Giving Tuesday

“Giving Tuesday” is just around the corner. If your nonprofit or business hasn’t yet put together a campaign to get involved with this “global day of giving” – no worries. It’s not too late.

If you’re unfamiliar with Giving Tuesday, coming up November 29, it’s a day started five years ago to stand out against our more consumerist days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (Not that there’s anything wrong with shopping. Go forth and contribute to the economy!)

But charitable giving deserves its day as well. According to the official Giving Tuesday website, last year’s campaign raised over $116 million from over 700,000 across the world. That’s a lot of giving.


Anyone can get involved, not just nonprofit organizations. If you’re a business putting together your holiday deal campaigns, take some time to put a campaign together that promotes charity. You’ll not only be doing a good deed, you can strengthen your relationship with your customers and increase your brand awareness with new ones. People like buying from businesses that are true members of the community.

Fast Ways to Encourage Charity

Giving Tuesday 1

First, let me repeat: Giving Tuesday isn’t just for nonprofits. The goal is to get people to donate to a nonprofit. But you don’t need to be a nonprofit to get involved. In fact, the nonprofits could probably use some assistance from business and social organizations.

So whether you’re a real estate agency or beer hockey league – you can find a way to get involved. But the best approach to take toward Giving Tuesday may be different for you than for a nonprofit, so I’ve broken up the ideas list into sections for nonprofits and then all other organizations.

Nonprofits: Since time is pressing, you can go with a straight donation campaign simply centered on #GivingTuesday as the incentive. Frame your campaign language in the context of the holiday season. The whole premise of Giving Tuesday is juxtaposing giving with all the consumer shopping we do. So use that.

In 2015, each Black Friday shopper spent an average of $299.60. Overall, Americans spend around $830 on Christmas gifts. You can use these numbers to frame a donation ask to give a gift to your charity. As always, frame it with the story of who your charity helps. It’s not giving a gift to your charity. Their donation is a gift to the animals you rescue or the families you help feed.

If you do want to get a bit more creative, you can promote a day of volunteering. Do you have some projects that need a lot of hands on deck? For instance, you could be putting together holiday care packages for soldiers abroad. Your community center needs some general repairs and a new coat of paint, or maybe a fun mural. In these cases, center your campaign as a call for volunteers.

Giving Tuesday doesn’t need to be about giving money. It’s about giving back.

Businesses and social organizations: For you, the easiest campaign you can put together is to partner with or select a nonprofit as your target organization. If you’re a business, you can give a certain percentage of sales to your target nonprofit. Promote the charity online with links back to the organization’s charity page so people can donate directly.

You could also do some heavy lifting for a local charity. Offer to be a drop-off spot for a foodbank or toy drive for the day (or longer.) Social organizations that have a physical location can do this as well. Social organizations can also mobilize your membership to volunteer or donate. Pair up with another local organization and make it a competition to see who can raise more money or get more volunteers out.

When selecting a nonprofit as your beneficiary organization, try to select one that aligns with what your target market’s interests are. Let’s say you really are a beer hockey league, you already know November is also Hockey Fights Cancer month. Schedule a special mini-tourney for Tuesday night and run a competition which team can inspire the most donations to go to a cancer organization or local hospital.


Take these ideas as they are or use them to spark your own brainstorming session. You know your community and your target market. Craft the campaign that touches most directly on their interests and motivations.

Putting the Plan Together

Jigsaw Giving Tuesday

Time is pressing, so there’s no time to overthink this.

If you’re not a nonprofit, start by deciding if your focus will be to drive donations or volunteering to a specific nonprofit, or if you want to run a campaign that encourages people to give to the nonprofit of their choice or general acts of random kindness. If you’re focusing on a specific organization, pick out which one. Reach out to them directly so they know what you’re doing. They may even help you out by giving you some branded material you can use in your content, or providing you with a contact to help coordinate your efforts. They may also be willing to be part of your Giving Tuesday promotion plan.

Now, crystalize what your campaign is about. Whether you’re a nonprofit or other organization, finalize what your actual campaign will be and what the key message is to inspire action. If you want to make it official, you can register with Giving Tuesday and share your giving plan with them. Then, set some goals. How much you want to raise or how many volunteers you want to show up, how many new names you want to add to your mailing list. Write down what will make your Giving Tuesday campaign a success.

Now that you have the basic campaign outline, decide whether you want separate call-to-action (CTA) messages for different constituencies. For example, if you’re a nonprofit, you probably want to draft different CTAs for current donors versus people who subscribe to your newsletter, but haven’t yet donated. These targeted CTAs are the drivers of the content you create to promote and execute your Giving Tuesday campaign.

You want to create a new landing page or website page that’s the home of your digital Giving Tuesday campaign. This is the page where people can donate or sign up to participate in your Giving Tuesday activity. To promote your campaign and drive traffic to this landing page, craft different emails for the relevant segments of your customer and prospect database. Put together a range of social media content to promote the day and drive new traffic to your landing page.

The Giving Tuesday organization has done a great job of putting together toolkits you can use to jump start your content creation, including making a range of branded logos for you to use. Take advantage of these to get your campaign up and running quickly.

Their social media toolkit includes a variety of their branded hashtags you can use. But don’t rely just on those. The point is to bring in people who don’t already know about Giving Tuesday. Ride the hashtags that you use to attract new people to your business or organization to promote your Giving Tuesday campaign.

Businesses can double up on hashtags by adding ones relevant to the cause they’re supporting. If you’re working with or for a specific charity, piggy back on their research by using the hashtags they use. Or, if you have a relationship with the organization, ask them what they recommend. Otherwise, just look through their social media feed to find some options.

During the actual campaign, give people the opportunity to share why they’re sharing. Embed Facebook comments gadget or Twitter gadget on your landing page where people can share. If part of your campaign is offline, take photos and videos. Encourage participants to do the same and post them to their own social media profiles, tagging your organization and Giving Tuesday.

Last, don’t forget about your post-Giving Tuesday plan. Your post-Giving Tuesday plan should have two main components: Reviewing this year’s campaign metrics and results to see what you can learn to execute a better campaign next year (and may be start the process a bit earlier…)

You should also plan how you can incorporate both your results and the user-generated content created during the campaign in future marketing campaigns. Put together a series of single graphic images to share on social media about what you achieved. Design a thank you email campaign for everyone who participated that includes a CTA to continue the relationship, say to sign up for your newsletter or join your Facebook page.

These are just ideas for the immediate aftermath to Giving Tuesday. You can go back to this later in the year as well. As the donations get spent on programs or new resources are used, tell the story of how the Giving Tuesday campaign has directly impacted people. Both businesses and the nonprofits can post articles or videos showing the good work done because of Giving Tuesday. As you start to participate in Giving Tuesday year over year, you can build on this content creating an album of sorts of your Giving Tuesday history.

Have you participated in Giving Tuesday in the past? Are you putting together a campaign for this year? Tell us about your campaign in the comments below.

Happy giving, everyone!