Last Minute Tips for Giving Tuesday


Enjoy a few tips for last-minute Giving Tuesday planning – for those who are organized and those who still have work to do.

giving tuesday 2019

Giving Tuesday is one of my favorite times of the year. In some ways better than a holiday. The gifts of creative nonprofit fundraising abound. Like a kid waking up in the morning dreaming about piles of gifts, I wake earnestly looking forward to seeing what kind of campaigns, pages, emails and more come my way.

Why? Because I love nonprofits and I love nonprofit tech. You’re top of your game on Giving Tuesday. I’ll follow this post the Wednesday after with a portfolio of cool examples like last year.

For now, I wanted to share a few last minute tips for Giving Tuesday prep. Whether you’ve finished out your plan and production or you’re still getting things together, give this a read (or at least a skim) to see if you find any useful ideas. There’s something in here for everyone – Engaging Networks users and otherwise.

Last Minute A/B (or A/B/C/D) Donation Form Testing

Ideally, you’ve tested already and baked the results into your plan. However if you haven’t, one thing is for certain, Giving Tuesday will provide considerable traffic and donations to test your ideas and optimize for the rest of December. While you don’t want to bungle efforts on this critical day, a couple safe tests could prove beneficial to the rest of your year-end campaign. Here are a few thoughts.

It’s just over a week until Giving Tuesday, so don’t overthink your page testing. Focus on one goal-oriented variable you think may boost year-end results. A lot of testing we’ve seen recently is focused on multi-step forms versus one-step forms to boost conversion (the results may surprise you). You may want to test prominence of a recurring donation ask. Or perhaps you want to test the effectiveness of different imagery.

Whatever your goal, setting up a page test is easy.

If you’re just now doing this, stick to 2-3 forms to keep it less complicated on a tight timeline. Many tools (including ours) will also allow you to automatically set the most successful page live and close the others automatically once you’ve reached statistical significance.

A well-known third-party name out there for page testing is Optimizely. However, Engaging Networks has an elegant solution built right into our tools. Build your forms, set up your test, promote your link – check, done. You can read the documentation here. I’ve used the Engaging Networks tool before on the client side and found it far easier to set up and use than others.

Personalization Is My Personal Preference

Too often we focus on production for the sake of production (because there’s a lot). However, it’s almost expected these days to receive some sort of recognition that we are a human interacting with your software – or better yet your cause! When was the last time you downloaded an app that didn’t at some point (if it asked for your name) say something like ‘Good job, Kathy!’ or get an email that addressed you personally? Don’t forget to make it personal.

But, I’m not talking about just adding a Supporter’s name to the beginning of an email. Most eCRMs offer ways to deeply personalize your Supporter’s experience. If yours doesn’t, let us know and we’ll show you some cool tools. Here are a handful of fun ideas for deep customizations that (depending on your eCRM) aren’t too hard to add at the last minute. They increase in complexity as you go down the list.

Add the Supporter’s Name Multiple Times

Throughout email copy, not just in the opening. Especially, add their name in a direct call to action like, ‘Kathy, today is the day I need you to donate $25 to help save sea otters.’ OR ‘Kathy, if you give $25 right now, Morgan Freeman will also give $25 to match your gift.’

Add Your Supporter’s Name to Donation Forms and Thank You Pages

Normally you can only do this for Supporters identified in your eCRM (most likely through email) but those are people already interacting with your cause. Like keeping your branding consistent, think of this as keeping your friendship consistent. I’ve clicked on your email (we’ll say the Morgan Freeman one). When I get to your donation page maybe there’s a picture of Morgan and a note, that says, ‘I’m glad you decided to give today, Kathy.’ You get the idea. The more I feel a part of your experience the more invested I get.

Customize Content or Images on Pages

This is based on what you know about your Supporters. I’ve done this just based on donor profiles where the same individual form would render different content to different donor groups. What I mean is I built one donation form and used Engaging Networks’ conditional content tools to display different ask strings, messages and images to Prospects, Donors, Mid-level Donors and Major Donors. Prospects visiting the page (from our emails) would see a premium offer. Major Donors received a special note from the CEO and a higher ask string. You get it. This ensured that everyone got a unique experience. You can do this by building multiple donation forms for each segment but with a little planning and building, this is far more flexible and saves time later in your campaign. Best bet on learning how to do this in Engaging Networks is by reaching out to our Account Services team if you’re a client. If you want tools that can do this, give us a shout.

Build a Donor Journey

Making someone a part of your work will boost results. Ideally this would start with some great emails planned and set up in email marketing automation tools but that takes some time and we’re talking last minute tips here. Depending on your eCRM, you can build custom donor journeys right in your donation forms. Imagine this holiday you’re raising funds to support hurricane relief. What if your forms could do the following:


Welcome Supporters and ask them where they are from (this feeds the redirect and filter tools you set up in your eCRM to respond by state or region – find ours here).


Supporters in affected regions get a sympathetic page geared towards how their support helps their neighbors, pets and friends; OR Supporters in areas surrounding affected regions get a page that speaks to how they’ve probably visited those towns and shops before and how their support can help; OR Supporters outside those two areas get a general plea for support.


Thank each Supporter individually with a unique message based on their action.

How’m I Doing? I Mean Progress Meters…

This nifty tool has been around for-ev-er. When I got started in digital fundraising in 2007 Convio had a (albeit pretty unattractive) progress meter tool built into the system. But we used it! This is one thing from the beginning of time that has not tarnished at all. Why? Progress meters visualize impact. You can write all you want about donor impact but you’re relying on someone to read and digest all you write. Images are easily noticed and easily communicate your message.

We are 78% to your goal to save sea otters this Giving Tuesday. 

Image by Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay

If you’re not using progress meters in your campaigns consider adding them if your eCRM offers the option. You can find more information about Engaging Networks’ options here.

Diversify Revenue

I feel like I’m on Wall Street when I tell people this but in reality your nonprofit is a cause driven business. By targeting different donor groups you’re already ‘diversifying revenue’ in one way. What I suggest here is different though – eCommerce. I have yet to work at a nonprofit where I was able to get eCommerce off the ground – mostly due to misconceptions about options. People tend to think you have to sell physical items. You don’t. This is a passion of mine, in fact, you can see my ENCC presentation here on the subject. While eCommerce can mean hats, shirts, stuffies and more – it can also be as simple as a symbolic giving store. This is what most nonprofits implement successfully.

What’s a symbolic giving store? When you offer Donors the opportunity to give a ‘symbol of your cause’ to a friend or family member as a gift. You essentially sell symbols of your cause. An example would be:

  • You have a great sea otter rescue program in California and you know many of your supporters love the program.
  • In your store you offer an item with the most adorable sea otter picture ever called ‘Support Sea Otter Rescue in California’.
  • When they ‘purchase’ this item it is a tax-deductible donation to your cause, they do not receive anything physical but they can send an eCard to a friend or family member.

That’s it. If you’re concerned about restricted giving because you need to raise unrestricted funds, carefully craft your copy to be inclusive of other work. For example:

  • You have a great sea otter rescue program in California that would work in your store but your fundraising is for all programs (unrestricted).
  • In your store, offer an item with the most adorable sea otter picture ever called ‘Support Programs Like Sea Otter Rescue’.
  • When they ‘purchase’ this item it is a tax-deductible donation to your cause, they do not receive anything physical but they can send an eCard to a friend or family member.
sea otter

The more specific you can be with your items the more it will resonate but be careful about restricted/unrestricted language.

If you’re able to say ‘Remove 100 Plastic Bottles from the Ocean’ – $25 – DO IT! If not, try ‘Help Remove 100 Plastic Bottles from the Ocean’ – $25 (and craft your item description to broadly address the program and other work your organization does).

There are many great examples out there of symbolic giving stores. Two recently built on Engaging Networks’ eCommerce module are Reading is Fundamental and UNHCR Canada – those should give you some great ideas.

polluted beach

I hope this has given you a few last minute ideas for this year’s Giving Tuesday – or for planning next year. In closing, I’d like to give you a few more great resources:

My personal caveat. These are the thoughts of an ex-online fundraiser of over a decade now turned software marketer. I am not a consultant. Take the ideas if you choose or visit our Partners page to find a solid fundraising partner to help you grow your program. Thanks!

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