By Jess Woloszyn, Content Specialist at Classy.org – a social enterprise that creates world-class online fundraising software for nonprofits, modernizing the giving experience to accelerate social impact around the world.


Giving Tuesday 2021 is right around the corner. To help you capitalize on the start of the biggest donation season of the year, Classy.org is answering top questions from nonprofits that are zeroing in on the year-end giving season. Nonprofits are hopeful that they can re-engage their donors from last year with a new eye on what’s ahead for the future of fundraising. It’s the perfect time to nail down your strategy and decide how you’ll stand out.

Nonprofits raised more than $2.47 billion on Giving Tuesday 2020 in the U.S alone.

Whether you’re a Giving Tuesday pro or embarking on your first official Giving Tuesday campaign, these 13 answers will help you prepare, organize, and execute a memorable strategy.

The Current State of Giving Tuesday Fundraising

This year, nonprofits face the return to fundraising in a hybrid environment with a continued focus on developing strong online donation experiences.

People expect a modern and straightforward donation process that mimics a checkout page like those of our favorite e-commerce brands. To drive conversion and boost revenue, fundraising professionals will need to create campaigns that attract new supporters and prioritize donor experience.

An incredible Giving Tuesday 2021 campaign will:

  • Reach donors from any device
  • Show them precisely what impact their gift will make
  • Provide suggested donation amounts
  • Offer multiple payment options that meet the needs of any donor, especially if they’re on the go

1) How does Giving Tuesday work for nonprofits?

Giving Tuesday will fall on November 30, 2021. Similar to how consumer brands use holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to ignite the spirit of the holiday season and boost foot (or click) traffic, nonprofits can leverage Giving Tuesday to attract donor awareness, gifts, and loyalty.

Create a unique Giving Tuesday campaign with your fundraising software to encourage generosity among donors. Put your creativity to work and decide which campaign type makes the most sense for your goals.

PRO TIP: Crowdfunding campaigns are best for story-driven and time-bound direct giving appeals like Giving Tuesday. They allow you to communicate a clear call to action and show supporters the tangible impact they create.

2) When should you start planning for Giving Tuesday?

It’s essential to set your organization up for success by leaving plenty of time to draw up your Giving Tuesday blueprint. The sooner you nail down your strategy, the easier it will be to create a beautiful campaign that brings it to life. After all, strong storytelling can help build meaningful connections with your audience and even move them to rally around your cause.

We suggest planning for your Giving Tuesday campaign at least three months before the big day. Start with activities such as:

  • Aligning on a brand vision
  • Building your campaign layout
  • Identifying the theme and visuals you want to use
  • Nailing down the  “why” behind this year’s fundraising goals

3) How do you create a compelling ask for Giving Tuesday?

Once you nail down your campaign narrative, there are a few ways to effectively drive awareness and donations.

Consider creating impact blocks on your campaign page that show supporters exactly what their donation dollars can do to create positive change. Include compelling imagery of the beneficiaries your cause supports and short text descriptions to show the variety of ways this campaign will drive your mission forward. You may even repurpose these impact blocks in your email appeals and on social media leading up to Giving Tuesday to communicate the meaningful value of your campaign. Every touchpoint with your donors will bring them closer to your Giving Tuesday story.

4) Is it better to set a specific goal or use a general solicitation for Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is your chance to shine in front of donor audiences you may not typically engage. For that reason, it’s important to set a specific campaign goal that aligns with your larger organizational goals.

For example, do you want to increase awareness of your monthly gift program among your existing donor base? Or maybe you’d like to focus on engaging first-time donors by leaning into peer-to-peer fundraising.

The campaign you choose to run will determine how well you can support your more significant initiatives, so define that upfront with your entire fundraising team. That way, every step you take is centered around a common objective, and you know what to measure to determine success.

5) Why are matching gifts important for Giving Tuesday?

An estimated  $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs annually. Naturally, nonprofits are capitalizing on this opportunity to increase revenue on Giving Tuesday.

Donation matches are more than just a match for employee gifts, and they don’t need to be from a corporation to be successful. Nonprofits can create specific match pools for Giving Tuesday to boost momentum at any point in their campaign. (This is where that early planning kicks in)

Your Giving Tuesday match can come from many sources, including:

  •  A crowdfunding campaign you host in the months leading up to November
  •  A group of major donors who want to make a big impact
  • Local businesses that pitch in to make a difference

6) How do corporate sponsors participate in Giving Tuesday?

A corporate sponsor can help fund a matching campaign, boost your exposure, or drive employees to give to your cause for Giving Tuesday. It’s all about finding the right partner for the goal you’ve set. The best corporate sponsor for your nonprofit will align with your mission and recognize your unique value.

7) When is the best time to launch your Giving Tuesday campaign?

If you haven’t tried a soft launch before, Giving Tuesday is a great time to start. We recommend soft-launching your Giving Tuesday campaign about two weeks before November 30. Implement initial feedback from previous donors, recurring donors, or board members, then polish your campaign for its official hard launch about a week out from Giving Tuesday.

When it comes down to timing for day-of, we can use last year as a guide. Donations seemed to ramp up in the morning in 2020, specifically peaking above $2.5M between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for relative U.S. time zones over 24 hours.

Sending out your day-of communications and social media posts early in the morning may help you attract more donors organically.

8) How do you market your Giving Tuesday campaign?

Giving Tuesday is gaining popularity year after year. Set aside a list of popular hashtags to use on social media for the global day of giving. Pair them with your unique campaign hashtags to further elevate your organization.

Strategize which platforms you will use to market your campaign in the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, the week of, and the day of. For your soft launch, make your donors feel like they’re part of an exclusive inner circle. To achieve this, use more private channels, like email, to tell your campaign narrative and build excitement.

When it comes time for your hard launch, lean into social media. People tend to take more immediate action on these platforms, so provide them with a direct path to give.

You can also get creative about how you share your Giving Tuesday campaign URL. Consider new sharing methods like using a QR code in physical locations throughout November or including a swipe-up link on social posts.

9) How many emails should you send on Giving Tuesday?

Your donor communication on Giving Tuesday is imperative to attracting as many gifts as possible, and also building loyalty between supporters and your cause well beyond Giving Tuesday.

Rally your supporters by sending an email series that tells a cohesive story. Focus on highlights like notable donors, corporate sponsors, match announcements, and the impact of achieving certain donation milestones throughout the day.

Remember that donors may be flooded with other Giving Tuesday email appeals and holiday sale extensions in their inboxes. An engaging subject line can set you apart

To take your email subject lines to the next level, make sure to:

  • Personalize your messaging
  • Emphasize the timeliness of your ask
  • Keep it to nine words or less
  • Use title case to give a sense of authority

10) How do you provide Giving Tuesday resources to your board?

Giving Tuesday is a great time to get your board aligned on a shared vision and help them tap into their networks. Think about what you’ll want to provide each board member with when planning your Giving Tuesday activities this year.

A Giving Tuesday resource kit for your nonprofit board can include:

  •  Email templates to simplify the outreach process
  • Email signature graphics that tie back to your campaign
  • Contact information for donors who may want to reach out to personally

It will also be helpful to share your LinkedIn posting strategy ahead of time. Include the posts and dates that they will go live so board members can reshare them. Each organic share will boost visibility on a platform where major donors are more likely to see your efforts.

11) Is Giving Tuesday a good time to start a recurring giving campaign?

Absolutely. Your Giving Tuesday campaign doesn’t need to focus solely on one-time donations. You could set a goal to boost membership for your recurring giving program by a certain percentage.

Suppose you’re thinking about kicking off a recurring gift campaign for the end of the year. Why not start it on a day when people are already in the mindset of giving and exploring new ways to make an impact? Recurring giving improves the long-term health of nonprofits by establishing a sustainable revenue stream.

The subscription economy broadly defines how people prefer to allocate money. Think about the success your nonprofit can achieve by tapping into the models used by brands like Peloton or Hulu. This Giving Tuesday, identify repeat donors and segment your outreach with specially curated messages.  Announce your official program and welcome them to join your subscription gift community. Emphasize the unique value they bring to your organization and how a recurring gift can amplify their impact on your beneficiaries.

12. How much do organizations typically raise on Giving Tuesday?

In 2020, online Giving Tuesday revenue on Classy grew by 95% year over year. Every nonprofit can benefit from the impact of uniting around a day that focuses on doing good together. The supporters you attract on Giving Tuesday can become loyal donors that return campaign after campaign and continue to move the needle for your cause.

13. How can a small nonprofit stand out?

Regardless of your nonprofit’s size, Giving Tuesday provides a fantastic opportunity to get in front of your donors and inspire action. Instead of casting a wide net to appeal to all potential donors, create a tailored message to specific groups of people who share a passion for your cause. Start by looking at your current donor base and determining your most effective donor attraction strategies.

Remember, authentic storytelling goes a long way with donors. When you create a campaign that communicates the impact of your organization, you’ll see the success you’re looking for.

Your Giving Tuesday Master Checklist

Cross off these action items as you plan your campaign.

If you’re able to begin planning your Giving Tuesday campaign as early as January, and continually take small actions throughout the year, you can give yourself a sizable runway to ideate and design a truly creative campaign.

Even if you can’t plan for Giving Tuesday year-round, this checklist can help keep you and your fundraising team organized.

Use this checklist to:

  • Help align your team around your goals
  • Establish early momentum for Giving Tuesday
  • Stay on track to create a standout campaign


Answers to the Top 13 Questions Nonprofits Have About Giving Tuesday