How to Make Sure Your Nonprofit Gets the Most Out of #GivingTuesday


Giving Tuesday is November 28, 2017. With summer just beginning, it’s hard to think about something so far away. But as a nonprofit, Giving Tuesday campaigns should be part of your strategy, and—if done right—the kickoff to your year-end push for donations

Last year, on this global day of giving, people gave over $168 million online to nonprofit organizations around the world. That’s not counting the non-monetary gifts like the 52,000 pounds of toys donated to children of veterans or the hundreds of personal hygiene packs handed out to homeless shelters in New York. Even our own teams at JMT spent the day volunteering. Our Austin and Nashville teams served at local food banks. Our Patterson team spent the day at New York nonprofit, Green Chimneys, lending a hand at their Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.

How did #GivingTuesday start?

Moments after wiping the last bit of gravy from our plates at Thanksgiving—a time meant for gratitude and family—the commercialized and consumer-driven holidays begin. There’s Black Friday, followed by Small-Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

In 2012, the people at the 92nd Street Y in New York City decided to help refocus the spending in the holiday season for a day dedicated to giving. By using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on social media, the 92nd Street Y started to change the way people thought about online giving.

What began as a simple hashtag has turned into a global movement.

Why should your nonprofit have a #GivingTuesday campaign?

Giving Tuesday is more than a catchy hashtag, it’s a global movement. Here are some reasons your nonprofit should get involved, and why you should start planning your campaign now.

Be a part of a global brand

When your nonprofit participates in Giving Tuesday, you get to use a platform that’s been building a global movement over the last five years. You’re not starting from scratch, and you’re not working with your brand only. When you take part in something so large and well-known, you amplify your message far beyond your own sphere of influence. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to be a part of something bigger—in the sense that it’s something that takes our focus beyond ourselves. But it’s also something bigger in that you can take advantage of a brand and its resources, not relying on yours alone. provides many resources for nonprofits planning campaigns, from PR toolkits to sample outreach emails. And at nonprofit organizations, both community and resources are important.

Build brand awareness

When you’re a part of something so big, you’re bound to rub shoulders with other people who are passionate about your mission. Being part of a Giving Tuesday campaign can help increase awareness for your brand and your mission. This can lead to more opportunities down the road, beyond one day of giving.

By building awareness about your organization, you can fill a vacancy at your office, get people excited and onboarded with regular volunteering projects, and of course, acquire new donors. If you’re like most nonprofits, people drive your organization. And if you want the right people onboard with your mission, they have to first know you exist.

Kickoff a year-end or holiday giving campaign

It’s no secret to nonprofits: the holiday season is a great time for giving. In fact, around one-third of all annual giving occurs in December. Year-end giving is a source of significant annual revenue for nonprofits: 28% of nonprofits raise up to 50% of their annual funds from their year-end giving campaigns.

You’ve probably got some plans to do an email or mailer campaign asking for those end-of-the-year donations. Why not get the holiday giving season started with a Giving Tuesday campaign? This helps build excitement for the coming season and momentum for your staff and volunteers.

Turn volunteers into donors (and vice versa)

As you build momentum for the giving season, Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to get your volunteers involved. Since studies show volunteers are twice as likely to donate as non-volunteers, why not get people involved with something hands-on as the season of giving begins? Additionally, you can use this opportunity to engage donors and get them involved beyond monetary giving. Don’t limit the volunteer work to Giving Tuesday alone. Volunteers can help with your Giving Tuesday campaign, whether it’s licking envelopes or getting the word out on social media.

Using these proven tactics can greatly improve the effectiveness of your #GivingTuesday campaign. But how can you ensure that effectiveness is properly measured? We recommend using cloud-based tools such as Intacct and Adaptive to accurately track the campaign’s impact on your bottom line and overall mission (visit this page to learn how JMT can help you optimize your nonprofit’s financial reporting).

More tips for developing a #GivingTuesday campaign

Tell your story

Your nonprofit has a story to tell—it’s your mission and the heart behind all the hard work you do. It’s what your audience connects with. Your campaign should have a story too. Start with identifying a theme for your year-end campaign and how those point back to your goals. How does this tell the story of your organization as a whole and what your focus is this year? Do you have specific goals you’re trying to reach like a target number of wells built or beds filled? It’s important that your story has a powerful message ending with a strong call-to-action.

Get your website ready

Your website is the 24-hour voice behind your nonprofit. Anytime, anywhere, people can look to your website for answers, engagement, and opportunities to give. Prepare your website for uptick in traffic on Giving Tuesday. Place clear calls-to-action on your homepage, blog, and campaign pages.

Remember, this movement started around a hashtag. And that hashtag continues to connect people around the world to the many stories of #GivingTuesday. Be sure your site is mobile friendly. Many people will be visiting from social channels on their mobile phones. Check that all buttons and call-to-action links are easy to see and click, even on a phone.

Make the donation process as simple and clear as possible. Reduce friction for potential donors by using clear language (not jargon). Reduce the number of steps they need to take to get to a donation page and the number of form fields required to submit a donation or sign up to volunteer.

Use your resources

As mentioned, is a treasure trove of resources for nonprofits planning a Giving Tuesday campaign. Trying to get buy-in from your manager or the board? Take a look at the case studies from previous campaigns and review the success other nonprofits have seen. Not sure where to start planning? Download their ultimate organization kit full of media, templates, brand logos and other useful resources to help you develop your own campaign.

Start planning now for a fruitful year-end campaign. Be a part of a global movement that started with a simple hashtag and witness the power of communities working together for the greater good.