If there is a silver lining to the year 2020, it’s the outpouring of generosity that people have shown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was evident for this year’s #GivingTuesday fundraising results.

As reported by GivingTuesday, this year saw record-breaking results, with a 29% increase globally and a 25% increase in the US compared to last year’s numbers. And here at Charity Dynamics, we were thrilled to see these same positive results for our own campaigns.

So much planning, work and creativity goes into pulling off a successful #GivingTuesday campaign — especially this year.

So, to every nonprofit professional who played a role in #GivingTuesday, we raise a glass to you and say, congratulations!

As I took it all in and started analyzing the results, many best practices and trends stood out. Here are a few examples from my own inbox and across several of the amazing clients we have the privilege to partner with.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t just for shopping.

All the clients we partner with on #GivingTuesday campaigns launched early— on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or another day of their choosing leading up to the actual day. We saw as much as 25%  raised toward a goal ahead of #GivingTuesday.

A common misconception is that inboxes are simply too crowded with all the online shopping deals on these two days of the year. But the thing is … people are checking email on these days for deals! You’ve got the eyes; you just need to draw their attention.

This year our client, Freestore Foodbank, kicked off their upcoming giving day with a Black Friday send. They encouraged past giving day donors to give early toward their giving day goal with a special triple match “Black Friday Deal.”

Here’s a crop of how it showed up in my inbox… This is likely how it showed up for most people on that day among a sea of flash sales and emojis. Yet it still garnered a 30% open rate and brought in over $78K. You can’t beat that ROI. Right message, right segment, right time.


Livestreaming to break through the noise and build connection.

This is the year nonprofits started to fully embrace livestreaming. Sure, many were already pros, but many more have been forced outside of their comfort zones due to COVID-19 as they’ve had to find new strategies for in-person events.

But livestreaming isn’t just for virtual events. It can work to enhance a giving day like #GivingTuesday as well. To build momentum around their #GivingTuesday goal, our client Riley Children’s Foundation invited one of their Riley kids to conduct Facebook Live interviews throughout the day with various celebrities. In addition, they featured videos from other Riley kids and their families sharing their stories and the importance of giving.

This was a great way to meet people where they are and break through the #GivingTuesday noise with content that was both entertaining and served to connect supporters with the amazing patients that their fundraising dollars go to support. We know that donors want to clearly see how their dollars make a difference, and what better way to do so than through video of patients and families.

Of course, all this was integrated with e-communications, website promotions and other great social media content.

P.S. They surpassed their goal!

Providing multiple ways to give back.

Every type of ask won’t resonate with every donor and not every supporter can give, especially in today’s environment. Dayton Children’s Hospital Foundation knows this and did an amazing job of giving people various ways to plug in and contribute to their #GivingTuesday success.

In addition to asking for direct donations on the day of, other opportunities were provided along the way. Leading up to #GivingTuesday, targeted groups of constituents were asked to fundraise as Giving Tuesday Champions. Their Social Ambassadors group—Miracle Nation—was asked to help share on social media.

On Black Friday, they shared their Amazon wish list—a perfect giving option on a day when so many were already shopping on Amazon for the holidays (I know I was…).

Matches have become a #GivingTuesday must-have.

What now stands out for a nonprofit appeal is not the match, but rather the absence of a match. Almost every campaign in my inbox had a matching gift opportunity of some kind. Double, triple, a bonus gift to unlock, there are many ways to position it, all good to encourage donations. Here’s just a small sample from my inbox:

For donors who support multiple charities, the absence of a match to double or triple the value of their gift could make the difference in them choosing another organization over yours as their #GivingTuesday charity of choice. Make sure to start planning your matches early in the year (think spring and summer) so that you have options when the day of giving comes around.

People are giving – and giving again.

Let’s face it, this year has been hard. Most of us are already counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to 2021.

As I said at the beginning, a silver lining has been the outpouring of generosity this year. People want to help. They know the needs are great and that the recovery isn’t overnight.

What we’re seeing with many clients is an increase in repeat giving during this time. For the food bank client I mentioned above, 10% of the donors who have given so far to their upcoming giving day are donors that have already given this calendar year … and their giving day hasn’t happened yet.

To help you reach your #GivingTuesday Goal:

  • Sustainers will give an additional gift.
  • Major donors will make an additional gift.
  • Donors who gave a few months ago will make an additional gift.
They key is to segment and personalize these asks. When you thank a donor for the specific way their gift has been put to work to make a difference, and then explain the continued need, there’s a good chance they’ll give again. These are your most dedicated donors. They want to help you succeed. When a donor feels valued and that their dollars are being used wisely many will step up again. And if not, they’ll still feel like an important part of your mission. We see very few unsubscribes when an ask is segmented and personalized in this way.

Even though #GivingTuesday has come and gone, so many of these best practices can and should be applied to your continued end-of-year fundraising. I can’t wait to see the continued generosity through the holiday season and into 2021.

Loved hearing from Tara and wondering how she and the Charity Dynamics team can help you and your organization strategically fundraise?