Giving Tuesday Checklists – For Planners and Procrastinators

Cornershop Creative Engaging Networks Accredited Partner

Prepared for Engaging Networks by Accredited Partner, Cornershop Creative.

Giving Tuesday is just one day of the year, but thanks to the original efforts of 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation and so many nonprofit collaborations since, Giving Tuesday brings record donation amounts to organizations each year. For some organizations, Giving Tuesday fundraising results rank second only to the very last day of the year.

So sure, it’s just one day, just the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Just one day, every year. But to properly plan fundraising and communications, you should absolutely start your prep at the very beginning of the year.

January through March: Know Your Big Picture

The beginning of the year is time for you to take a nice long look at the Big Picture. It’s about knowing where you were last year, where you are, and where you plan to be in a year.

Of course, you want a successful Giving Tuesday campaign in November. But your donors and prospective donors are going to be a lot more receptive to your campaign if you’re also connecting with them throughout the year.

By the end of March, you should have:

  • clear, reliable reports for last year’s fundraising.
  • specific goals for your upcoming Giving Tuesday campaign.
  • a well-defined list and understanding of your audiences.
  • an outline of your communication plan for the year.

Does your organization have a theme or focus for the year? Are there specific advocacy campaigns or special events that you can expect for the year? Think about how those other activities can either be integrated with or differentiated from your Giving Tuesday campaign.

Technically, no, you don’t need to have all of your Giving Tuesday forms and graphics and messaging ready to go early in the year. But the sooner you create your content and communications, the easier the rest of your Giving Tuesday campaign will be!

At the very least, aim to identify a “focal point” for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Maybe you want to coordinate a matching campaign. Maybe you can offer a unique gift item. Will you want to plan any kick-off events or after parties? Do you have multiple CTAs in mind for Giving Tuesday? This can also be a great moment for supporter engagement through petitions or ecard campaigns.

Also consider: Will you follow your organization’s standard branding for the campaign, or will any of your assets require a fresh, new look or communications tone? Make sure you know all of the ways that you will need to incorporate graphics or images, then get to work on finalizing the graphics in all the shapes and sizes you’ll need for your direct mail, email, online, and social communications.

Finally, make sure you know the start and end date for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Ideally, you’ve outlined your communications plan within your editorial calendar for the year, so you know precisely which messages should be going to which audiences and when. Refer to your reports and audience planning to make sure that your tools still line up with your original hopes for the “Big Picture.”

Wrapped up a plan! 33%

April through June: Gather Your Toolkit

Technically, no, you don’t need to have all of your Giving Tuesday forms and graphics and messaging ready to go early in the year. But the sooner you create your content and communications, the easier the rest of your Giving Tuesday campaign will be!

At the very least, aim to identify a “focal point” for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Maybe you want to coordinate a matching campaign. Maybe you can offer a unique gift item. Will you want to plan any kick-off events or after parties? Do you have multiple CTAs in mind for Giving Tuesday? This can also be a great moment for supporter engagement through petitions or ecard campaigns.

Photo by Beata Ratuszniak on Unsplash

Also consider: Will you follow your organization’s standard branding for the campaign, or will any of your assets require a fresh, new look or communications tone? Make sure you know all of the ways that you will need to incorporate graphics or images, then get to work on finalizing the graphics in all the shapes and sizes you’ll need for your direct mail, email, online, and social communications.

Finally, make sure you know the start and end date for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Ideally, you’ve outlined your communications plan within your editorial calendar for the year, so you know precisely which messages should be going to which audiences and when. Refer to your reports and audience planning to make sure that your tools still line up with your original hopes for the “Big Picture.”

July through October: Test Everything

If you don’t already have the luxury of working with a team, this is your time to gather a few trusted compatriots and test every little detail of your campaign and communications.

Create a segment or group in your CRM just for your testing friends and make sure you’re not the only one who’s looked at your emails, thank you messages, forms, and other content.

Test. every. single. link. to confirm that your pages load properly and display the correct tracking details for your reporting. Use a tool like Browserstack to test your web pages across browser types. Test multiple email providers and use a tool like Email on Acid or Litmus to make sure it really looks good across all types of devices and systems.

Also, you should really and truly test and submit every form you’ve built to make sure the form redirects and any thank you messages or welcome series are initiated.

Your CRM or fundraising tool provider probably has a test credit card for you to use for testing transactions repeatedly, but do make sure to test with a valid account number at least a few times. This helps to further verify that there are no issues with your credit card processing or gateway provider, especially if your forms are particularly new or different from your general fundraising forms.

Planned it & Tested it! 66%

November: You’ve Got This

Okay. Realistically, we know you could still be testing and fine-tuning your materials once November rolls around. But won’t it be so nice to get most of the assets and drafts and testing all out of the way well before Giving Tuesday?

If all goes well, you should have all of your pages and forms and messages scheduled by early November and ready to publish the moment you kick off your Giving Tuesday campaign.

Image by serthayos sansuwansri from Pixabay

Then, do yourself a favor and make extra sure you have all of your assets and materials in one easily accessible place. Update your document with a day-by-day overview and links to all of your related content. Make sure it’s clean and that there’s no unnecessary clutter from previous planning notes. This will make your work so much easier, if anything goes wrong with a particular message and you need to quickly correct or follow up on anything.

Your master document is also a good place to keep your key reports and goals. This helps you easily reference your reports throughout your Giving Tuesday campaign to make sure you’re following results and also making note of any observations during the campaign.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re not setting and forgetting all of your hard work. Set up reminders and schedule check-ins to review your content plan with all stakeholders one last time, at least a couple weeks before Giving Tuesday. You never know what kind of world or local news might require some content modifications.

Final stretch - Giving Tuesday is here! 100%

Giving Tuesday: Rock Your Campaign

So, are you ready? This is it! The first day of your Giving Tuesday campaign!

Hopefully, you feel great about it, but maybe you’re also a little nervous. No matter how your first day goes, try to make sure you celebrate! You’ve put a lot of work into this, so whether you’re posting a quick celebratory post to your social channel or have planned a full-on event, make sure you take a moment to formally celebrate your campaign kick-off.

Finally: Make Space for Reflection

You’ll surely take the time to check your reports and goals and report to your organization on how well your Giving Tuesday campaign is going, but we’d like to recommend you take your campaign review one step further: Schedule at least two hours for personal reflection on your campaign planning, results, and experience.

You’re probably fully occupied with other campaigns and end of year fundraising, but take some time away from your day to day tasks to think deeper about this year, and what you’d like to see next year. Taking this time to reflect can feel unproductive, but it’s a vital part of creative problem-solving and will only make your future work easier. After all, it’ll be the beginning of a new year and time for your Big Picture planning in no time!

An Ideal Giving Tuesday Checklist

January through March
  • I know where my fundraising reports are and can easily access them.
  • I have defined my audiences.
  • I can clearly articulate my goals for Giving Tuesday this year.
  • I have a good sense of this year’s communication plans.
April through June
  • I know the focal point of our Giving Tuesday campaign.
  • I know our start and end date for our Giving Tuesday campaign.
  • I have an outline of my communications plan for Giving Tuesday.
  • I have a rough draft of all of our emails and thank you messages.
  • I have created all of our Giving Tuesday fundraising forms.
  • I have created any additional signup or engagement forms.
  • I’ve finalized all graphic design files.
  • I’ve reviewed our reports again to make sure we still understand our audience and goals.
July through October
  • I have finalized all of my content.
  • I have created a testing plan and know the links to all of the forms that I am using.
  • I have created a test user group for communications review.
  • At least one other person has reviewed our email and other communications.
  • I have tested every single form.
  • I have tested every single form with a valid credit card.
November
  • All Giving Tuesday communications are scheduled or ready to publish.
  • I’ve created a master document and can easily review a day by day schedule and links to all materials, files, and reports.
December
  • I celebrated our campaign kick-off.
  • I am regularly reviewing reports throughout our campaign and making notes on observations.
Finally
  • I scheduled at least two hours for reflection on this year’s campaign.
  • I recorded my ideas and recommendations for next year.

A Giving Tuesday Checklist for Procrastinators

Are you laughing? Panicking? Hiding under your desk?

Yeah, this first timeline is pretty idealistic. Wouldn’t it be so nice to prep your campaign so far ahead and so thoroughly?

We know not everyone has this luxury, so here’s a timeline better suited to those of us with even just a month to prep. Not that you were procrastinating or anything.

Week 1
  • I know where my fundraising reports are and can easily access them.
  • I have defined my audiences.
  • I can clearly articulate my goals for Giving Tuesday this year.
  • I know the focal point of our Giving Tuesday campaign.
  • I know our start and end date for our Giving Tuesday campaign.
  • I have an outline of my communications plan for Giving Tuesday.
Week 2
  • I have a rough draft of all of our emails and thank you messages.
  • I have created all of our Giving Tuesday fundraising forms.
  • I have created any additional signup or engagement forms.
  • I have created a testing plan and know the links to all of the forms that I am using.
  • I have created a test user group for communications review.
  • At least one other person has reviewed our email and other communications.
Week 3
  • I have tested every single form.
  • I have tested every single form with a valid credit card.
  • I’ve finalized all graphic design files.
  • I have finalized all of my content.
  • All Giving Tuesday communications are scheduled or ready to publish.
  • I’ve created a master document and can easily review a day by day schedule and links to all materials, files, and reports.
  • Finally, I celebrated our campaign kick-off.
  • I am regularly reviewing reports throughout our campaign and making notes on observations.
  • I scheduled at least two hours for reflection on this year’s campaign.
  • I recorded my ideas and recommendations for next year.
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