An email subject line serves one purpose: to get the recipient to open the email.

No pressure, right?

When you’re ready to come out of the fetal position and start crafting your subject lines for fundraising emails, you’ll find that you have a lot of choices, and a few common sense things to avoid.

But when it comes to sending Giving Tuesday email appeals specifically, there are two words you should absolutely avoid including in the subject line.

Those two words are:

Giving Tuesday.


Because they are the most frequently used words in Giving Tuesday email appeal subject lines, and you need to stand out.

Last year I received 40 email appeals on Giving Tuesday. 27 of them contained either “Giving Tuesday” or “#GivingTuesday:”

  1. Steve, you can make a difference today!
  2. The Story of Bobbie & Paul
  3. Today is #GivingTuesday
  4. Join Us for #GivingTuesday — Invest in Women & Girls!
  5. Up early? Us too.
  6. #GivingTuesday: Support (Org Name)!
  7. Something special is happening today…
  8. Don’t forget! Today is Giving Tuesday
  9. Support (Org Name). Change the Future of Chicago. #GivingTuesday
  10. Will you join me?
  11. Can (Org Name) Count on Your #GivingTuesday Gift Today?
  12. Consider a gift to (Org Name) this #GivingTuesday
  13. Embrace your power to act
  14. Today is Giving Tuesday!
  15. Join us on #GivingTuesday
  16. #GivingTuesday Is Here – You Can Help!
  17. RE: the global day of giving back
  18. Giving Tuesday: Lessons from a 15-month-old brain tumor patient
  19. Give A Mentor this #GivingTuesday – TODAY!
  20. Your Donation Connects Kids to a Whole New World of Edible Learning
  21. #GivingTuesday: READY. SET. GIVE! 💌
  22. Mentor, Advocate or Donate on #GivingTuesday
  23. We know you’ve gotten a lot of emails today.
  25. Giving Tuesday is the perfect day to support (Org Name)
  26. Today Is The Day! 🌟
  27. #GivingTuesday is today – REPRESENT with (Org Name)!
  29. Open the door for a child!
  30. It’s #GivingTuesday and we’re launching the (Org Name) Christmas Catalog!
  31. On this #GivingTuesday, consider the gift of healing and justice
  32. Happy #GivingTuesday!
  33. Veterans to Sailors – Giving Tuesday
  34. Donate TODAY for #GivingTuesday!
  35. Join me on our conference call… #GivingTuesday
  36. Our match challenge just got bigger!
  37. Your Giving Tuesday gift supports critical community services
  38. Happy #GivingTuesday!
  39. (Org Name) love on Giving Tuesday

If my experience is any indication of what the average donor’s inbox looks like, fatigue and annoyance are going to set in pretty quickly (shout-out to whoever sent “We know you’ve gotten a lot of emails today”).

The other reason to avoid it is that it shifts the purpose to give away from impact and towards an arbitrary date to give, making the appeal org-centric and not donor-centric (your timeline, not theirs).

Very few of the examples above allude to the impact of a gift or the purpose of the campaign (an item or project you’re raising money for), thus not doing much to move me towards action. A matching challenge may be the only justifiable reason for using Giving Tuesday in the subject line.

To Hashtag Or Not To Hashtag

You probably noticed that many of the 40 subject lines above format GT as “#GivingTuesday.”

In my opinion, there’s not much point in using a hashtag in an email subject line, since the point of a hashtag is for it to be clicked to see all other messages/posts/tweets about that topic.

If some of your email recipients aren’t familiar with Giving Tuesday, seeing “#GivingTuesday” may further confuse them.

You might also consider not using “#GivingTuesday” in your social media posts, since, when clicked, it will just bring up a giant list of other nonprofits making appeals.

What do you think? Have you had success with using “Giving Tuesday” in an email subject line? Did it outperform an email without it? Let me know in the comments below!