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Giving Days are Here Again

Mitra Karami, Senior Consultant

In 2023, GiveBIG raised nearly 13 million dollars for 1,409 nonprofit organizations in Washington state from nearly 23,000 donors, while GivingTuesday raised 3.1 billion dollars across the U.S. However, we consistently hear a recurring question from our clients: Is the return on investment into campaigns such as GiveBIG and GivingTuesday worth the effort? As GiveBIG approaches, we were curious to learn more about how organizations in our community approach these campaigns and what tactics and strategies they’ve found useful.  


We recently sent out a survey to our network of past and current clients to solicit their feedback on giving days, in hopes of finding some common themes to share with our community. Below is what we heard:


  • 1/3 of our clients shared that they only promoted one of the campaigns, with the majority participating in GivingTuesday. 

  • The timing of GivingTuesday posed some challenges or clashed with many organizational year-end giving campaigns. 

  • The fundraising space during both campaigns seems crowded or too “noisy,” and nonprofits with a larger presence tend to draw in the majority of the funding.

  • Due to the lack of staff capacity and resources, many organizations are either unable to participate in one/both campaigns or have chosen to not participate/actively promote the campaigns due to low return and the extra work for their small team. 

  • A number of respondents shared that they passively participate and send out minimal communications to promote the campaign(s).


A strong takeaway from the survey was the lack of resources available for organizations to truly invest in these campaigns, as well as improve their ROI. We’ve put together some tips and strategies (in order of priority) to help your organization best prepare and stand out during GiveBIG and GivingTuesday in 2024:


Use Digital Communications Strategically

In this age of digital fundraising, email is a cost effective and useful tool to enhance your fundraising strategy. Email revenue accounted for 55% of GivingTuesday 2023’s total revenue, with an average of five emails sent throughout the campaign. A steady stream of communication with your donors using a multichannel approach is essential to bringing attention to your organization before and during the campaigns. Plan ahead and create a schedule for your email series and social media plan to communicate your campaign goals, the potential for impact, and to tell your story. Mornings and evenings tend to be the best times to send emails; organizations who sent emails by 7am and after 7pm on the day of the campaign - catching their audience when they begin their workday and after dinner time - saw an average of 28% more revenue last year than those who did not. Let your donors know about the campaign and share match details a week in advance as well as the day before to capture their attention.


Urgency-Driven Language

Lean into urgency-driving strategies to encourage engagement by incorporating elements such as a countdown clock, thermometers, compelling graphics and videos, emphasizing deadlines, and using match driven language in your email communications. Express the impact of the donor’s donation in clear, highly motivating ways by turning a transactional process into an opportunity for the donor to invest in your mission and vision and/or provide immediate support. Engage your supporters throughout the campaign on social media and use Instagram reels and Facebook stories to do shout outs. Keep them informed of your progress and deadlines to take advantage of matching opportunities. 


Target Mid-Level Donors

If GivingTuesday or GiveBIG coincide with fundraising campaigns your organization holds during these times of the year, use the campaigns as an opportunity to engage mid-level donors. Segment and tailor communications directly to this audience that emphasize their role in supporting your work and incorporate matching incentives, impact equivalencies and graphics that detail the increased impact that a mid-level gift can have on the organization’s ability to carry out their mission. 


Compelling Creative

The power of storytelling lies in its ability to connect with the audience on a human level. Sharing stories helps donors see themselves as a part of your work and how their contribution impacts someone else. Share pictures or video clips in your email communications and on social media to demonstrate the impact of your organization and create a compelling story that motivates donors to give. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the community and people you serve and share their testimonials. This doesn’t need to be professionally done – you can repurpose footage from a previous year’s mission video or have a

staff member or volunteer snap some pictures or clips on their phone. The goal is to connect with your audience on a deeper level and inspire and activate your donors to give.


Keep Track of More than What You Raised

Reviewing your campaign data lets you know what you need to change to improve results. Use these campaigns as an opportunity to analyze your campaign metrics to determine what is working well, identify areas that could be improved upon and adopt a data driven fundraising approach going forward. When analyzing your donations post campaign, we suggest reviewing:

  • Donation page and overall website traffic

  • Email open rate, click through rate and unsubscribe rate

  • Conversion rate

  • Average donation amount


This will help you identify how donors made their way to your giving page, how well your messaging is resonating with your audience, and what strategies can be adjusted to better engage them. It will also give you a better idea of where to focus your energy for the following year. 


If you choose to participate in GiveBIG or GivingTuesday this year, think of these campaigns as an opportunity to test out new communications strategies, reach a wider audience and build new or deeper relationships with those who choose to give.

If you would like to talk through your GiveBIG, GivingTuesday, or annual fund strategies, The Ostara Group is always here!


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