Communications Professionals Talk About Their #GivingTuesday Campaigns

November 17, 2017 - 9:43am
We ask some of our members to share some of their experiences and learnings
Your stomach is full of Thanksgiving turkey, your feet are resting after Black Friday, your online shopping cart is emptied after Cyber Monday, and finally, it’s time to pay attention to the greater good in the community around you. It’s time for #GivingTuesday.
#GivingTuesday, first created by the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact in 2012, is an opportunity to support great nonprofit work—and in the name of holiday cheer! Conveniently aligned near the end-of-the-year fundraising rush, #GivingTuesday allows you and your organization to reinforce the good work you do all year—and encourage your members and new supporters to open their wallets. 
#GivingTuesday has made great strides each year in its donation and fundraising goals. In 2015, the campaign reached $116 million in online donations, and $177 million in 2016. 
While ReThink Media does not claim to be the expert on #GivingTuesday (online giving is not one of our organization’s focuses), we hope to point you in the right direction. Below, we ask some of our members to share some of their experiences and learnings with their #GivingTuesday campaigns.
Do you have tips, strategies, or experiences to share? Email them to [email protected]!

What strategies have you found effective in #GivingTuesday campaigns?

  • “We have only ever done an e-blast coupled with social media posts.  It didn't generate a lot of income, but was still seemingly worth it.” - Meira Neggaz, Executive Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)
  • “Focusing on a campaign that can resonate with people, that has an untouched need, and that can prove good use of the funds. For example, a successful campaign I ran for women hygiene kits for Syrian women in Greece, I broke down each donation level by how many women would benefit, so people could get a tangible number.” - Jinan Shbat, former Event Coordinator at Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), currently a National Events and Outreach Manager at the Council on American Islamic Relations 
  • “Multiple posts that also correspond to email campaigns.” - Ruwa Romman, Communications Director at the Council on American Islamic Relations Georgia (CAIR ATL)

Is one platform more successful than another for you? 

  • “We have more followers on social media, so it reaches more people. Although our open rates generally are higher or around industry standards, so e-blasts also work for us generally.” - Meira Neggaz, ISPU
  • “I’ve used both Launchgood and Pious Projects. I like Launchgood because it gives the donor the option to cover the credit card processing fee for their donation, so your gross is higher.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS 
  • “We’re planning one email per state and then some social media outreach; we expect emails to be the biggest driver.” - Jesse Littlewood, Digital Director at Common Cause


How far in advance do you make your content?

  • “A week or so. Usually it is just an e-blast and social media posts, so about a week or two is good.” - Meira Neggaz, ISPU
  • “We usually start preparing and coming up with ideas 2 months prior, so the theme is relevant to something people can remember happening recently.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS
  • “I’m creating the content now to schedule for the course of two weeks.” - Ruwa Romman, CAIR ATL
  • “One week.” - Jesse Littlewood, Common Cause 

What worked? What didn't?

  • “Keeping the campaign to one centralized need, versus many needs. It needs to be a short, concise description, and easy for donors to relate to.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS 
  • “Contacting people directly works very well.” - Ruwa Romman, CAIR ATL

How many years have you done it and did you raise more each year?

  • “I did #GivingTuesday campaigns for 4 years; each year we focused on a different need. We always raised sufficient funds because of the strategy and because we did not oversaturate the market with the same campaigns as other organizations.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS


What was the average gift size--a few big donations, lots of little ones?

  • “Most were small, less than $100. To me, quantity is important- the $5 donation will add up. And then you can add all those people to your contact list and have a wider reach.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS
  • “We got a few big ones but mostly a ton of small ones.” - Ruwa Romman, CAIR ATL

Did your #GivingTuesday donors end up being people already on your list or did it bring new people to the cause?

  • “Anyone who donated was either already a donor, or someone on our email list.” - Meira Neggaz, ISPU
  • “We added a lot of new people during the campaigns. This is because our donor base shared it with their networks who we would usually never reach.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS
  • “I expect to get donors off our current list (either new donors or existing donors making another gift).” - Jesse Littlewood, Common Cause


Any influencer strategy in getting some big names to publicly give? 

  • “We used community celebrities to post their donation and encourage others to donate. Also, members in high-profile positions in the community.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS


Did you ask all of your members to post that they gave and ask their friends to join them?

  • "We asked our staff and board to post on their social media.” - Meira Neggaz, ISPU
  • “Yes, we encouraged social media sharing a lot, as it is an easy and effective way to have people share the campaign with the click of a button.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS
  • “We asked friends to share.” - Ruwa Romman, CAIR ATL 

How much money did you raise, and was it worth the time and effort?

  • “Very, very little. We still think it was worth it because #GivingTuesday is a good touch point with our donors and supporters and can help galvanize especially grassroots donors to give. I think it also takes time to get your donors accustomed to giving in this way - because we have only done it once, our donors were not used to that being a vehicle/point for giving. I hope that the more we do it, the more people will respond.” - Meira Neggaz, ISPU
  • “The hygiene kit campaign was over 3 days, and we raised $15,000. Initial goal was $5000.” - Jinan Shbat, SAMS
  • “We raised 10K which was matched by a donor, so definitely worth it since it doesn’t actually require anything outside of time.” - Ruwa Romman, CAIR ATL
You can start your own #GivingTuesday campaign or help donate to other organizations on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. 
As a bonus, we have also created this social media graphic that your organization can use or edit for your own #GivingTuesday campaigns. Good luck!