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A Nonprofit's Guide to Planning a Giving Tuesday Campaign

Jasmine LeBlanc 10/11/18 10:18 AM

Giving Tuesday is an annual movement that motivates people to donate to nonprofits on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s an exciting time for nonprofits, so it’s important to be prepared so that you can make the most out of this movement. We’ll discuss what your nonprofit should include in its plan for a successful campaign.

Before Planning Your Campaign

Prior to scheduling social media posts and email blasts, you need to set goals for your campaign. Your goals will guide your strategy and motivate your team to do their best work for this campaign.

The most common goal for a Giving Tuesday campaign is to raise a specific amount of funds within a defined timespan. That’s an important goal to set, however, you can also create other goals for your campaign such as an increase in new donors or new social media followers.

Also while setting your goals, decide what you want Giving Tuesday to mean for your organization.

Do you want it to mark the beginning of an even bigger end-of-year giving campaign? Will you use it as a catalyst to introduce your audience to monthly giving? Or are you going to run a one-day campaign on Giving Tuesday and then move forward with other projects?

The answer is different for every organization depending on the availability of time, staff, and budget. Just be sure you know what direction you’re headed in prior to diving into planning.

Planning Your Giving Tuesday Campaign

Scrabble-Tiles-PlanNow that you have set goals and decided on a direction for your campaign, you need to plan for the content you’ll be sharing. Giving Tuesday is primarily a social media movement, but to stand out and to increase your chances of hitting your goals, it’s smart to use other marketing platforms as well.

We’ll discuss what you need to plan for in each area.

Social Media

Your social media platforms are where to start your Giving Tuesday Campaign since it’s a social media-based movement. If you decide that you are just running a one-day campaign, then it is necessary to use your social media accounts to promote it.

The true name of the campaign is #GivingTuesday, so it is essential to use the hashtag whenever posting on social media accounts regarding your campaign.

Giving Tuesday Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

One thing to note is that a lot of nonprofits participate in this movement. Last year, there were 2.5 million gifts made on Giving Tuesday in over 150 countries across the world.

So how do you stand out? Here are some social media do’s and don’ts to make sure your organization doesn't go unnoticed on Giving Tuesday.

  • Do prepare your social media followers all month long.

Unless you’re just planning a one-day campaign, you will want to get your followers ready to give! Giving Tuesday is at the end of the month so you can start promoting at the beginning of November.

Emphasize success stories and how you were able to achieve your goals due to the help of donors. By beginning to post donation-related stories regularly early in the month, it won’t feel out of place when you post on Giving Tuesday. Additionally, some of your followers may feel inclined to donate when they see your initial posts, so it’s a win-win.

Check out this blog post to make sure you’re following best practices for promoting content on social media.

  • Don’t write a long paragraph on social media.

You may have a lot to say about why your nonprofit needs donations. However, long paragraphs aren’t that effective on social media because you’re not able to format the text to make it visually appealing. Instead, write a short, attention-grabbing blurb that entices them to click through to your donation page.

Include more copy about why your nonprofit needs a donation and how they can help on your donation landing page. Since you have the ability to choose visually-appealing fonts and use headings on your website, your content will be easier to read.

  • Do include compelling images.

On social media, visual content captures users’ attention more than just text. That’s why images are essential for your Giving Tuesday campaign. You want to use a relevant, compelling image to persuade your followers to click through to your donation landing page. It’s easier than you think! Check out this article that walks you through how to easily create visual content for social media.

  • Don’t forget to post Giving Tuesday results afterward.

By showing how much of an impact Giving Tuesday had on your organization, you are showing your followers that they truly made a difference. This can influence other followers to give to your organization and you are letting your donors know that they are appreciated!

Email Marketing

Email is a great, impactful channel to reach through to your audience. Just like in social media, it’s important to prepare your potential donors for Giving Tuesday at the beginning of November. You will want to send your readers relevant content such as success stories or last year’s results.

Here are ideas of emails to send to your subscribers and what they should include:

Announcement Email

You should announce that your organization is participating in Giving Tuesday at least a month in advance. Like social media, you can link to a relevant success story and emphasize how it was only possible to achieve through the help of donors. If your organization has participated in Giving Tuesday in the past, you can link to a report that shows the results from that campaign.

Here are some key things to include in your announcement email:

  • A brief explanation of what Giving Tuesday is
  • Why your nonprofit needs donations
  • A link to a success story or last year’s results
  • A link to your donation landing page

2 Week Reminder Email

A couple of weeks after your announcement and before Giving Tuesday, remind your audience about your campaign. Since they should know what Giving Tuesday is, focus on explaining the importance of giving in this email. You can achieve this by linking to an impactful success story and your donation landing page.

To go a step further and to ensure they don’t forget, you can create a calendar event CTA for your subscribers to add a reminder to their calendars.

Final Email

On Giving Tuesday, send your subscribers an email describing why your nonprofit needs donations and link to your donation landing page. To stand out, include fun stats that show much of an impact their donations will make. For example, saying that every dollar feeds 5 children helps your reader visualize where their money is going.

You can send an additional reminder on the Monday before, but just keep in mind that you are competing with Cyber Monday emails!

Offline Marketing

Did you know that offline marketing is beneficial for nonprofits? It’s important to sync offline marketing efforts with online marketing to maximize your reach.

For Giving Tuesday, send out specific mailers regarding your campaign to your current donor audience. Also, include an announcement in your monthly newsletters. If you’re partnering with a local company for Giving Tuesday to increase donations, then reach out to radio stations and newspapers to inform the community how they can help your cause.

Donation Landing Page

Your donation landing page is where all of your marketing efforts will lead to, so it’s essential to make it as appealing as possible. Make sure that your website visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for even when they’re skimming.

Here’s a quick list of tips to ensure your donation landing page is effective:

  • Use relevant, compelling images

Arriving on a text-heavy landing page with no imagery is not appealing for your website visitors. Include at least one image that is relevant to your cause. It will help capture your readers’ attention and encourage them to read your copy and eventually donate.

  • Write impactful headings and subheadings

Your heading and subheadings should convince them to donate by emphasizing how their donation should help. We recommend using a positive appeal such as “Help Make a Difference” instead of painting a sad picture, since causing your reader to feel positive emotions has been proven to create long-lasting donor relationships.

  • Translate donations into something tangible

By describing how much of an impact each donation makes, you are helping your reader further understand the value of their contributions. It can inspire them to help because they can make a donation knowing exactly how many people they helped or what materials they contributed to.

Informing them that even the smallest donation makes a difference will encourage them to give.

Tracking Links

When you promote your campaign on social media and email, we recommend that you set up an analytical tool like Google Analytics or HubSpot to monitor traffic on your site. Be sure to use Google Analytics’ Campaign URL Builder or HubSpot’s Tracking URL Builder to track your links to accurately see the results of your marketing efforts.

If you have conversion tracking set up, then you can see how many people made a donation based off your campaign. And when you properly set up your campaign monitoring, you can keep track of metrics such as page views, bounce rates, and view-to-submission rate. By analyzing your results, you’ll know where to start on your next Giving Tuesday campaign and use your data to set goals for next time.


Planning your Giving Tuesday marketing efforts ahead of time can make your campaign very successful. Look into an automation tool to schedule your emails and social media posts ahead of time to make it even easier for you. Be sure to use this guide when planning to make sure all aspects of your campaign are good to go for November!

Want to make sure your donation landing page is fully optimized in time for Giving Tuesday? Click below to download our free ebook that covers best practices for landing page design and contains plenty of donation landing page examples!