Tactics for Success on Giving Tuesday

Guest Post by Robin Thompson. 

With the unusual times we have had over the last 18 months, Giving Tuesday gives us a unique opportunity to kick off our end-of-year fundraising and maximize our fundraising efforts. Then, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal. Keep pegging the fun meter on fundraising through December, the biggest fundraising month of the year!

I’ve prepared five tactics that help ensure the success of your fundraising efforts on Giving Tuesday, so you can position your nonprofit more strategically and engage your donors more creatively and have fun with FUNdraising through the end of 2021 and kickstart the new year! 

  1. The steps to eliminate the pain in Campaign planning
  2. The anatomy of the strategy: positioning your nonprofit more strategically
  3. Game, set, match: creating urgency to inspire donors
  4. The science and art of building relationships
  5. Using gamification to build stronger relationships with prospects

Campaign not a camp-pain

You know you’ve had them, I’ve had them, we’ve all had a camp-pain. Look at your campaign from a holistic perspective, look at the total project and reverse engineer it from there. Make sure your campaign is fun for you! If it’s fun for you and your colleagues, it’ll be fun for your donors.

When we talk about these five tactics and how we can keep a campaign from being a camp-pain one of the ways we can do that is to determine our goal for the final result. A lot of times, like on Giving Tuesday, it may not be about how much money you brought in, it may be about establishing relationships. The way I look at Giving Tuesday is as a gateway to end-of-the-year fundraising.

Campaign Theme Ideas

Wish Lists

Wish lists are a great way for donors to see the impact of their donations.  

Scavenger Hunt

This is a great option where you can get ultra-creative.  

Celebrity Spokesperson

You can hire a celebrity spokesperson from places like for as little as $200! This can be a great way to create a connection to your donors or board members. 

Photo Contest

This is another idea that allows you to customize your campaign theme to your organization and increase engagement on Giving Tuesday.

Whatever you decide for your campaign theme, make sure you tailor it to your organization and, of course, make it fun!

Anatomy of a Strategy

Some call it nailing down the why. When you think of your nonprofit, what is a word or phrase that describes your organization when it’s doing what it does well? For example, does your organization support children with serious illness, feed people, house people, love animals, prevent teen suicide? 

Ponder the following:

  • What does your organization believe in?

We believe that…

  • However… Why aren’t we able to provide what we believe? What’s keeping us from getting there? What is the problem we’re solving?
  • What results do we want to achieve if we take that obstacle out of the way?

Think of your ideal achievements once the obstacle is nixed. 

  • Do people believe that we are the organization to achieve this?

You believe in your organization. Ensure that your donors also believe in you!

Then fill this in below to get you thinking even more!

  • Our non-profit represents the people who _____. 
  • We do ______ better than any other organization. 
  • The results of what we do is easily seen by _______. 
  • No one can ______ as well as we call. 
  • The impact of our work is _______.

Game, Set, Match

In tennis, as you probably know, when the announcer says game, set, match, the game is over. That’s exactly what happens when you get a match from a donor. Think about Giving Tuesday. Why are we doing it? Why are we going to get a match? The reason is it creates urgency and inspires current donors. Most donors welcome the opportunity to leverage their donation. So, asking them, “Can we use your donation for a match this year?” I’ve never had a donor tell me no. There is no reason for them to not want to say YES!

If you don’t have a donor in mind who you know is going to donate this year, ask some of your current donors. See if you can pool the money together. I suggest if you don’t meet your Giving Tuesday goals, you can say the donor has agreed to extend that through December (of course, ask the donor if it’s okay). We’ve even had foundations and corporations agree!

Related: Take advantage of our special Giving Tuesday promo and get a free trial of iWave and screen 200 names for free!

Relationship Science and Art

The average American knows 600 people. Leverage these relationships and map out those connections. One of the ways we can really help our campaign and have a successful Giving Tuesday is to think about relationships. Look at relationship summaries of board members, people in the area that are giving to similar organizations who may already have an affinity to your cause, and create a donor list of these people.  

This creates a wide-spanning effect and positive mentality where numerous people are reaching out to nurture those relationships due to the great information you’ve uncovered through relationship and connections mapping.   

Remember to leverage your existing relationships. Prospect in your database. Create a list of potential donors, send them a letter telling them about your nonprofit, and avoid making an ask. After about two to three weeks, send a follow-up appeal letter. 

Through fundraising intelligence solutions, you may be able to uncover major donors from previous smaller-scale donors. Look into their past donations to organizations similar to yours and reach out with a similar ask. They already have an affinity towards an organization like yours and have the means to give more generously! 

Magic of Gamification 

During the lockdown, as you probably did as well, I found all kinds of fun and free things online! Paint, bingo, scavenger hunts, etc. We learned about having fun through gamification! When thinking of the end of the year fundraising, think of ways to turn it into a game.

  • Quiz with prizes
  • Trivia
  • Introduce a book
  • Virtual tour
  • Virtual film Festival

Think of unique ways to introduce gamification during Giving Tuesday. Have the theme of the game play into your nonprofit’s mission, persona, and style!

When designing your end-of-year campaign, create a sense of intrigue or a mystery. Make them want to binge your content and want more!

To sum it up:

  1. Form the relationship first.
  2. Provide at least three pieces of information about your organization before an ask. 
  3. And, remember: If nothing else, make Giving Tuesday super fun for you, donors, volunteers, and staff because we all need a little more fun!

I hope that you will find these tactics helpful and fun! Focus your efforts on Giving Tuesday. Push hard for the remainder of the year and kickstart your fundraising efforts in the new year! 

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