6 Creative Fundraising Ideas to Inspire You on Giving Tuesday

4 min
giving tuesday 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 will be upon us before you know it. The global day of giving, organized by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, will fall on December 3 this year. What’s more, it continues to show exponential growth year over year.

In 2018, Giving Tuesday raised more than $380 million in the U.S. alone, which represents nearly a 40% increase from 2017. On Classy, nonprofit organizations raised a total of $15,379,066 from 126,956 donors.

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 ideas to engage your supporters, inspire your community to take action, and maximize your impact on Giving Tuesday.

Free Download: Year-End Fundraising Checklist

Giving Tuesday Ideas to Inspire You

1. Give $5, Get 5 Friends

One of the main factors that contributes to Giving Tuesday’s year-over-year growth is the mass engagement it drives across social media channels. In fact, last year there were over 14.2 billion social media impressions made.

Take advantage of this hype by asking supporters to donate $5 to your campaign. The key is in the second half of the ask: have each donor tag 5 of their friends, family, or coworkers on their personal social media accounts. Everyone who gets tagged must match the gift to your campaign before moving on to tag 5 others.

While there’s no guarantee that your campaign will go viral, this is a similar model for what made the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so successful. People can be moved to action a personal ask like this, and there’s a high potential for your campaign to spread like wildfire across social channels as more people are engaged.

Free 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 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.

Similarly, you can work to re-engage your Giving Tuesday donors with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign since they tend to become peer-to-peer fundraisers three to four times more frequently than donors acquired on December 31. No matter what you choose, you have a big opportunity to nurture these one-time donors into lifelong supporters when they come in on Giving Tuesday.

Read Next: Donor Retention Handbook

3. Launch a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

On Classy, the median one-time, non-recurring gift is $50 (average of $149). For peer-to-peer campaigns, the median amount raised by a fundraiser is $105 (average of $443). What these data points illustrate is that people can often raise more money on your behalf than they can donate out of pocket.

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 personal networks. A peer-to-peer campaign allows people to easily tap their personal networks for these donations while, at the same time, evangelizing your mission to the public and introducing new audiences to your nonprofit. 

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

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 percent 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. Buy Us a Drink

How many people buy a cup of coffee on the way to work? A soda with lunch? Or a cocktail at happy hour? On Giving Tuesday, ask your supporters to match the price of their drink and donate it to your campaign. While most of these donations will be small, it’s a great hook to get someone to visit your page where added context about your goal, mission, and work may drive them to take further action and donate again.

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. Regardless, make sure to nurture all of your new donors and add them

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. 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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