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Giving Tuesday Poses An Opportunity For Nonprofits To Launch Campaigns And Pull In Much Needed Donations For Their Cause

Giving Tuesday for Nonprofits: Five Ways to Engage Your Board


The holiday season reminds us of all the reasons we love to give and receive. It all begins right after Thanksgiving, with the Black Friday sales beginning at midnight, followed by tons of sales for online shoppers on Cyber Monday. After the initial holiday shopping rush, it’s Giving Tuesday — a time for people to give back to the organizations that serve them and those they love all year long. Here’s how to capitalize on this key donor date and engage your board with a Giving Tuesday campaign.

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday was created when the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in October 2012 to get the “giving season” off to a good start. The founders wanted to remind people that there’s more to the holiday season than commercialization and buying gifts. The original two founders were soon joined by Cisco, Mashable, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Sony, Aldo, Groupon, UNICEF, Google, Skype, Microsoft and Unilever, which became additional founding members. Mashable made the public announcement, and Giving Tuesday quickly went viral.

Lots of people save a little bit all year round in order to ease the strain on their budgets during the holiday season. Giving Tuesday also has people thinking about planned giving. The question for nonprofits is, “How many people would be willing to designate your nonprofit for their charitable giving on Giving Tuesday?”

How to Get Your Organization on Board With Giving Tuesday

If Giving Tuesday is a new concept for your organization, how can you get your board excited about starting a Giving Tuesday campaign this year?

Here are five easy steps to get your fellow directors on board with starting a Giving Tuesday campaign:

1. Put it on your agenda

Place Giving Tuesday on your board agenda and be prepared to talk about how it can bring in substantial donations for your organization. Convince board members by telling them more about how it works.

Giving Tuesday is a popular event. Most people know that it comes right after Cyber Monday and they’re weighing their options early about which charities they want to make donations to and how much they want to give. Many people also need to donate money at the end of the year for tax reasons.

People are receiving emails, postcards and social media ads from lots of nonprofits in the weeks around Thanksgiving. If they don’t see the name of your organization, they’ll be just as happy to donate to a different one.

2. Educate your board members with the facts

Share with your board that, according to, depending on the nonprofit, organizations can raise 17 – 31% of their online revenue in December, with 20% coming in on December 31st. Giving Tuesday is a one-day event, but it generates contact information for potential donors that will allow your organization to solicit them all year long. Consider piggy-backing on your Giving Tuesday campaign by sending out a postal mailing or an email blast during the final days of the year to make it easy for donors to give again if they wish.

3. Explain how to make it successful

Outline a Giving Tuesday campaign for your board. Explain the history of Giving Tuesday and try to tie it in with your nonprofit’s history or mission. Set an initial goal and plan to make it public. Talk about how you can share your campaign on Giving Tuesday’s official website in order to gain attention for your nonprofit. List the places online where you can advertise your Giving Tuesday campaign, including your website and social media outlets. You could add a donate button to any sites that don’t already have them.

Talk about how much fun it could be for board members and other members of the organization to post selfies with cards that say, “I support XYZ Organization because… #GivingTuesday” or share on their social media. You could also throw a Giving Tuesday party, send out donation cards to the people on your donors’ list, and seek out a sponsor that would match some or all of the donations.

3. Provide a written list of the ways your nonprofit could get donations

It won’t take much convincing when your board realizes how many different ways your organization could source money. Consider these sources of donations on Giving Tuesday:

  • Sponsor matches
  • New members
  • New donors from community
  • Website donations
  • Social media donations
  • Mail-in checks

Remind your board that Giving Tuesday is just one day, but the connections you make then may become potential long-term donors.

5. Provide training for a successful campaign

Encourage everyone to keep the campaign light and fun. Everyone loves a cheerful giver. You might consider doing some internal competitions. A little competitiveness never hurt anyone, and some fun competition can help to raise the bar nicely.

Let your board know that you can provide sample content for email requests and social media posts. Offer to coach them on how to approach family members, friends and business acquaintances and what to say. Provide each board member with the Giving Tuesday Communications Toolkit, which is bursting with ideas and communication strategies for a successful Giving Tuesday campaign.

Closing Out Your Giving Tuesday Campaign

Don’t forget to offer a few words of sincere thanks to those who give. Donors appreciate getting a kind note, follow-up letter or email telling them once again how important their donation is and how the organization plans to use their gift to support the organization’s mission.

After Giving Tuesday, schedule some time after your holiday celebration to review your campaign and determine what you can learn from it. Which things worked great? Which things didn’t work so well? How can your organization build an even bigger and better campaign for the next year?

Store all of these ideas in your board management software so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel next year. Get some planning dates on the next year’s calendar so you can start on the campaign planning nice and early.

Finally, count your money! Get the results from your website donations, social media donations, new memberships, community members and business sponsors and watch the total soar! It won’t be difficult to get the most skeptical board members on board for the coming year when they gain the assurance of how successful a Giving Tuesday campaign can be.

BoardEffect is designed with the unique needs of volunteer boards in mind. Our nonprofit board management software streamlines board processes, enhances communication and promotes accountability, helping you to become an efficient and effective board.

To learn more about how a BoardEffect board management system can serve your mission-driven organization and support your campaigns, request a demo today.

Dottie Schindlinger

Dottie Schindlinger is Executive Director of the Diligent Institute, the governance think tank and research arm of Diligent Corporation. In her role, Dottie promotes the intersection of governance and technology as a recognized expert in the field. She co-authored Governance in the Digital Age: A Guide for the Modern Corporate Board Director, ©2019, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, and is creator and co-host of The Corporate Director Podcast, a fortnightly show featuring corporate directors sharing their stories about modern governance.
Dottie was a founding team member of BoardEffect, a board management software platform launched in 2007 focused on serving the needs of healthcare, higher education & nonprofit boards. Prior to BoardEffect, she spent 15 years working in a variety of governance roles, including as a board support professional, consultant, trainer, board member, and senior executive. Dottie serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of the Alice Paul Institute, and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

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