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7 Essential Steps to Get Ready for #GivingTuesday

There are a variety of steps nonprofits can take to increase their chances of successfully raising funds on #GivingTuesday.  Jamie McDonald, the founder of Generosity, Inc., shared with us some of the most sure-fire ways to effectively prepare you for this monumental day of giving.

She went over these steps in a webinar with the people behind New York state’s first statewide #GivingTuesday movement, called #NYGivesDays, which included GiveGab, NYCON, and United Way of New York State.  You can watch the webinar recording here:



1. Set a Big and Realistic Goal

According to Jamie, setting a big goal is one of the most important factors she has seen in her history of involvement with Giving days.  This is because a goal provides a focal point for your organization and your supporters to act on and plan around.  If you know your goal in advance, you’ll see the steps you need to take to move closer to that goal.

Even if you don’t reach your exact goal, organizations that have one see more success than those who don’t.  Try it out for yourself.

2. Choose a Passionate Leader and Team

It takes a lot of extra effort to make a great Giving Day.  You’ll need someone who is passionate about your mission and good at leading other people to make this day as amazing as it can possibly be.

Even for a small organization, think of who else can be a part of your Giving Day team.  This might be a staff person and a board chair or you might want to recruit some volunteers — think deliberately about who you’re bringing in and pick the most passionate and reliable people that you know to do the job!

3. Get Ambassadors to Amplify your Message

Draft a compelling message once and then spread it out by using content ambassadors to further leverage your work.  Create your promotion for the big day and ask your best and brightest supporters to simply SHARE IT anywhere and everywhere!  This is a one-day event – make it big and make it count!

4. Create a Unique Campaign Brand

With all the free design software available online, there’s no excuse to not make your own branded campaign.  Plus, the folks behind #GivingTuesday make it even easier by providing free shareable logos and design templates to help get you started.  Use a site like Canva that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create branded images.

A great example of a nonprofit that created their own campaign brand is UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center for their #GivingTuesday campaign called #GiveANeigh.


5. Pull on Heartstrings to Increase Engagement

If reading your own campaign story doesn’t give you chills, bring a tear to your eye, or get you excited – then you have some work to do!  If you don’t feel motivated and passionate about your own campaign, don’t expect anyone else to either.  An impactful campaign shows creativity and heart.  Look into effective storytelling for fundraising campaigns or search for real-life examples through other Giving Day sites.

6. Be Contagious

Make it easy for people to say “yes” to sharing your content.  For example, let your supporters know that you’re going to send them a shareable message twice a week at a specific time of day and ask them if they’d be willing to simply share it on your organization’s behalf.  How easy is that?  If someone asked you to share something that you already supported in such an easy way, would you say no? Probably not!

List of potential contacts to help share your message:
  • Donor List
  • Prospects
  • Board
  • Ambassadors
  • Staff
  • Media
  • Volunteers

Make sure to create consistent, shareable content, so that others that you don’t ask directly will still feel compelled to share it.  And when in doubt, follow the COPE philosophy – Create Once, Publish Everywhere!

7. Engage Community Partners

Local businesses can benefit from promoting your Giving Day involvement because it adds to their credibility within the community, gives them an additional venue for advertising (through your Giving Day campaign or website), and can inspire creativity for promotional efforts for their business.

For example, a local pizza place can donate 50% of all proceeds from pizza sales for the day to a campaign for an animal shelter and call it “pizza for puppies”.  They get more community exposure and potentially more business and the nonprofit gets more exposure and potentially more donations!


Are You Ready for #GivingTuesday?