How to Plan a Powerful Giving Tuesday Fundraiser

| 6 min read Fundraiser Promotion

Move over, Taco Tuesday—it’s Giving Tuesday! You might not be as familiar with Giving Tuesday, which happens only once a year (and is, admittedly, less self-explanatory), but it’s an important date if you’re fundraising for a good cause—and a great way to raise more money for your GoFundMe fundraiser.

Giving Tuesday, often stylized online as #GivingTuesday, is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, it’s a day of widespread giving designed to kick off the holiday season on the right note—a less commercial one than the consumer fest that is Black Friday.

Online fundraising on Giving Tuesday

In the years since its founding, we’ve seen a lot of crowdfunding done on GoFundMe in connection with Giving Tuesday. It makes sense—people use our free crowdfunding platform to raise funds for personal, medical, and charitable causes, and we have a 0% platform fee.

If you’re wondering how to get rolling with a Giving Tuesday fundraiser, it’s as simple as starting a fundraiser for the cause of your choice.

Determine your approach

For Giving Tuesday, people often raise funds for something they plan to do themselves (like delivering meals to people in need) or to give to an organization already doing that kind of work (for example, Meals On Wheels or Blanket Coverage). Alternately, you might decide to promote your fundraiser for yourself or a loved one in conjunction with this day of giving. The approach you take will vary depending on which of these camps you fall into.

  1. If you’re running a fundraiser for an action you plan to take, say deliver meals to people in need or to organize a beach cleanup, be very clear about exactly how the funds you raise will be used. Unlike known nonprofit organizations with established reputations, which people already trust, you’ll need to inspire trust in potential donors. A few simple ideas to build trust are being vulnerable by telling a personal story that connects you to your cause or by matching donations to your cause.
  2. If your Giving Tuesday fundraiser plan is to raise money to donate to a well-known organization, then the focus of your donation page shifts away from legitimizing your effort and toward revealing your personal investment in the cause. Why is this particular need important to you? Make a clear and compelling case to inspire donations. Try to play off of the cause when thinking of fundraising ideas. For example, if you’re raising funds for an animal shelter consider hosting a dog wash.
  3. If your Giving Tuesday fundraiser is to raise money for yourself or a loved one, think about how you might tie it to an event, online or in person, on that day. Examples might include issuing a “local challenge” in your neighbourhood to raise money for neighbours in need after a house fire, or promoting a 24-hour “mini-goal” for donations within a larger fundraiser for a loved one fighting cancer.

Best practices for a Giving Tuesday fundraiser

If you’ve never run a crowdfunding fundraiser before, here are some guidelines for crafting a successful Giving Tuesday fundraiser.

Assemble your team

We recommend teaming up with others—friends, family, anyone you know who shares a passion for your cause. Fundraising is more fun when you aren’t overburdened and can divide tasks like posting updates and writing thank-yous among your team. Also, when it comes time to share your fundraiser, you’ll have far more reach with your combined social networks. Read our guide How to Build a Winning Fundraising Team.

Tell your story with images

One way to do that is to use photos and videos, which are a great way to tell your story honestly while adding legitimacy and interest. For more tips on telling your story effectively, see our post Writing Your Fundraiser Story: A Comprehensive Guide.

Keep donors posted with updates

As with any fundraiser, it’s important to post frequent fundraiser updates to make donors part of the story. Show what their donations means to you and to the beneficiaries, and you keep people connected to your fundraiser. You’re also more likely to inspire repeat donations and shares—including shares related to #GivingTuesday.

Create a fundraiser hashtag

Speaking of hashtags, consider creating one for your fundraiser, then pair it with #GivingTuesday when you share it socially. Hashtags help other people find your fundraiser and link to it.

Express your thanks

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to thank your donors. If people feel good about the contribution they made this year, chances are lots of them will be ready to donate again after 51 weeks of Taco Tuesdays.

Giving Tuesday fundraising ideas

If you want to add even more fuel to your Giving Tuesday fundraising fire, consider these proven methods for raising funds:

1. Partner with a local business

Get businesses to promise matching donations, and/or sponsor your fundraising efforts. The more naturally connected a business is to your cause, the more receptive it will be. Getting a local restaurant, coffee shop or art gallery to host, or provide a space for, a fundraising event is often a win-win.

2. Spark interest with a challenge

If there’s a cause you care about, issue a challenge to like-minded people to start a similar fundraiser in their area. A great example of this is the #BlackPantherChallenge started by Frederick Joseph. Once his fundraiser Help Children See “Black Panther” took off, he challenged others to follow suit in their neighborhoods and ended up starting a movement.

3. Raise funds at work

Start a fundraising challenge at your workplace. Place empty jars around your space and encourage colleagues to put spare change in them for a number of weeks.

4. Use your social network

Start a social media contest and support it with other social media fundraising tools. This can be especially effective if you’ve teamed up with others and can tap into your combined social media networks to spread the word.

5. Plan an event

The holiday season is a festive time—think about pairing your online fundraiser with a real-world event. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive—how about a meetup at an ice skating rink, or a potluck dinner? With a tablet or smartphone hand, it’s easy to accept onsite donations (perhaps as the price of admission). Just make sure that people know the event is a fundraiser when you invite them.

6. Go viral

Boost the exposure of your Giving Tuesday fundraiser with these viral fundraising ideas and tips for building awareness of your cause.

Double your donations by fundraising on Giving Tuesday

Whatever ideas you use to make your Giving Tuesday fundraiser success, their methods should reinforce each other and connect back to your cause in a way that feels right. We’re here to support you every step of the way with free tips and ideas.

Giving Tuesday is only once a year. Dive in, get friends onboard, and make it happen.

Start a Giving Tuesday fundraiser

Written by caitlin