Elizabeth Chung
6 min

Can You Plan a #GivingTuesday Campaign in 7 Days?

So #GivingTuesday is in just over a week, and you’ve procrastinated. Your supposed campaign is still just a good idea at this point. But, like most nonprofits across the country, you understand this national giving day offers a unique (and fleeting) opportunity to harness major financial support. This has left you asking one question:

Can you plan a #GivingTuesday campaign in just seven days?

The short answer is that, really, you should already have a plan locked in for #GivingTuesday. But if you’re behind and still trying to pull off a campaign, we’ll tell you how to capitalize on the world’s biggest giving day in this short window of time.

1. Choose a Campaign Theme and Goal

When: Two weeks out

All fundraising campaigns need a campaign theme and goal, and your #GivingTuesday initiative – however last minute it might be – is no exception.

Your theme comprises your campaign’s basic marketing concept. It should include:

  • The campaign title
  • Quick pitch of what your campaign is all about
  • Storyline for your communications. For timeliness and simplicity, answer these questions:
    • What are you trying to fund?
    • How will it impact your mission?
    • How does it impact the individuals you serve?

Based on the limited time you have to prepare, it might make more sense to tie your #GivingTuesday campaign theme into your overall holiday fundraising efforts, rather than making it a unique standalone campaign. For instance, if your general holiday fundraising initiative is to build a new elementary school, your #GivingTuesday campaign can reiterate the same school and classroom-building theme.

Tip: Use #GivingTuesday as a kick-off day for your broader campaign! Make sure you create a unique hashtag so you can track your campaign on Twitter. You can even use the hashtag you’ve established for your holiday campaign.

When setting your fundraising goal, make sure it’s realistic given the time you’ve had to prepare. When a potential donor sees a huge campaign goal with little to zero progress, they can quickly doubt whether the campaign will be successful. However, if supporters see a campaign’s finish line get closer and closer, they will be more likely to back your campaign and join your success story.

2. Explore Last Minute Matching Sponsors

When: Two weeks out

A donation-matching period is a great way to create a sense of urgency and excite supporters to get involved. They’re a great way to motivate donors and demonstrate how much impact they can make on your cause. Bring your team members together for a last minute brainstorm session to target possible sponsorship options.

Do you have any corporate partners or large donors who would be willing to sponsor a donation match campaign last minute? Don’t limit your search to just those who can match the entire day’s results. Matching campaigns that last even just a few hours can increase contributions, a sense of urgency and donor engagement.

3. Contact Core Supporters

When: 1.5 weeks out

You only have a week left, but that still gives you some time to contact donors and garner initial support before December 2. Reach out now to core supporters, ask them to spread the word about your campaign, and solicit contribution pledges for #GivingTuesday. As we’ve mentioned, the more progress you can show off towards your campaign goal day-of, the more inclined supporters might be to help reach it.

An excellent way to increase donations and expand your reach is to turn loyal supporters into fundraisers. You probably won’t be able to recruit as many as you could within a larger timeframe, but having a few people fundraising on the ground can still make a big difference on your overall #GivingTuesday results.

Tip: Create fundraising pages before Thanksgiving. Ask staff members and your most committed volunteers, donors, social media evangelists to create fundraising pages before the holiday. This way, they can share their pages with friends and family over the Thanksgiving weekend!

4. Create a Custom #GivingTuesday Donation Page

When: Eight days out

Create a custom donation page that is branded specifically for your #GivingTuesday campaign. By branding your actual donation page, you prevent any interruptions that might otherwise cause supporters to think twice about their gift. This seamless continuity from ask to donation form can encourage people to complete the donation process. Indeed, donors have been found to give 38% more on branded donation pages.

Along with the appropriate #GivingTuesday branding, carry over your campaign-specific messaging and images onto your donation form (and any fundraising page templates) as well. This reinforces your campaign’s storyline and sustains the emotional momentum that compelled people to donate to your specific campaign in the first place.

5. Whip Up Campaign Collateral

When: One week out

Create campaign collateral to roll out on #GivingTuesday and, if possible, in the few days leading up to it. The sooner you create pieces of shareable content, the earlier you can start delivering them through your communication channels.

Here’s a list of possible content to prepare:

• Branded campaign-specific graphics
• #GivingTuesday-themed eCards for a creative donation experience
• Images highlighting your work on the ground
• Blog posts sharing beneficiaries’ and volunteers’ stories
• Facebook, Twitter, Instagram avatars and cover photos
• Humorous or compelling video messages from staff or board members
• Graphics citing stats and information about the goal you’re trying to achieve

We know you’re short on time, so if you haven’t already, check out the #GivingTuesday website for tons of pre-designed graphics and resources. Browse through #GivingTuesday-branded templates, assets, and examples to supplement your campaign-specific content.

GivingTuesday Website tools2

Get #GivingTuesday Design Assets

If you’re feeling up for it, curate even more content by crowdsourcing testimonials from your community. You can ask supporters to share their voices and stories on social media, on the fly. Just make the ask very specific (like in the form of a question) and clear (e.g. “film a 10 second video about why you support AwesomeOrg and upload it to Twitter with the hashtag #AwesomeOrgTuesday!”

Have supporters share their own voices and stories on social media, including:

• The reason they are supporting your campaign this #GivingTuesday
• Their connection to your programs and the people you serve
• An #unselfie – a photo of themselves supporting your organization in honor of #GivingTuesday

6. Campaign Time!

When: Day of

Since you’re very pressed on time, creating a coordinated editorial calendar might be a bit beyond your reach. Instead of the usual multi-pronged approach you rely on for most of your campaigns – social networks, blog posts, newsletters, phone calls, e-mails – we recommend sending out one email and focusing on only one social channel.

The E-Mail:

Send one e-mail to your supporters on the morning of #GivingTuesday to remind them to participate by donating and sharing your cause on Twitter. Make sure your e-mail includes:

• A link to your unique #GivingTuesday campaign page
• A distinct, bold Call to Action to donate now
• Unique #GivingTuesday visual, whether you’ve created your own or are using one of the many provided on the #GivingTuesday website.
Social share buttons

The Social Network:

Run your #GivingTuesday campaign on Twitter. This is where the hashtag will be most prominent, you’ll be able to easily track your campaign hashtag and can retweet or call out individual supporters to maintain momentum throughout the day.


Whether you plan six months ahead or two days before, it’s still worth your time and effort to build out a #GivingTuesday campaign. Planning such a last minute campaign isn’t ideal, but you can take steps even now to engage donors and maximize support day-of. Most importantly, a little planning can still harness this event as an opportunity to jumpstart your year-end fundraising efforts. Now that you have these tips in hand, it’s time to get to work!

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