6 Creative Fundraising Ideas to Inspire You on Giving Tuesday

4 min
people collaborating and looking at a board with post it notes Giving Tuesday fundraising ideas
profile picture of Classy blog contributor Will Schmidt
Will Schmidt

The holiday season will be upon us before you know it, which means Giving Tuesday is right around the corner as well. The global day of giving, organized by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, will fall on December 1 this year. What’s more, it continues to show exponential growth year over year.

In 2019, Giving Tuesday raised more than $511 million in the U.S. alone, which represents nearly a 34.5% increase from 2018. On Classy specifically, nonprofits raised a total of $19,433,030 across 173,851 total donations, compared to $15,553,170 from 141,947 donations.

See All the Data From Giving Tuesday 2019

This year, make sure your nonprofit is prepared to rake in your share of the online revenue that Giving Tuesday generates with a top tier creative fundraising idea. Use this list of six Giving Tuesday fundraising ideas to engage your supporters, inspire your community to take action, and maximize your impact on the big giving day.

Giving Tuesday Fundraising Ideas to Inspire You

1. Incentivize Supporters to Market Your Campaign

In our first-ever Why America Gives report, 46% of survey respondents told us they chose to donate to a cause if a family member or friend asked them to. Additionally, 50% stated that a friend or family member being personally affected by a cause would motivate them to give.

Someone might not even know what your nonprofit does, or even that it exists, but if a trusted source asks them to donate there’s a high likelihood they will. In that light, your existing supporters can, and should, be activated to help market your Giving Tuesday campaign on your behalf. The creativity behind this fundraising idea is in how you incentivize their effort.

The people who bring in the most referral traffic to your Giving Tuesday campaign can get a prize. This prize could be exclusive merchandise from your organization, a special meet-and-greet with your board members, VIP tickets to your gala (once in-person events resume), or even a  volunteer experience trip into the field with your front-line workers.

For the bigger prizes, you can attach bigger metrics. For example, to win the volunteer experience trip you have to bring in 5,000 potential donors. You can even tie the winning metric to conversion rate of referral traffic or total fundraising revenue from their referrals.

The only thing left is to figure out how you’re supposed to track all of this. With Classy, you can make use of our marketing source codes to create custom links for individuals who wish to participate in the contest. In these links, you can create source code values like:

Source 1 = Will-Schmidt; Source 2 = Giving-Tuesday-Marketing-Contest

Learn Everything About Classy Source Codes Here

Send your supporters their custom link, remind them to include it in every outreach, and equip them with digital assets to promote your campaign to their personal networks. You can also pair this tactic with our special Giving Tuesday postcard template. Drop the custom source code links onto the template, send it to supporters, and encourage them to mail it out or even distribute it in-person like a flyer.

Download the Giving Tuesday Postcard Template Now

2. Leverage Giving Tuesday Year-Round

Giving Tuesday is only day out of the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits from your hard work year-round. Classy’s 2018 edition of The State of Modern Philanthropy 2018 shows that Giving Tuesday is much more than a powerhouse of a day for donor acquisition and one-time donations. Specifically, 15% of Giving Tuesday donors will give again before the next Giving Tuesday, and they sign up to fundraise on your behalf three to four times more often than donors acquired on December 31.

Free Download: The State of Modern Philanthropy 2018

The State of Modern Philanthropy 2019, showed us that, Giving Tuesday donors who signed up for a recurring donation did so faster than those whose first interaction with a nonprofit was outside of Giving Tuesday: 194 days versus 215 days respectively. For those who became peer-to-peer fundraisers, donors whose first interaction was on Giving Tuesday came back sooner than those whose first interaction was outside of Giving Tuesday: 214 days versus 301 days respectively.

Free Download: The State of Modern Philanthropy 2019

While a majority of Giving Tuesday donors don’t return until the next holiday season, The State of Modern Philanthropy 2020 shows us that 31% of those who do return make a second donation within six months. Further, the majority of Giving Tuesday donors return to make another gift 315 days after their first interaction.

Free Download: The State of Modern Philanthropy 2020

All this is to say that you have an opportunity to amplify your donor retention efforts and re-engage Giving Tuesday donors earlier in the year. Follow-up with asks to subscribe to newsletters, sign up as peer-to-peer fundraisers, commit to a monthly recurring donation, or make another one-time gift to a crowdfunding campaign.

Free Download: The Donor Retention Handbook

3. Launch a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

On the Classy platform, the typical peer-to-peer fundraising campaign raises more than other campaign types, and drives higher conversion rates than crowdfunding campaigns and donation pages:

  • Checkout page conversion rate on peer-to-peer campaigns: 41% to 56%
  • Checkout page conversion rate on crowdfunding campaigns: 23% to 37%
  • Checkout page conversion rate on donation pages: 10% to 20%

These high conversion rates and the general power behind peer-to-peer fundraising comes from your ability to leverage the existing personal connections that a fundraiser has with their network. In many ways, when someone fundraises on your nonprofit’s behalf, they’re actively marketing your mission to their friends and family. Further, their network is highly likely to donate, even if they have no former knowledge of your nonprofit.

In our Why America Gives report, we found that 46% of survey respondents choose to donate to a cause if a family member or friend asks them to. In addition, 50% state that a friend or family member being personally affected by a cause would motivate them to give.

Free Download: Understanding the True Financial Potential of Peer-to-Peer

Launching a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is a prime opportunity for your nonprofit, one that could net high fundraising totals on the day-of Giving Tuesday. For example, someone might not be able to give a one-time gift of $1,000. However, they might be able to source 10 $100 donations from their network.

Get Everything You Need to Launch a Successful Peer-to-Peer Campaign

4. Perform Challenges When You Hit Goals

As you hit different campaign milestones over the course of Giving Tuesday, commit to completing challenges for your audience. And don’t forget to record it on video to share with your entire audience of supporters. 

If you can, leverage partnerships with local businesses or celebrities to take it a step further. For example, maybe your program director shaves their head when you reach 50 percent of your goal, and at 75% your executive director does the same. If you want to see a local sports hero get a buzz cut though, the community has to hit 100 percent of your fundraising goal.

You can also extend this challenge to your audience through a peer-to-peer campaign and have them submit videos as they complete challenges of their own. This can be a great follow-up that you share with your entire community once Giving Tuesday is over.

Check Out These 5 Creative Campaign Examples

5. Livestream Your Campaign

Livestreaming was highly popular before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has since become a powerful tool for nonprofits who want to connect with their audiences. The tactic has been used to broadcast live galas or endurance events, for example, and many livestreaming platforms have added features that allow viewers to donate directly to nonprofits while watching the live content.

Your nonprofit can incorporate a livestream component to your Giving Tuesday campaign that shares your brand, attracts new demographics of potential donor, and drives higher fundraising revenue. For example, you could plan to host a full-day, or partial-day, broadcast on Giving Tuesday that’s filled with live entertainment, fundraising milestone celebrations, and messages from your staff or board members.

Pro Tip
Classy allows your nonprofit to embed YouTube and Twitch livestream broadcasts directly into your campaign page.

Anything you can do to encourage viewer participation can go a long way towards driving donations, but it’s also a way to begin building real relationships with your viewers. Ask them questions that they can answer in real-time, give shoutouts to donors as they complete a donation, and talk with them like you would your own friends.

If a live broadcast is overwhelming or too time-consuming, you can still take advantage of livestream functionality on Giving Tuesday. Your team can pre-record an entire day’s worth of content and livestream it on Giving Tuesday. It won’t technically be live, but it will feel live to anyone who’s watching. You can also do a mixture of pre-recorded videos with actual livestream broadcasts to help ease the workload.

No matter how you plan to execute the livestream, make sure you generate excitement across your marketing channels. Post to social media in advance, do live coverage on social during the broadcast, send email messages to your audience with information on the livestream, and partner with influencers to spread the message.

Get Tips and Examples to Help Livestream Your Giving Tuesday

6. Unveil a Matching Gift

Giving Tuesday is a great time to unveil a matching gift period to your supporters to drive donations, especially if you’re noticing a mid-campaign lull. It’s important you start hunting for this matching gift partner early in your planning phases since it can take a while to solidify the details surrounding the agreement.

Once you’ve got it set in stone though, you can let the public know leading up to Giving Tuesday or as a delightful surprise during your campaign the day of. Either way, make sure you clearly communicate the details like how much your partner is matching, and how long they’ll be matching gifts.

Be sure to spread the news far and wide across your social media channels and in your email messages to ensure maximum audience participation. Further, you can have your partner ask their staff to participate in the match to drive even more donations.

As you work to implement any of these creative fundraising ideas, or one not on this list, remember that Giving Tuesday is so much more than just one day. It’s an opportunity for your nonprofit to capitalize on the hype of one of the social sector’s biggest giving days. Capture new audiences, delight returning donors, and steward your supporters for future efforts to come.

Be sure to visit our Giving Tuesday Resource Center below for free downloadable resources, creative campaign examples, and so much more. Happy fundraising!


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