Should You Participate in #GivingTuesdayNow? Advice and Best Practices

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As nonprofit organizations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for funding is increasing. Organizations must continue soliciting donors to fill funding gaps while respecting the current economic climate.

In response to this time of need, GivingTuesday is launching another international day of giving: #GivingTuesdayNow. Scheduled for May 5, 2020, this emergency response aims to drive philanthropy to nonprofits that are serving our communities during this global crisis.  

Your organization may be deciding whether to participate in this special day of giving, dedicating finite resources to planning and day-of management. Use our recommendations below to guide your decision-making process and make the most of #GivingTuesdayNow if you do opt in.  

We recommend skipping #GivingTuesdayNow if:

  • You don’t have an immediate funding need you can tie to COVID-19. Tread carefully to avoid appearing opportunistic or inauthentic.

  • Your staff is stretched thin and not able to dedicate time to develop appropriate content, engage volunteers in peer solicitations, and follow up with donors after the giving day.

  • You have another giving day coming up this spring that you were planning to participate in. Donors appreciate consistency—if you were already planning to execute an organization-wide giving day or participate in a regional giving day around the same time, continue with those plans.

We recommend participating in #GivingTuesdayNow if:

  • You have a special funding opportunity related to COVID-19 that you’ve been waiting to roll out or want to amplify. As you work to solicit your community during this time, it’s critical for you to describe the human need.

  • You have a group of volunteers and donors who are looking to engage digitally. Consider talking with them about this opportunity—they may be interested in planning and executing the giving day.

  • You have peer organizations addressing similar COVID-19 needs that you could partner with to develop a larger #GivingTuesdayNow effort.

  • You've participated in GivingTuesday or another flash campaign in the past and have the infrastructure to support an influx of online gifts.

If you decide to participate in #GivingTuesdayNow, follow these best practices to set yourself up for success:

  • If you have a toolkit or plan that you’ve developed for past giving days, go through it to adapt and condense each action item to fit a one-month planning period.

  • Develop a compelling case for support that connects the moment to your mission and message. Share how the importance of the work you do is highlighted by the pandemic.

    For example, if you work in under-resourced communities, remind supporters that those communities are severely threatened by COVID-19 for the same reasons your programs exist in the first place.

  • Set a goal that ties directly to the need. This may be difficult given the uncertainty in the current environment, but strive to quantify your goal as clearly as you can.

  • Do a quick systems check around gift processing. You want to be sure that your tech platforms can handle the extra activity and ensure that you can adhere to your receipting and recognition policies while working remotely.

  • Consider excluding donors whom you are approaching for more substantial gifts for COVID-19 efforts from #GivingTuesdayNow solicitations.

  • Send volunteers prepared messaging, images, and other collateral to help with peer solicitations.

  • Share your plans with your board, close donors, and volunteers so they’re not caught off guard.

  • Coordinate with your staff who oversee social media and marketing. Ask them to begin sharing impact messaging related to the support you will request on #GivingTuesdayNow.

    For example, if you’re a college promoting an emergency relief fund for your financial aid recipients, share posts about the number of requests you’ve received from students for help with travel and living expenses.

  • Prepare a stewardship plan that includes thanking donors soon after gifts are made and builds in additional follow-up in the subsequent weeks and months.

#GivingTuesdayNow will show how philanthropy can impact the world during unprecedented times and may be a fundraising strategy your organization decides to deploy. Regardless, it’s important to continue to stay in touch with your donors, solicit funding that supports individuals and communities, and communicate the impact you are having every day.

For more advice, consult our Comprehensive Guide to GivingTuesday and visit our COVID-19 resource page. We are also offering free consultations to nonprofit professionals during this time. Please email to set up a conversation with one of our team members.

Fundraising Tips, Fundraising, Blog, online fundraising

Caitlin Bristow

Caitlin Bristow is a Senior Consultant at Campbell & Company. A leader of our Higher Education practice and alumni engagement work, she partners with nonprofits across sectors to help them build philanthropic support and deepen donor relationships.