A Late Start Doesn’t Have to Mean Low ROI on #GivingTuesday

Late start on #GivingTuesday Planning? No worries. We have a guide that will help you maximize the days remaining until November 30th. Before we get started though, take a minute to look at the value of this pseudo-holiday to your organization. Undoubtedly, every nonprofit should be participating to some degree in #GivingTuesday. The movement raised nearly 2.5B in 2020 alone and the potential for matching funds is ubiquitous with #GivingTuesday. That said, the greatest return on investment of time and marketing dollars for most organizations is the elevation of their cause with existing and new donors.

The most beautiful #GivingTuesday campaign…that no one saw

I recently met with a nonprofit that invested in a fantastic #GivingTuesday campaign. They’re small and don’t have a large donor list so they thought it made sense to focus on a strong campaign to recruit new support. They worked with an agency to create catchy taglines and gorgeous graphics. The problem? They spent so much money on the campaign artwork that they had no funds left to invest in paid media to get them out there. Now, hopefully, your nonprofit has a large “captured” audience you can campaign to through email, direct mail, and social media. If you don’t though, consider the fact that #GivingTuesday is the Super Bowl of the nonprofit sector. You’ll have to invest strategically and probably significantly to reach the world.

Ask yourself…Is the juice worth the squeeze?

There are plenty of very simple things your organization can do to reach new and existing donors on #GivingTuesday (see the guide for 30 ideas!), so think twice before investing time and funding into elaborate measures. With most organizations receiving an average gift size of less than $200/donor, you’ll want to make sure that things you’re doing don’t divert valuable time and energy from more comprehensive year-end campaigns that will have a stronger ROI. Here are some things you may want to avoid:

  • Any time-based campaign that won’t be able to be maximized and centered around one day.
  • Overproduced designs that are specific to the year. If you’re working with an agency, make sure you receive evergreen assets you can use year after year.
  • Any campaign that consumes a significant portion of your year-end marketing budget. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

Need some low investment tools and tips to maximize your #GivingTuesday returns? Check out these techniques:

  • Talk to your local radio station or television network about featuring your charity on #GivingTuesday. They’re likely looking for stories to cover (do this SOON!)
  • Use smart phones, Canva, and keep your campaign fun and authentic. Just make sure your image sizes and quality are still high.
  • Get outside! Collect donations outside shops, run a carwash, orchestrate a restaurant give-back, and, in general, do things that stand out and can’t be overlooked.
  • 37% of people who took part in #GivingTuesday donated their time or goods – not money. Make sure you have an option to engage these supporters!

Bottom line, you still have time! Make wise investments and you’ll net more exposure, more connections, and, hopefully, more support for your organization!


Download our free guide and get started with your best #GivingTuesday strategy yet!


Hands surrounding #GivingTuesday logo

Katie Appold

Katie’s nonprofit career includes a variety of leadership roles for human service, foundation, and publishing-related nonprofits as well as many volunteer roles. Under Katie’s leadership, nonprofit organizations have developed new programs related to free healthcare, affordable and accessible housing and literacy programs for K-12 students. In her first Executive Director role, Katie increased the annual revenue of the organization she led by 300% and received the top grant prize in the nation for affordable housing through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. Today, she leads Nonprofit Hub and Cause Camp, which collectively serve more than 50,000 nonprofits throughout North America. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in business administration and a masters degree in nonprofit leadership. Katie serves as the board president of Gracious Grounds, a housing organization serving individuals with disabilities. She is an active member of the Grand Rapids Young Nonprofit Professionals, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Cause Network, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

October 14, 2021

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