Countdown to GivingTuesday: 3 Tips for GivingTuesday Success

The last quarter of 2021 and GivingTuesday are sneaking up on so many of us this year. With all the shifting to a new normal—and yet another version of normal—planning tends to fall to the bottom of the priority list. We need to remember that having something planned for GivingTuesday is better than having nothing planned.

The great thing is that your organization can decide how large of a GivingTuesday campaign you want to create and manage. Yes, the more you invest into GivingTuesday, the better the return.

So, whether you’ve just started planning for GivingTuesday or have just added it to your to-do list, here are a few tips to help you refine your list or get started.

3 Tips for GivingTuesday Success in 2021

  1. Determine Your GivingTuesday Goals

Start by reviewing your previous GivingTuesday plans and annual goals. Yes, assessing your previous plans and goals can be disheartening; but remember to give yourself some kudos for even having goals and for surviving and continuing your mission over the last couple of years.

Look at your previous goals as a starting point to determine what you want to focus on in this last quarter of the year. Is there a goal that you really want or need to hit? Then add that goal as one of your priorities for GivingTuesday fundraising and for your other year-end appeals.

Next, think about your biggest needs. What does your organization really need? Do you need operating funds? Do you need another program? Or do you need to hire more staff to help cover the increased needs for your services?

Make note of these needs and compare them to your goals. Are these needs in addition to your goals, or do they align with your goals? If they align, great. If they don’t, then look at your list of needs and your list of goals, and determine which is more important. Sometimes, we can’t do it all and need to prioritize–even when it seems like everything is a need.

  1. Use Your Impact to Drive Your Stories

What part of your impact ties in well with those priority goals you noted? You may be thinking, “There’s that impact buzzword again,” but sharing impact (or even planned impact) can have a big … yep, you guessed it, impact.

So how do you show impact? Look at your outputs. What have you done by the numbers (i.e., served 3,000 meals at your shelter)? Next, look deeper at your outcomes for your outputs. What effect did your outputs have (i.e., you might have provided food security to over 300 families in your community)? Take that output and outcome information and align it with your mission in order to determine your impact. For example, your output of 3,000 meals and food security for 300 families may have given:

  • Parents the energy to take care of their children
  • Children a full stomach so they could thrive at school
  • Adults energy so they can be successful at work

Take the full impact of your outputs and outcomes and use this larger and deeper impact in your GivingTuesday communications.

Next, think about the impact your organization will not have if you don’t get the needed funding. How many children won’t be successful at school because they are hungry? These potentially missed impact opportunities should also be used in your GivingTuesday communications.

  1. Plan Your Communications

We’ve already included a few ideas for what to include in your communications, but remember to plan communications around channel, audience, and timing.

Don’t wait until GivingTuesday to start identifying the best impact stories, strategizing communications, or developing your written content. Get people excited about GivingTuesday early (you may get some early donations, too). Then, shortly before the day, consider sending a follow-up story or a ‘Where are they now?’ story with a note to the recipient to check back on GivingTuesday to see how the story evolved.

Make your communications easy for your supporters to donate and share within their network. I’ve heard countless stories of organizations not making social media posts sharable, or forgetting to include a link to donate online. One organization accidently included a dead link in its posts, so people were getting a page not found error, which made them wonder if the organization still existed.

Consider developing goals for your communications. What is your open rate goal for your emails? How many likes or shares are you hoping to get for your social media posts? Do you have a goal for acquiring new followers? If you aren’t sure what your goals should be, look at your rates last year, and add an easy-to-attain goal and a stretch goal for this year.

Remember to include your staff and volunteers in your communication plans. Ask them to share with their networks and help spread the word about your organization and your GivingTuesday campaign.

Tip: Your staff and volunteers can also be a great source of finding matching gift organizations or donors.

For more tips and planning ideas, check out the GivingTuesday Goals and Planning worksheet on page 33 in Blackbaud’s GivingTuesday toolkit 

And remember to register your participation on!

Templates and tips for GivingTuesday fundraising