5 secrets to making Giving Tuesday record-breaking for your nonprofit

Christina Edwards shares her top Giving Tuesday tips to ensure your nonprofit doesn't miss out on the world’s biggest day of generosity.

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Nonprofit Strategies
Nonprofit Strategies

5 secrets to making Giving Tuesday record-breaking for your nonprofit

Christina Edwards shares her top Giving Tuesday tips to ensure your nonprofit doesn't miss out on the world’s biggest day of generosity.

$

Raised

Supporters

Teams

Christina Edwards shares her top Giving Tuesday tips to ensure your nonprofit doesn't miss out on the world’s biggest day of generosity.

$

Raised

Supporters

Teams

What are two of the most polarizing words in the nonprofit world?

Giving Tuesday. 🙀

Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get a surge of excitement or an apathetic shrug that says, “Nope, not for us!”

Don’t miss out on the world’s biggest day of generosity

An astonishing $2.47 billion was donated to U.S. nonprofits by a reported 34.8 million people on Giving Tuesday in 2020. That’s up by 29% compared to 2019!

Even though we see consistent growth in donations and people participating in Giving Tuesday year over year, there’s still a lot of resistance to this day of giving. Time and time again, I see these two types of nonprofits: the ones that are “all in” on Giving Tuesday and ones that moan and groan through it.

I often hear, “It’s a noisy day online! It’s too hard to stand out!”

While there is a lot of perceived competition, the truth is there is a tremendous amount of generosity, enthusiasm, and people that want to participate in this online movement.

It’s not about how large or small your nonprofit is or if you’ve been around for fifty years—and maybe that's the best part! Any nonprofit, anywhere in the world, can wildly benefit from participating in Giving Tuesday.

Case and point? Let’s dive into the data.

Look at those spikes of what I like to call, “social action.” In May and December of 2020, there were two Giving Tuesdays, so the graph above illustrates two spikes in new donors for those giving days.

Increasingly, people are using social media to discover and donate to nonprofits from across the world. Many donors who make a gift from social media are often donating to an organization for the first time and some only donate on Giving Tuesday.

In fact, 63% of Giving Tuesday donors only give on Giving Tuesday.

Gulp. 😳 That means, by moaning and groaning through it, you’re missing out on cultivating a broader audience online! I often work with organizations that are actively trying to grow their audience and donor base but aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity to show up and build relationships online.

Let’s get a little nerdier with a final graph that shows a massive spike in gifts from $100–$500.


Year over year, key shifts in consumer habits and engagement continue to trend on this global day of giving.

How you can get ready for Giving Tuesday today

Before you even begin planning your marketing strategy and social media campaign, do a quick audit of your website or donation landing page.

It must be mobile-friendly!

Seriously, if your donation landing page isn’t mobile-friendly, you should prioritize this immediately! If the font is tiny and only desktop-computer-friendly, you’re missing out on a large group of donors that will move on. You could have the best social content ever—have tons of shares, engagement, and all the things—but if your donation page isn’t optimized for mobile use, you’ll see a dip in donations.

Some of my clients have shifted to using Givebutter for this very reason! Givebutter’s fundraising pages are flexible, responsive, mobile-friendly, and fully-optimized to look perfect on every device. Not only is Givebutter mobile-friendly and easy to use, but it also offers a variety of payment options.

Younger generations are increasingly reliant on using Venmo and their digital wallet instead of manually entering in credit card information like GenX and Baby Boomers are so accustomed to doing.


The key here is ease. A wildly successful fundraiser starts with removing as many points of friction as you can and creating as few barriers to donating as possible! If you’re ready to transform your donation landing page to one that converts followers into donors, sign up for my Giving Tuesday workshop.

5 secrets to making Giving Tuesday record-breaking for your nonprofit

Now that your landing page is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate, I’m spilling my 5 secrets to make this a powerful and profitable Giving Tuesday.

Save time and create show-stopping graphics with Canva 🎨

I love to create all of my Giving Tuesday graphics in Canva to create a cohesive campaign from start to finish (Did you know nonprofits can access Canva’s premium features for free with Canva for Nonprofits?). You can now also create engaging graphics for your campaign updates and emails using Canva without ever leaving Givebutter!

Need some inspiration? Here are some examples from my Canva template pack for nonprofits and social impact businesses. These templates are perfect for sharing juicy stats of impact that are bite-sized and easy to read.

Whether you’re using Canva’s templates or making your own, make sure you adapt them to match your organization's colors and fonts to ensure a seamless brand experience for your audience.

Stop the scroll 🙅

The first sentence of your social media caption is more important than you might think. You have the opportunity to get your followers’ attention instead of having them scroll past your post!

The first sentence should be a clever hook, surprising stat, or an announcement. Here’s an example of a scroll-stopping caption to kick off an Instagram post.

Create a Social Street Team™ 📣

This process is a game changer! I’ve created a method that puts all of your strongest, most vocal supporters together to fundraise and champion your organization online. Working with ambassadors and social media influencers is an underutilized resource to nonprofits and can make the difference between raising 10 times your Giving Tuesday goal or barely reaching it. I explain the process more in my free on-demand training all about creating marketing movements that matter.  

Don’t be so serious 😄

Giving Tuesday is a joyous, all-hands-on-deck day of global giving. Have some fun and step out of your comfort zone when you’re creating content. That might mean using GIFs, going on Instagram Live for the first time, or inviting your audience behind the scenes to give your followers an opportunity to deepen their connection to your nonprofit

Secure a match 👯

We’re going back to the basics with this one because it’s just that important! By “unlocking a match” at a certain level, you give your campaign a mid-campaign boost in momentum. For example, if you secure a $5,000 match, promote that you must reach $2,500 to unlock the match. Any dollar amount works beautifully here, so you can pick what feels good. Go secure a match before you start your campaign!

Now that I’ve spilled the beans on my 5 secrets to make this Giving Tuesday a record-breaking one for your organization, it’s time to take action!

Start with the 5 steps above, and if you need another nudge of help, watch my on-demand training to see examples and strategies of activating a Social Street Team™on social media. You can also download my Social Media Cheat Sheet.

Givebutter made a $100 donation to Christina’s charity of choice, Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH), for her guest blog contribution.

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Christina Edwards
Author

Christina Edwards

Founder of Splendid Consulting

Social Media Expert. Fundraising Strategist. Nonprofit Vision Builder. Communications Pro.

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