Giving Tuesday: Tips for 2021 Success

Renee Davis
July 28, 2021

2020 changed our world in so many ways. As we fumbled through the isolation of the pandemic, people looked for ways to connect and help each other. Although the year brought financial struggles for many, philanthropy did not suffer. In fact, it saw its peak in many ways as donors continued to support causes that were dear to them, but also gave to new organizations that resonated throughout the year. 

You may be asking, what does Giving Tuesday have to do with it? People are looking to support mission-focused work, and Giving Tuesday is a global platform that aims to unite and inspire philanthropy. In its essence, Giving Tuesday harnesses the power of social media to bring together people from all over the world to share their time, talents and resources with nonprofits everywhere. This year Giving Tuesday is Nov 30, 2021 - mark your calendars!

Giving Tuesday was wildly successful in 2020, and the data proves it:

  • More than $2.47 billion was raised on Giving Tuesday 2020, marking a 25% increase from the $1.97 billion raised in 2019. 
  • Over 34.8 million people participated in Giving Tuesday 2020, a 29% increase compared to 2019. 
  • 13% of the entire US adult population participated in Giving Tuesday 2020

On the heels of a record-breaking year for philanthropy, how should we approach Giving Tuesday 2021?

At Evolve, we’ve talked a lot about Giving Tuesday in the past, and explored whether we should even participate. From my perspective, Giving Tuesday is here to stay, and since many people are already planning to participate, let’s ensure your nonprofit gets a piece of the pie - without being a drain on your time or resources. 

My best advice for a successful Giving Tuesday 2021: Keep. It. Simple. 

  • Participate, but keep costs low - Giving Tuesday is a digital movement, so utilize your existing tools to show up and reach your donors. Schedule an eblast early in the morning, and plan to post a few times on social media throughout the day. Focus on the platforms where your donors are, and spend your time creating content there. 
  • Reinforce, don’t reinvent - Weave messaging into your existing year-end campaign. We’ve already talked about planning for year-end giving, so make Giving Tuesday a part of that overall campaign. Add it to your timeline, and capitalize on the momentum of the day to share your year-end campaign messages, and set the stage for your asks that are likely coming later in the month. 
  • Make it shareable - Engage ambassadors to amplify your messages. Utilize your board, Associate Board, and volunteer network to share your mission digitally across their own platforms. Create a shareable post on social media, and encourage your brand’s advocates to share with their own networks. (Pro tip: tee them up for this in advance of Giving Tuesday, so they’re ready and activated!)
  • Check your systems - Make sure your online donation pages are optimized, links are all in working order, and donate buttons on social media are activated. Step into your donor’s shoes to make sure their experience is seamless when they try to donate.

For organizations that have strong digital engagement and thousands of followers on social media, Giving Tuesday is a no brainer - their audience is already primed to see their content. But what about smaller organizations, or those who may not have activated their brand fully on social media? You’re not alone! There are many ways you can participate in Giving Tuesday 2021, and for today’s freebie, I’ve put together 10 Creative Giving Tuesday Ideas - many that don’t involve asking for money!