Giving Tuesday: One week on – keeping the momentum

Those of us old enough to remember the Green activism of the 1990s will remember the slogan “Reduce, reuse, recycle”. And that’s our starting point for thinking about how we keep the momentum up from last week’s #GivingTuesday campaigns.

Reduce, reuse, recycle… #GivingTuesday

So many of us working in NGOs will have spent the month before Thanksgiving painstakingly crafting, re-crafting, optimizing, scheduling, re-drafting, re-scheduling newsletter, and social media campaigns to hit just the right tone and to land at just the right moment to maximize the generosity of our donors on Giving Tuesday.

A week ago, you were finally able to sit back and watch the donations roll in. Your hard work paid off. It was all worth it. Even in this year, of all years, folks dug deep into their pockets and donated a record $2.5 billion in a single day. WOW!


But that was an awful lot of work for just one day.

So how do we keep it going? The year’s not over yet. There are still bills to pay and work to be done.

Here are three ways to keep the energy – and the cash – flowing.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

You’ve done so much work. Don’t waste it – use it again. There’s little chance all of your donors saw all of your Twitter cards and videos. You spent a lot of time getting just the right words – so use them again.

If you’re only repeating yourself once or twice, those people who have already donated won’t mind too much. And all those who didn’t see your message before have a better chance now when inboxes and social feeds are less crammed with appeals.

Don’t necessarily re-send the whole campaign, of course, but re-use those key phrases you sculpted from golden prose and case studies you scoured for just that right emotional hit. You can re-use the photos. You can upcycle video clips with new text and tweets. Make the most of the work you’ve already done. Recycle. It’s good for the environment.


Give feedback

It feels good to donate money to a good cause. But what feels better? Being told exactly how that money has already made a difference in the lives of others.

If you’ve got the resources, send a video message thanking your donors. It doesn’t have to be flashy – if you’re heading up the comms on a small team, a more amateur effort with your laptop’s webcam can even add to the authenticity of your message.

One tip that is always mentioned is to center the donor in your language, making them the object of each sentence – “Your donation has helped us [do this, this and this].” But I would up that and say



We want them to feel good about donating and we want to know what has happened when we donated.

If you don’t want to send a video, just send a short email. You could even mail merge it with your donations database – “Your donation of $55.75 has paid for [x and y]”. The more specific you are, the more the donors will feel connected to your organization.

And of course, remind them that you need their help all year round. To paraphrase the Chinese philosopher – the best time to donate is on Giving Tuesday when there are match funds available, but the second-best time is right now. And don’t forget, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are all just around the corner…

A second chance

We’ve all sat through those blue-sky, outside-the-box brainstorming sessions. Those ones where no idea is too stupid and a metric ton of innovative thoughts are generated.


But no campaign could possibly use all those ideas. A Giving Tuesday campaign is a well-honed, streamlined strategy – meaning a lot of those initial ideas had to fall by the wayside, left abandoned like edited strips of film on the cutting room floor.

They may not have been perfect for your Giving Tuesday campaign, but that doesn’t mean they were bad ideas!

Except for the ones which really were bad ideas. Don’t do those.


Now is the time for the plucky little idea that ever made it. Shine, little idea, SHINE!

Tags: Fundraising, Giving Tuesday, GivingTuesday, NGO

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