#GivingTuesday: Tips from Behind the Numbers

Cedric Brown Avatar

When the Thanksgiving meals are over, the holiday season always kicks into gear with a variety of ways to spend your money. Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer some of the biggest discounts, while Small Business Saturday let’s shoppers reinvest in their communities.

But there’s only one day where our money has the chance to change the world: GivingTuesday.

Created in 2012, GivingTuesday started at the 92nd Street YMCA and its Belfar Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City. Its premise is simple: a day that encourages people to do good.

Eight years later, GivingTuesday remains one of the most popular celebrations in the world. This year in the United States, GivingTuesday resulted in $2.47 billion in donations, a 29% increase over 2019.

GivingTuesday has also been nominated for the Shorty Social Good Award for Best Social Movement Campaign. Using Brand24, I did some searching to find some of the most unique campaigns by nonprofit organizations this year. Here are some of the standouts and their metrics.

No Kid Hungry

One of the largest international nonprofits dedicated to fighting childhood hunger, No Kid Hungry won the day with an integrated approach. On social media they were amplified by a wide array of celebrities like Robert Downey, Jr., P!nk, and Meg Donnelly. No Kid Hungry also secured major media coverage with appearances on NBC’s TODAY Show and MSNBC Live with Ayman Mohyeldin. With corporate sponsorship from Citibank, No Kid Hungry’s 260 mentions led to $2 million (and counting) in donations.

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

In a time where online gaming and streaming are popular, St. Jude took its #GivingTuesday fundraising to Game Theory, a YouTube Live show produced by influencer Matthew Patrick (MatPat). Over the course of 10 hours, users controlled the show with their donations by activating a series of mini-games for MatPat and other top YouTube creators to compete in. Even corporate sponsor State Farm got into the act with Jake from State Farm playing as one of the game’s contestants. By the end of the show, Game Theory raised $3 million for St. Jude.

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)

The nation’s largest professional association for designers, AIGA leveraged its GivingTuesday as part of a month-long effort to raise money for its Worldstudio Scholarships program. They kicked things off with a livestream event on both Facebook and…LinkedIn (which launched its livestream platform in early 2019!). By the end of the day, AIGA raised $30,000 towards their goal of $100,000 for the program. It’s all part of their effort to award more opportunities to BIPOC students and increase their representation in the design profession.

Brief Tips for Nonprofits

So maybe your organization doesn’t have celebrity relationships or 71 membership chapters across the U.S. There are still takeaways from No Kid Hungry, St. Jude, and AIGA that you can use in your next digital fundraising efforts.

  • Leverage digital AND social media – Thanks to the coverage on NBC networks, No Kid Hungry recorded a sizable non-social reach, while St. Jude’s non-social reach exceeded its social efforts. You don’t have to land national media placements, but you can be effective in reaching local media with a compelling story.
  • Do something different to keep people engaged – St. Jude’s partnership with MatPat’s Game Theory on YouTube Live worked because it empowered donors to control the show. Meanwhile, AIGA engaged its network of design professionals by offering two ways to tune in to its livestream. Be open to finding new ways to meet your base of supporters where they are.
  • Go beyond GivingTuesday – Didn’t achieve your donation goal for the day? Don’t be deterred. You can use GivingTuesday as part of an overall effort when you have larger ambitions. AIGA raised only a fraction of its target, but the organization is still driven by its mission to make progress towards racial equity through its scholarship programs.

There’s a lot of competition to raise money on GivingTuesday. Learning from these, and other organizations, you can take pieces of their strategies and use them in your own way to stand out above the rest.

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