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How to Plan a Giving Tuesday Campaign

23 October, 2019

This year, on 3rd December, the Giving Tuesday campaign encourages everyone do their small part to help the charities that mean so much to them. The campaign started in 2002 and has grown to be truly global: anyone, anywhere can pledge to donate money, fundraise, volunteer or simply talk with friends and family about charitable causes. 

The Giving Tuesday campaign is tremendously effective, too. Last year in the U.K., 4.5 million people did something to support a cause on Giving Tuesday, making it the most successful campaign to date in the country. For charities like yours, Giving Tuesday is also a key opportunity to boost donations and raise awareness of your cause. However, to get the most out of your campaign, you need a proper plan. In this post, we highlight a few steps and tips to make the most out of Giving Tuesday. 

Step One: Set a Goal

Giving Tuesday has tremendous potential to boost your donations, but it all transpires on a single day. As such, it’s important to set clear and SMART fundraising goals in advance. Here’s a bit more about each component:

  • S is for Specific: Focus on the Numbers. While you may indeed want to achieve a goal of “raising as much money as possible,” this goal doesn’t really say anything and can be challenging to accomplish. When planning your Giving Tuesday campaign, be specific about what you want to accomplish. 
  • M is for Measurable: Establish Quantifiable Goals. Whatever your goal is, make sure that it’s measurable. Monetary goals are easily measurable as you can confirm exactly how much money is raised through your fundraising campaign. 
  • A is for Attainable: Be Aspirational but Realistic. If you set a Giving Tuesday goal that is too lofty, you and your team may start to feel disillusioned or disappointed if you don’t achieve it. Rather, if you set a more realistic goal and then meet or exceed that goal, imagine the pride and inspiration you and your supporters might feel.
  • R is for Relevant: Does it Support your Mission? SMART goals should be relevant to the broader objective of your charity. Keep your mission statement in mind when establishing your goals and identify objectives that are relevant to your cause and your people.
  • T is for Timely: Duration Can be Long or Short. Set a specific timeframe in which you can achieve your goals. In this case, your Giving Tuesday campaign should be limited to 3 December 2019.  

Just remember, the more focused and prepared you are, the better chance you have that your Giving Tuesday campaign will make a world of difference for your cause. 

Step Two: Create a Campaign Plan

Once you set a SMART goal, the next step is to figure out how you’ll achieve it. How will you execute your Giving Tuesday campaign, and where? We suggest that you first identify your core message, target audience and most effective channels. 

For example, if you’re hoping to reach millennials, your campaign might be based on youthful, cheeky messages and videos that are shared via social media. (Do your research here. Currently, Facebook is the most popular channel among millennials, followed by Instagram, but this is bound to change over time.) Alternatively, a direct mail or in-person campaign might be better for older audiences. 

As another example, recognising that “a human story is more powerful than an organisation’s story”, Reason Digital provided a platform for people to share their experience of charity on Giving Tuesday in 2018. The campaign launched an eight-hour #ReasonsToGive “Twitter takeover” and people from nine select charities shared stories and achieved 2.2 million impressions. Other ideas are to hand out branded merchandise like button badges outside of a retail location or promote a giveaway on social media to encourage sharing and donations.

Tip: Giving Tuesday offers helpful graphics for download, like the logo below.

Tip: Map your campaign into other communications: 

Another recommendation is to aim to get as much “legs” out of your campaign as possible. Just as we recommend you look back at and incorporate your most effective strategies into your Giving Tuesday campaign, we also suggest you think about how you could incorporate it into the rest of your communications or campaigns, throughout the year. (Repetition after all, is important – the “rule of 7” among companies is that people typically need to see and ad up to seven times to remember it.)

One way to do this is to connect Giving Tuesday to your upcoming holiday campaign. For example, the charity Sightsavers took this approach and hit fundraising targets within hours of launching the campaign! One staff member said, “we built the Giving Tuesday communication plans into the rest of our Christmas appeal journey so it was an amazing time-limited incentive for our existing donors to give to an appeal that they were already engaged in.

Final Step: Say Thank You

Lastly, don’t forget to follow up after Giving Tuesday to thank your supporters and donors. If you have the resources, plan to send a simple, hand-signed thank you note along with a small token of appreciation, like a low-cost, speedy button badge featuring your charity name or logo. Here’s a great example from Oxfam, below. Other great thank you items include keyrings, medals or bags for life. You could even use the downloadable Giving Tuesday graphics to create something special. 

And while it’s important to close your Giving Tuesday campaign by giving thanks, it’s certainly not the last thing you can do! Leverage your success for the remainder of the year and into 2020 by reminding people how their Giving Tuesday contributions helped others. Share compelling photos or stories of the impact and circulate these widely to your audience to remind people why their donations matter, on Giving Tuesday and every day. 

We hope this post inspires your charity to participate in Giving Tuesday this year. We also hope it helps you maximise your campaign to raise as much money as possible. A smart campaign can also help you engage new donors, raise awareness, celebrate your volunteers or share your stories with the world. 

Have you participated in previous years? We’d love to hear how it went and how’re your optimising your Giving Tuesday campaign this year. For further help, please also visit the Giving Tuesday website for a handy directory of help and resources

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