6 Creative Fundraising Ideas to Inspire You on Giving Tuesday

4 min
giving tuesday ideas
Allison Gauss

December might seem far off, but the holiday season will be upon us before you know it. This year, Giving Tuesday (a global day of giving organized by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y) falls on November 27. While this is only the seventh annual Giving Tuesday, the movement continues to show exponential growth year over year. In 2017, Giving Tuesday raised more than 300 million dollars in donations—a 69 percent increase from the previous year.

As more organizations launch Giving Tuesday initiatives you need to be prepared with a unique campaign to make sure your nonprofit maximizes on the impact of the day. Use these six creative Giving Tuesday ideas to engage your supporters and motivate your community to lend their support.

Download: Year-End Fundraising Checklist

Giving Tuesday Ideas to Inspire You

1. Give $5, Get 5 Friends

Part of what has made Giving Tuesday so successful is the mass participation on social media. On Giving Tuesday, ask a supporter to donate $5 to your cause. That may not seem like much, but the second half of the appeal is the key. Ask the donor to post about the donation on their social media, tag five of their friends, and ask them to match the gift.

The genius of the popular Ice Bucket Challenge was that participants challenged specific friends. People are much more moved by being personally asked than by a broad appeal to everyone. This approach will help mobilize supporters of all ages and particularly those who spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Download: 28 Free Social Media Templates for Giving Tuesday

2. Leverage Giving Tuesday Year-Round

Giving Tuesday comes but once a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits all year round. In fact, Classy’s recent report, The State of Modern Philanthropyshows that Giving Tuesday is much more than a powerhouse of a day for donor acquisition and one-time donations. Donors who come in on Giving Tuesday are incredibly valuable since they are more likely to donate again before the next Giving Tuesday.

giving tuesday donor retention infographic
Check out the full Giving Tuesday donor retention infographic.

Another way to leverage the power of Giving Tuesday year-round is to use this global giving day to promote your recurring giving campaign. It doesn’t take any more time or effort from your donors, and monthly donors are 440 percent more valuable than one-time donors.

Read Next: Donor Retention Handbook

3. Launch a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

Giving Tuesday kicks off the giving season when many people are looking to get involved in charitable work. Ask supporters to make a personal fundraising page on Giving Tuesday so they can get in touch with friends and family while making a difference for your cause.

Set your fundraisers up for success by giving them a specific fundraising goal and sending them some fundraising tips after they make their page. Be sure to follow up over the next few days to help them get their first donations and gain some momentum.

Related: A Guide To Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Emails

4. Perform Challenges When You Hit Goals

As the Polar Plunge proves, sometimes doing a crazy stunt is just what you need to grab people’s attention. Commit to completing challenges as you reach campaign milestones.

You don’t have to jump into a freezing cold lake (although you can, if you’re into that), but promising to take a video of your executive director or other employee doing something silly can be a great way to rally supporters.

Better yet, get local officials and celebrities involved too. Maybe your programs director shaves his head when you reach 50 percent of your goal, and at 75 percent your executive director does the same. But to see a local sports hero get a buzz cut, the community has to hit 100 percent of your fundraising goal.

A challenge event coupled with a peer-to-peer campaign is a great way to engage supporters because participants are having fun while raising money for your cause. Participants are also encouraged to share their progress and invite others to join which ups both the camaraderie and the reach of your campaign.

Read Next: Grow Your Community of Fundraisers

5. Buy Us a Drink

This approach isn’t limited to Giving Tuesday, but its casual and relatable ask could help you engage donors this holiday season. How many people buy a cup of coffee on the way to work? A soda with lunch? Or a cocktail at happy hour? On November 27, ask your supporters to match the price of their drink with a donation to your cause.

Most of these will be relatively small donations, but some people will be moved to give more once they arrive at your donation page. It’s also important to put yourself in a potential supporter’s shoes on Giving Tuesday. People will be seeing asks everywhere they look on November 27, so your small ask may be just what they can afford—especially if they already planned on donating to another nonprofit.

No matter the size of the donation, make sure to steward all newly acquired donors with your welcome email series.

Free Download: Email Templates to Engage Donors Year-Round

6. #Unselfies

The #unselfie movement gained popularity following Typhoon Haiyan and on past Giving Tuesdays. An #unselfie takes the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and cameras and turns the lens toward social impact.

This year, ask your supporters to upload a picture on social media that shows how or why they are giving back. You can start things off by having staff and their friends and families post the first #unselfies. Create a specific hashtag for your organization and encourage supporters to include a link to your donation page.

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for every social impact organization to rally their community, celebrate their work, and raise money for their cause. Every year, new, innovative campaigns pop up. Try one of these ideas, check out our other fundraising ideas, or come up with your own to make this year’s Giving Tuesday a success.


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