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What is GivingTuesday? How it works for nonprofits

November 01, 2021
This volunteer is accepting a donation to a nonprofit organization.

In recent years, GivingTuesday has made global headlines as a widespread day of giving to nonprofit organizations. If you’re new to the nonprofit space, however, you may not know exactly what GivingTuesday looks like or how your organization can make the most of it.  

In this article, we’ll answer frequently asked questions and offer suggestions for how you can unleash your community’s generosity on GivingTuesday.

Last year, GivingTuesday inspired $3.1 billion dollars of donations to nonprofits in the United States. We want you to make sure your nonprofit organization doesn’t miss out this year! 

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday, also referred to as #GivingTuesday on social media, is a day to celebrate collective generosity around the world. Originally started in 2012, GivingTuesday is an annual movement to encourage as many people as possible to donate to nonprofit organizations in 24 hours. The movement has grown into a global phenomenon, with thousands of organizations participating and billions of dollars raised. 

Nonprofits use GivingTuesday to run fast-paced fundraising campaigns, often on social media, that generate excitement and urgency for their purpose. These campaigns also provide opportunities to spread broader awareness of your nonprofit and acquire new donors.

When is GivingTuesday?

Each year, GivingTuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. To maximize interest in your campaign, however, your nonprofit should start marketing well in advance. Plenty of nonprofits will be competing for your supporters’ attention, so start getting the word out early.

Who participates in GivingTuesday?

All 501(c)(3) organizations can participate. You do not need to register with any official organization, but you can find more information about the movement on the GivingTuesday website.  

Where does GivingTuesday occur?

Everywhere! GivingTuesday began as a social media promotion by a small group of nonprofit organizations encouraging everyone to do good. Today, with technological advancements and increased awareness, GivingTuesday has transitioned to new spaces, both on- and offline.  

Organizations across the globe conduct social media campaigns, send email appeals, and host in-person events of various types and sizes to celebrate giving and raise funds. 

Interested in planning some GivingTuesday outreach? Download our GivingTuesday Checklist

How your nonprofit can get involved

Get creative and think outside the box for your GivingTuesday campaign. Start a campaign to raise money and celebrate generosity in your own way based on your audience’s preferences. 

Consider trying these ideas for your next GivingTuesday campaign:

  • Publicly recognize your donors and volunteers. This small token of appreciation will shine the spotlight on their continued generosity.  
  • Encourage your community to engage in random acts of kindness.  
  • Go live on social media or host an open house for the community to learn more about the important work your nonprofit does to further your purpose.  
  • Create a peer-to-peer campaign to expand your reach to new potential donors. Ask your board members, staff, volunteers and program participants to share your social media posts, email blasts, and videos with their own networks of family and friends. 
  • Ask an individual or group of committed supporters to match the dollars you raise on GivingTuesday. For example, if $10,000 is raised at a 1:1 match ratio, they’ll match it for a total impact of $20,000. This match encourages others to give because they know their impact will be multiplied. 
  • Recruit a group of staff or volunteers to make thank-you phone calls or videos throughout the day so that donors feel your appreciation within hours of making a donation. 

Before getting started, take a look at other nonprofit GivingTuesday campaigns that have been successful in recent years. Gather inspiration from these examples and incorporate them into your own campaign planning.

Capitalize on the benefits of GivingTuesday

Getting involved with GivingTuesday allows you to join other nonprofits in spreading the word about your work and raising funds. Incorporate a GivingTuesday campaign into your year-end fundraising strategy to set the stage for a strong final month of giving! 

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