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Giving Tuesday: Setting your organization up for success

Year-end season is around the corner for nonprofits, and that means Giving Tuesday is also rapidly approaching. Has your organization started preparing?

Given everything else going on this year, we understand if the answer is no. But it’s important to get Giving Tuesday right. After all, it has the potential to be one of your top online fundraising days – in some cases raising as much as or more than December 31st.

The key to making this happen is planning ahead. The best campaigns make this day extra special, target donors with thoughtful messaging and utilize a multichannel approach.

In this blog, we’ll outline what sets this year’s Giving Tuesday apart and the pieces you should begin thinking about now.

The history of Giving Tuesday

Beginning in 2012, Giving Tuesday was founded as a global generosity movement. Since then, it has experienced year-over-year revenue growth.

Donors and nonprofits alike have embraced the idea of a global day of giving


After that kind of year, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we were excited for the growth we could see in the next one.

Then, 2020 happened.

The year of two Giving Tuesdays

Let’s face it, nothing about this year has been normal. From a global pandemic, record unemployment, calls for social justice and an election, fundraising in 2020 has been challenging for nonprofits to navigate.

And Giving Tuesday is no different.

As you probably remember, on May 5 organizations across the world participated in Giving Tuesday Now, which was created as a response to the negative impact COVID-19 was having globally.

The success of Giving Tuesday Now was unquestionable, generating more than $503 million in online revenue from donors looking for ways to support others during these difficult times.

This overwhelming response to COVID-19 was welcomed, but also added to the uncertainty of what the future holds for the fundraising world. With two Giving Tuesdays falling in the span of seven months, a pool of donors who have been stepping up in record-breaking ways and everything else year-end has in store for us, how can you ensure that this Giving Tuesday is a success?

Mapping out your Giving Tuesday game plan

Planning ahead will be the key to your success this year. If your organization hasn’t started considering your Giving Tuesday campaign yet, we encourage you to sit down and map out the major points. These include:

Will your campaign feature a match?

The most successful Giving Tuesday campaigns usually feature some form of match. This is because match campaigns do a great job of:

  • Creating a sense of urgency
  • Providing an opportunity to get a major donor or corporate sponsor involved in your organization
  • Giving donors the feeling of their gift making a larger impact

However, a match campaign takes a little planning ahead of time. So, go ahead and start reaching out to major donors, board members or corporate partners now.

If you won’t have a match, setting a goal is another great way to incentivize your donors to give. Whether the goal is providing a certain amount of meals, shelter for the homeless or helping provide medical support for animals in need, focusing on a specific goal helps you stand out from the crowd.

Develop your overall message

Once you’ve determined your goal or match, begin to refine your overall message.

There’s a deadline to Giving Tuesday, and donors should be able to feel that throughout your creative.

Begin developing, gathering and refining resources like photos and copy that support your goal and provide a clear call to action for donors.

Once the bigger pieces of the puzzle fall together, you can spend the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday fine-tuning the smaller aspects to your campaign and tying them into your overall goal.

Though no one knows what else 2020 will throw our way, Giving Tuesday can provide a big lift to revenue when implemented correctly. Donors have shown an overwhelming willingness to support nonprofits multiple times throughout this tumultuous year – and all signs point to that continuing on Dec. 1.

Jenn Thompson

As Vice President of Digital Strategy at RKD Group, Jenn brings decades of experience working alongside nonprofits to create integrated digital strategies that lead to omnichannel growth and high-value donors. She has been with RKD since 2010, and she provides the digital plan of attack for dozens of nonprofit organizations.

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