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January 20, 2022
How to Prepare Week-by-Week for #GivingTuesday
By Bruce Mendelsohn

Bruce Mendelsohn 2017
Bruce Mendelsohn
With #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3 only 10 weeks away, now is the time to prepare your nonprofit to succeed on the calendar year’s biggest—and most competitive—charitable fundraising day.

Since its 2012 launch, #GivingTuesday has been celebrated in the U.S. on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to benefit any registered charity or any type of 501(c) organization. Last year, #GivingTuesday campaigns nationally raised more than $400 million from 3.6 million donors, with an average online donation of $105.

Because most Americans—65% according to PayPal—plan to donate more this holiday season over last year, #GivingTuesday can supercharge your annual fundraising and end the year positively.

#GivingTuesday is an opportunity to broadcast the stories that define your organization, educate and cultivate donors who are interested and moved by those stories, and build awareness of your mission, messages, programs, and priorities.

Consider these tips to help your organization plan in the 10 weeks leading up to #GivingTuesday.

  • Register your organization. Whether you plan to go “all in” or pass on #GivingTuesday, you should at least “join the movement.” (As of this publication date, more than 62,000 organizations have registered). Register here.

  • Research and discuss #GivingTuesday ideas/options. For the next nine weeks, add #GivingTuesday to the agendas for your board, staff, and donor meetings. At the first meeting, solicit suggestions for potential #GivingTuesday fundraising initiatives and determine SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
  • Engage your board. When you feel you have a viable #GivingTuesday plan with SMART goals, share it with your board for feedback, input, and approval. You might invite the most vociferous participant to champion the short campaign. Consider soliciting seed money or a board commitment to matching funds so your campaign doesn’t start at $0.
  • Finalize & share the plan. Consider sharing your final #GivingTuesday plan with board members, staff, volunteers, and top donors.
  • Designate a “staff champion”: If no one volunteers, assign an ambitious mid-level manager or consider hiring a digital marketing/fundraising consultant to help plan, implement, and evaluate the 10- to 12-week project.

  • “Staff champion” duties: Weekly updates at meetings; collaborate with peers to prepare and share social media content and calendar; manage/monitor social media engagement on Dec. 3; prepare and present a final report including data on donations, social media engagement, and suggested improvements.
  • Solicit & store #GivingTuesday content. Ask board members, staff, and donors why they support your organization and get their written permission to share their stories. Create and share a secure folder (either on your internal server or Google Drive or DropBox) that includes #GivingTuesday content (photos, videos, and testimonials of your organizations’ projects/successes). Use the content to fill in your social media calendar (Week 3).

  • Brainstorm & aggregate #GivingTuesday hashtags. Because social media is key to the success of #GivingTuesday, create three or four unique hashtags for your donors, staff, and stakeholders to include in their respective social media posts. (This also simplifies tracking engagement!)
  • Create online donation form. Brand the form “#GivingTuesday”. Keep it simple: Prominently offer four or five suggested donation amounts (explaining the specific impact of each amount); less prominently offer a “fill-in-the-blank” option. Optimize the form for mobile users (on #GivingTuesday 2016, 45% of donations were made via mobile devices). The most prominent link to your online donation form should be on your homepage above the fold. Wherever you link from , make the form one-click accessible.

  • Test links to form. Test the form several times for mobile and desktop UX.
  • #GivingTuesday social media content and calendar. Have your “staff champion” prepare a spreadsheet with unique daily content for your social media platforms promoting your #GivingTuesday initiative. The content should include photos, videos, testimonials, and the hashtags you created in Weeks 6 and 5. Every social media post pertaining to #GivingTuesday should include a link to the online donation form.
  • Finalize & share social media content Internally. Remind stakeholders to include the unique hashtags in their social media posts.

  • Social media promotion. Encourage board, staff, and donors to use their personal social media to promote your #GivingTuesday campaign.

  • Prepare & schedule solicitation emails. Use your email platform (e.g., Constant Contact) to craft and schedule solicitation emails a week before #GivingTuesday and twice on Dec. 3 ”“morning and evening (peak social media engagement times). Include content from your social media calendar, hashtags, and highlight the link to your online donation form.
  • Activate online donation form. Make sure it works.

  • Increase social media engagement. Multiple daily posts using your unique hashtags will build excitement and awareness of your #GivingTuesday initiatives.

  • Prepare staff: Make sure staff know your organization’s #GivingTuesday goals, where they can find content to share, and who’s in charge of social media engagement (staff champion).
DEC. 3 ”“ #GivingTuesday
  • Stay active on social media: Thank donors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Provide hourly fundraising updates. Post content from donors (you’ve gotten their permission!). Challenge your followers to donate. Be sure every post links to your online donation form.
Additional Resources:
Bruce Mendelsohn is The Hired Pen, a digital marketing and development consultant who helps nonprofit organizations and business leaders tell the stories—and raise the funds—that help their organizations stand out. Follow him on Twitter@brm90, email him at or call 508-873-6324.
September 2019
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