Best Practices for Giving Tuesday Nonprofit Fundraising

Craig Grella
October 22, 2021

The importance of Giving Tuesday to nonprofit fundraising cannot be overstated. For some organizations, Giving Tuesday donations can represent as much as 20% of their annual revenue. This year, Giving Tuesday has set an ambitious goal of helping nonprofits raise $3.4 billion.

If you're planning a Giving Tuesday event, it’s critical that you get started early, plan your strategy, and create authentic conversations with your online community.

To help make this your best year yet, Salsa has put together a few Giving Tuesday best practices from some of the most successful nonprofits in the country. Share them with your team and take part in the biggest giving day of the year!

In addition to the tips below, you can follow along with our Giving Tuesday E-Guide, which features additional tips, templates, and examples of successful nonprofit fundraising campaigns from 2020.

Giving Tuesday Eguide 2021 CTA

Giving Tuesday Best Practice #1: Make it Official

The first thing you should do when planning your event is to join the official movement at GivingTuesday.org/join.

There, you can connect with your local Giving Tuesday movement and learn more about how you can give back in your country or community. You can also sign up for helpful tips delivered via email each week. These tips include communication recommendations, email and social media templates, and media assets you can share to promote your event.

Donors who are familiar with Giving Tuesday and who are looking for nonprofits to support in their local area will browse the Giving Tuesday website and find "giving coalitions", which are groups of nonprofits sorted by geography. Registering with Giving Tuesday, and with local giving coalitions, can help you leverage the Giving Tuesday global network and find new donors to your cause.

Giving Tuesday Best Practice #2: Check Your Reputation

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Those who find you online will do their research through a few popular outlets that list information about nonprofits across the country. It pays to check your reputation through those listing sites to make sure your information is up to date. We recommend visiting the following:

You'll increase your chances of getting a new donor by reassuring the public that yours is a brand they can trust.

Giving Tuesday Best Practice #3: Make GT Its Own Thing

If you do hold a Giving Tuesday event, make sure to keep it separate from your other nonprofit fundraising initiatives. You can do this by creating a dedicated Giving Tuesday Donation landing page and donation form. That way, you can measure and track your metrics for this single event or campaign and compare that to other fundraising campaigns you might hold during the year.

Make it fun by creating a theme just for the Giving Tuesday event, and then create some quick design branding to match that theme.

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Giving Tuesday Best Practice #4: Start Planning Now!

Do not delay in planning your big day— the earlier you start the better, especially if you are hosting a virtual event! Use Salsa’s Virtual and Hybrid Event Guide as inspiration and take time to plan your email and social media messaging ahead of time. There are a few tools you can use to automate your message, which we cover in tip #7.

If possible, we recommend starting 6 weeks ahead of time and alternating email and social media messaging. You can follow the schedule in our 6-week communication roadmap and use the companion worksheet to create your own roadmap for Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday Best Practice #5: Make GT Last More than 1 Day

If Black Friday can last more than one day so can Giving Tuesday. If time allows, we recommend promoting all your nonprofit fundraising events six weeks ahead of time and continuing to promote it even after the event has ended.

For those members of your existing email list who do not donate in the run-up to the event or on Giving Tuesday itself (November 30th, 2021) send them a few follow-up messages letting them know the results of your campaign and reminding them they can still donate via the special donation form.

Remember, the end of year is a busy time for most people, with several holidays to plan for and lots of running around. Some people just can’t focus in time to meet your deadlines, but you’ll be surprised how many people will donate after the fact with just a simple reminder message.

Giving Tuesday Best Practice #6: Share Your Impact

The act of framing your appeal with a story of your impact has been known to raise both the frequency and amount of donations you receive. When you communicate with your audience, remember to share the average gift amount that you received last year or suggest a donation amount tied to a specific action and your organization’s impact. Here are a few examples:

  • A $150 donation pays the electric bill for a family of five for a month.

  • $250 provides food and shelter for a housing-insecure family for a week.

  • $75 buys a suit and tie for a low-income senior re-entering the workforce.

Giving Tuesday Best Practice #7: Mirror Social and Email Outreach

So much of Giving Tuesday happens online so make sure your online communication is coordinated. Social media messaging should match the timing of your email campaigns. And while emails are an extremely important part of your outreach, Giving Tuesday is typically a social-media-focused campaign. Actively update your audience on your fundraising progress while reminding supporters to pitch in and spread the word! Use images and real stories of your impact. Feature staff members in action and the people your organization has helped through the years. Remember to get permission/releases for anyone who is featured in your images or videos.

Plan your messages early. Follow the schedule in our Giving Tuesday e-Guide where we give you a 6-week roadmap for communications along with text for 12 emails and matching social posts. If you're an existing Salsa Engage user, you'll also get 7 new Giving Tuesday-themed email templates you can use in the email automation platform.

Get your team together and work on how you’ll promote your event. Create those messages in a document or using a social media posting tool like Salsa Engage, Buffer, or Sprout Social. Scheduling them ahead of time frees you up to engage with your community and spend time cultivating new donors.

Start early, plan your messages ahead, automate where possible, and create authentic conversations with your audience.

Good luck fundraising on Giving Tuesday!

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If you want to unlock more strategic fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

  • E-Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising on Giving Tuesday - Best practices for communicating your Giving Tuesday fundraising events with email and social templates, a branded donation form template, and a roadmap for 6 weeks of donor communication.

  • Nonprofit KPIs and How To Measure Your Impact - The most comprehensive post on key performance indicators for nonprofits. Download our template and learn how to measure your own nonprofit KPIs.

  • Nonprofit Editorial Calendar - Download our Guide on creating your own nonprofit content and download our editorial calendar you can use right away to help you plan.

  • Want More Volunteers and Donors? - Read our article on the Nonprofit Ladder of Engagement and learn how to engage your audience at every level of their relationship with your organization.

  • Ultimate Guide to Advocacy Campaigns. If you're planning an advocacy campaign our Ultimate Guide to Advocacy Campaigns is the place to start, with communication templates, relationship mapping tools, and more.

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