6-Step System to Prepare a Nonprofit for GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global movement that began in 2012, and (wowza!) has it gained momentum. This was originally a day to create a movement from shopping to giving and has been very focused on nonprofit organizations.

Who is this important for:

  • If you are a nonprofit leader
  • If you are a freelance grant writer of nonprofit consultant

Why is this day important?

  • You can gain buzz about the nonprofit
  • You can get donations and funding on this day
  • You can kick off a nonprofit end-of-year campaign
  • (Freelancer) You can earn an additional stream of income by making this a service you help nonprofits with

Here are 6 tips to help you join in on this international movement:

1. Don’t Soley Focus on the Money (Think Exposure)

Participating in #GivingTuesday is worth it! Even if your organization does not generate a million dollars or even thousands, the exposure to new potential supporters is wonderful.

Being part of the movement is meaningful and there is momentum! Use the hashtag #givingtuesday to see what other nonprofits are doing and get inspired!

2.  When Planning out your Strategy, Tie it into your End of Year Giving

Use GivingTuesday as an opportunity to launch your end of the year giving campaign.

This can be the starting point, and use the money successfully raised to tie into your larger goal for holiday giving. The most important thing is that you stay consistent and keep telling your story; supporters won’t get tired of hearing about your impact!

You can even tie it back to fundraisers you started (click here to listen to Podcast #145: 5 Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit) or have it as your kick-off campaign for all the events you have in December.

Don’t have an end-of-year giving campaign? Make it a goal to look at what other nonprofits are doing this year and grab some ideas!

3. Tell Your Story in a Positive Way

Don’t be so abstract and just state what you do and ask donors to give.

Tell a story! We all love stories. If you wanted to give to your animal shelter and just asked, “Give to Animal Shelter This Year!” that is not as powerful as the following…

My daughter saved Charlie’s life last year three times. These were small but mighty heroic acts, but there were no fireworks and it only took a few minutes of her time. You see she heard a little meow from behind some rocks out near our courtyard. There was a baby kitten that was all skinny and dirty. So Bella named the cat Charlie and put some food out for it for a couple of days. That was the first time she saved the cat’s life.  But then large clouds billowed in and a tropical storm started pounding down on the island. That little kitten was not going to make it with 100 mph+ winds. No one else noticed the small meow or saw the kitten. But my daughter was determined to save Charlie’s life again and find him shelter (she is allergic so we couldn’t take him). She went door to door looking for someone to help out Charlie. And she found a friendly neighbor who took in the little kitten. But that wasn’t the end of it. When the neighbor took Charlie to the vet they found out it had a form of cancer and the procedure would be expensive. Bella helped raise some money for that procedure.  She asked people to give and showed pictures of little Charlie. That was the third time she saved his life.  It just goes to show that taking a little bit of your time or helping pitch in a bit of money, can really save a life – multiple times! I mean if an 8-year-old can do, can’t we? If you would like to support cats like Charlie and be an advocate like Bella, then please pitch in $25 per month. You might not have fireworks either, but you will be a hero that hears that small meows. Click here to be a Bella.

Evoking emotions and a connection to your cause is really meaningful :) Also at the end, I put ‘click here’. So make sure you include a link to your campaign.  In this story, we feel for the cat and it shows the need for helping stranded animals, but you can also see there is a positive force behind it. There are definitely times and places for Sarah Mclachlan sort of commercials (you know those ones where you see the beaten up animals with the super sad songs and you end up balling your eyes out), but creating a movement where people can feel like their donation will make them feel good and be hopeful is important, too.

4. Troubleshoot Before the Campaign Launches

Make sure those donation buttons work! Remember, you need to put a link or URL to where people can give, sign up for the newsletter, or whatever you want to drive them toward. Make sure the link WORKS! I have seen way too many donation buttons not work.

You can have a strong call to action but if your campaign is not easy to give to, then you will lose out on donations. Have your internal team check (and double-check!) before launch day.

5. Go Visual

Use more photos and videos! As we live in a world where there is so much information coming at us all the time, it is important to be quick and grab attention. Using little time to make a BIG impact! Less text, keep your story short and use your videos (keep these short too!) and pictures to draw in supporters to learn about your amazing work.

For social media, videos from 1 minute to 7 minutes are long enough. You can always make a 7-minute video and then create shorter clips for teasers. That is really helpful.

Using your smartphone is absolutely fine to create videos (like InShot or iMovie).

You can also utilize crowdfunding platforms to keep your campaign beautiful and streamlined. Click here for some great crowdfunding platforms dedicated to nonprofits.

6. Set an Achievable Goal and Celebrate with Your Community

Keep it simple and join the movement!

GivingTuesday is a positive social movement to generate funding for nonprofit organizations around the world. Participation in the movement is meaningful. Perhaps you don’t raise a ton on the day of, but oftentimes it takes 7 touches before someone opens their wallet to give to a cause. But trust me they are paying attention and they see your work, stay motivated and consistent and your story will spread, generating funds to support your cause over the long term.


  1. 9 Fundraising Crowdfunding Platforms for Nonprofits: https://blog.capterra.com/top-crowdfunding-platforms-for-nonprofits/
  2. Podcast #145: 5 Virtual Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit
  3. Apps for your SmartPhone: InShot and iMovie

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