Last Minute Tips for #GivingTuesdayNow

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

You can leverage the enormous publicity that will be available that day. That’s a boon, if you’re game for online fundraising.

#GivingTuesdayNow is organized by the nonprofit organization called GivingTuesday, in partnership with its global network of leaders, partners, communities and generous individuals.

This full day of online giving will take place around the world on May 5, 2020.

Immediate Steps to Take

Landing Page: Your website will need a dedicated #GivingTuesdayNow landing page. Turn to your IT consultant or search online for how to do it yourself.

Stories: Your #GivingTuesdayNow landing page should use the specific stories of how COVID-19 has impacted you already as the basis for why you’re asking for support. Short videos (90-seconds) informally done, but well thought-out, can be powerful. One nonprofit I donate to has their soothing pastoral counselor sit and talk with one of their disabled clients. If COVID-19 has not fundamentally caused disruption in your work, consider shifting to what role your nonprofit will need to play going forward.

Fundraising Method Your main fundraising method should be a targeted campaign on a mobile-optimized crowdfunding platform. The COVID-19 campaigns being done by higher education are the model and they are a variation of crowdfunding. These targeted campaign landing pages have easy giving checkout, introductory videos and they provide regular updates. For example, show a building goal amount and the number of donors. I would also suggest that you enable a donor wall.

Tip #1: Set a realistic goal. 

Knowing that you’re racing against the clock, it’s important to set an achievable goal. Why? First, your constituents need to know what you’re seeking. If you’re goal is $1,000 they are likely to give a smaller gift vs if your goal is $2,500. Donors give in proportion to the goal, usually at about the 10% level.

Yet if you’re new to online fundraising, perhaps setting an audience expansion goal is best?

Before people donate, we have to ask if they’re interested in what we’re offering, and secure their buy-in and engagement.

If you are NOT new to online fundraising, then your goal is to invite more potential supporters to join your online audience.

The average donation online is $144 per donation.

Tip #2: Explain what the day is.

While Giving Tuesday is now in its 10th year, many people haven’t heard of it.

Explain how the event was conceived as an antidote to shopping extravaganzas Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Make sure your Giving Tuesday emails include links to all of your nonprofit’s social-media platforms so that people are able to click on them and see what you’re doing.

Tip #3: Select the most compelling story to tell. 

Prioritize your time now to help you cut through the online noise later. Find the most compelling story of your nonprofit’s impact over the past year and prepare to share it on May 5th preferably with pictures and a short two minute video.

Devote 80% of your content and messaging to educational, inspirational, and entertaining posts about the issues your group addresses and the rest to a call to action asking for support.

Supporters primed by the stories will be more likely to respond to give or volunteer or agree to join your monthly giving club.

Assess your recent social-media and email content to see what generated the most clicks, opens, likes, and retweets. The most popular content should form the basis of your Giving Tuesday drive.

Tip #4: Create a unique hashtag and start posting now. 

It’s too late to get something in the mail, so focus on email and social-media postings. Use emails, status updates, and tweets to daily inform followers of your plans from now until May 5th to prime the pump.

Make sure you’re being consistent and using the same hashtag on all of your social-media platforms as well as all emails you send out.




Tip #5: Pick one thing & try it.

You don’t have to do a full-bore campaign.

Here are suggestions to choose from:

  1. Pick one story about your impact, and tell it over a two minute video.
  2. Write a two-sentence status update about your gratitude for your donors, plus add an image
  3. Think about making a small investment in paid Facebook posts ($200?) to boost your reach specifically for your town or city.
  4. Remember that Giving Tuesday is meant not just to raise funds but to inspire engagement and volunteerism as well. Use the day as a cultivation opportunity, not just for solicitation.
  5. Try a “thank-a-thon,” where you assign people to call your donors to say your agency is thinking of them. Prepare a script in advance and do a prep role-play call with those who will be calling.

Tip #6: Create a day-of plan. 

To stay organized, decide who will write, approve, and send messages on May 5th, #GivingTuesdayNow.

Choose someone to take charge of each social media platform and to update constituents on progress toward the goal throughout the day.

At a minimum, send:

  1. One message out in the morning that makes the ask
  2. One at mid-day
  3. One in early evening
  4. Follow-up the next day to let people know how you did and express your gratitude.

Other Useful Tips

Giving Tuesday’s website does not accept donations. When building your GivingTuesday campaign, please make sure to link to your own organization’s website, not theirs. 

Check out for ideas about how to participate, social media graphics, sample messages and more. 

Check GivingTuesday’s Community Campaigns page to get connected with a local GivingTuesday movement in the U.S.  

Read through the GivingTuesday FAQ for Nonprofits 

Follow GivingTuesdayNow on social media @GivingTuesday

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