The Ultimate Guide to Giving Tuesday

Trivia Question: How much money did Giving Tuesday raise in 2020?

We’ll tell you at the end. But rest assured, it’s a BIG pie! So how can you snag a piece of it for YOUR nonprofit? 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday celebrate consumerism. Ten years ago, Giving Tuesday was created as a countermeasure. The idea is to celebrate, inspire, and encourage giving. Here are some ways you can capitalize, by creating opportunities for your donors to give.

Donation Widgets

We always recommend making it as easy as possible for your donors to give. No complicated process. One way to do this is through Giving Widgets. You imbed them right onto your website. You can make it simple or branded – simple, as the name implies, is a streamlined version. Branded includes logos, pictures, videos, and built-in social sharing. Remember, giving begets giving so a built-in social media sharing feature can work to your advantage. Here are some tips on how to set one up on your website, from our friends at Give Lively.


Are you using it? If not, what better way to celebrate Giving Tuesday by embracing it! Seriously, it’s SO EASY, there’s really no excuse to not be using it. All you need is a keyword, a shortcode number, and a link to your secure donation page. Your donors can make it a one-time donation; some platforms allow donors to set up a recurring donation. There are no minimum requirements, like there are with text-to-give.    


In 2010, the Red Cross raised millions of dollars for earthquake victims in Haiti using this brand-new technology. While it’s still in use today, text-to-donate has some advantages over it. With text-to-give, it’s not possible to donate instantly. That’s not ideal for most folks these days, especially nonprofits. And when you use this process, you’re sending donors to a separate page. So there’s a chance they may inadvertently fail to complete the transaction, which goes through your cell phone carrier.

One other potential roadblock: Your org might not be eligible for text-to-give. Check out the standards for participation here. Now we want to be clear, we’re not knocking text-to-give. We’d never knock ANYTHING that makes it easy for your donors to give! And both methods check that particular box. They are similar, but one is better for your org. We hope this brief explanation helps you make that call.  

Encourage Peer-to-Peer Campaigns

We’re huge fans of peer-to-peer fundraising. There are dozens of variations, but in its basic form, it’s a type of crowdfunding but with more than one page. You start one, then encourage others to start their OWN pages, sharing them with family and friends. Peer-to-peer campaigns continue to rise in popularity, especially since the pandemic. Another benefit: They grow your fan base and open you up to more potential donors. Social media is an especially valuable tool with these types of campaigns. An invaluable tool, really. It makes peer-to-peer fundraising a breeze. Additionally, most mobile bidding platforms now offer this feature. So utilize both social media AND mobile bidding platforms for a one-two peer-to-peer fundraising punch!  

Go Big or Go Home on Social Media

Keep in mind, you’re going to have a ton of competition from other orgs asking for donations on Giving Tuesday. Your social media needs to grab peoples’ attention as they’re scrolling, or you’ll end up a mere cog in the Giving Tuesday wheel. So what sets YOU apart? Stories, of course! The stories of the impact you made in 2021. Use pictures and videos, which are much more memorable and relatable than words. This is a great time to invite your donors to share, in their own words, exactly WHY they support you. Also a great time to invite your service recipients to do the same – tell how their lives/experiences/stations in life have changed and improved, thanks to your org. We’re not talking high production value, here. Casual and informal is totally appropriate, as long as the message comes straight from peoples’ hearts. A quick and easy technique is to encourage “unselfies.”


The term “selfie” is likely more popular than “unselfie” 364 days of the year, but on Giving Tuesday, unselfie reigns! How it works: On a piece of paper, write the name of your nonprofit and take a picture of yourself holding it. Add a few words about why you support the cause. Then share, share, share! Encourage your donors to take their own unselfies. Encourage your service recipients to do it as well, and enjoy the avalanche of giving that ensues.

Virtual Experience 

What are you doing Giving Tuesday evening? Why not invite your donors to a brief and casual virtual Happy Hour to commemorate the occasion? It doesn’t need to have a high production value, so don’t use up your valuable time and energy worrying about that. A Zoom-style format will work just fine. Let your donors know what you’ve been up to. Laugh and bond over the unselfies your supporters have been enjoying all day on your feed. Have an informal vote on which one was most memorable. This all serves to remind your donors you’ve been tirelessly fundraising all year. Invite someone whom your org has helped and have them say a few words about the impact your org has had on their life. Give others the mic and let them share their stories. Remember, stories are what sets you apart.  

Monthly Giving Programs

Does your nonprofit conduct a Monthly Giving Program? If so, this is the time to promote the heck out of it! If no, Giving Tuesday is the optimal time to kick one off. Monthly Giving Programs can see you through the dry, quiet times – think January, when the holidays are over and some of us are experiencing sticker shock as a result. Encouraging your donors to sign up for a monthly giving program benefits them, as well. There are no steps to take and they don’t even have to think about it. It’s automatic. 

Celebrate your Successes

Now it’s Wednesday. Congratulations on a fantastic Giving Tuesday campaign that raised critical dollars for your nonprofit! Show your gratitude while the spirit of giving is still fresh in everyone’s mind and heart. Reach out to your supporters and thank them. Tell them you can’t wait to do it again on November 29th, 2022. That’s right – save the date! Honor your biggest supporters by bestowing the title of Fundraising Ambassador on them. Post an informal but meaningful thank-you video from your ED and/or board members. Consider extending your Giving Tuesday campaign another week. Or, if and only if it’s right for your supporters (be mindful of donor fatigue), you can seamlessly roll it into a year-end campaign. 

Now for the answer to our trivia question. Giving Tuesday raised nearly two and a half billion dollars in 2020 – in the US alone! So give it up for Giving Tuesday! Because that’s literally what you’re asking people to do. Give up their time, their talents, their resources, and most important of all, their money. And they’ll do it, if you give them giving opportunities. Reach out for more tips on making this Giving Tuesday the best one you’ve ever had!