Things to know about Giving Tuesday and end of year fundraising

What is #GivingTuesday?

You’ve heard of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, right? They’re the days following Thanksgiving when businesses urge consumers to make holiday purchases. In 2011, several nonprofits got together and came up with #GivingTuesday, the campaign to remind consumers to not only focus on buying, but on giving to good causes. It’s become known as the global day of giving.


What is a Year End Giving campaign?

Nearly  one third of annual giving occurs in December. 12% of ALL giving occurs during the last 3 days of the year. Many of these donors give to meet the year end deadline to receive a tax incentive and some are just feeling charitable. Due to the increased giving at the end of the year, many nonprofits plan campaigns to urge their supporters to give donations in the months of November and December. In particular, from #GivingTuesday and New Years Eve.

You want to participate in #GivingTuesday and/or Year End Giving?

Here’s what to expect:

  • High competition. In 2016, more than  40,000 nonprofit organizations raised funds on #GivingTuesday. 70% of nonprofits contact donors at least once as part of a year end giving campaign. You are also in competition with holiday shopping and travel. 

  • Lack of familiarity. Even though many of us in the nonprofit/fundraising world talk about #GivingTuesday, a  2015 survey showed that while 93% of consumers were familiar with Black Friday, just 18% were familiar with #GivingTuesday. 

  • Donor fatigue. Many donors see dozens of emails and social media posts asking for donations on #GivingTuesday or in the last week of December. Instead of adding your “Dear all” email or generic Facebook post to the pile, be prepared to reach out directly to your donors by phone, text, or with a personalized email.

If you’re planning to participate in #GivingTuesday or run a Year End Giving campaign, use these steps to set and reach your goals:

  1. Define success. How much money are you trying to fundraise during #GivingTuesday or Year End Giving? Make this goal clear to your entire fundraising team. Maybe it’s a percentage of your campaign’s fundraising goal, maybe it’s a specific dollar amount, or maybe it’s your entire campaign fundraising goal. Just be sure it’s clear and communicated to your team.

  2. Read all the toolkits and resources. Especially #GivingTuesday’s toolkit. Search “Year End Giving Resources” or “#GivingTuesday Toolkit” to find a trove of tips! 

  3. Plan. The #GivingTuesday organization suggests starting to plan in August. Some organizations begin Year End Giving campaigns even earlier! So as soon as you decide to participate, draft a timeline for #GivingTuesday or Year End Giving. This timeline should include one or two communications pushes per week, starting in October. Then, on #GivingTuesday and/or December 31st, plan an hour-by-hour breakdown of phone calls, pre-scheduled personalized emails, and social media posts. Social media will not be enough for a successful #GivingTuesday campaign. You’ll need to plan other direct outreach (phone, in-person or personal emails) in addition to social media and e-blasts. 

  4. Make it look good! To spiff up your social media posts, use an infographic maker like Piktochart or Canva. Or, see a list of other options here. When you share an eye-catching infographic about the impact donations have on your project, your social media posts will rise above the rest.

  5. Perfect your project story. Due to the amount of competition, you’ll want to make sure to emphasize the impact. This is what will make you stand out from the many other campaigns out there on this day. On a usual day it takes about four asks but on #GivingTuesday it may take about 12 asks to get a prospective donor to give. Use ioby’s guide, with real-life examples of campaign stories, to write your story and prepare it for your #GivingTuesday and Year-End Giving Campaigns! Another thing suggested by Mobile Cause is to segment your audience with the size of the ask and the communication size. The goal with this plan is to retain and steward your donors for future giving.

  6. Seek out new donors. 63% of #GivingTuesday donors only gave on that day and no other time, so try to seek out new donors because they are more likely to stay engaged throughout new projects in the year.

  7. It’s not just about the money. Ask for volunteers or for more people to share your campaign in new and interesting ways like in the un-selfie so they can engage their network to get more donors. 

  8. Follow the plan.

  9. Don't forget to thank your donors. This is a super important way to cultivate donors. Thank your donors publicly when possible. This will help you engage your community and it also can lead to new donors. Ask them to share your project with their friends to get more new donors in. 


Want to read more? Check out our blog post.

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