As Giving Tuesday approaches, many nonprofits want to know how they can best leverage the opportunity for their organization. 

(Note that the tips here apply for any local giving day such as Colorado Gives Day or Give Grande NM or whatever your state has going on).

What Is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is a national effort to encourage the public to give to the charity of their choice on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It's nicely timed so when people get together with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday they can drum up additional support for the charities they care about. (It also helps balance the insanity of Black Friday!)

The reality is that those organizations who have done an excellent job of growing and engaging their community throughout the year are likely to see the best results on Giving Tuesday. 

But we recommend participating regardless of where you're at. You'll learn a lot about your supporters, grow your community, and your experience will help you prepare for next year.

Here are 3 important tips to help craft your strategy:

1. Use Every Communication Channel You Have

You'll want to use every single option you have to get the message out – the month before, the week before, the day before, the day of, and finally the day after. This includes:

  • Your website
  • Email marketing platform
  • Social media platforms
  • Text messaging
  • Board member phone calls
  • Volunteer networks
  • Family members of staff

Mobilize all of your contacts. Reach out to everyone who might feel passionate about your cause. Think hard about new groups of people you can engage in this effort. For example, would your cause appeal to "PhilanthroKids" or local associations or groups? 

2. Focus Your Message

Start by answering these key questions:

  • What message will resonate most with people who care about your cause?
  • What will motivate them to open their wallets and donate?
  • How will the funds you raise be spent?
  • What tangible impact will they have on people's lives?
  • How can you give a face to the people who will benefit?
  • What story best captures the essence of what you do?

Once you have clear answers to these questions, you need to figure out how to get your message across with just a few words and a powerful image. Or better yet, a 15-20-second video.

Save the Children Campaign

My favorite mantra around messaging is "focus demands sacrifice." To make your message both powerful and memorable, you need to whittle it down to the core. Weigh every word and see if you can eliminate it or replace with something more powerful.

Take a look at our campaign tips to help craft your message. Also check out this great GivingTuesday webinar from CauseVox.

3. Streamline Your Donation Process

It should be quick and easy to donate. You want to reduce every possible barrier or "friction" to completing a donation. 

People should be able to easily move from a link in Facebook or an email message to your donation page. Once there, they should enter their contact and payment information and complete the transaction on the same page.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Don't make people click through and load multiple pages to complete the process.
  • Don't ask for unnecessary information. This slows the process and can reduce trust.
  • Make sure your donation page is mobile-ready. A large number of potential donors are likely to arrive on a phone or tablet.
  • Display a warm thank-you message as soon as the donation is completed
  • Have a few people test the donation experience from different devices and give you feedback well before the big day so you can troubleshoot if necessary.

Giving Tuesday Results

Looking for more info on how this all works and why you should invest the time? See the infographic below from #GivingTuesday.

The initiative is gaining support with more donations and larger gifts each year. It's a great opportunity to bring new supporters on board, and also to see what your online community can do. Often supporters embrace the opportunity to flex their fundraising muscles and do a little work on your behalf.

And if your campaign flops? Learn from what didn't work and do a better job next year!