Ever wished you could gain new donors in an easy way without going bankrupt on ad campaigns and direct mail? Say hello to #GivingTuesday, your new best friend.

In less than two months, people across the country will open their wallets for #GivingTuesday, the nationally recognized day of giving, eagerly awaiting organizations and ministries just like yours to wow them into action. This is your chance to easily acquire new donors while simultaneously cultivating your existing donor relationships.

So exactly how will you grab the attention of someone who is new to your cause or your organization? Let’s take a look at some organizations that rocked #GivingTuesday in the past several years.


WaterAid’s #GivingTuesday campaign sought to provide safe water to 100,000 needy kids under the age of five. The campaign appealed to ordinary people, asking them to be an “everyday hero”, to keep a child alive through the gift of water.

But WaterAid didn’t wait until the actual day of #GivingTuesday to start its campaign.  Promotions started several days before with the goal of building to a donation crescendo on the actual Tuesday. The result? WaterAid created one of the largest U.S. matching gift campaigns to date.

How to replicate: Associate action behind donation amounts. Inspiring your donors starts with a story, so don’t drop the ball once they land on your donation form. By directly showing what each amount accomplishes ($25 provides clean water for one child), people not only receive a bonus motivational push, but they may end up inspired to give more because of a certain tactic associated with a higher amount ($100 gives water to four kids).

Michael J. Fox Foundation

A common practice surrounding #GivingTuesday involves donors posting #unselfies (unselfish selfies) sharing with their followers and friends why they donated. The Michael J. Fox Foundation took that idea and used it to their advantage—asking people to share why they donate for Parkinson’s. The emotional appeal of the #unselfies served as free word-of-mouth advertising for the foundation. The social recognition the foundation received in the span of just a few days was phenomenal; 107 people posted #unselfies, leading to more than 5,000  endorsements on social media.

In addition to reaching thousands of new people, the Foundation also raised $348,201 as part of a $100,000 matching grant effort. 

How to replicate: People secretly want to be recognized for the good they do without seeming boastful or prideful. Utilizing the #unselfie was the genius way to allow people to share their donation story, motivating thousands of others to do the same. Encourage your donors to share their story of giving through social media—you may end up with an exponentially-grown donor base.

World Vision

World Vision partnered with Thirty-One Gifts last year to create and distribute a Hope Kit to a woman or girl in need with each donation given to World Vision. The Hope Kits combined hygiene products like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste in a Thirty-One bag, along with a personal, heartfelt note from the volunteer who packed the bag.

People were urged to either give a kit away through a donation or to hold kit-building parties to make the essentials available to even more women. The effort culminated on #GivingTuesday, where thousands of women received kits and hundreds of thousands of dollars more were raised in donations.

How to replicate: Donors often feel one of two ways: too busy to donate time or too poor to donate money. By providing multiple options for people to get involved in Giving Tuesday, World Vision was able to harvest love and generosity from a multiplied audience in multiple ways. Figure out if there is a way you can get people involved beyond just adding zeros in a donation form. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to partner with another great company or organization to accomplish even more good on this special day.

If all else fails…

… you can always lock your local sheriff into a cell and ask people to donate for his bail. Believe me, that’s what Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington did and it was a huge success.

Either way, get people involved beyond dollars and cents. Don’t just ask for money, but seek to make the donation experience meaningful. Now more than ever, you need inspiration behind your ask.

Digital Growth Strategies