#GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by social media and collaboration, is an essential opportunity for all nonprofits. Whether your main goal is to raise awareness or to raise funds, strategically participating in #GivingTuesday will widen your audience and increase engagement.

Scheduled annually for the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday invites people to dedicate their day to giving. On #GivingTuesday in 2017, more than $300 million was raised online through 2.5 million gifts. #GivingTuesday was mentioned more than 1 million times on social media and these mentions made 21.7 billion impressions.

Too many nonprofits don’t take advantage of joining the movement of #GivingTuesday or participate as an after-thought, with little planning or strategy. Yet an effective #GivingTuesday plan can increase the involvement of your existing donors, elicit new participants, and kick start your year-end giving. 

This year’s #GivingTuesday was the biggest one yet for Kindful customers! Nonprofits raised $3,080,064 yesterday through Kindful. Our customers who participated in #GivingTuesday were able to raise an average of $3,564. With this year’s #GivingTuesday, November 27th, rapidly approaching, here are some steps to take to plan your best #GivingTuesday yet.

Register officially with #GivingTuesday.

Make sure your organization and your campaign is registered with #GivingTuesday. Not only will you gain access to all of their planning resources and expertise, potential donors will be able to find you through their site, increasing your audience.

Set your goals- what are you trying to accomplish?

#GivingTuesday doesn’t just have to be about fundraising. In fact, many successful campaigns are focused on raising awareness or gathering volunteers to take offline action.

Think about what’s most important and what will be most effective to your organization. If you need a larger pool of consistent donors, perhaps acquiring new followers and new email addresses is your biggest #GivingTuesday goal. Perhaps, like the Humble Project in Long Beach, California, you want to recruit volunteers—in 2017, they gathered supporters to assemble hygiene products and created over 600 packages to help those in need.  

Design your campaign with a specific call to action.

The collaboration of so many nonprofits is what makes #GivingTuesday such a powerful movement. Yet, it can also mean prospects are inundated with options of worthy organizations who need help.

#GivingTuesday is not a time to simply tell people about your work. You need to tell people why they need to get involved now and why they should choose you. Why is your cause urgent? What’s the impact of their gift?

Create one priority ask and design your entire campaign around it. Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, set a goal of raising $20,000 to bring an endangered tiger to their zoo. Building up to #GivingTuesday, they dropped hints and built anticipation, and their asks had a clear goal and a clear urgency for prospects.

Think outside the box.

The ice bucket challenge, the twizzler challenge, and others like them, all sparked outsized engagement because they were unique and engaging. What makes your organization, your cause, your beneficiaries special? How can you harness that to invite others to join your movement?

#GivingTuesday is a great chance to take some risks, trying something new to raise awareness of your cause.

Recruit social media ambassadors.

The internet is a crowded place on #GivingTuesday so a few tweets from your main account won’t cut it. Recruit and train social media ambassadors to share your campaign, tell their story and invite their friends to participate. Ask your loyal donors and volunteers to help spread your campaign, educating them with guidelines, information, and sample posts and emails.

Find matching donors.

Donors who will match gifts or who will donate a certain amount for every online or offline action are great ways to increase involvement from new donors.  People are more likely to post a picture of themselves with your hashtag or donate $5 when they feel that its impact will be even greater. Matching is also a great opportunity to activate a major donor.

Announce your #GivingTuesday campaign early.

#GivingTuesday may fall on one day, but you can, and should, be talking about it long before.  Tell your existing audience about your plans ASAP and give them updates and more information as you get closer to the day.

Get people trained to participate as effectively as possible while building excitement and anticipation for the big day.

With thoughtful preparation, #GivingTuesday can be a great day for your organization and start your end-of-year giving with a huge boost. Gather your team today to ensure everything is in place to create an awesome #GivingTuesday campaign.