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Creating a strong 2021 Giving Tuesday Campaign NOW

Giving Tuesday is a day of giving created right after two very big shopping days (owned by the retail sector) as a way to balance out buying with giving to charity. Initially, the jury was out on whether people would really embrace this day as a day to give, but in the past five years we have seen Giving Tuesday really take off and become a key time for charitable donations.

In 2020, Giving Tuesday campaigns saw a jump in year-over-year revenue of 140% driven by increased philanthropic giving in the pandemic. Looking at the four-year trend for clients, revenue has increased 760%* since 2016, with the largest increases in the last two years. The jump in the number of people giving is equally as big — 2020 saw a 210% jump in year over year numbers from 2019 and a 732% increase from 2016. We had already seen increases in people giving during the 2019 campaigns, but in 2020, both the revenue and donors tripled.

The big question is: can we maintain this level of growth in 2021 and beyond?

The key to achieving success on Giving Tuesday is to have a highly effective campaign with great planning and strategy. Here are our top five areas of focus for making your 2021 Giving Tuesday campaigns on November 30 strong:


Email and digital media have shown to be the top two digital growth areas for the past three years, so use them to your advantage to connect and inspire people who have given and those who care about your cause. Giving Tuesday falls at a critical time of year and this is a perfect opportunity to hear from you — especially if the donor is lapsed or only gives once per year! Seeing your message in multiple ways improves giving. A strong mix of channels reinforces and further engages people to give in a way that works for them. For example, paid digital media, social and email are all key to your strategies and improve reach, especially when they work together.

And don’t forget the most important window to your organization – your website. If you are thinking about a homepage takeover or a special call out, consider starting your campaign prior to Giving Tuesday and build it up to the day. You can also keep it going with gratitude and donor feedback and include Thank you Thursday in your plans.

Invest in Creative that Connects

Be clear about your what and why. Giving Tuesday isn’t a time to get fancy. It is a time for clear, compelling messages and creative that cuts through. Remember, every charity is doing a Giving Tuesday campaign, so what is special about yours? Be your authentic self and focus on what your donors care about — your mission and your why. Be laser-focused and distinct on the outcomes people are driving. You don’t have the advantage of long copy but you do have the advantage to give people short bursts of information that matters. Giving Tuesday connects with end-of-year giving, which is the best time to tell your story. And to be clear, it’s the time for your best stories! Also note that many organizations co-brand with Giving Tuesday in order to boost the reach, so consider your options and determine which partners make sense.

Remember the Journey

Very rarely will Giving Tuesday be the only thing donors are receiving, so recognize the timing of communications and the audiences you are communicating with when planning your campaign. Giving Tuesday campaigns land in the busiest time of the year so don’t compete with yourself (you have enough other communications to compete with)! Make sure everything is focused on Giving Tuesday (homepage, media, search, email, in-facility if it’s a possibility) at least for that day and/or three days. Different audiences need different things and recognize that one size does not fit all. Make sure high value donor audiences are getting a special touch and treated well.

We also need to understand that email campaigns are not like mail. Audiences are not reading all of your emails, and on a day like Giving Tuesday being on top of the inbox is important. Frequency is a key lever in your strategy so test frequency as well as the call to action and content. Add an email this year and look at the outcomes for your own organization!

Giving Tuesday is Doing Some Heavy Lifting

Think about your KPI’s that drive long-term success in your overall program. We have seen some very positive second gift rates for Giving Tuesday in 2019 (30%) and new donor renewal rates year over year to Giving Tuesday (33%) so make sure that you consider people who are giving again and again to your campaigns! Retention for Giving Tuesday overall has been consistently over 50% in both 2019 and 2020, which means people are giving once and giving again. It’s even reactivating lapsed donors. How is Giving Tuesday contributing to your overall performance across the year and within the program itself? You are your best benchmark so take a look at your dashboards and see what is happening across the campaign!

Make Sure You Have the Right Partners

Can you create and implement a Giving Tuesday campaign internally? Of course, you can! But if growth and expanded engagement are goals, then partners are key. A digitally-led agency is important in getting the plan right, creating the audience strategy, and elevating your creative. Executing on email plans and ensuring data integrity and personalization are also vital in this partner! These are all things we take very seriously here at Blakely given the significant value (and frequently tight timing) of these campaigns. Then making sure you have a digital media agency who understands conversion and not just awareness will make the difference to outcomes every time. And don’t forget your internal partners. Your Mar/Com teams are key to the stories, as well as execution in many organizations!

Now is the Time

We hope that many of you are well underway with your Giving Tuesday go-to-market plans but just in case you are not – do it now! Give yourself time to pull the data, get your media agency to prepare a plan based on past results, plan your messages and creative carefully, and ensure you have all the elements of the campaign captured. Use these key elements and see what magic you can make with your 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign. We challenge you to think engagement and growth as you plan for November 30th 2021!

If you would like to talk about Giving Tuesday campaigns and how Blakely can make a difference in your integrated fundraising approaches, please reach out! We love to talk digital, strategy, or even data dashboards and analytics!


*Aggregated Results as of June 2021 Across 15 Blakely Clients