Marketing Strategies for Giving Tuesday

There is no one correct answer for what a non–profit should do to maximize profits and incentivize giving, but there are previous cases to learn from.

Marketing Strategies for Giving Tuesday
Katie Metz // Adriana Lacy Consulting

Giving Tuesday has marked a day for people to show their generosity since its creation in 2012. Today, hundreds of millions of people around the globe have joined this movement which takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The movement is not just about giving money, but also time and voice. The overall idea is for people from across the globe to come together in hopes of creating a better world.

It’s not just individuals who have hopped on board with Giving Tuesday. Many nonprofits have also used the holiday to market themselves and maximize fundraising efforts. According to Donorbox, $3.1 billion was raised in donations on Giving Tuesday in the U.S. last year alone. This was a 15% increase from that in 2021.

One of the biggest ways non-profits are marketing themselves for Giving Tuesday is by posting to social media outlets using the hashtag “#GivingTuesday.” Millions of people have used that hashtag, and many are already putting out their “Save the Date” posts reminding everyone of their cause for when this year’s Giving Tuesday occurs in November 2023.

One example of a non-profit that has come up with market strategies for Giving Tuesday is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The organization boasts that Giving Tuesdays will be matched, doubling the impact of the gift for up to $100,000. Additionally, donation options like those on the "Giving Tuesday" campaign page let the donator exactly what various dollar amounts could go towards funding. In this case, it's the Bloodline podcast for patients and caregivers, educational materials, one-on-one time with LLS Information Specialists, treatment-related travel for a patient or five weeks of general lab supplies for LLS-funded researchers.

Last year, the dollar-for-dollar match was granted up to $50,000 by an anonymous donor. This year, donors have raised the match even higher at $100,000. Donors were also able to make donations by clicking on social media links.

According to Olivia James at CauseVox, those who support an organization over time and offer a predictable stream of income to those organizations typically give two times more over their lifetimes compared to those who repeatedly give one-time gifts. The good news is as we reach an increasingly digital era, it is becoming easier to come up with new strategies and offer donors options. 

In LLS’ case for example, while entering their website you may be quickly greeted with a “Donate Today!” screen, filled with different giving options. Options include different dollar amounts, both high and low, and options for recurring monthly gifts. Donors can quickly choose to give $50, $100, $500, or $1,000, or enter a custom amount in the box below. Each of these options makes it easier for users to determine an amount to give and set up automatic transactions. 

There are marketing methods organizations are trying in preparation for Giving Tuesday. The Nature Conservancy, for example, a conservation organization with 70 years of on-the-ground work, is now calling for donations to create a matching fund for Giving Tuesday. The page urges people to “double the difference” by offering a brief mission statement and some details about the work they have accomplished so far, followed by one-time and monthly giving options. 

The organization offers an additional incentive by offering a free one-year subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine. Not only does the gift urge more people to give, but it further pushes people to join their mission as the content of the magazine is also theirs.

Incentives don’t have to just be gifts. Another organization that uses Giving Tuesday for its advantage is Feeding America. The network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and programs offers many of the same giving options as everyone else, such as options for monthly gifts and preset dollar amounts, but they also give a specific number for what each dollar does. 

Feeding America assures donors that each dollar they give will provide at least ten meals. 

As mentioned earlier, Giving Tuesday is not just about dollar donations either. In addition to money-giving options, Feeding America also includes a link for locating the nearest local food bank. Those who are unable to give monetary donations but still want to help out can follow that link to locate the nearest food bank and give through volunteerism instead. 

Many organizations are still working on improving their Giving Tuesday campaigns each year, however, some have already proven to be a great success. Popular “Back to the Future” star, Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at just 29 years old. Since then, Fox has been working on a campaign to gain funding for research on the disease. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is no stranger to Giving Tuesday. In 2016, the organization joined the “#unselfie” campaign, urging people to let them know how they support the disease’s research on Giving Tuesday. The foundation was tagged in 107 “unselfies” in its first year of the campaign, leading to 5,000 word-of-mouth endorsements and donations totaling nearly $400,000. Additionally, they received a $100,000 matching fund. This story not only shows the potential success an organization can have through Giving Tuesday but also the power of utilizing social media and word-of-mouth. 

Another case study of a successful Giving Tuesday campaign is the “Hope Kits” campaign by World Vision and Thirty-One Gifts which took place in 2014. World Vision is an international partnership of Christians who work with “poor and oppressed” people in underserved communities. The goal of the campaign was to make and distribute “Hope Kits” to women in need.

The kits included tote bags filled with hygiene products such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and soap. Like other Giving Tuesday campaigns, people were able to show support through monetary gifts, but the campaign also urged others to take a different approach. Those wanting to do extra or unable to give monetary donations could host kit-building parties, where they were able to build and sponsor the kits themselves. All the work was done in advance of Giving Tuesday and of the holiday, the kits and donations were distributed.

By 2018, 2,500 “Hope Kits” were distributed and the campaign became annual. Thirty-One Gifts has also pitched in to match some of the donations. The kits have since expanded past just being given to women in need, but also to children and families. 

There are many different ideas on how to make a successful campaign for Giving Tuesday. Whether matching funds, offering volunteer opportunities or launching social media campaigns, there can be a lot of success in meeting fundraising goals. There is no one correct answer for what a non–profit should do to maximize profits and incentivize giving, but there are previous cases to learn from. Utilizing social media and hashtags, giving incentives for regular giving, offering options to those who might not have money to give and creating a way for people to visualize where their gifts are going are just some of the ways past campaigns have proven to be successful. 

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