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Data-backed insights to fuel your final GivingTuesday preparations

James Keane
Data scientist
November 15, 2022
Two women pack toys and prepare for donation

The end of the year’s giving spirit provides a crucial setting for the fundraising campaigns essential to reaching your organization’s annual giving goals. While the days grow shorter, many fundraisers are preparing for donation counts to reach new heights.  

Organizations leveraging Bonterra’s Fundraising and Engagement solutions typically see that 25-30% of all gifts come in the last six weeks of the year. A large component of that giving typically comes from the social good sector’s two largest philanthropic Giving Days, GivingTuesday & New Year’s Eve.

GivingTuesday—the Tuesday following Thanksgiving—first launched in 2012 by 92nd Street Y to combat the commercialism of Black Friday by encouraging acts of kindness and philanthropy. What started as a simple notion to create more opportunities for good has since blossomed into a “global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”  

In recent years, GivingTuesday not only acts as an advent of the year-end giving season but also generates fundraising levels that surpass New Year’s Eve, making it the largest day of giving of the year. On average, organizations using Bonterra now see 200+% increases in daily donations on GivingTuesday.

Now, as the premier day of giving in the U.S. and across the globe, taking part in GivingTuesday is something that organizations of all shapes and sizes have an opportunity to embrace. But what is even more important is that your organization understands how to unlock the potential to captivate new and returning donors and convert them to year-round supporters of your cause.

GivingTuesday's rise
GivingTuesday now surpasses New Year’s Eve as the largest day of giving.

‍By joining together leading social good technologies, CyberGrants, EveryAction, Network for Good, and Social Solutions, Bonterra has the unique advantage of working with a wide dataset to provide insights across the full breadth of the nonprofit and fundraising space. As Bonterra, we are excited to leverage this unparalleled access to information to help your organization make data-backed decisions that power social impact.

In this blog, we will discuss trends from past GivingTuesdays and explore strategies you can implement right away as you prepare for your upcoming campaign on November 29, 2022.

Attract And Retain New GivingTuesday Donors

Along with the fundraising boosts expected during year-end, the exposure of GivingTuesday provides a great opportunity for your organization to attract and retain new donors. Last year, organizations utilizing our EveryAction and Network for Good solutions averaged 850% more new donors on GivingTuesday as compared to their typical daily influx.  

As a fundraising professional, you understand that work must be done to bring in these new donors. While GivingTuesday may be one of the few days a year that donors are actively searching for a new cause to give to, it is through your organization’s efforts that you are able to catch their attention and facilitate their donation.  

Be proactive in creating campaigns and outreach strategies that will cut through the noise of GivingTuesday. Captivate donors through your organization's unique story, leverage social media and peer-to-peer strategies, or implement Google Ads to raise your platform and widen your audience.

Likelihood of a donor returning post GivingTuesday
New donors, when properly stewarded, come back to make additional gifts to your organization.

With a fresh stream of new donors coming to your organization right before year-end appeals, you’ll be in a good spot to immediately begin fostering these relationships by encouraging a repeat donation or by simply maintaining engagement. While making an additional ask so close to the initial gift may seem like a fundraising faux pas, our data shows 14% of new GivingTuesday donors donate their second gift within six months, compared to only 10% of new donors from New Year’s Eve.

Developing creative and authentic strategies to build relationships with your new donors after GivingTuesday is critical. Consider how you can segment communications for new donors based on their participation in GivingTuesday to encourage additional support to give you the extra push needed to reach your year-end fundraising goals.

With that, the key is to keep these donors engaged year-round. Encourage these new donors to learn more about your cause, ask them to follow your social accounts and newsletter, and engage them in non-donation asks. The more effort you put in, the more likely that a donor will come back to make additional gifts throughout the year and even give more during the next GivingTuesday.

Understand Your Donors' Behavior on GivingTuesday

Next, we will dive into the typical behaviors of your organization’s donors in 2021 and how you can apply this knowledge to this year’s GivingTuesday efforts.‍

GivingTuesday 2021 donor behavior
While lapsed donors makes up a smaller percentage of those who donate on GivingTuesday, they tend to give more to your organization than new donors.

New donors and those who gave to an organization within the previous 30 days made up over half (56%) of last year’s GivingTuesday donations. However, larger donations tended to come from returning donors who had not recently given. Our findings from last year’s aggregates found that while donors who had not given for over a year only amounted to 12% of donations, they contributed over 22% of the total gift value.

Focusing on return donors, 2021 was a high point for donors upgrading their GivingTuesday giving, with 45% of returning donors giving more than their typical gift. In general, newer donors upgraded their giving less often than more established donors but increased the relative value of their donation by a larger amount when they did upgrade. This indicates that upgrade efforts should be focused more on established donors.  

In your GivingTuesday outreach, we encourage you to send segmented messaging to your organization’s long-term supporters. Acknowledge the impact of their previous contribution and ask them if they can give a specified percentage more. You may just be surprised by their additional generosity!  

Like new donors, it remains essential to continue stewarding these donors throughout the year. While donors may have the ability to give more, they will like to know their increased support is noticed!  

Upgraded giving on GivingTuesday
Donors tend to give more to your organization on GivingTuesday than their typical gift size

Not all donors approach GivingTuesday in the same manner. For some, it is one of many chances to give throughout the year, while others treat it as a special occasion to complete all their giving at once. To maximize your fundraising, consider segmenting your donors based on the length and recency of your relationships. More ambitious asks are better suited to your long-term or periodic donors, while newer or recent donors may be more suited for smaller asks or calls for non-monetary engagement on GivingTuesday.

Send Outreach That Gets Noticed on GivingTuesday

GT 2021 hourly email timeline
During the week of GivingTuesday, organizations on average only send three communications to their supporters.

‍Outreach for GivingTuesday can start as early as October for some organizations, hoping to put the holiday on their donors’ radars as soon as possible. But when looking specifically at the week of the event, data from our Salsa solution showed that organizations average three targeted emails. Most organizations sent out a preparation email at the end of the workday on Monday and a kickoff email on the morning of GivingTuesday itself.

Half of the organizations continued with email outreach in the days following the event, with these additional efforts contributing to significant giving from Wednesday through Friday. Our findings show that in the past three years, the day after GivingTuesday still averages a 144% lift in donation counts over a typical day.  

We all know that 24 hours can fly by! To capture possible donors who may be preoccupied on Tuesday itself, emailing in the days after the event can yield huge results for your organization.  

And again, remember to send those stewardship communications to all your donors immediately following GivingTuesday! In these emails, mention the impact of their gift, how close you are to reaching your final GivingTuesday goals, and provide specific ways these donors can help you move the needle in your final year-end efforts.

At Bonterra, our purpose is to power those who power social impact. By unlocking the value hidden in our data, we hope to facilitate all doers of social good as you continue to develop and grow your missions.  

Here are the key takeaways this data sheds some light on as you make final GivingTuesday preparations:

  1. Newer and more recent donors will likely give in lower amounts. Be conscious of this in your asks for this segment. Consider requesting a lower gift size but accompany it with additional non-monetary asks such as volunteer opportunities or GivingTuesday promotions. As you begin to cultivate these new donors, you have a greater chance they will return to make a gift for EOY or within six months of GivingTuesday.
  2. Longer lapsed donors and donors with more established giving histories are more likely to give more on GivingTuesday than they typically do. Utilize tools you have to increase those donations via segmented outreach, donation matches, ask strings, optimized asks, etc.
  3. Engage with your GivingTuesday donors again throughout year-end. Do not be afraid you will turn off these donors by communicating with them and even asking for additional support. Just be sure your messaging is authentic and resonates with your donors in meaningful ways.
  4. GivingTuesday outreach should not be limited to Tuesday. Along with prepping your donors before the event, continued outreach throughout the rest of the week can catch the knock-on donation effect seen after the holiday ends.

Stay tuned for our GivingTuesday recap as we dig into trends, milestones, and other notable takeaways from our first day of giving as Bonterra.

Written by

James Keane
James Keane
Data scientist
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing
  • Fundraising ideas