Do you have December 1 marked on your calendar? That’s the date for this year’s #GivingTuesday—and perhaps one you’ll want to capitalize on even more than usual after the challenges that 2020 handed up. Take advantage of the holiday season and the spirit of giving that accompanies it, and set yourself up for a successful #GivingTuesday campaign with these four important steps.

1. Turn your #GivingTuesday campaign landing page into a converting machine.

convert donations for your #GivingTuesday campaign

According to Nonprofit Hub, “Site visitors who enter through a landing page are 10 times more likely to take action than those who start on your homepage.” In other words, your homepage may look lovely, but it’s not a destination spot. For a successful #GivingTuesday campaign, you’ll want to create a specific page that’s set up to engage your visitors, explain your campaign goal and accept donations within seconds.

It’s easy to do, especially if you follow these tried and true landing page tips:

  • Communicate your most meaningful message within the first 2–3 sentences. Include why you are fundraising and create a sense of urgency—tell them why to give today, not tomorrow.
  • Write a headline that refers back to what got them there. When someone clicks on a link to get to your campaign page, make sure the message and language in both places match.
  • Find the most relevant and engaging image or video possible. A picture says a thousand words, right? So keep your text to a minimum and let your image (or video) do the talking.
  • Incorporate a fundraising thermometer. It’s an easy way for visitors to monitor your campaign’s progress and motivate them to join your cause.
  • Define your metrics for success in advance. You are trying to raise money, yes, but what else can the campaign do for you? You may want to grow your email list or engage lapsed supporters as well.
  • Display your logo. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning that every single fundraising or campaign page you create should be branded so it’s obviously yours.
  • Provide a specific call to action. Make the CTA button obvious and tell your visitors specifically what to do. Use words like Donate Now or Give Today.
  • Give the page a vanity URL. For example: instead of
  • Add social proof. Integrate quotes from social media and testimonials into the campaign page (e.g., “200 people have already supported our campaign”) to add credibility.
  • Include a suggested donation amount. Default to asking supporters to give a specific donation like $50 instead of leaving the amount open-ended.

2. Plan a soft launch for your #GivingTuesday campaign.

plan a soft launch for your #GivingTuesday campaign

Campaigns don’t take off on their own. A soft launch will help you kick off your campaign and get your fundraising thermometer rising even before #GivingTuesday rolls around. Here are some common Q&As to get you started:

What is a soft launch?

It’s like a “pre-campaign”—it’s the time right before your campaign when you share it with a small number of donors who will donate before you launch it to the public. The best way to engage most your pre-campaign tribe is through emails, but a phone call for your biggest asks will be important.

Why bother with a soft launch?

Giving begets giving. Part of what drives crowdfunding campaigns is the power of the crowd—people like to support what everyone else supports. Generating advance support shows that your cause is worthy.

What’s the goal?

Try to advance your fundraising thermometer 30% before #GivingTuesday. Frontloading your thermometer to that degree is the secret sauce for campaigns that meet and exceed their goals.

When should we start our soft launch?

Ideally, about three weeks before #GivingTuesday, but definitely no later than one week before the big day. A head start on the thermometer sets you up for success with the rest of the campaign.

How do I do this?

There are several tactics you can take to get a jump on your #GivingTuesday donations—here are two to get you started:

  • Make a list of five people you can ask to give $500 or $1,000. These are your most generous and enthusiastic supporters. Schedule an appointment with each to make the ask, and try to secure about $2,000 total.
  • Get early emails out to a select group of loyal supporters. Personalized emails are best—people will typically respond to those better than a generic email sent to a large list. It might sound like a lot of work, but in our experience, the ROI is better with personalized emails than a mass generic one. You have time; enlist the help of others on your team, and start writing now.

Once #GivingTuesday hits, you will already have created momentum and a larger group you can tap into to spread the word.

3. Adjust messaging for your #GivingTuesday campaign for current events.

adjust your messaging for your #GivingTuesday campaign

This year, it’s not business as usual. I know we’re all tired of talking about the pandemic, but if you turn a blind eye to it in your appeals, you may come off as tone deaf or in denial about something that has affected every person in the world to some degree. So, plan to acknowledge the COVID-19 crisis—you can tell your donors how the pandemic has affected your programs, your cause or your ability to fundraise. It’s okay to show some vulnerability.

But you don’t have to dwell on it. Like always, you ultimately want your focus to be on the donor. Even in 2020, the basic principles of donor communications has not changed:

  • Appeal to donors’ hearts. Not everyone has lost their job or experienced a cut in salary, and many of those people will be looking for places to give during the holidays.
  • Spell out clearly what your donor’s gift will accomplish. What need are you trying to meet?
  • Word messaging in a way that puts your donor in the “hero” position. Instead of “Support us so that we can feed hungry children,” write “You can feed a hungry child with your gift now.”

4. Thank everyone.

Thank everyone for supporting your #GivingTuesday campaign

I might be stating the obvious, but gratitude and good will are especially important right now while our country is still in the middle of this public health and economic crisis. Make your thank-you heartfelt and warm, and let donors know how much you appreciate their support. Reiterate what their gift will be used for and the impact it will make.

Also, consider this: You don’t just want your supporters’ financial capital—you want their social capital as well. Gratitude puts people in the mood to share. So, when you send each donor an immediate thank-you email, include a request to spread the word about your campaign to help it pick up social traction.

Have more questions or want more insight? Please join me for a webinar called “Quick Tips for #GivingTuesday.” We’ll talk about how to elevate your #GivingTuesday campaign and make it your most successful one yet.