Back to Blog

#GivingTuesday for the Small Nonprofit: 7 Ways to Prepare

#GivingTuesday for the Small Nonprofit: 7 Ways to Prepare

Giving Days are on online phenomena taking the nonprofit world by storm. They provide a sense of urgency to donors to give right away instead of putting it on their to-do list for later.

These days all evolved from GivingTuesday! GivingTuesday was launched in 2012 to celebrate and encourage online giving. Since then, it’s only gotten bigger.

If your nonprofit wants to do GivingTuesday right, you’ll need to prepare for the campaign. How do you do that? Well, here are our suggestions:

  1. Plan ahead for the campaign
  2. Consider your available platforms
  3. Make fundraising a game
  4. Tell your nonprofit’s story
  5. Incorporate social media marketing
  6. Maximize the impact of gifts
  7. Don’t forget to thank donors

Ready to jump into planning for your nonprofit’s GivingTuesday campaign? Let’s get started!

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

1. Plan ahead for the campaign

When it comes to hosting a successful campaign (of any kind!) one of the keys to success is planning ahead. When you go into a campaign, especially a time-based one like GivingTuesday, with a game plan, you’ll be ready to take on any twists or turns that you encounter along the way as well.

When you begin planning for your campaign, don’t forget the following steps:

  • Write your appeal. Look over your past appeals to choose ones that have resonated well with your donors. Use that as a baseline for the appeal you write for this campaign. This will act as a cornerstone for your nonprofit’s marketing plan. Read more about your marketing plan with this guide by SalsaLabs.
  • Set a goal. Your GivingTuesday campaign should have a concrete goal that you’re trying to reach. This goal will provide a purpose for the urgency you’re initiating with your donors. Make sure your fundraising goal is attainable while still challenging in order to maximize your donations.
  • Create a calendar. Create a calendar of the activities you want to host leading up to GivingTuesday. Some nonprofits host events, post online video advertisements, or find other ways to get donors involved with the various aspects of the campaign.

Planning early is hard to do. It’s difficult to prioritize a nonprofit campaign need that will occur in a month or more. However, in order to ensure your nonprofit is organized and ready to raise some money, planning is essential.

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

2. Consider your available platforms

Once you’ve decided what types of activities your nonprofit will conduct by creating the calendar leading up to your GivingTuesday campaign, you’ll also know the types of platforms you need to complete them.

For instance, you may decide to do the following activities:

  • Host a GivingTuesday event. In this case, you’ll need event fundraising software. Consider aspects of your campaign such as your goals, your event activities, and your budget when investing in a solution. This article provides guidance around considerations your nonprofit should make when considering event software.
  • Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Kicking off your fundraising with a peer-to-peer campaign can be a great way to build anticipation and registrations for your GivingTuesday event. Choose a platform provider that will allow your fundraisers to customize their fundraising pages with personal anecdotes about their connection to your nonprofit.
  • Develop a marketing strategy. When it comes to telling people about your campaign, be sure you’re using email software that helps you reach out to the best segments of the audience. Also, look for social media integrations with other solutions to leverage the power of platforms like Facebook and Instagram to your advantage.

No matter what aspects are included in your strategy, various software solutions can help you get there. Look through your current software ecosystem to see what can be accomplished with the solutions you have on hand. Then, consider investments to fill in the gaps (if it fits in your budget, of course!).

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

3. Make fundraising a game

Implementing gamification strategies into your fundraising will add an element of friendly competition to the process. Donors will want to make the biggest impact possible towards your goal and to gain recognition like other donors.

Some gamification techniques include:

  • Adding a fundraising thermometer to your campaign page. This shows the progress your nonprofit makes towards your ultimate goal throughout the campaign. Plus, donors can see the immediate impact their donation makes.
  • Creating a donor recognition wall to highlight your top donors. Recognition walls, whether physical or digital, show your appreciation for your top givers while providing others with a personal giving goal to aspire to.
  • Providing donor badges for various donation accomplishments. For instance, you may offer a badge to donors who register for your event, to those who give above a certain level, or to those who participate in your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Gamification technically isn’t a “game” but it takes the motivating elements of a game and applies them to your fundraising strategy to help you earn more!

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

4. Tell your nonprofit’s story

There are few things as motivating as a personal anecdote. When well-crafted, a good story about your nonprofit’s past successes will appeal to your donor’s sense of empathy, driving them to take action to support you.

There are a few elements of a good story that you should consider incorporating into your GivingTuesday marketing initiatives to drive giving:

  • Focus on a single subject. In order to help donors relate to the story and really care about the topic, it’s best for your nonprofit to narrow its focus. While your mission may impact hundreds of people, choose one of them to write about to draw in your readers.
  • Use descriptive language. Stating facts is a great way to communicate statistics, but when telling a story, you need lots of description. Incorporating many adjectives and adverbs can make a huge difference.
  • Create a compelling visual. Use either an image or a video to showcase the situation you describe. A single compelling visual adds a lot of value to your story and further draws in the reader to learn more.

Make sure crafting, editing, and distributing your story is the role of multiple team members at your nonprofit. The more people you have working on this initiative, the bigger impact it will make in the community.

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

5. Incorporate social media marketing

Even nonprofit professionals who are resistant to new trends in technology admit that social media can’t be ignored anymore. It’s now an essential aspect of your nonprofit marketing strategy.

When you craft this aspect of your strategy, don’t just post the same content on every platform. You need to think carefully about the various aspects of each social media platform. For instance:

  • Instagram tends to highlight images and prioritize photos. Try posting images from last year’s GivingTuesday event to get people hyped.
  • Twitter is used to communicate short snippets of text. Think of witty sayings and funny posts for this platform. Note: it’s also a good platform for surveys!
  • Facebook offers the works of videos, stories, images, and more. So use this platform for slightly longer content that will draw in the attention of your supporters.

Social media can’t be ignored! This is especially true as your nonprofit works hard to garner the support of your younger audience members.

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

6. Maximize the impact of gifts

If you had the chance to increase the donation amount for a large chunk of your donors without asking them to dig deeper into their pockets, would you do it? Most nonprofits would say, “Absolutely!”

That’s what matching gifts do. They’re gifts made by the employers of your donors to increase the impact of donations. Here’s how it works:

  • A donor gives to your GivingTuesday campaign.
  • They check their eligibility for a matched gift using a matching gift database (or your nonprofit finds it for them with an automated system).
  • If they’re eligible, the donor submits a match request to their employer and the company matches the gift according to their predetermined match ratio.

According to Double the Donation’s article on corporate matching gift programs, 78% of match-eligible donors simply don’t know that their company offers a program. The best way to inform them is to incorporate this option in your campaign marketing strategy.

GivingTuesday Small Nonprofit

7. Don’t forget to thank donors.

When your campaign ends, your job isn’t over! You still need to thank your donors for their contribution, especially if you reach your goals. They played a major part in getting you there, so give credit where credit is due.

Consider the different things your donors may appreciate in this “thank-you” message. Here are some ideas:

  • Write a handwritten letter. This is a personal touch that will go a long way in showing your donors that you care.
  • Strike a comparison. If you raised more than last year, show your donors how much you’ve grown by comparing the statistics.
  • Say thank you in person. Especially for major donors who gave to your campaign, take the opportunity to thank them in person, whether it’s taking them to lunch or for a cup of coffee.

Showing a little appreciation can go a long way. Don’t shortchange your donors by not giving this aspect of your campaign your all.


GivingTuesday has helped nonprofits raise a lot of money in the past. It’s a very valuable giving day if you plan for it correctly. With these seven strategies, your nonprofit will be ready to take on the holiday. If you still want to conduct more research about GivingTuesday, check out Salsa’s new GivingTuesday eGuide for 2019. Good luck!

Meet the Author

Gerard Tonti is the Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Gerard’s marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization, and modern marketing technology help him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.