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Planning for #GivingTuesday

Summer is in full swing around here with temperatures about to hit triple digits, but our non-profit friends are thinking about a different season – the holiday season! More charitable donations are made at the end of the year than any other time of the year. Kickstart the holiday giving season by participating in #GivingTuesday, the annual global day of giving that takes place on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Yes, that’s right – you do need to be thinking about #GivingTuesday already. Mark November 27th on your calendar, folks, and plan ahead.

#GivingTuesday planning

#GivingTuesday Planning

Before you know it #GivingTuesday will be here and it’s never too early to start thinking about how your non-profit organization can participate.

The first key to a successful campaign is to start preparations early. What’s your goal? What does your organization need? Take note of your go-to strategies for success (specific type of fundraising campaign, ideal length of campaign). Take a look at your resources. What’s your budget? How many staff members are working on this campaign? Create a thorough plan that addresses audience, message, expenses, and goal(s).

You must motivate people to give; they won’t do it just because you ask once nicely.

So start your #GivingTuesday plan by thinking about who you want to inspire and how you will do so. More than likely you’re focusing on your online audience, including your email subscribers and social media followers.

Many people grapple with how involved they should be in the #GivingTuesday movement. Will it generate a worthwhile return on investment? Will it compete with their year-end appeal? Keep in mind that although this fundraiser holiday is celebrated on one day, your campaign can be longer. Many campaigns kick off before #GivingTuesday and extend and connect to a larger year-end or holiday season campaign.

So how will your #GivingTuesday campaign incorporate with your annual fundraising plan?

There are so many competing messages and calls-to-action that this time of year it’s best to stick with one powerful theme. Integrate your #GivingTuesday plan and goals with your year-end fundraising campaigns and carry the same overall messaging throughout the entire holiday season.

If you haven’t made year-end appeal campaign plans yet your team can still capitalize on the energy and resources for #GivingTuesday participants. Think about #GivingTuesday as you would any other fundraising campaign. It’s an opportunity for storytelling, donor cultivation, and building awareness around your organization and its mission.

#GivingTuesday Sample Timeline

Want an idea of what your timeline might look like? Here’s a rough draft:


Visit You can officially register for #GivingTuesday at the “Join Now” button. Check out the case studies, toolkits, and logo files that are available for your use.

Hold a staff meeting and figure out the team who will spearhead the campaign. Assign roles and start brainstorming ideas on how your non-profit organization can hold its best #GivingTuesday campaign. Be sure to set goals. Figuring out early what it is you’d like to achieve will give you something to aim for and shape all your fundraising efforts. Plan your budget, if needed or not done yet.

Start putting out feelers now. Reaching out early can make a huge difference in the number of donations you receive day of. Loyal donors can be turned into fundraisers. Don’t hesitate to contact your main advocates and invite them to partner with you in kicking off the giving season.


Plan your communication strategy. How will you be marketing your #GivingTuesday initiative? Identify any key partners and plan ahead on how you will communicate with them. Which channels are most effective for reaching donors? Will your loyal advocates retweet or share social posts on your behalf? How will you leverage other, non-social, ways to get the word out, like direct mailers or email newsletters? Prepare your messaging and assets now.

Map out a timeline and editorial calendar for the fall. When will you announce the launch of your campaign? When do you plan on emailing your community? How often are you going to be posting to social? Confirm and create the graphics you will use.

Having a clear idea of what the next three months are going to look like is super beneficial and ensures things go smoothly. Be sure to also think about how to track, measure, and share the campaign results. Define success and determine which ket stats need to be tracked. Once you’re done with the campaign, how do you know if it was successful? Plan how to report stats and how you’ll debrief.


Have your content ready and start spreading the word about your organization’s #GivingTuesday plans. It’s especially handy to have your visual content ready in the pipeline. Things like Facebook and Twitter cover photos enhance your social outreach. Graphics and other easily digestible assets are great tools for generating social shares, driving engagement – and contributions. Your team should have access to these, of course, but also consider making these resources available to your fundraisers so they can spread the word about your campaign. (For example, create sample social posts and shareable images for people to use.)

Make a general announcement in a press release and/or blog post. Send out a save the date post. Begin sending a dedicated social media message once a week.


Regular scheduling will get people talking about your campaign. Begin sending social messages twice a week (perhaps on Tuesdays to get people geared up). Reach out and ask your social community to be ambassadors. Share your campaign with the local press.

Let people know in an e-blast that there’s only one month to go because this is not a drill: it’s the final countdown, people! Some organizations hold in-person events on #GivingTuesday; better send out those invitations now!


When there is less than a month to go, don’t hold back. Tweet, post, share, snap, go Live. Keep pitching the campaign to the local press. Send email reminders to your staff and the community to get everyone excited for the big day.

On the day of, update your community consistently to keep the momentum going. Let them know how far you are from your goal (and when you surpass it). On November 28th send out a thank you (in emails and on social) to let your audience and donors know the initial results.


Now it’s time to report your campaign results. It’s a good thing you thought about tracking and analyzing stats back in August!

Thank your team, donors, partners, and volunteers. Use the buzz from #GivingTuesday to keep everyone engaged and to boost your year-end campaign.

#GivingTuesday: Non-Profits’ Answer to Black Friday

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