matter how you choose to celebrate #GivingTuesday, remember to start promoting the campaign early using your most active alumni, targeted communications, and social media. To really engage alumni, consider planning a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with CauseVox.

Start preparing for your university’s #GivingTuesday campaign today using these additional resources:

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