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29 Ideas for #GivingTuesday 2015 You Haven't Thought Of


Reprinted from Whole Whale

29-ideas-for-giving-tuesday-2015-image1.jpgWe hope you are participating in #GivingTuesday 2015—the nonprofit sector is trying to build a herd mentality in the same way that online retailers built up Cyber Monday. In 2013, Cyber Monday revenue grew 21 percent, with a record of approximately $2.29 billion in sales (IBM 2013). What's more, the sector is trying to build a new unselfish social habit, which means it will take more nonprofit participation to compete with the existing holiday corporate messaging.

There are tons of #GivingTuesday guides, playbooks, toolkits, examples, and stories so we decided to try to summarize some of the best ideas as well as add our own. Enjoy!

  1. Join #GivingTuesday. The rest of these tips don't really make sense if you aren't participating. ... List yourself on
  2. Draft a quarterback. Have an internal point person executing the plan and creating wrap-up analysis with learnings for next year (this doesn't have to be your classic fundraising person either). Have them recruit a team of volunteers/super supporters from your network. Pro-tip: give this group a title like #GivingTuesday Advisors.
  3. Beat those pesky giving lines #GivingMonday. Look, if the generous profiteers at Kmart can start Black Friday at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving—you can "open your doors" early and count donations for your campaign starting Monday (or earlier). Feel free to use this joke when you do it.
  4. Use social norms and price anchoring. The average donation amount in 2013 was $140 (Blackbaud). Make this subtly known on your donation form options and copy. Yes, we know averages are wildly misleading—but it's for a great cause. Geek out on more influence tactics.
  5. Focus on new donor cultivation while using it as an opportunity to rally existing supporters to "friend raise" and pull in their friends by donating themselves.
  6. A message from your constituents. Plan a YouTube video with recorded "I gave because—" from your super supporters—with donate button. Release it on Monday and throw some ads behind it. Here is a great one the Michael J. Fox Foundation created from supporter letters.
  7. Host a live YouTube "telethon," announce new donors, and interact with social media interactions. Pro tip: register for and make sure you have a strong Internet connection.
  8. Put your CEO in a dunk tank. Well it doesn't have to be a dunk tank, but you get it. This idea is inspired by our friends at who put their CEO, Nancy Lublin, and COO, Aria Finger, in a dunk tank and only dunked her if they hit a million for their annual event. We were there, it was awesome. Pro-tip: combine this with #7.
  9. Karma. Find a cause you care about and donate to it on #GivingTuesday. Never hurts to have (good) karma on your side.
  10. Schedule it. Schedule out your giving reminders across all major platforms using HootSuite, Facebook scheduled posts, and your e-mail scheduler. Try to analyze peak times your followers are active—we like FollowerWonk for analyzing followers on Twitter.
  11. Ink your supporters Create temporary hand tattoos with your {logo} + #GivingTuesday or #Unselfie. Send these to volunteers ahead of time, ask them to ask staff during lunch to collect. These can also be used as incentives for early giving or participation. Here are the cheapest ones we found—1,000 for $100.
  12. Reputation matters. New volunteers will be evaluating new nonprofits based on rating sites. Check to make sure you are updated in places that matter:,,,
  13. Time sucks suck… Participate, but don't let this take too much time! Time is money, manage expectations on returns for your work.
  14. Start early. Trends for Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday show people gearing up in August/September.
  15. Blitz your message! Have super supporters schedule tweets that say, "I gave to @{YourCharity} #GivingTuesday"—for December 1, 2015. ThunderClap is a great tool for this.
  16. Better together—don't worry about crowded messaging, we are increasing the size of the pie, which means your slice will be larger. Think about how you can collaborate with other orgs in your cause area. Donation averages per charity involved in 2012 and 2013 stayed relatively even as total charities involved increased by 250 percent.
  17. Matching Gifts are to #GivingTuesday as deals are to #CyberMonday.  Create urgency by creating a 24-48 hour period where donations will be matched. Use Double the Donation’s #GivingTuesday Matching Gift Pages for free.
  18. Don't cannibalize your holiday messaging. This is just the start of the race—not the final sprint. Think about positioning #GivingTuesday as participating in a social movement to combat the commercialism that has taken over one of best excuses to eat turkey with in-laws.
  19. TEST YOUR DAMN DONATE PAGE. This should happen well before #GivingTuesday. We have had increases of 20 percent and higher for every page we have A/B tested for our Whole Whale clients.
  20. First Tuesday giving. Offer an option for donors to repeat their donations on the first Tuesday of every month.
  21. Be a part of the conversation. Be hyperactive on social and consider running ads in the afternoon 1-4 p.m. when donation activity peaked on #GivingTuesday in 2013 (Blackbaud).
  22. Prepare a landing page. Promote your Giving Tuesday campaign on your site's home page and across subpages so that all visitors will know about it. Create a focused giving page just for #GivingTuesday and promote that exact page, don't make people click to find your donate button please.
  23. Progress meter! Set a donation goal and show users the progress toward that amount. Pro-tip: feel free to raise the goal if donations start pouring in and try to seed early donations to get started. We like IndieGoGo and Tilt, but you can also fake this functionality by manually updating an image on your site as you hit milestones.
  24. Say thanks! Show a feed of Twitter users who have donated and try to thank each one that donates with #GivingTuesday.
  25. Make donations tangible. Will the money go toward a new program or needed equipment? Giving transparency can help your story when getting "fence-sitters" to convert. Lakeside Chautauqua managed to raise $105k by focusing on a local restoration project in their community.
  26. Be #Unselfie (ish). Encourage your members to share their #unselfie(s) with you on Twitter, FB, and Instagram. Try to highlight the best stories—once again, the Michael J. Fox Foundation did this very well in 2013.
  27. The best ideas are not in the room. Look to your supporters for great fundraising stories that you can bring national attention to.  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation did this well by finding a 10 year-old who was selling barrettes to raise money to help her friend struggling with the disease.
  28. Don't ignore corporate giving! Companies are just like people (#HobbyLobby) and may have employee giving programs you can tap into or find matching gifts through. America's Charities is a leader in running workplace giving campaigns and has some great tips for #GivingTuesday corporate giving.
  29. Did it work? Create a December donation forecast, then measure total donations for December and on #GivingTuesday. Ask the question: Did we cannibalize giving, redistribute to Tuesday, or increase it?

The only way to #fail on #GivingTuesday is by not measuring your results.

george-weiner.jpgThe preceding is a guest post by George Weiner, chief whaler at Whole Whale, a digital agency that leverages data and technology to increase the impact of nonprofits. In the same way the Inuits used every part of the whale, WW leverages data and tech to increase organizational impact and reduce waste.

Topics: Fundraising