The History Of Giving Tuesday

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On November 29, 2022, nonprofits all over the globe will participate in Giving Tuesday. They will set out on Giving Tuesday 2022 charity expeditions, eager to raise their profile and solicit support both from new and current donors. 

Hopefully, your organization is planning to participate. If you’re not, you should strongly consider it.

Giving Tuesday is the type of movement that many people dream of starting. It was one of the first truly viral giving campaigns. It officially began in 2011 by the Mary-Arrchie Theater Company in Chicago.

The logic was as follows: The Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday. The Monday after that is Cyber Monday. After a long weekend of self-indulgence, shoppers can do something good by donating to charity. Makes perfect sense, right?

Year one was small.

But in 2012, the 92nd Street Y partnered with the United Nations Foundation to take it to the next level. From there, it jumped to the next stratosphere.

Some 2,500 nonprofits participated in Giving Tuesday 2012.

They raised roughly $10 million in online fundraising. Nine years later, that number jumped to $2.7B.

One of the many elements that enabled Giving Tuesday to reach such uniquity was that at no point did the 92nd Street Y brand it as its own. 

According to Asha Curran, chief innovation officer at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at 92Y, “We were very much platform agnostic and cause agnostic right from the beginning, encouraging people to give to whatever they found meaningful.”

Their plan worked. 

In 2021, more than 80 countries were home to official national GivingTuesday movements. If trendlines continue, Giving Tuesday 2022 will be even bigger. 

If you are looking for Giving Tuesday ideas or examples of some of the best Giving Tuesday campaigns we’ve seen… If you are looking for ways to ensure your messaging is en pointe, from Giving Tuesday social media posts to thank you letters… you have come to the right place. 

This is your exhaustive source for all things Giving Tuesday 2022.

Why Is Giving Tuesday Important?

Donors give when they are asked to give. If you don’t ask, someone else will. And on Giving Tuesday, you’d better believe a lot of organizations are going to ask for donations. 

The other nonprofits that your donors support are also going to get in the game. If you go silent on your donors during this time of year, they’ll go silent on you. 

But there is another critical factor in the importance of Giving Tuesday: it jumpstarts your end-of-year giving. 

According to most estimates, more than 30% of all giving happens in December. Nonprofits have responded to the large number of people who want to give during the calendar year to ensure they receive the tax write-off from their charitable contributions.

What’s more is that more than 46% of all organizations start their year-end campaigns in November. Smart fundraising professionals are not just participating in Giving Tuesday, they’re including Giving Tuesday as a cornerstone of their year-end fundraising strategies.

As you think about what your fundraising will look like through the end of the calendar year, find ways to incorporate Giving Tuesday and your end-of-year campaigns into a kickoff for the rest of the year to finish 2022 strong.

Doing so will help you consolidate resources and get you in front of your donors. You will raise more money and even attract new supporters to your cause.

Giving Tuesday Best Practices

So many nonprofits fundraising on the same day means that there is going to be a whole lot of noise. What can your organization do to stand out from the crowd?

1) Cater to your core

Let your Fundraising Ambassadors focus on donor acquisition. That’s what peer-to-peer fundraising is designed to do. 

Your personal priority on Giving Tuesday should be on donor retention. This day is about turning to your current (and lapsed) donors and giving them an opportunity to give.

Don’t even try to cut through all the noise of Giving Tuesday. Just speak to those who have already given you their ear.

People ended up in your database for a specific reason. Either they donated or signed up for your emails or attended an event.

Focus on them. They are your committed core. They deserve your attention.

2) Use the word “you” over and over and over and over again. (And over again.)

Using the word “you” creates a psychological effect that captures the reader’s eye. But more importantly, when you use the word “you,” it forces you to focus on the donor.

“Your gift will…”

“Because of you….”

“When you donate, you…”

These types of sentences ensure that you – the storyteller – are making the narrative about the donor. Donors should be filled with pride after they donate, and we cannot instill pride in them unless we make the case for giving just as much about them (the donors) as it is about the organization. 

Your campaign should not be about your organization’s history or its past successes. It should be about making donors feel awesome about their gifts.

3) Get your supporters pumped

This is a celebratory day. A day dedicated to kindness. A day where donors will make the world a better place.

The problem is that they aren’t thinking about any aspect of your campaign nearly as much as you are. In fact, they may not be thinking about it at all.

Spend some time preparing pieces of communication to send to your donors and team fundraisers.

You can write 95% of a campaign update weeks before your Giving Tuesday campaign even launches. You can make sure your team fundraisers have templates they can send to their friends/family.

All it takes is a little organization before Giving Tuesday so that ON Giving Tuesday, you’re ready to rock and roll.

4) Go visual this year

Take pictures. Take videos. And ask your staff and team fundraisers (and even your donors!) to do the same.

Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, but it makes for EXCELLENT shareable Giving Tuesday social media posts.

A Facebook update, a WhatsApp message, an Instagram post, Pinterest pic, or TikTok dance… pictures and videos help you ENGAGE with your community.

It can be silly (raise the roof!). Or it can be serious (why do you support the organization?).

But issue a challenge to your community. It may not go viral, but it will energize the people who make your organization run.

And as always, we’re here to help! Talk to us about the fundraising opportunities that lie ahead for your organization. Giving Tuesday is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to seize the opportunity to raise more money from more donors.

Four Giving Tuesday Ideas Designed To Unlock Success

Sometimes, you need a little spark to get going when brainstorming different fundraising ideas. Sure, you can think about doing a raffle or charity auction. You may consider a t-shirt fundraiser or a run/walk/bikeathon. Scavenger hunts, photo contests, and book launches may work. 

But most times, it’s wise to focus on the fundamentals. Stick to one, some, or all of these four ideas, and you’re sure to position yourself for Giving Tuesday fundraising success.

    1) Make sure you have a great donate page

A great Giving Tuesday donate page can be the difference between a successful campaign and an underwhelming effort. 

Great donate pages take into account what drives donors to give more. 

  • Contact forms are clean and unencumbered. 
  • Donation amount options factor in behavioral psychology like the anchoring effect
  • Technological tools, like Donor Rescue, help you raise more money by borrowing from the e-commerce world. 
  • Giving Tuesday messaging should be inspiring and focused on the donor.

Your donate page is your store front. The tiniest details can account for significant increases (or decreases) in conversions. 

No matter how you market your Giving Tuesday campaign, you are going to send people to your donate page so it has to be excellent. 

You can sign up for an amazing free donate page by clicking here


    2) Activate peer-to-peer fundraising

Giving Tuesday is a perfect time to round up your most vocal supporters and enlist them with fundraising goals. They will reach out to their friends and family, which means that you will see an increase in new donors to your organization. 

If you want to make noise to catalyze your fundraising efforts, your most effective effort will be grassroots. If you can ask 10 supporters to go and raise $1,000 for your Giving Tuesday campaign, a day when people have likely apportioned time and money for charity, then you will have raised $10,000 with relatively minimal effort. 

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to unlock the potential of Giving Tuesday.


    3) Giving Tuesday matching: leverage a matching gift

Unveil a matching gift to boost your Giving Tuesday efforts. You’ll need to prepare for this matching gift ahead of time since you’ll need to find a willing donor (or donors) and iron out the details. (Hint: now is a good time to get started on this project.)

But once you are prepared, you can either market your matching campaign before Giving Tuesday or announce it on the day-of as an energizing surprise. 

Then, you can arm your Fundraising Ambassadors with language about the Giving Tuesday matching funds. You can spread the news on social media. You can email your database. You can use a multi-channel approach to ensure maximum audience participation. 


    4) Recurring donations

Recurring monthly donations are an excellent way for donors to support causes that they love. The problem is that they don’t think to set them up on their own. You need to ask.

Use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to ask your loyal donors to make automatic monthly contributions. Doing so will make your accounting office smile,helps you drastically improve donor retention rates, and positions you to raise more money. In fact, the average donation amount jumps from $58/year to $288/year when donors are introduced to a monthly giving program! 

Examples Of Great Giving Tuesday Campaigns

There are literally hundreds of awesome Giving Tuesday campaigns. Let’s look at two that tell you everything you need to know about succeeding on Giving Tueday. 


Project Extreme ran a campaign last year to raise money to help teens struggling with serious mental health issues. 


The campaign utilized an optimized donation page, matching money, and peer-to-peer Fundraising Ambassadors. 


Their original goal was $600,000. In the end, they raised $784,252, 130% of their campaign goal. One-hundred-and-eight Fundraising Ambassadors raised money from 2,256 donors.

Momentum ran a campaign on Giving Tuesday 2021 to raise $1,000,000 to inspire thousands of Jewish parents with the skills to build stronger Jewish homes.


Like Project Extreme, they utilized a great donate page, matching money, and 41 peer-to-peer Fundraising Ambassadors. They ended their campaign, having raised $1,177,172 – an impressive 117% of their goal.

Both Project Extreme and Momentum exemplify what organizations can accomplish when they run smart, data-driven, disciplined campaigns. 

Planning For After Giving Tuesday

Both Project Extreme and Momentum exemplify what organizations can accomplish when they run smart, data-driven, disciplined campaigns. 


Make sure to follow up with your donors after Giving Tuesday. Write your Thank You email before the campaign even begins. 

Tell donors how awesome they are for supporting your cause. Tell them they are heroes. Give them all the credit for your organization’s hard work. 


Have a plan for new donors. This is a perfect opportunity to share more about your organization’s mission and overarching goals. Show them they are part of a new community, that their values shine through.


Schedule time now to make thank you calls. Block off one hour a week between now and the end of the calendar year to call donors and personally thank them for their gifts. You may choose to prioritize by gift amount, new donors, most committed Fundraising Ambassadors, etc. Even if you can’t call everyone, call someone! Donors rarely receive these types of calls and will welcome the opportunity to hear how much good their generosity enabled.


Celebrate with your community by making a big announcement about your campaign accomplishments. Everyone likes to be a part of a winning team so shout from the rooftops that you accomplished your campaign goals. Announce on social media that you are now able to serve more people, offer better services, or expand in new locations because of donor generosity.


Dig into your data to find patterns. Filter by date/time. Filter by channel. Look at what emails performed well and which did not. You’ll be happy to have average donation size, changes over last year’s results, donor retention rate, and number of new donors. 


Once you have this sort of information, you can begin to strategize how you are going to use it. More information will lead to better-informed decisions.


Document your feedback. Write yourself an email or leave yourself a voice note about how this year’s Giving Tuesday campaign went. Express the things that went well and the areas for improvement. That way, next year, you can refer back and learn both from your success and missed opportunities. 

Once you have this sort of information, you can begin to strategize how you are going to use it. More information will lead to better-informed decisions.

Giving Tuesday Templates You Can Use

If you don’t ask, the answer will definitely be no. That’s why we recommend that you send several pieces of communication to your donors over the course of the campaign. Here are several templates you can use to jumpstart the writing process.

Email 1: Primer

Subj: Are you ready?


Hi [recipient’s name],


On [Date], during the global day of giving called Giving Tuesday, I am going to ask you to donate to [Organization Name].


There are going to be lots of worthy organizations that reach out to you to ask for money, but I am going to ask that you give special consideration to [service recipients that you serve].


Your donation will [information about your organization’s impact or plan for your Giving Tuesday funds]. 


Stay tuned for more details and thank you in advance for your support.



Email 2: Launch

Subj: 3…2…1… Blast Off! 


Dear [First name],


I write to you today because I know how much you care about [service recipients]. 


There are so many people who need [short description of services].


That’s why your donation to [Organization] is so important. When you donate, you [description of impact].


Because it is Giving Tuesday, your donation will be doubled for the next 24 hours.  


That means you will have TWICE the impact in transforming the lives of people all over [geographic area]. 


Because of you, [details about your cause and impact].


This cause is so important that a group of generous donors has challenged us to raise [AMOUNT] on Giving Tuesday. To help with that goal, they have agreed to DOUBLE every dollar you donate, but the match only kicks in if you give TODAY. 


Please open your heart and donate today. (And, if you’re feeling really generous, to share that you’re participating in #Giving Tuesday and tag [your organization handle] so we can celebrate with you!)


Thank you so much for being on this journey with us! 




Email #3: Update

Subj: Are you in?


Dear [First name],


There is not much time left to donate to [Organization] during our Giving Tuesday campaign! 


We are [X%] of the way toward our [$AMOUNT] goal by [TIME tonight]! 


All donations will be DOUBLED for TWICE the impact!


Don’t turn away from someone in our community whose business crumbled overnight. 


Because of you, [details about your cause and impact].


Are you in? Will you donate today?




Email #4: Thank You

Subj: Because of you…


Dear [First Name],


With the click of a button, you have [information about your organization’s impact or plan for your Giving Tuesday funds]. 


Thank you for donating to the [Organization] Giving Tuesday campaign and [description of impact].


We challenged you to raise [$AMOUNT] in just [TIME]. In the end, you collectively donated [$AMOUNT]! All donations were doubled, which means you made TWICE the difference!  


You are a hero. You may not don a cape, but you are a champion for [service recipients].


Over the course of the next year, we look forward to showing you how big of an impact you made with your donation.


Thank you for your support.




Social media post #1: 


Starting now: An ambitious Giving Tuesday campaign for [Organization]!


Your gift will make a world of difference. When you donate you, [insert description of impact].


And, for today only, all donations will be DOUBLED, which means you will have TWICE the impact. 


Please donate today! 

Social media post #2

If you haven’t yet donated to [Organization] on Giving Tuesday, please do so right away! We’re getting closer to our goal, but we can’t reach it without your help.


Because of you, [description of impact].


And remember, all donations will be doubled until [TIME] tonight. Please don’t hesitate. Time is of the essence!


Social media post #3


There is not much time left to donate to [Organization] during our important Giving Tuesday campaign. 

Would you consider a gift of $10 to transform someone’s life? All donations will be doubled, which means you’ll make TWICE the difference. 


The campaign ends at [TIME] tonight so please donate today!

Your Giving Tuesday Campaign Checklist

Follow these steps to ensure Giving Tuesday success!


Giving Tuesday:


Giving Tuesday is like any other fundraising effort in that you will get out of it exactly what you put into it. The more you focus and prepare, the greater your results will be. 

Lucky for you, you’re not alone. We’re here to help you each step of the way. 

Use these Giving Tuesday ideas and resources to help you kickstart your planning. Then call us so we can help you brainstorm and address all the fundraising opportunities that lie ahead of you.

Don’t get caught in the rain, however. Don’t do nothing on Giving Tuesday. Otherwise, you’ll spend your day watching other organizations celebrate, wondering what could have been. 

It’s time to get ready for your most successful end-of-year fundraising quarter you’ve ever had. 

Good luck!

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