Radical Reflections: 5 Things to Know About Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is the #1 day to acquire new donors.”  

Woodrow Rosenbaum, GivingTuesday

For many fundraisers, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is a day they’ve been thinking about for months. They’ve set up dedicated donation pages, created specialized graphics, and crafted outreach plans to entice donors to give on the biggest philanthropic day of the year. 

I’ve been there. I have brainstormed campaigns from scratch. I have created a series of themed graphics. I have written and scheduled thoughtful emails. I have made targeted phone calls. I have excitedly watched thousands flood in within the 24 hour window.

But there is one thing I’ve never done. I have never taken the time to stop and think about just how influential that particular day is – and just how massive of an impact that one day has on the globe…

That is, until I watched Woodrow Rosenbaum’s “Insights to Actions” session at the Nonprofit Marketing Summit Radical Impact, hosted by Community Boost. Here’s what I learned:

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world (GivingTuesday, 2023). It was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to take a moment to focus on doing good, after a plethora of thankfulness and shopping for the upcoming holiday season.

Here’s how the schedule goes:
Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday…

Over the past nine years, the concept of Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Giving Tuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity, and equity around the globe (GivingTuesday, 2023). 

In 2022, in the United States alone, $3.1 billion dollars were donated on Giving Tuesday – a 15% increase from 2021 (GivingTuesday 2022 Impact Report). When we’re talking about numbers this big, one thing is for certain: This global generosity movement is here to stay!

5 Things to Know as You Gear Up for Giving Tuesday

Whether it’s your first time participating, or if you’re a seasoned Giving Tuesday-er like me, there is a lot to consider as the day rapidly approaches. Here are the five takeaways from the Nonprofit Marketing Summit Radical Impact that you need to know as you gear up for Giving Tuesday:

  1. Some things are better left unsaid: Specifically, “Giving Tuesday”. In her session entitled “Cut Through the Noise! Email Tips for GivingTuesday”, Abby Jarvis of Neon One, stated that using the term “Giving Tuesday” in the subject line of an email reduced the open rate dramatically. They gleaned that individuals already know that it’s Giving Tuesday, and that they find it less exciting to give when they feel like the primary reason they are being asked is because of the date (even if it may be true!). Instead, make sure you are demonstrating the need for their gift. 
  1. People WILL read your emails: You might feel like sending an email on Giving Tuesday is destined to get lost in your recipient’s inbox. Or worse – they will be annoyed to hear from you! Thankfully, Neon One’s research showed that nonprofit email open rates were actually higher than average on Giving Tuesday. So, never fear – send the email!
  1. Join the movement – don’t shy away from it. 52% of individuals who gave said they donate on Giving Tuesday because they enjoy being a part of the larger global impact movement. While you might think your nonprofit is too small to make a splash during this notable day, we encourage you to represent your organization proudly on this very special day of giving.
  1. Cohesive branding is key. You are welcome to use Giving Tuesday branding – In fact, they love when you do! GivingTuesday provides numerous forms of their logo ready to download and use. Additionally, you can download a step-and-repeat template, banner templates and photo booth props to accompany your in-person strategy. They even take their generosity one step further by encouraging personalization. GivingTuesday states, “Please feel free to adapt the GivingTuesday logo as your own – change the color to your brand colors or convert it into something entirely new! Be sure to tag us so we can share your creativity.”
  1. Say hello to new donors! Let’s finish where we started – According to the 2022 Impact Report, Giving Tuesday is the #1 day to acquire new donors. New donor acquisition is one of the biggest challenges nonprofits face on an annual basis. When you focus on crafting a memorable, inspiring campaign, you are guaranteed to obtain new supporters!

FOX TIP: The most compelling way to inspire new donors to give is by incorporating storytelling into your fundraising strategy. If you’re looking for a way to collect, organize and share stories directly from your community, be sure to check our MemoryFox!

About the Author

Carly Euler
Marketing Manager, MemoryFox

Carly comes from the nonprofit world ready to elevate the hundreds of nonprofits in the MemoryFox community. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Wily Network’s Young Professionals Association, and has previously held positions at the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, the Code of Support Foundation, Kenya Lacrosse Association, and the BOMA Project, where she has specialized in marketing, communications, and fundraising. Storytelling has been an integral part of each role.