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Boost Your Year-End Fundraising with #GivingTuesday

Resource Center - Foundation

By Blackbaud consultants, Nancy Palo and Scott Gillman

#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate all the good nonprofits do with a global day of giving on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. In its second year, #GivingTuesday will be on Dec. 3, 2013.

The goal is to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. Furthermore, the hope is #GivingTuesday will inspire people to give back to the charities or causes they support and help create a better world.

How to Create a #GivingTuesday Email Campaign

A #GivingTuesday email campaign is not too different from other campaigns built around a specific date, like an end-of-year email campaign. What complicates the plan and schedule for #GivingTuesday is that it occurs so closely to other major milestones on the calendar, namely Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

Scheduling your #GivingTuesday emails necessitates working around these other holidays and events. In order to help you think about drafting a timeline, let’s work backwards and take into account all the messages or themes that could be woven into the campaign:

• #GivingTuesday, Dec. 3: Clearly, this is the time to send an appeal stressing the values of philanthropic giving and supporting a charity of the recipient’s choice (hopefully yours). The theme of the day is emphasizing the importance of helping nonprofits, especially in the context of the mass consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Stress participation and the positivity around helping make the world a better place.

• Cyber Monday, Dec. 2: This day is just as critical, if not more than, #GivingTuesday itself. Why? Because Americans will be on the lookout for emails arriving in their inbox promoting sales. Your messaging can be about #GivingTuesday (e.g. amid all the great deals today, don’t forget to support charity tomorrow) or about your own wares and merchandise, if you have an online store. Even a virtual gift store, such as one where $10 pays for a meal, can be a good hook on this day.

Be sure to track your progress. Do this by using dedicated #GivingTuesday donation forms and tracking email response rates.

And, don’t forget social media! Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are a great way to deliver these same messages. On #GivingTuesday, use Facebook and Twitter heavily to promote charitable giving and to inspire your community of supporters.

Other #GivingTuesday Strategies Include:

1. Integrate #GivingTuesday Into Your End-of-Year Campaign

The timing of #GivingTuesday is a perfect opportunity to add to an already-in-progress end-of-year campaign or kick off a campaign that has not yet started. A Blackbaud customer using this strategy in 2012 saw a 266 percent growth in revenue on #GivingTuesday and 40 percent growth in revenue overall for the organization’s end of year campaign.

The benefit of integrating #GivingTuesday and your end-of-year campaign is you don’t need to do anything extra for #GivingTuesday; you just need to add key messaging to your existing end-of-year efforts.

2. Be a Part of the Conversation

If you don’t have the resources to create a #GivingTuesday campaign for your organization, it is important to still be a part of the conversation on that day, so donors selecting a nonprofit to support know yours’ in an option. Here are the three key ways to join the conversation: 

• The week of Thanksgiving, Nov. 25-29: Whether you send a Thanksgiving greeting or some other appeal, make sure to include, even if only as a P.S., that #GivingTuesday is next week and what your supporters can do to help your organization.

Some organizations are sending an email like this the Friday after Thanksgiving. The timing is up to you based on where your message fits best.

• Earlier in November: Like with any campaign or promotion, it’s best to spread the word early and often. Consider mentioning #GivingTuesday in your monthly newsletter editions leading up to November.

3. Learn From What Others Are Doing Successfully

Still looking for inspiration on how to leverage #GivingTuesday? Check out our three-part webinar series, to learn from #GivingTuesday representatives and fellow nonprofits that have successfully incorporated #GivingTuesday into their year-end fundraising strategy.

• Part 1 - Website: Promoting #GivingTuesday on the homepage of your website — the week before and day of the event — is a great opportunity to inspire your website traffic to learn more about how to give to your organization.

• Part 2 - Social Media: Social media played a significant role in the success of the inaugural #GivingTuesday, with more than 2.5 million impressions. Use all your social networks to promote how your supporters can give to your organization on #GivingTuesday using the hashtag to help expose your organization to the #GivingTuesday community as a whole.

• Part 3 - Email: Sending an email focused on #GivingTuesday encourages your supporters who already plan on participating in the event to give to your organization. This will help keep your organization top of mind as donors are determining how they will give that day.

Register today at

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