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Everyone Has the Capacity to #GivingTuesday

By October 11, 2017

Giving Tuesday 2017
By: The #GivingTuesday Team at 92nd Street Y

In 2012, a small team at the 92nd Street Y in New York brought together a coalition of nonprofits, businesses, foundations, and schools to launch a movement around one simple idea: you have Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday – days to launch the holiday shopping season – how great would it be if you had a day to kick off the holiday giving season?

From the very beginning, #GivingTuesday was a movement that encouraged all people and organizations to participate. We believe that everyone has the capacity to give, whether that’s time, money, goods, clothing, your voice, and more. Now entering it’s sixth year, #GivingTuesday is uniting people and organizations in over 100 countries for one common purpose: to do good.

With over $177 million dollars raised online in the US alone in 2016, #GivingTuesday is inspiring people to give and nonprofits to innovate and reach new audiences. In fact, according to our latest participant survey, 75% of nonprofits expressed that #GivingTuesday pushed them to be creative and try something new as a team.

So how can you plan the best #GivingTuesday ever? Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of creativity from our community and have learned a few winning strategies to planning a great campaign.


#GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to team up with other organizations. We’ve seen many corporate-nonprofit partnerships on #GivingTuesday. Movember, for instance, partnered with Jeep to reward donors the chance to win a trip to Jackson Hole, WY. They also worked with Visa to match $20 of any donation given through Visa Checkout over $50. Talk about a win-win!

We’ve also seen organizations that work on similar causes or in the same city or town come together to strengthen their campaigns. In Allentown, PA, seven arts organizations worked together to raise awareness and support for the local arts community. They learned that by working together, rather than competing for funds, they were able to raise more individually and collectively have a greater impact.

Invite your community to participate.

Encourage your donors, volunteers, and staff to help with your campaign by inviting them to participate as ambassadors for your organization. You can ask them to share #UNselfies on social media or to post why they support your organization. Last #GivingTuesday, Heifer International mailed a limited edition of “selfie goats” to their supporters and asked them to share their #GoatSquadGoals on social media- or examples of how they were giving back.

Make the movement your own.

One of the best parts of #GivingTuesday is that you add your own twist on our branding and name. Many organizations have created their own hashtags – from #GivingShoesDay to #GivingViewsDay to #GivingHoovesDay – and others have designed their own #GivingTuesday heart and logo. We encourage your team to be creative and to leverage #GivingTuesday to boost pride for your organization.

Consider #GivingBlueDay which launched in 2014 as the University of Michigan’s first 24-hour online giving campaign. With it’s own logo, graphics, hashtag, and tools, #GivingBlueDay immediately became the largest fundraising day for the school, and has since grown annually to engage more and more of their community.

Think bigger than just one day.

While celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday is so much bigger than just a day. We see the hashtag used daily throughout the year, and many organizations have claimed every Tuesday as their #GivingTuesday. As you think about your campaign timeline, consider building up to November 28th and using the weeks before and after the day to continue your campaign.

WaterAid, for example, launched a campaign 26 days before #GivingTuesday to share Libby CanderPloeg’s Alphabet for Clean Water for Everyone each day to educate and inspire followers to learn about the importance of clean water and WaterAid’s work. They shared the ABCs on social media and then had a bigger matching campaign on #GivingTuesday.

Say thank you!

#GivingTuesday is so much more than just asking your donors for dollars. It’s a great day to say thank you to your staff, volunteers, donors, and wider community. Consider The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore who invited staff to take shifts calling donors and thanking them for their support on #GivingTuesday. Although the day was dedicated to saying thanks and not fundraising, the organization ended up receiving over $1 million in gifts and much greater support and connections with their community. Also, remember to say thank you to any new supporters you added to your network on #GivingTuesday. Let them know how much you appreciate their help and support!

Have fun!

#GivingTuesday is all about having fun and trying something new. It’s a great day to experiment and move beyond a traditional fundraising or giving campaign. The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, for instance, launched the annual (and epic) #GivingTuesday #BookBowl in 2015, through which they competed with the library whose hometown team was playing the Ravens on Thanksgiving to see who could raise the most funds before #GivingTuesday. The losing library had to concede by reciting poetry in a YouTube video or performing a literary act selected by the winning library’s staff.

Plan Ahead.

There’s really no wrong way to plan for #GivingTuesday, but the #1 trick is to plan ahead. Give your team time to come up with a creative idea, engage your community, and build excitement for #GivingTuesday. With so many great campaigns running around the world, use the time now to plan a campaign that captures people’s attention and gets your community excited to give.

Join the movement to receive the latest updates, tips, and emails from our team, and to have your organization listed in our directory of participating organizations. You can also use any of the tools, case studies, and ideas from our website to start planning today.