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It’s a crowded field on Giving Tuesday, but there’s no reason to sit that day out. Here are 4 tips for a successful Giving Tuesday that doesn’t overwhelm you.

You’ve heard the critiques of Giving Tuesday. . .

Giving Tuesday is not a huge money-maker . . . Giving Tuesday is a waste of staff time . . . Social media is flooded with thousands of nonprofits making their pitch . . .

While you may not solicit a six-figure gift from Giving Tuesday, it is certainly a good idea to participate if you have a simple and actionable strategy that you can implement without too much time and attention. Giving Tuesday is a good touch point with your donors before your big end-of-year asks, and you can fight for a small slice of the $2.47 billion pie that has become one of the most lucrative days of charity of the year.

To ensure success, get all of your ducks in a row at least one week prior to Giving Tuesday. Here are four strategies to consider.

  1. Set up a themed email campaign with no fewer than five emails, starting with a “Save the Date” on the Friday before Giving Tuesday. Here’s a basic recommended email schedule. You can do more or less, but this is a useful template.
  • Friday email announcing campaign and monetary goal
  • Monday email
  • Tuesday morning email
  • Tuesday night last-chance email
  • Wednesday morning thank-you with an update towards goal

    Consider alerting donors to the Giving Tuesday appeal ahead of time (in your newsletter, quarterly update, etc.).
  1. Finalize your email list, draft all emails and creative subject lines, and set up your email program (MailChimp, etc.) so that everything is automated. Prepare a thank-you email that is generated automatically once a donor gives. (If an automatic thank-you already exists, tailor it to Giving Tuesday gifts for a few days, then change it back.) Ensure that your website allows donors to give without any technical errors or difficulties.

  2. Add a temporary pop-up to your website. While they are irritating, pop-ups have proven to be successful for campaigns. And make sure any accompanying messaging and branding—such as a pop-up or social media post—is consistent across all communications channels.

  3. Think outside the box when it comes to how best to solicit your audience. Seek a matching gift from a donor to help drive gifts; include a solicitation in the Wednesday thank-you email; use a specific story from someone your organization serves. These extra touches or different ideas may make your campaign stand out from the crowd in unique ways, motivating more donors.

If you are spending more than a day putting together a Giving Tuesday campaign, then yes, your ROI will not be that great. But success on Giving Tuesday depends on having a strategy in place—so use these strategies to head into December with a win to kick off your end-of-year giving!


Are you looking ahead to end-of-year plans and wondering how to make the most of it? I'd love to hear how I can help your organization have a super successful year! Feel free to reach out to me at ceastman@americanphilanthropic.com to discuss your fundraising plans and goals!


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