Unique Giving Tuesday Ideas for Your Nonprofit Social Channels

Blog Post by Julia Campbell

The seasons are changing, summer is waning, fall is approaching and that can only  mean one thing – year-end charitable giving season is about to descend upon us!

For many nonprofits, year-end giving season is kicked off by the global giving movement #GivingTuesday.

8 giving ideas nonprofits

#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to the consumerism that often marks year-end.

Americans have a day of giving thanks (Thanksgiving). This is followed by two days of giving and getting deals (Black Friday, Cyber Monday) – so why not a full day for giving back? 

This year #GivingTuesday is on December 3, and expectations are sky high. Here are some of the eye-popping statistics from last year: 

  • $380 million was raised in the US alone, surpassing 2017 impressive results by almost 40%. 
  • The GivingTuesday hashtag received 14.2 billion social media impressions. 
  • Over 150 countries participated. 
  • On Facebook, $125 million was raised using their charitable giving tools, making it the largest payment processing platform on that day. 
  • The average gift made was $105.55. 
The bad news is

There seems to be an expectation in the nonprofit world that success on Giving Tuesday doesn’t take much work or creativity. Some nonprofits throw up a few poorly-written social media posts, send out a poorly-written email, and expect the donations to just roll in. They don’t put much thought or effort into their appeals.

Just because it’s Black Friday doesn’t mean that I am going out to buy a TV.

The same logic goes for #GivingTuesday. But just because it’s in the news, or I read an article does not mean that your nonprofit is entitled to donations on December 3.

You have to earn them.   

The good news is

That even if you are a small nonprofit, you don’t need a huge budget or a large marketing department to make a splash this #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is about so much more than simply raising money. It’s about encouraging conversations on ways to give back to your community. The most successful campaigns with the most reach are often unexpected, surprising, and often not about giving money at all.

Here are 8 Giving Tuesday ideas that your nonprofit can use to stand out on social media channels.

1. Don’t compete, collaborate. 

Instead of trying to cut through the noise on your own, why not collaborate with other nonprofits around your region, or cause/issue? 

Some of the most successful and fun Giving Tuesday ideas come from group campaigns. One example is #GivingNewsDay to support independent journalism, and #GivingZooDay to support local zoos and aquariums.

raising nonprofit awareness


#BrooklynGives is a campaign that runs on Giving Tuesday to highlight and drive donations to Brooklyn-based nonprofits.

Each year they have a “Getting Ready for Giving Tuesday” planning webinar, free to join. The webinar walks participating organizations through ways to prepare and launch a successful campaign. 

calling all nonprofits

2) Think beyond raising money. 

Thousands of organizations are going to be sending out fundraising appeals via email and social media on December 3. So in order to stand out, you may want to consider a different approach for your donors and supporters. 

Could you host a thank-a-thon for donors? Post videos and photos of volunteers thanking them for investing in the work.

What about recording a fun video of organization staff sharing their most valued Thanksgiving traditions and memories? A sidewalk chalk art project in your city where people write what they love about the community?

Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to be about who raises the most money. It can be about showcasing accomplishments, highlighting supporters, and creating connections.

Concordia organizes several donor acknowledgement days around Giving Tuesday, calling them ThanksGiving Tuesday:

giving tuesday nonprofits

Coburn Place sent out a cheeky email to grab donors’ attention and thank them for giving, instead of asking them for another gift. 

nonprofit grateful giving tuesday

Thread, a Baltimore nonprofit that connects volunteers to underperforming high school students. They dispersed 1,000 volunteers throughout the city Giving Tuesday to perform acts of kindness and charity.

These included; chalking love letters to Baltimore on city sidewalks, planning dance parties at senior centers, writing letters of appreciation to school principals, hosting neighborhood game nights at local barber shops, and distributing “Blessing Bags” full of clothing and personal care products to citizens who are displaced.

nonprofit you matter
deep dive nonprofit marketing

3) Use live video to get more engagement.

It’s no secret that it’s getting harder and harder to reach your nonprofit’s fans and followers on social media. Nonprofits active on Facebook have seen that organic reach (unpaid) is dwindling. This is where live video comes in to save the day!

Live video on Facebook gets 10x the engagement of all other content on the platform. Live videos receive 6x the engagement!

There are many benefits to going live.

Live video can help make your nonprofit more accessible, open, and transparent, helping build up trust and affinity with supporters. 

Going live with staff and volunteers puts a human face on the brand, encouraging a deeper connection with donors and supporters.

The best part about live video is the ability to engage in real-time with viewers. You can answer questions, get feedback, and bring people behind-the-scenes in your work.

Cape Ann Animal Aid invited a handful of supporters to spend 24 hours living in their dog adoption kennels. They ate, played and experienced what life is like at the animal shelter.

They documented their day in a video library and shared their stories live on Facebook, securing donations for the organization. 

securing donations video

World Pulse used live video to announce a brand new program on Giving Tuesday. They added urgency of having matching funds that expired after the day was over.  

facebook for nonprofits
nonprofit facebook use

Bonus: If you are signed up with Facebook’s Charitable Giving Tools, your nonprofit and your supporters can add a Donate button right on your Facebook live video! The ASPCA held the first all-day Facebook Live Telethon on Giving Tuesday. They featured a series of live videos featuring stories of animals and their owners. 

4) Give supporters a very specific call-to-action. 

A great example of a Giving Tuesday campaign with a specific, easy-to-accomplish call-to-action is #GivingShoesDay by Dress for Success.

On Giving Tuesday, Dress for Success encourages supporters to donate a pair of gently worn shoes to the organization. Supporters spread the word by taking a selfie with the shoes, sharing an inspirational quote or story.

The idea of donating something physically tangible (and very Instagrammable) like a pair of shoes allows supporters to visualize how the donation is making a difference. Shoes are also symbolic – they often represent a new opportunity, increased confidence, and a “step closer to a new life”. 

nonprofit giving shoeday

Katie Murphy, Director of Media Relations for Dress for Success, put it this way. “A woman donates her shoes and has such a great experience that she wants to become a donor or a volunteer, or even ask her company to get involved. 

#GivingShoesDay is a first touch point with new supporters.” 

5) Encourage people to start Facebook Fundraisers. 

In order to harness the power of Facebook Fundraisers, your nonprofit should encourage supporters to run them for you. 

To get your supporters to start Fundraisers for you…

You will need to make them aware that this is an option. Explain how it works and how to set it up. Clearly lay out the benefits of fundraising on Facebook.

Be sure to acknowledge and thank the people raising money for you on Facebook (and on any site)! Give them advice, tips, tricks on setting up and running a successful fundraiser.

Mr. Bones Dog Rescue provides fundraisers with photos they can use and sample text to copy and paste. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America made an infographic to easily spread the word about Facebook Fundraisers on their social channels and via an email campaign. 

6) Use the Instagram Donation Sticker. 

Did you know that if you are set up and registered with Facebook Charitable Giving Tools, you can use the Donation Sticker on Instagram?The Donation Sticker rolled out this year and is gaining traction as a fast and easy way to gather support for causes. 

Individuals can add the Donation Sticker to their Instagram Story to raise money for eligible 501c3 nonprofits. Nonprofits can also add it to their Stories. 

7) Raise money on YouTube. 

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, owned by the #1 search engine – Google. The platform is rolling out YouTube Giving tools, a suite of features designed to allow creators and fans to raise money through charitable giving on the platform.

YouTube Giving features include Fundraisers (beta), Community fundraisers (beta), Campaign matching (beta), and Super Chat for Good.

To get your nonprofit started

Register with Google for Nonprofits and the YouTube Nonprofit Program (it’s free). See if you are eligible to access the full suite of YouTube Giving tools. Other fundraising tools available on the platform:

  • Link Anywhere Cards let you link supporters to any external URL, including your Giving Tuesday campaign landing page. Learn how to set up Link Anywhere cards on your videos.
  • Donation Cards pop up once a person has watched a portion of your video.
    • It’s a best practice to add Donation Cards to videos that are already popular. Ideally high quality ones showing the impact of your work on the lives of real people.
    • Do you have a donor or community partner with a larger following on YouTube? Invite them to add YouTube Donation Cards to their videos to raise money for you on Giving Tuesday. 

Want to get started? YouTube Creator Academy offers free lessons tailored to nonprofits

8) Build community beforehand. 

If you are starting from scratch on Giving Tuesday with no audience at all, or one that you haven’t communicated with in months, it’s going to be hard to get traction.

Create a plan to start now. Post consistently on a handful of social media sites, share content that is helpful and valuable to your specific audience. Continue to engage in conversations and listen to what’s trending.

Like the Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”  

For more resources and Giving Tuesday campaign ideas, visit their website: www.givingtuesday.org

Let’s Get Started With Your Giving Tuesday Planning!

Simply sending out one email and telling your donors that you are participating in this international day of giving is not enough.

To get a step-by-step guide and calendar to help you plan, launch, and execute your own successful Giving Tuesday campaign, join CharityHowTo and Julia Campbell for a live webinar on Sept 12 or Sept 26th!

We will show you what tools, tactics, and techniques work and walk you through step-by-step instructions to help you get the job done after the webinar. Whether your nonprofit is large or small, has a social media following or is just starting out, we will show you how to plan and execute the best possible Giving Tuesday campaign for your donors. J

Join Me For A Special Live Webinar Focused On Getting Your Nonprofit Ready for Giving Tuesday – How to Run an Amazing Giving Tuesday Campaign – A Step-by-Step Guide with Calendar!

About The Author

Julia Campbell is a digital marketing strategist and nonprofit technology evangelist, providing workshops, webinars and trainings to nonprofit professionals in organizations of all sizes. 

Using social media, email, blogging and online fundraising platforms, Julia has over a decade of history of helping nonprofits find success online. She founded J Campbell Social Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency.

Check out all of Julia’s free and premium trainings at CharityHowTo here!

Topics: Fundraising, nonprofit marketing, Unique Giving Tuesday Ideas, Facebook for Nonprofits, Giving Tuesday Ideas, YouTube Nonprofit Program