The GiveSmart Blog

Your One Stop Shop to Fundraising

100+ Ideas and Tips for #GivingTuesday

Posted by Givesmart on 10/23/17 1:00 PM


This year, #GivingTuesday is on November 28 - and if you check your calendars, you'll probably notice that this date is right around the corner.

So if you're struggling for ideas or just want to add a couple more last minute things, I've pulled together this list of more than 100 tips and ideas for your #GivingTuesday campaigns this year.

(P.S., for the most part, I freestyled this really long list, so there is not necessarily a rhyme or reason to the order. And it is certainly not listed in the order of importance!)

102 #GivingTuesday Ideas

Idea 1: Add yourself to the #GivingTuesday list.

If you have a specific #GivingTuesday initiative, you can add yourself to the Giving Tuesday list.

Idea 2: Really step up your email game.

How many emails did you think get sent out around #GivingTuesday? I don't have exact numbers, but I feel it is safe to say A LOT! Don't get lost in the crowd, really take the time to create enticing subject lines, catchy descriptions, and easily scannable, understandable, appealing messages.

Idea 3: Use ads.

You probably (maybe) do this anyway, but #GivingTuesday is a great time to set up some campaign specific ads on search engines and on social media platforms. Examples of places to put adds: Google AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Idea 4: Allow online giving.

If you don't already, set up a way for your donors/potential donors to give to your organization online. After all, this is a digital-based movement - use the technology that will help you succeed!

Idea 5: Support mobile giving.

Same as above: make it easy for your donors to give to your organization no matter how they find you, including on their phone or tablet.


Idea 6: Set up text-to-give.

I'm going to keep going with this theme: let donors have a lot of ways to give to you, including through text messaging.

Idea 7: Be so, so appreciative.

You should always be thankful for what people give, so don't forget it in all the rush and excitement of the movement. Make sure donors get thank you messages and more letting them know how they have made a difference and how much you appreciate them for it.

Idea 8: Communicate before, during, and after.

Start getting the word out before, remind people on the day, and thank them and tell them the results after. Keep them in the loop - they want to help organizations where they can see a difference being made.

Idea 9: Start early.

It may be a little late for you to start early this year (unless you were planning to really wait until the last minute. In which case, start now instead!) but it is never too early for you to start planning for next year.

Idea 10: Be creative.

There is a whole lot of noise this time of year because so many organizations want to get that giving spirit donation. So make yourself stand out - do something no one else is doing!

Idea 11: Step up appeals for monthly gifts.

You may want to make a point to hype up monthly giving in a smaller amount. That way, you'll be able to keep in touch with donors easier all year long.

Idea 12: Let your supporters help you out: peer-to-peer giving.

Get your donors campaigning for you. Let them set up their own #GivingTuesday campaigns.

Idea 13: Let your supporters help you out: campaign ambassadors.

Even if they can't set up a fundraiser in your honor, your donors can help you out. Encourage them to let their friends, family, and followers know about your great organizations through their own social media channels.

Idea 14: Do something crazy.

Remember earlier when I said you needed to stand out from the pack? Well, it's still true a couple of ideas later. Now, when I say crazy, I don't mean dangerous. But do something big: if you reach a specific goal, everyone that works at the organization (who agreed to it first) will shave their head or make a public thank you video while singing in their terrible voice or well, whatever else you think of.

Idea 15: Give donors all the resources they need to make a difference.

Think about creating a #GivingTuesday tool kit. You can make one for your team and one for your supporters. Make sure it has things like logos and images (more about that later, though); information on when and how to give; communication and talking points; ways to share; and what exactly you are trying to accomplish.


Idea 16: Market, market, market.

You can have the world's greatest campaign idea, but if nobody ever finds out about it, then they aren't going to participate. So start getting the word out there now.

Idea 17: Give Gifts.

Get something, give something. You know how PBS has gifts you receive as a thank you depending on the level of support you give? Use that. Your gifts don't have to be as elaborate as a Bob Ross tote bag, but a special discount to a popular restaurant (which you could probably get donated) or a tote bag with your organization on it (so you also get some marketing - win/win) can go a long way towards showing your appreciation. 

Idea 18: Put it on your fundraising calendar.

How do you keep track of all of your communications and campaigns? Hopefully, you have some type of system. So make sure you add all of your great #GivingTuesday plans to it.

Idea 19: Get more intense as the day gets closer.

Maybe you don't want to overwhelm your guests with communication starting weeks before November 28. That makes sense. So consider starting slowly and building up in intensity throughout the campaign.

Idea 20: Take advantage of trends.

Is there a big hashtag that happens to be trending (that also makes sense with your campaign)? For example, if it was an Olympic year, you could create a campaign called something like the Olympics of Giving. Think about what has been happening around you and incorporate it into your campaign.

Idea 21: Get some #Unselfies.

#Unselfie is a #GivingTuesday tradition. It lets your followers take a selfie, but with a twist: they also show off a campaign they are supporting, making them unselfie...

Idea 22: Use fundraising videos.

I talked a while ago about why it is so important to create fundraising videos. Well, now is a good time to test one out!

Idea 23: Use social media - remember: this is a hashtag already!

We are talking about #GivingTuesday, right? Something tells me that you may want to do some social media coverage of this thing you've got going.

Idea 24: Show donors the need and how their money can help.

I talked about why donors donate. The answer was, in part, because they see a need and they see how they can help address that need. So make sure they see both of these in your campaign.

Idea 25: Be specific.

You're raising money to help provide water? That's probably great, but how, why, when, where, to whom? Basically, all of those journalism questions. Tell people specific projects that their money will go to and why that project matters.

"We are raising X amount of money to build a playground near So and So Elementary School."

"We need X amount of dollars to build 25 wells in Someplace, Africa, where children are getting sick because they have never had clean drinking water."

Etc., etc.

GivingTuesday Ideas.jpg

Idea 26: Embed forms on Facebook.

Let people donate right from their social media accounts - if that's how they prefer to do it.

Idea 27: Make shareable links and posts.

Make everything you create around your campaign easily shareable. Consider crafting messages ahead of time that donors and supporters can quickly reuse without having to compose their own messages.

Idea 28: Segment your emails.

Don't just send out one mass #GivingTuesday email. Make sure you segment your contacts into various groups and target your messages towards what they would most likely respond to.

Idea 29: Look into matching gifts and programs.

Many companies, individuals, and/or organizations will do matching gift programs where they will match either their employees' gifts or will match whatever you raise in a particular campaign. Try to find one willing to help you out with this campaign.

Idea 30: Get a matching donor - and then encourage donors to make them really do something about it.

Once you have that matching donor, make them pay for their generosity! Okay, okay, don't really word it like that...but really, with their permission (and they should give it; they want the publicity, after all!), start telling your supporters and followers about how so and so is going to match their gifts, so let's give them a big amount to match!

Idea 31: Make campaigns specifically for new donors.

Make one of your targets new donors. So many people are giving around this time, and many of those people are looking for places to make that donation. So try a new channel or new audience for some of your campaigning.

Idea 32: Make campaigns specifically for millennial donors.

Similar to the above, because #GivingTuesday is a viral movement, it tends to attract a lot of younger donors. Make campaigns and ideas that appeal to this demographic.

Idea 33: Make giving easy even for the least tech-savvy of your donors.

Just because it is a digital thing doesn't mean it has to be for tech geeks only. Make it easy for everyone to give even if they have no idea how to send out a Twitter, anyway.

This can be done by utilizing technology that makes donations simple and/or by offering other, non-technical ways for donors to give. But don't lose a donation because someone couldn't figure out your really complicated, really long, donation process.

Idea 34: Set specific goals.

Along with being specific about what you are doing, make sure you have specific goals in mind.

Idea 35: Focus everything around one specific goal.

While you should have more specific goals to help guide you and track your progress, make sure you have one main goal that all the other goals are helping you reach.

giphy (17).gif

Idea 36: Keep everyone updated on how close (or not close) you are to your goal.

Use thermometers, social media posts, and more to keep your followers updated on how you are doing.

Idea 37: Ask your supporters for ideas.

Struggling coming up with ideas for what specifically to do this year? You aren't alone. No. I mean really. You aren't alone. So don't act like you are. Ask your supporters what they'd like to see you do. (Maybe even have a gift for anybody who gives you an idea you end up using.)

Idea 38: Encourage even small donations.

Big donations are great, but there aren't as many people out there who can afford to give a big donation as there are those who can afford something small. Which is better: one $1000 donation or 100 $15 donations? Hint: 100 x $15 is $1500.

Idea 39: Put together an actual team or person to be in charge of all of your #GivingTuesday activities.

You know how things fall through cracks? Someone says let's do this, and everyone else thinks somebody else is in charge of it. Put specific people in charge of specific parts of your campaign, and they are more likely to be accomplished.

Idea 40: Let people know what the average donation has been for you or just in general - and then ask them to match it!

While it is true that it is a good idea to encourage small donations, it is also true that this doesn't mean you have to only encourage small donations. Figure out what your average gift is (or the average gift size on #GivingTuesday in general or for your industry) and then let people know. Challenge them to meet or beat it.

Idea 41: Get some video testimonials to share.

Don't just make a fundraising video: make a fundraising testimonial video. Get some regular donors to make their own videos stating why they continue to donate to your organization. Then, share it!

Idea 42: Have a live video "telethon."

Use Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, or your live video tool of choice, and have a kind-of telethon in your headquarters.

Idea 43: Build up a stellar reputation.

This may not be something that you can accomplish for this #GivingTuesday if it isn't already done, but it is something that can be worked on for future campaigns: build a great reputation for your organization.

People check charity ratings and investigate organizations before they give their hard-earned money to a cause. Don't let what they learn about you (or can't find out about you) be the factor that makes them not give to you.

Idea 44: Make sure all of your tech is up-to-date and can handle an influx of donors, which you will (hopefully) get.

Test things out. Check your donation forms. Check your bandwidth. Etc., etc. You don't want those breaking day of.

Idea 45: Know the peak times of donations for both your average donors and for #GivingTuesday donors in general.

There are certain times of days that your donations probably spike. It may not be much, but it is probably noticeable if you really look at your analytics. So plan communication touchstones around those times.

GivingTuesday Tips.jpg

Idea 46: Track your #GivingTuesday campaigns from year to year.

Check out all the deets of what you have done in #GivingTuesday pasts. This will help you figure out the areas that need improvement and set new goals.

Idea 47: Explain what #GivingTuesday is.

You're doing all this stuff around #GivingTuesday, but maybe people aren't even sure what it is. Make sure they know why you want them to give on this particular day.

Idea 48: Try out all sorts of mediums to advertise your cause.

Infographics, email, direct mailers, flyers around town, social media...the list could go on. So try out multiple ways to get the word out there.

Idea 49: Do something you've never done before.

For this year's campaign, try at least one completely new thing. Maybe it won't work. But maybe it will! And how will you know unless you are willing to take a risk?

Idea 50: Stop doing something you've always done that just isn't working.

Pick something that you have been doing because, well, because that's just always how it has been done, but that just is no longer working...and then stop doing it!

Idea 51: Keep doing something you've always done that has worked - but keep it fresh!

And while you are out there taking risks, don't just risk everything. Those things that have been working for you? Well, keep doing them. But maybe do something to keep them fresh and modern.

Idea 52: Have a #GivingTuesday "Headquarters".

You have all these great communications going, but where are they leading? Try to have one central focal place that you send all of your links. This landing page will be where you want all of your donors to make it at some point.

Idea 53: Make the donors the heroes of your story.

Getting people to donate is a lot like making a sale: you need to let your potential donors see why they should want to donate. Make them feel special, remind them how you can't do this without them, and let them know how helpful they have been in the past. Make them feel like a hero for donating, and they will want to keep experiencing that feeling.

Idea 54: Don't do it alone. Team work, people, team work!

In Idea 37, I said you aren't alone. Well, it is still true! Ask your co-workers (even those who might not be in the 'fundraising department'), friends, and family what they think and if they can help. You may be surprised at what you come up with.

Idea 55: Make your own hashtag.

You obviously want to keep using the main hashtag: #GivingTuesday. But think about creating your own unique hashtag that your donors can use to track everything you've got going on around this campaign.

#GivingTuesday Ideas.jpg

Idea 56: Don't do #GivingTuesday - start your own thing some other time.

Here is a weird idea: everybody is doing #GivingTuesday, right? Which makes it hard to stand out, right? So just don't do anything special, and save your funding and energy for another time, where you have less 'competition.'

Idea 57: Focus on stories, not stats.

It has been said a million times, but stories are more effective at getting donations than stats. So focus your messaging around specific incidences.

Idea 58: Join forces with other organizations.

Join forces with a complementary organization. (For example, say your cause is feeding starving children in Africa and their cause is to educate children in that same region of Africa.) Consider working on a campaign together that would address an entire array of issues.

Idea 59: Don't just send people to donation form.

While you do want to have a central location (see Idea 52), you don't want it just to be a donation form.

Give them a little information about what you do and who you help. Tell them how their donation will be used. Show them the progress that you have made already. Have some cool stories of people you have helped. Make it interactive. Just make it get people to want to fill out that form that also just happens to be on your cool page.

Idea 60: Make things competitive.

Set up leaderboards so that guests can see what people are giving. Have rewards for donors who give big. Make it a fun - but definitely not vicious - competition.

Idea 61: Do some research: look around you.

What are other people doing? How has that been working for them? Research past #GivingTuesday campaigns to come up with good ideas for your own organization.

Idea 62: Do some research: look at yourself.

What has worked for you in the past? What hasn't? This can be #GivingTuesday specific, but it doesn't have to be. Look at all of the different campaigns you have run.

Idea 63: Do some research: look at #GivingTuesday stats, history, and other information.

Research #GivingTuesday itself. What's it about? How did it get started? It is always a good idea to know about the things in which you are participating.

Idea 64: Do some research: look at Pinterest, blogs such as this one, etc.

Guess what? By reading this post, you are already doing this tip! But this post is obviously not the only thing out there on this topic. So check out Pinterest and other similar sites to get even more ideas.

Idea 65: Make special banners and images for your website.

Change the banners and images on your website to show off your #GivingTuesday spirit and get people in the mood.

Giving Ideas.jpg

Idea 66: Use Calls to Action.

Always make it easy for your donors/potential donors to know what it is you want them to do. Clear calls to action (Donate, Volunteer, Learn More, etc.) can help guide your visitors in the direction you want them to go.

Idea 67: Use lightboxes.

Have special #GivingTuesday lightboxes and banners, which can pop up when a visitor is on your website, letting them know about the campaign you have going on right now to make a difference.

Idea 68: Make #GivingTuesday part of your scheduled year-end campaign.

Why put so much effort into a campaign only to have it end before the biggest giving days of the year (the end of the year.) Carry over what you are doing for your year-end push.

Idea 69: Make everyone part of your "wins."

When your organization wins, everyone wins. So make your donors feel part of the celebration. Use terms like "we did it," making it clear that they are part of 'we.' Use live video of any celebrating you do in the office so that others can 'join' in. Thank them for everything they did to make it possible. These are just examples, you can think of more too!

Idea 70: Make logos and profile covers people can use on their own social media.

You know how people switch up their profile and cover images on social media to support different causes? Well, make some telling people about your #GivingTuesday campaign and make them available to all of your followers and supporters. Encourage them to switch for the day or week.

Idea 71: Get to them before they start shopping.

The idea behind #GivingTuesday is that after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is time to give back. Reach people before they shop though and ask them to think about setting down some deals in order to donate that money instead.

Idea 72: Make your campaign very visual.

Stand out from all the crowd by making a lot of visual elements to your campaign: posters, infographics, memes, GIFs, etc.

Idea 73: Use stickers, temporary tattoos, and more.

You notice whenever someone is wearing an "I Just Voted" or "I'm a Blood Donor" sticker, right? Well, give out some "Save the Wheels. Donate on Nov. 28" stickers or temporary tattoos. (But, you know, make it a little catchier and more related to your organization.)

Idea 74: Do something live - with entrances fees - that's a fun, family activity.

Just because this event is digital based doesn't mean you can't step outside of the digital box. Host a live event, especially a family friendly one, and let people start getting into the holiday spirit early (while helping you raise some more funds!)

Idea 75: Sell things - and encourage people to buy your merchandise as gifts instead of what they would have bought elsewhere.

Because this is all about feeling better about your shopping habits, combine the two. Sell holiday gifts. The proceeds go towards your cause and your donors still get nice presents for their friends and family (with a little bit of an added charitable thrill to it.)

But if you do this, you really want to make sure you combine it with Idea 71: make sure you get the word out early so that they don't finish all of their shopping before they get to you.

giphy (18).gif

Idea 76: Make #GivingTuesday every month or week.

There are 52 Tuesdays a year (sometimes more). So why not keep this thing going? Do something special every Tuesday or the first Tuesday of every month.

Idea 77: Feature past donors and make them feel really special.

When you have their permission, feature past donors in your marketing, letting everyone know how much they helped. This will show your appreciation, but it could also encourage others to give so that they can get that kind of attention too.

Idea 78: Focus on specific communities.

Don't forget about national messaging, but focus on targeting specific communities: namely those that your organization and any of your branches are actually in. Make your appeal feel community-oriented, even if you are helping people in another country.

Idea 79: Make a story "book."

Create a story timeline. Focus your stories on the past, the present, and the future, and give your supporters and potential donors the big picture: what did the world look like before your organization came on the scene, what does it look like now thanks to your donors, and what could it look like in the future with their continued support?

Idea 80: Make a link between "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" savings to money to spare for donations!

Remind everyone how much money they just saved by getting Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. What are they going to do with all that saved money? Well, I bet you can think of a few ways, right?

Idea 81: Do what you're already doing, but incorporate #GivingTuesday into it.

You don't have to do anything crazy - just work #GivingTuesday into your regularly scheduled features. Have a newsletter? Blog? Social media? Your using those mediums anyway, right? Just add a little seasonal giving greeting to them.

Idea 82: Showcase what your volunteers and employees are doing for #GivingTuesday.

If you want your supporters to give up their hard-earned money this #GivingTuesday, then you should be willing to put your money where your mouth is...kind of literally.

Have you donated anything? Other team members at your organization? Talk about yourself a little to show you aren't asking people to do what you aren't willing to do yourself.

Idea 83: For national or multi-branch organizations, make sure you work together and keep a consistent theme and focus.

If you are one branch of a multi-branch organization, then make sure you know anything that the headquarters is doing. While you may have freedom to do some of your own elements, you still might want to stick to a consistent theme or message.

Similarly, if you are the headquarters, think about giving some ideas, themes, or messaging to all of your branches.

Idea 84: Don't just ask for money: volunteers.

It's called #GivingTuesday, not #GivingMoneyTuesday. There are other ways that people can give other than financial. Try to get people to donate their time as well. Set a goal for volunteers.

Idea 85: Don't just ask for money: other gifts.

Of course, there are other things than time or money that people can give, as well: clothes, electronics, canned goods, etc., are all needed as well (depending on what your organization does.) And maybe you can get items donated that you can sell: proceeds going towards your donation totals.

Remember: people just bought all new stuff. They may be looking for a way to unload all their old things anyway.

Giving Back.jpg

Idea 86: Don't just ask for money: blood, organs, and other body parts.

If volunteers and items aren't your thing, use #GivingTuesday to get something that your organization might need: ask for people to donate blood, become an organ donor, give some bone marrow, and other health initiatives.

Idea 87: Make their gifts an actual gift.

Let people make a donation in someone else's name. Forget Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the gift you get for Mom could be a donation to her favorite charity in her name. 

Idea 88: Use popular tools that haven't yet been hit as hard with #GivingTuesday requests. (Think: Snapchat!)

So you know everybody is going to be all up on Twitter with their awesome #GivingTuesday posts. But have they all moved over to Snapchat yet? What about other popular social media platforms? Try to find places where there are both a lot of people but not a lot of chatter about this subject yet.

Idea 89: Schedule emails and posts ahead of time.

There are great tools out there like Buffer and Hootsuite (for social media) or MailChimp (for emails) that let you schedule your communications ahead of time. So if you aren't using them, start. Some things (like "Hey guys, we are now only $1000 away from our goal...") are clearly hard to schedule ahead of time. But there are a lot that you can do early so that you aren't overwhelmed in the moment.

Idea 90: Create uniform messaging for supporters, staff, and volunteers.

Give your internal team talking points. You don't want people straying off message. Let them put their own spin on it, but help them know what to say.

Idea 91: Match your plan to your cause.

Think about doing something that matches your cause. Are you an animal shelter? Then have a campaign like animal bingo: for every X amount of money you raise, you'll randomly select an animal off of your animal-themed bingo board.

For every bingo that you get, you'll do something like give all the animals in your shelter a treat. Get people wanting to help the animals by making you draw more and more animals for the board, leading to more and more bingos and bigger and better prizes for the lovely critters.

You could substitute animals on a bingo board for just about anything, or you could come up with something of your own.

Idea 92: Start another social media challenge.

The ice bucket challenge was a hit. And while you may not want to copy their formula exactly, you might be able to play off of the idea. Think of some way to challenge your donors to get out the word about your great cause.

Idea 93: Set up "adoptions" or "sponsorships."

Do you have something/someone that your donors can 'adopt' or sponsor?

Things I've 'adopted' before:

  • A highway
  • A child
  • A wild animal

You will never come to visit me and see any of those in my house. Yet, I feel like I proud mama when I hear about their successes that my funds have helped them achieve.

You can do the same thing with pretty much anything: sponsor a bike that is being used in a third-world country, sponsor a well, adopt a church, adopt a firefighter, etc.

Idea 94: Focus on both short- and long-term impact.

Try to have goals that you can meet in the short term, but have a plan for them long-term. For example, maybe you can set a goal to raise enough money to set up a new educational program within a correctional facility. Then with that program, you can set up a longer-term goal of getting ex-convicts better rehabilitated down the road.

Idea 95: Build up the excitement.

Get people excited about what you are trying to accomplish. Make them want to get you there by donating.

Giving Tuesday Chalkboard.jpg

Idea 96: Surround yourself with good energy.

Keep inspirational success stories in your bookmark to look over when you feel as if this whole "meet your goal" thing is impossible. It'll help spur you on to victory!

Idea 97: Don't be afraid to steal borrow.

When you find inspirational ideas, mold them to your needs and try them out for yourself.

Idea 98: Set up a fun, light-hearted competition between your organization and another organization in your community.

Just like in Idea 58, join forces with other organizations, but this time make a deal with that organization to have a little bit of friendly competition.

You will both try to raise money, and the one of you who raises the most will be the winner. Loser has to do something silly.

Idea 99: Share your successes as you go.

All day long, let people know how things are going.

"We just hit the 25% mark of our goal!"

"We've now raised enough to fund 10 student scholarships - just 10 more for a whole class!"

Idea 100: Be social on social media.

It is called social media for a reason: so be social! Don't just post, interact. Thank specific users, respond to people who mention you, and make yourself seen and looked positively on.

Idea 101: Try some A/B testing.

Test things out. Try A/B testing on your landing page and emails. It'll help you on future campaigns and it will give you more options for success on this one.

Idea 102: Don't overdue it!

Don't do so much that you wear yourself out and make your donors sick of hearing from you! Do a lot, but don't overdue it.

The Usual Wrap-Up

Let me just give you a disclaimer: these campaigns really can work. How do I know? Well, as I was researching ideas and success stories to share with you, I ended up learning a lot about some great organizations, and I ultimately set up monthly accounts to donate to two great organizations.

It worked on me (and it's not actually even #GivingTuesday yet!), and it can work for your great organization too. So if you haven't done #GivingTuesday in the past, start!

And for more tips and ideas on #GivingTuesday, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Sign up for Our Newsletter

Topics: Tips and How To's, #GivingTuesday

Tell Us What You Thought...