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Your 3-Month Giving Tuesday Checklist: Plan to Make the Most of the Day

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Published August 16, 2023 Reading Time: 7 minutes

Giving Tuesday is the springboard to your year-end fundraising season. Get it right, and you’ll set your nonprofit up for success in achieving your financial goals.

However, remembering every nitty-gritty task can be challenging during the end-of-year craziness. That’s why we’ve put together a step-by-step blueprint to keep you on track. Follow this Giving Tuesday checklist to make the most of the special day.

Want the checklist in PDF form? Download it here.

Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Giving Tuesday Checklist

Giving Tuesday is a make-or-break time for nonprofits. In fact, Classy’s State of Modern Philanthropy report found that nonprofits acquire 10x more donors on Giving Tuesday compared to an average day of the year. That’s why you can’t afford to approach it willy-nilly. You need a plan.

Here’s how our Giving Tuesday checklist can be a game-changer for your organization:

  • Ensure organization and preparedness: A structured checklist ensures you don’t overlook critical steps, reducing the likelihood of mistakes or missed opportunities.
  • Maximize fundraising potential: Giving Tuesday is a significant opportunity for your nonprofit to raise funds and engage with donors. A checklist ensures you take advantage of this day to its fullest potential by implementing well-thought-out strategies.
  • Facilitate collaboration and communication: Your checklist facilitates communication and collaboration among your team members. It ensures everyone is aware of their responsibilities and deadlines.
  • Mitigate risk: With so much at stake during Giving Tuesday, you need to mitigate risks associated with potential challenges or setbacks. Your checklist can include contingency plans and backup strategies to address any unforeseen issues.
  • Provide consistency and replicability: For organizations that participate in Giving Tuesday annually, your checklist provides consistency in the approach and replicability of successful campaigns. It helps create a reliable framework you can adapt and fine-tune annually.

Giving Tuesday Checklist: 3-Month Plan

While Giving Tuesday isn’t until the end of November, you’ll need to start planning well in advance. We recommend starting your preparations in September to make the most of the giving season, and that’s where our checklist begins.

September: Plan Your Impact

Your Giving Tuesday campaign is around the corner, and now is the perfect opportunity to start building your blueprint for success. With three months left, it’s time to craft a compelling story, create campaign materials, and identify the unique impact you want to make.

Define Your Campaign Narrative

  • Define the emotional connection you want to establish with your supporters.
  • Communicate how each donation will make a real and measurable difference in the lives of your beneficiaries.
  • Use SMART fundraising goals to keep your campaign aligned with your organization’s mission.

Now, bring everything together with a holistic brand vision. Consider branding elements (like color, visuals, campaign name, and unique logos) to help your Giving Tuesday campaign stand out. You’ll also want to incorporate Giving Tuesday’s brand into your campaign—find its approved logos, GIFs, photos, and stickers here.

Build Your Fundraising Foundation

First, choose a secure fundraising platform. We recommend learning more about Classy’s fundraising solution versus Classy alternatives to discover how our robust features packed into a first-class application you can trust help fuel thousands of the world’s top nonprofits.

Once you’ve completed that step, you can start building your campaign landing page. During this process, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll raise funds by choosing a campaign type:

  • Donation pages: A simple online donation website for secure one-time or recurring giving contributions.
  • Crowdfunding: A collective online fundraising campaign with a specific goal, leveraging the power of many donors.
  • Peer-to-peer: A personal fundraising page created by supporters who become advocates by engaging their networks.
  • Ticketed events: Fundraising through selling tickets to special in-person events (or digital events), like gala fundraisers, live and online auctions, or benefits concerts.
  • Registration with fundraising events: A participant can register for organized events and raise funds on behalf of the nonprofit through personalized pages.

Next, it’s time to start working on the written content. This will include your campaign description, calls to action (CTAs), and donate button text. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you write:

  • Craft an attention-grabbing headline using actionable, value-driven words.
  • Tell your story with descriptive language that captivates your audience.
  • Keep your copy short, simple, and to the point.
  • Illustrate how each gift will create a difference.
  • Use respectful, inclusive, and sensitive language.

Tips for Your Donation Form

Getting people to your donation form is the first step. Now, you need to get them to finish it. Here are a few tips to optimize your page and increase the conversion rate:

  • Incentives: Consider what would motivate your donors to give, whether special-event perks, merchandise, direct recognition, or a unique value for your particular audience.
  • Relevant imagery: Find or take powerful pictures to illustrate the impact of your campaign.
  • Recurring giving: Let your donors choose a recurring giving frequency they prefer, whether one-time, daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or yearly.
  • Default levels: Use past data (like your organization’s average online gift size) to decide what giving levels to use as the default or checkboxes.
  • Employer matches: Enable supporters to tap into their employers to double their impact through Classy gift-matching integrations with Double the Donation and Amply.
  • Processing fees: Make it easy for donors to cover a portion of the donation processing fees (on Classy, this is Classy Mode).
  • Payment options: Offer multiple payment options (like credit cards, ACH, digital wallets, Venmo, PayPal, or cryptocurrency).

Plan Your Social Media Strategy

Building a well-thought-out social media plan is essential for maximizing the impact of a nonprofit’s Giving Tuesday campaign. Here are steps that nonprofits can take to create an effective social media strategy:

  • Set clear objectives: Determine what you want to achieve through social media, such as increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or raising a certain amount of funds.
  • Choose your platforms: Identify which platforms your supporters use the most and tailor your content accordingly. Each platform has strengths, so focus on those that align best with your Giving Tuesday campaign goals.
  • Refine your strategy: Decide how often you’ll post on each platform, keeping bandwidth and budgetary constraints in mind.
  • Build a content calendar: Outline your Giving Tuesday social media strategy to include social media post types, posting frequency, and specific messaging for each day leading up to and on Giving Tuesday.
  • Draft the content: Create compelling and shareable content that tells a powerful story about your nonprofit’s mission and the impact of donations. Use a mix of visuals, videos, and captivating captions to pique your audience’s attention.

Launch Your Campaign

While it might seem early to launch your campaign, it’s best to get a head start by establishing early momentum.

  • Make your campaign visible on your nonprofit website with a targeted CTA and link at the top of your homepage.
  • Encourage donors to save the date and mark their calendars—segment your email list based on giving data and personalize your message to each audience.
  • Begin gradually posting on social media, amping up the frequency and urgency as Giving Tuesday approaches.

October: Build Interest

With Giving Tuesday on the horizon, it’s time to start generating a buzz around your campaign. Refresh your social media channels, ramp up your email cadence, and align expectations with your partners to ensure a valuable relationship.

Lean Into Social Media

  • Update all your social media channels to reflect the upcoming event.
  • Swap profile and header images for branded Giving Tuesday graphics, creating a cohesive visual identity across platforms.
  • Include a direct link to your campaign on all profiles, making it easy for supporters to access and contribute.
  • Designate at least one day each week to post Giving Tuesday-related content, sharing impactful beneficiary stories, compelling reasons to give, and enticing incentives.
  • Use your campaign’s hashtag (and the #GivingTuesday hashtag) to build visibility and participation, encouraging your supporters to share your posts, create user-generated content, and engage with potential donors.

Secure Your Matching Gift

Explore various donation-matching partner types to find lucrative opportunities for your campaign.

Consider the following:

Send a Series of Impact Emails

Launch your email campaign and remind donors of the “why” behind your efforts. Encourage them to begin advocating on your behalf and engage with your brand on social media:

  • Feature individual stories from your programs.
  • Give detailed examples of how each gift can make an impact.
  • Encourage donors to give early and spread the word to their inner circles.

November: It’s the Final Countdown

Lock down your launch plan, prepare for the day-of outreach, and get ready to transition to year-end fundraising.

Prepare to Flip Your Campaign to Year-End Fundraising (3–4 Weeks Out)

Brainstorm simple ways to unite your Giving Tuesday and year-end campaigns. Here’s where you get to decide on changes for your campaign page (like a relevant hero image, refreshed messaging, updated donation form, and specific details) to add to your “About” section.

Unveil a Matching Gift (2–3 Weeks Out)

Announce your Giving Tuesday donation matching opportunity through an urgent email and social media post—but don’t stop there. Encourage donors to seize this opportunity to double their impact. You’ll also want to consider leveraging your existing donor base for matching funds and remind donors about employer-match opportunities on the donation form (if applicable).

Soft Launch (2 Weeks Out)

Hone in on your target audience:

  • Previous Giving Tuesday donors
  • Recurring donors
  • New donors
  • Fundraisers
  • Board members
  • Staff
  • Event attendees

Then, craft compelling email appeals with personalized Giving Tuesday email subject lines, emphasizing their past impact. Use this opportunity to invite them to your campaign’s soft launch and make any last-minute changes to your campaign page based on donor feedback. During the soft launch, display campaign activity with a fundraising thermometer to build social proof as donations start rolling in.

Hard Launch (1 Week Out)

Drive traffic to your campaign page by rallying supporters through emails, social media, and direct phone calls.

You’ll want to mention fundraising goals, impact, matching gifts, incentives, and campaign sponsors to motivate donors.

Giving Tuesday: Take It Across the Finish Line

Don’t slow down yet—you’re almost across the finish line. Remain in lockstep with your team as you optimize the brief window to attract as many gifts as possible. Remember, this is one of the biggest giving days of the year.

Focus on Outreach

  • Get active on social media with frequent posts every 1 to 2 hours, sharing progress updates, matching gift opportunities, and emphasizing the impact of donations.
  • Use our Giving Tuesday social media templates for inspiration.
  • Engage supporters through compelling email storytelling, highlighting notable donors, sharing a letter from your founder or influential team member, and offering a letter from a beneficiary explaining the impact of each donation.
  • Leverage our Giving Tuesday email templates to shape your messaging.

Flip Your Campaign to Commence Year-End Fundraising

After Giving Tuesday, update your campaign page and donation form by changing the main hero image, rewriting Giving Tuesday-related text, adapting it for a year-end appeal, and adding extra campaign details to the “About” section.

Reflect, Revise, and Rebuild

Schedule a campaign retrospective while it’s fresh in your mind, and invite everyone involved this year to debrief and gain valuable insights. You can also analyze your campaign metrics using Classy’s filtered transaction report to identify opportunities for the next Giving Tuesday.

Next year, you’ll be happy you took the time.

Let Classy Power Your Giving Tuesday Fundraising

Whether planning your Giving Tuesday campaign or preparing for events around the year, Classy is the comprehensive fundraising tool you can trust to take your nonprofit’s donations to new levels.

Drive higher conversions, retention, and engagement with our powerful, flexible, and scalable product suite. We’ll power your fundraising campaigns with everything from donation sites to nonprofit payment processing to virtual and hybrid events made possible through Classy Live.

Schedule a demo now to learn how Classy can help your nonprofit achieve its giving goals.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

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Explore Classy's Giving Tuesday Resource Hub

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