Advancement Blog

5 tips and tricks for Giving Tuesday

by Dena Schwartz

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the pressure is on for advancement shops to meet huge goals for Giving Tuesday. However, as alumni are bombarded with more digital solicitations than ever before, it’s becoming harder to cut through the noise.

Instead of falling into the pile of ignored solicitations, one Advancement Forum member increased their Giving Tuesday revenue from less than $4,000 in 2012 to over $490,000 in 2015. This increase was possible thanks to a clear strategy, long-term goals, and extensive teamwork. However, their success was not one-off—it has sustained momentum and ongoing increases in year-over-year annual fund revenue.

In order to exceed your goals on Giving Tuesday, begin by following these five steps:

  1. Increase urgency with alumni challenges

  2. Alumni can give to the annual fund at any time of year, but challenges make it urgent to give on Giving Tuesday itself. This institution solicited a group of alumni and parent donors who would give a specified amount if the institution reached a minimum number of donors. By creating clear goals and communicating them widely, a range of first-time donors were motivated to click “give” on the website. A dynamic website was updated throughout the day to recognize each donor.

  3. Create a volunteer toolkit

  4. Instead of relying on advancement staff to drive all momentum, volunteers were equipped with sample social media posts and email templates. Staff reminded volunteers about the plans, and provided direction and support on Giving Tuesday in order to help volunteers drive participation. Volunteers responded positively to the resources, creating a constant stream of consistent messaging on social media throughout the day.


  5. Consider planned giving

  6. Adding a box to the Giving Tuesday donation form enabled new donors to indicate interest in planned giving. While the number of donors who indicated interest was small, the box increased awareness about planned giving options for all donors, and informed the planned giving team of new prospects who may not have previously been on their radar.

  7. Leverage affinities

  8. A wide variety of donors gave to the campaign, from young alumni making their first gift to alumni in reunion years and professional school graduates. In order to engage these different populations, appeals were made from a variety of athletic teams, extracurricular activities, and regional programs. As a result, alumni found their interests reflected in the campaign, and 21 percent of Giving Tuesday donors made their first gift in at least two years.

  9.  

  10. Don’t forget about parents

  11. Giving Tuesday occurs after many students return to class from their Thanksgiving travels. However, parents are still a crucial component for one-day campaign success. From serving as volunteers to providing challenge gifts, working with parents can make the difference between surpassing a goal and barely meeting it.

The results speak for themselves. This institution has seen annual fund giving increase year-over-year thanks to an extended planning process that engages teams across the advancement shop. Even if you are just beginning to plan your Giving Tuesday efforts, thinking about these aspects of the mini-campaign can help make the day a success.

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