The Giving Tuesday Preparedness Checklist for Nonprofits

The Giving Tuesday Preparedness Checklist: 5 Things to Make Sure You’ve Done Before the Big Day

Since its inception in 2012, Giving Tuesday has been an important date on the nonprofit calendar, inspiring millions of people around the world to support the causes they care about. With the increased economic pressure that many organizations have faced in 2020, Giving Tuesday feels especially urgent this year. Many nonprofits are looking to the online initiative to help them shore up their resources for the coming year and make up for any shortfalls that may have resulted from canceled events and a lack of in-person fundraising opportunities. 

Despite the unprecedented circumstances, philanthropic giving is still going strong. In May, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a spin-off initiative generated more than $503 million in online donations in the U.S. alone. And according to one estimate, Giving Tuesday could raise $605 million in 2020—an 18% increase compared to 2019.

This year, Giving Tuesday falls on December 1. With that date rapidly approaching, here’s a handy checklist to help you assess your organization’s preparedness and make any last-minute adjustments, no matter what stage you’re at in your planning.

Illustration of a Giving Tuesday checklist for nonprofits, including testing your website, reminding supporters, scheduling social posts, preparing for two-way engagement, and crafting follow-up messaging1. Is our website ready for an influx of traffic and donors?

The last thing you want on December 1 is for your nonprofit’s website to crash. Ensuring that your site is ready to welcome more visitors can help you maximize donations on Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season.

Ask a few people on your team to try making a small donation—say, a couple of dollars—through your website to confirm the form isn’t broken and that payments process smoothly. To account for the different ways that people access your website, you should also try making test donations via different browsers and on a mobile device. In recent years, 17% of online donation form views were on a mobile device, so if people are unable to give with their phones, you may be eliminating a substantial segment of potential donors. If you do notice any issues while testing your website or donation form, it pays to get tech support as early as possible, as help centers may be inundated with calls on the day itself. 

2.  Have we reminded our supporters that Giving Tuesday is approaching?

In the weeks and days leading up to Giving Tuesday, take the opportunity to inform your supporters that the day is coming. Don’t overwhelm your mailing list with emails, but don’t let your organization slip off people’s radar either. Sending a few reminders, including a note around Thanksgiving when people may be feeling especially generous, helps keep your organization top of mind in the build-up to the big day. 

Keep in mind that some people may not know what Giving Tuesday is, so it’s worth including a concise explanation of what the initiative is all about. You can also touch on your organization’s goals, what the funds will be used for, and why every donation will make an impact. Most importantly, share a few different ways that your supporters can get involved. Even if they can’t make a financial contribution, they can help to spread the word.

Of course, emails aren’t the only way to increase awareness. Since Giving Tuesday is an online initiative, social media plays a critical role. If you haven’t already, be sure to share a few posts in the lead-up to December 1 to update followers, encourage participation, and generate buzz. 

3. Do we have social posts ready to go on Giving Tuesday?

For the day itself, planning your social posts in advance allows you to hone your messaging and select the most compelling visuals. It can also make your team’s lives easier. By compiling a list of ready-to-share posts in a document or spreadsheet, team members simply have to copy and paste them on the day. Alternatively, you can schedule posts in advance using a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, many of which offer free trials. 

To increase discoverability, make use of relevant hashtags like #GivingTuesday and anything specific to your organization or mission (e.g. #humanrights or #animalwelfare). But as a general rule of thumb, don’t use more than two or three hashtags per post, or they may start to look like spam.

If you’re not sure you have the time or resources to put together flashy graphics for your social posts, don’t worry. Sharing existing pictures of your team, volunteers, and your work in action can bring your posts to life and increase engagement. You can also make use of these ready-made Giving Tuesday graphics

4. Do we have someone on hand to drive social engagement on the day itself?

While it’s a good idea to prepare your social posts ahead of time, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have someone manning your organization’s social media accounts on Giving Tuesday. Liking and re-sharing posts from donors is a great way to show that their contribution was seen and appreciated, while also encouraging those who haven’t donated yet to consider contributing. 

If your organization does have a unique hashtag that supporters are encouraged to use, it should be easy for a team member to track relevant posts. Some donors may also tag your nonprofit directly, so keep an eye on your mentions to foster two-way engagement. 

5. Have we crafted our thank-you messages?

After Giving Tuesday is over, have follow-up messages ready to go to everyone who contributed to your campaign. Include a sincere message about how much their support means to your organization, and let them know that you’d like to keep in touch. Even if they don’t ultimately become repeat donors, it certainly doesn’t hurt to spread positivity and show gratitude, especially during this challenging time. 

Ticked off every box on this checklist? Explore how fundraising solutions from LinkedIn for Nonprofits can help you enhance your long-term fundraising strategy and prepare for the year to come.