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.

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Emily has worked at Guide Dogs for the Blind Association since 2019, working on a range of campaign areas to empower people with vision impairments to live the life they choose. Prior to this, Emily working in parliament and severed as a borough councillor.

Brani Milosevic ia a digital consultant and coach at https://www.digitalleadership.ltd/
She helps individuals, teams and organisations to learn how to seize the opportunities offered by digital and navigate its challenges.
Brani set up the Digital Leadership Forum, is an NCVO trainer, a CharityComms mentor and a qualified executive coach.

Rhiannan Sullivan is the Vice President of strategy and partnerships of social action network, Care2.com. Over the past 10+ years, she has worked with hundreds of UK and EU charities helping them grow and develop their digital fundraising programmes. Prior to working for Care2, Rhiannan worked at then political campaigning agency Blue State Digital, a global leading digital strategy agency who has helped many organisations build and engage online communities, clients included political and advocacy campaigns, non-­‐profit organisations, cultural institutions and global consumer brands.

Calum manages social, email and some digital campaigns at CPRE, and is CPRE’s expert Engaging Networks user, working on development and helping other teams make the most of the platform. Happiest working on campaigns for change or rambling around in the countryside.

Brandon Fuller is Engaging Networks alumni and owner of Raise the Roots, a digital agency that has supported over two dozen organizations on Engaging Networks - helping them to maximize their digital engagement using this powerful platform. He previously managed global online advocacy campaigns for the Pew Charitable Trusts and has worked in the nonprofit community for nearly two decades.

I joined the Woodland Trust in 2018 and now lead on policy and engagement campaigns working to improve protection, restoration and high quality creation of woods and trees. Prior to campaigning for trees, I worked in Peterborough, tackling fuel poverty in the community. I care deeply about the climate and nature crises and the many, intersectional impacts and solutions. Endlessly inspired and energised by the dedication and passion of our supporters and the public who take action time and time again.

Hannah Mudge is Digital Innovation Manager at The Leprosy Mission England and Wales and has had the privilege of seeing the 147-year-old international development charity evolve over the last decade, from sending out its first online fundraising appeal to achieving record levels of income despite the challenges faced since the start of the pandemic. She is based in Peterborough and enjoys running, cooking and reading in her limited spare time when not parenting two lively boys. During 2020 she added ‘homeschooling’ to her skillset although what Ofsted rating she would achieve is probably best left to the imagination.

I am a campaigner in the Woods Under Threat team at the Woodland Trust. My role is to help protect ancient woods and trees from damaging developments across the UK. Ancient woods and trees are irreplaceable, so we work hard to stop any further loss of these precious habitats and ensure they are protected for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Matt Strong is the Campaigns and Engagement Officer for the Ramblers.

He has recently run campaigns on increasing the number of new green walking routes in some of our biggest cities, including London and Manchester. He has also been leading on the Ramblers’ campaigns work around the Environment Bill. Matt has a background in politics after spending a decade as an elected councillor on Manchester City Council and having previously worked for two Members of Parliament and a political party.

Claire Warner is a former charity Fundraising Director & Senior Leader, turned Culture & Wellbeing consultant.

It was in trying to throw herself back into her beloved Fundraising Director role after 12 months' treatment for aggressive breast cancer, that Claire realised the focus & memory loss and heart condition side effects she'd been left with after her treatment, plus the life-changing experience of the illness itself, meant (guttingly!) a 300% commitment, 50+hours a week Fundraising Director role was no longer an option.

On looking into what others do in this situation, Claire discovered the field of workplace wellbeing, the research work of Prof Cary Cooper, the Gallup Organisation and Simon Sinek, and hasn't looked back since.

In 2018, Claire created her own piece of research into the wellbeing of fundraisers and when it concluded in 2019, over 700 fundraisers had taken part. The results of the research were used to further inform and refine the work Claire does with organisations and individuals in the charity sector.

In 2020 Claire won the Best Digital Leader Award at the Social CEO Awards and in 2021 curated the first Charity Wellbeing Summit.

Today, Claire works on organisational culture and wellbeing projects with charities and offers coaching and mentoring programmes to sector professionals.

Becky has spent the last decade building people power and people-powered movements to hold the most powerful to account for a fairer, more just, and cleaner future.
She helped build 38 Degrees UK into a movement of over 1 million citizens and led many of the biggest campaigns. As part of OPEN’s senior team, she helped build and sustain a network across 19 different countries, by supporting, coaching, and building fast-growing digitally facilitated organisations.

She's currently Senior Strategist at The Sunrise Project leading the Global Banks Program and building grassroots activism on finance around the world. She’s on the board of Skiftet, Sweden’s biggest online campaign community and Left Foot Forward in the UK.

Andrew Taylor-Dawson is Development Manager at Liberty, where he leads on member and support engagement. He has been in fundraising for around 13 years. In this time he has worked in the human rights, homelessness and social justice sectors as well as having been a freelance consultant.

He has held board positions with Global Justice Now and the adoption support organisation We Are family.

Rebecca is a Digital Project Manager, who recently led the redesign and redevelopment of The Children's Society's website.

Rebecca worked closely with senior stakeholders, subject matter experts, and digital agencies to create a new platform that demonstrates the organisation's refreshed vision, mission and brand. There has already been astounding results in the 6-months since launch.

I have worked as a web developer for about 20 years and for Which? since 2015, primarily on their WordPress sites. This has involved integration with a variety of different APIs, most recently the Engaging Networks API, along with the creation of APIs to allow sites to talk to one another.

Glyn Thomas is a digital strategist and web developer. He built his first website in 1997 and has been working in digital communications since 2002.

For the past 12 years, Glyn has almost exclusively worked with charities and non-profit organisations. Almost all the projects he works on are focused around campaigning, fundraising or supporter recruitment, and often a mixture of all three.

Now based in Berlin, Glyn works with organisations in the UK, Europe and North America.

Rhian is the Strategic Programme Manager for Physical Activity at Versus Arthritis. Alongside Sport England under the Richmond Group ‘Movement for All’ programme, Rhian is co-developing a long-term, sustainable programme to support those living with Musculoskeletal conditions to increase their physical activity levels and improve their quality of life. Rhian has over 15 years’ experience of supporting people with long term health conditions to become more active. She is passionate about prevention, working in partnership and using an effective knowledge base to create impactful change at scale.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.

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