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Kick Off Your #GivingTuesday Planning

By September 13, 2018

By: Emily Goodstein, Marketing Consultant

Kick Off Your #GivingTuesday Planning When the team at first called and asked me to help with the creation of #GivingTuesday prep materials for nonprofits, I thought it would be an exciting project.

What I did not expect is that I would become a full-fledged #GivingTuesday evangelist.

As soon as July hits, my brain shifts to GT. Friends call for mini therapy sessions about their organization’s GT woes. And be careful if you bring up #GivingTuesday in a social setting — I’ll flip into evangelist mode and preach about the importance of automated messaging, year long stewardship and sustainers.

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I often feel conflicted — am I more excited about green bean casserole on Thanksgiving or #GivingTuesday? Good thing I don’t have to choose.

So guess what? This blog is’s official launch of #GivingTuesday content for the 2018 “#GivingTuesday Season.” In the category of GT season: I’m going to take this one step further.

What if we viewed #GivingTuesday as the end of year fundraising season kickoff? I like this idea because, sometimes, GT naysayers will argue that all this work for just one day has a low ROI…but if we view #GivingTuesday as the warm up for what has traditionally been categorized as end of year (say, the last week in December), then we’re building one strategy as opposed to two.

Planning in advance for Giving Tuesday can help you improve your nonprofit fundraisingI know it has been hot out this summer, but GT will be here before we know it and the best way to ensure a successful #GivingTuesday/end of year is to talk to all your friends about it for six months before it happens put together an amazing plan, test what works well for you and your list, then press it all into service!

Speaking of an amazing plan…here are my three favorite tips to begin crafting your #GivingTuesday end of year plan:

    1. Start testing. Now. Test to find out what your list loves and hates, then apply these lessons learned as GT approaches. Examples: emojis in subject lines, defined ask amounts, specific images or topics. Your list has preferences and the only way to find out what they are is some good ol’ fashioned testing. If you test now, you can ensure your GT and end of year content is as streamlined as possible so you don’t risk something untested during prime time.

    2. Recurring giving. Monthly giving has been a trendy topic (can we call monthly giving trendy? I just did…) for years, but we really mean it this time. Recurring donors are an important way to improve your nonprofit fundraising. So be sure your sustainer program is looking good (I am talking donation forms, thank you prompts, the whole bit) and you’re ready to go big with a monthly donor ask around #GivingTuesday time. Free idea: what if you just asked donors to become monthly donors on November 27?!

    3. Take advantage of resources. has a gazillion of ‘em (read on) and they come from smarty pants people (not just me). Listen to these industry experts and follow their advice. Although #GivingTuesday and end of year is a time to be creative, that means creative content and tactics – not strategy. Use the tried and true strategies our experts suggest and you’ll be in good shape. #promise

Did someone say resources?

Here’s what we’ve got in store to help you make this GT one for the record books!

We’ve asked Misty McLaughlin from Jackson River to take a deep dive in historical #GivingTuesday and flag trends you won’t want to miss.

John Haydon has designed a plan that’ll work for organizations of any size – get ready for his blog post and think about sharing it with colleagues.

And we’re not just talking blog posts. has invited Beth Kanter and Allison Fine to do some #GivingTuesday mythbusting via Facebook chat – details on that coming soon!

Plus… We’ve also got some really fabulous customer case studies in store. has invited a few nonprofits to take us behind the scenes as the prepare for November 27. Stay tuned for details on a webinar series where we will get the full scoop on what has worked (and what hasn’t!) and how you can learn from select fundraising powerhouses.

Oh, and one last thing for good measure: our #GivingTuesday Toolkit is BACK with updated resources (new ebooks, workback calendars, thought leadership and even how to videos). We’re polishing it up and will get it ready for download in the next few weeks.

Related: did you hear that nonprofit organizations almost DOUBLED the amount raised when comparing GT16 to GT17? Yup. $170,000,000 in 2016 and $300,000,000 in 2017. It’s time to get started on your #GivingTuesday plan. Check out our #GivingTuesday resource page for all the #GivingTuesday goodness you’ve been looking for.