How to Work Ahead for a Successful Giving Tuesday Campaign

7 min
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profile photo for Classy blog contributor Ellie Burke
Ellie Burke

With any annual fundraising campaign, your organization has the opportunity to examine your results and revise your strategy for the following year in an attempt to make an even bigger splash. Yet, the nature of Giving Tuesday requires intense focus on year-end efforts immediately following the giving day.

Before you know it, the holidays are behind you and your organization is knee-deep in new spring projects. You’ve lost the opportunity to reflect and why slow down now to spend time thinking about Giving Tuesday when it’s still several months away?

It might seem like overkill to kick off your Giving Tuesday campaign planning in February. However, if you take small, measured actions throughout the year, you can set your organization up to be as creative and successful as possible.

Below, we outline the steps you can take to get the ball rolling well in advance, give yourself time to do your most creative work, and take your Giving Tuesday campaign to the next level.

Download: Free Giving Tuesday Resources

January—Follow Through

January is all about follow through.

The new and return donors you’ve engaged with throughout the holiday season are in need of thanks. And not only that, many new donors are in need of information, knowing little about your organization’s goals and programs.

In order to develop a meaningful relationship with your new supporters, and maintain existing relationships, it’s important you stay in touch.  Small touch points over time can lead to higher engagement rates, and ultimately, more funds raised when it comes to your next campaign.

While you don’t want to take your foot off the pedal when it comes to nurturing your donors, January is a perfect time to reflect on your Giving Tuesday results. Consider holding a campaign retrospective in January to make sure important insights are captured while they’re fresh in your mind.

February—Internal Planning Kickoff

After you’ve held your campaign retrospective for the previous year, you can get to work on the next. Think of your campaign work like rolling a ball up a hill. You’ve done so much work to get to the top of the hill, but if you stop now you lose your momentum and the ball falls back to the bottom.

If, however, you keep at it—even in small ways—you’re not starting from square one again. You’re still trending up.

Use February to determine your new campaign’s North Star. For example, set your campaign budget, goals, and gather any important context. You’ll present this meeting to your larger team in March for a larger kickoff and brainstorm.

March—Creative Brainstorm

When larger pieces like your goals and budget are determined, you’re ready to kick off your Giving Tuesday campaign work with your larger team. One great thing about working far in advance is that it allows room for creative brainstorming.

There are likely several elements that worked well last year which you can carry over, but taking time to gather new research and ask “what if” questions can lead to inventive results that differentiate your campaign come November.

April—Pitch Tactics

After collecting creative ideas and thoughts, the next step is for respective team members to pitch the tactics they’d actually like to execute in support of the campaign’s goals. Depending on how responsibilities are distributed on your team, you might have different people pitching plans for areas such as: content, social media, email communications, paid advertising, sponsorships, and partners.

May—Campaign Strategy

Ultimately, your campaign leader will determine the best path forward for the entire team. Using the pitched ideas and plans, the leader can develop a campaign strategy that considers the big picture and identifies key tactics to move forward with.

June—Internal Tactics Kickoff

In June, once your campaign leader has given the “go ahead,” your team can start to execute against the agreed upon plan. This will involve different to-dos for each team member, but some initial work might be to:

  • Write a campaign narrative
  • Determine your external campaign name and/or tagline
  • Draft social media copy
  • Create design assets

July—Build Your Fundraising Page

Armed with helpful content like a campaign narrative and design assets, you can now start setting up your online fundraising page.

On Classy, you can launch a crowdfunding campaign—the most popular type of Giving Tuesday campaign—in just 10 minutes.  That gives you plenty of time to fine tune and ask for feedback. Before you get started, make sure you have your:

  • Campaign name
  • Fundraising goal
  • Featured media
  • Donate button text

Read Next: The Giving Tuesday Example You Need to See

August—Draft Communications

As fall inches closer, August is a perfect time to get ahead on your communications copy. Create a list of all the email and social messages you intend to send out with your campaign, and carve out time to chip away at copy.

Giving Tuesday Email Templates
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Keep in mind that you’ll also want to draft copy to engage your supporters into year-end and beyond. Check out our donor retention email templates to make email scheduling a cinch.

September—Soft Launch Communications

You’ve prepped for the last eight months and it’s finally time to start talking to your community in earnest! Even though Giving Tuesday is three months away, now is the perfect time to send everyone a heads up. For example, to ensure your community has Giving Tuesday on their radar, you can send a physical postcard in the mail to serve as a friendly reminder.

Download and print this free Giving Tuesday postcard template to stay top of mind with your supporters as your campaign approaches. You can even share the URL for your Giving Tuesday campaign at this point, since you already built and tested your page back in July.

Free Download: Giving Tuesday Postcard

Sharing your campaign link early will allow you to acquire early contributions to your page. That way, when the day rolls around, you’re not starting from zero and the goal proximity effect can kick in. Supporters will see you’re on your way and will be more likely to contribute to your campaign once it’s already got some funding.

October—Hard Launch Communications

After you’ve sent your “heads up” messages and kicked off external communications in September, you can ramp up as you approach Giving Tuesday. Consider October your hard launch for communications: you’ll be talking about your upcoming campaign a lot more often and consistently from here on out.

October is also a great time to plan your day-of war room. This common space for minute-by-minute strategy development and execution is a great way to rally your team and stay on top of your campaign’s efforts as the day progresses.

Read Next: How to Run a Giving Tuesday War Room to Crush Your Goals

November—Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday is here! (Or almost, anyway! Sometimes Giving Tuesday falls at the start of December, too). If you’ve worked ahead, November is sure to feel a lot calmer. By taking incremental steps along the way, you’ve dealt with the potential roadblocks you might have faced ahead of time. But as you get closer, you can still consider the details of your collective marketing efforts for the final days leading up to your campaign. It’s not too late to make last minute adjustments that have the potential to yield serious results.

Early November is also a good time to gather the assets you’ll need to “flip” your Giving Tuesday campaign to year-end. Do this prep work ahead of time to ensure a smooth transition.

You’ll need to:

  • Swap out your hero image or any Giving Tuesday specific media
  • Adjust copy on your campaign page and donation form
  • Add supplementary details

Read Next: How to Easily Unite Your Giving Tuesday and Year-End Campaigns

December—Transition to Year-End

Congratulations! You committed to Giving Tuesday all year and likely reaped the rewards (and took way less ibuprofen!). Take a moment to celebrate, and then it’s time to kick things back into high gear as year-end is now well underway.

Because Giving Tuesday kicks off your year-end efforts, it’s important to craft intentional messaging that marries the two efforts together.

Say thank you, share your results, and explain what’s next and why continued support during this time is just as vital.

Read Next: How to Leverage Giving Tuesday Results in Year-End Messaging


Giving Tuesday isn’t going anywhere and it’s a powerful opportunity to be harnessed. Set monthly to-dos for your team to ensure a smooth process each year that builds in ample time for creativity (and lowers stress). Ready to kick-off this year’s efforts? Get your free Giving Tuesday toolkit below.


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