5 Steps to Getting the Most from #GivingTuesday

…Whether it’s your first year participating, or your fifth.

#GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to amplify your nonprofit’s voice and drive action. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of work to see results.

What is #GivingTuesday?

Observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 29 in 2016), #GivingTuesday is an online holiday created in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, building on the unofficial “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” holidays as a launch to the end-of-year giving season.

Following Thanksgiving, when people are likely to be in a grateful mood (and have hopefully completed much of their holiday shopping), the event reminds them about the greater spirit of the holidays and causes that are near and dear to them. The goal is not just to raise money, it’s also to remind people that the holiday/end-of-year season is also a time to think of others and help them.

Tip: If your organization isn’t looking for funding, perhaps it can volunteer to work with another organization whose mission is aligned with yours, helping them raise funds and helping you raise awareness.

Reasons Your Non-Profit Should Participate

  • Activate your current audience
  • Find more people to connect with by riding the wave of GivingTuesday in the zeitgeist
  • Tell the world about what you do and what they can do to help
  • Raise money and supporter action

2015 #GivingTuesday Statistics*


Total Donors Contributing

$116.7 Million

Total Dollars Raised

1.08 Million

Total Gifts Made


Partner Organizations Involved

71 Countries

Participating Around the World

1.3 Million

#GivingTuesday Mentions on Social Media

*As reported by 92Y.org

How Your Non-Profit Can Participate

1. Create a Campaign

A “campaign” doesn’t have to be complex and resource-intensive. It could be as simple as sending out some emails and tweets, but it should have a specific goal, or even a couple of goals. Whatever resources you can devote—time, manpower, funding—can go a long way.

2. Set “SMART” Goals

First coined by George T. Doran in 1981, S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic acronym that’s helpful in goal-setting for a variety of projects. Here’s what it stands for and how to apply it to #GivingTuesday:

  • Specific – What do you want to achieve on the day?
  • Measurable – How do you know if you’re succeeding? Which numbers will you track? Donations? Sign-ups? Website visits?
  • Attainable – Shooting for the moon is great, but are you realistically in a position to land there? What’s something you’re confident that your organization can get people to do with the amount of work you’re ready to put in?
  • Relevant – Make sure it’s connected to your cause, your audience, and the spirit of #GivingTuesday.
  • Time-Based – Give yourself a timeframe to work towards this goal. In this case, there’s one built in: you have one until Tuesday, November 29 to get ready. Then you have 24 hours to get people to take action.

Tip: You’ll probably want to send out posts and emails ahead of time if you’re organizing an in-person event on the day, or even just to tell your subscribers about your online plans to get them primed to participate.

3. Join the Official #GivingTuesday Movement

This movement was created as an online event, so it’s no surprise that it’s well-supported and has an easy-to-use website. Besides simple registration to join the movement, the website offers case studies, suggestions for campaigns, and many additional resources: GivingTuesday.org 

4. Participate in the Conversation

Plan social media posts and emails around your #GivingTuesday campaigns. Make sure to use the “#” (hash sign) so that people following the term on social media will see your posts in their news feeds. Throughout the day, check in on your accounts to see what people are saying to you and other organizations, and chime in.

Want to activate your top supporters even more? Get them involved as ambassadors. Here’s a helpful guide from NPEngage .

5. Give people an easy way to take action!

Whatever your SMART goals are, you’re much more likely to achieve them if you make it easy for your current supporters and new potential ones to take action. Whether you want them to donate, volunteer, sign up for your email list, share your post, or lend their voice to amplify yours, the fewer steps someone has to take, the more likely they are to do what you ask.

Additional References and Resources

  • 92nd St Y – The organization that started it all has plenty of info and resources
  • GivingTuesday.org – A website dedicated entirely to helping organizations, businesses and individuals get the most out of the event
  • NPEngage article – Suggestions on using an Ambassador program to amplify your campaign

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