Five Tips for a Winning Giving Tuesday Campaign

With #GivingTuesday only three weeks away, many associations have the annual charitable holiday top of mind. A fundraising expert offers advice on how to create a successful campaign.

Giving Tuesday, a global nonprofit fundraising initiative held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is an excellent opportunity for associations to draw attention to their work. In fact, associations can be well-positioned to do well on Giving Tuesday, says Natalie M. Zundel, CFRE, founder of the consultancy Raise Well. “Associations already have membership, webinars, conferences—built-in groups of folks who are already interested in what they’re doing,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean the ask on Giving Tuesday is easy: “If they’re already paying membership dues, how do you convince them to make a donation on top of that?”

Zundel offered five points for association fundraisers as their gear up for #GivingTuesday on November 28.

1. Social media isn’t what it used to be. #GivingTuesday is the quintessential example of hashtag activism, which made X (formerly Twitter) a popular place to promote it. But with the disruption of that platform in the past year, Zundel says she’s seen clients get less traction there. She advises associations to consider LinkedIn. But regardless of the platform, she recommends knowing where your members (and people friendly to your association’s industry) are, and recruit social media ambassadors to promote their campaign. “Reach out to the folks already following you on social media, the ones who like or share your posts as soon as you put them up, and ask them to help,” she said.

2. Use other outlets. As you ramp up your campaign, don’t forget the other ways you communicate with members and make your Giving Tuesday ask a part of it. “Think about everything you have going out in November,” she said. “If it’s member renewal time, put a PSA on your membership renewal confirmation receipt. If you have a committee meeting, put it on their agenda, or on the slide decks of your webinars, in your newsletters.”

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to ask for donations of volunteer time, not just money

3. Look beyond Tuesday. After your Giving Tuesday campaign is over, give it an extra boost at the end of December, when people might consider year-end donations for tax purposes. “Some of the best email donation gifts come in the last two weeks of the year,” Zundel said.

4. The ask doesn’t have to be financial. For some associations, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to ask for donations of volunteer time, not just money. “For some campaigns, you might prioritize engagement,” she said. “That can be participation in a fundraising campaign or participation elsewhere in an organization, like volunteering for committees or other volunteer roles.”

5. Consider skipping Giving Tuesday altogether. For associations without robust fundraising apparatuses, or that are just getting started, Giving Tuesday might be too overwhelming. “It’s a very large worldwide campaign where every nonprofit, every university, every hospital, is now pushing messaging out,” Zundel said. “What I say to my smaller clients is, ‘Is Giving Tuesday really a fit for you?’ Is there another day that speaks to your membership? Maybe it’s the day you were founded, or the birthday of your founder, something you can build a Giving Tuesday-like campaign around and not have to compete with all those other messages for your donors’ dollars.”


Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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