Giving Tuesday: Not Just for Fundraising Anymore

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (or Weekend) and Cyber Monday…all shopping days following Thanksgiving, designed to get our holiday gift-giving dollars and push retailers big and small into the financial black for the year. And then there is Giving Tuesday (November 30, 2021), a global generosity movement that encourages people to do good – mostly making financial donations and bringing awareness to their favorite charities.

Giving Tuesday is a key fundraising day for nonprofit and charitable organizations, however, it is a solid communications program during the first part of the year that is truly key to a successful fundraising activation.

A year-long communications plan leads to top-of-mind awareness for current and prospective donors.

As you plan your annual communications efforts, keep these points in mind:

  • Identify what is considered news at this time, what reporters are covering your industry, and the best ways to approach the media and digital outlets.
  • Determine your ultimate goals and the moments in time that will get you to those goals.
  • Develop a strategy with specifics – a strong mission and vision, stories of those impacted by the mission, spokespeople and a calendar of outreach activities.

In our work as communications professionals, we’ve learned a person needs upwards of seven touchpoints to really absorb a message, so a steady cadence of impact stories and news delivered to the media, donor and digital realms puts you in front of the public on a regular basis. This humanizes your work and helps educate your target audiences about your mission and the impact on neighbors, communities, and the world.

Our client Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit organization created to provide everyday essentials to children in need, kicked off its Gear Up for Winter program in a recent Fox32 story. The program is designed to collect clothing donations for underprivileged children. Lynn Margherio, the company CEO discussed the plan to collect items for 54,000 Chicago-area children this year and how the public can be a part of the effort by donating the clothes, hats, gloves, pants and more that their children have grown out of. She also highlighted the continuously increasing needs families face as a result of the pandemic. Placing this story just before the holidays educates the public and primes the pump for those preparing to donate on Giving Tuesday or during the holiday season.

Other ways to reach the public is through event activations. Activations engage the public and the media, providing a captive audience ready to hear your message. If possible, consider these types of events in your planning.

  • (as weather permits)
  • Facility Openings/Ribbon Cuttings/Dedications
  • Large Donation Collections
  • Fundraising Luncheons/Galas
  • Press Conferences announcing new programs, new findings, etc.

Our client AIDS Foundation Chicago, for example, hosts an annual AIDS Run & Walk to raise funds to support those living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS or other chronic illnesses. Organizations that hold events like this are in a position to use it as an education and fundraising opportunity in a run-up to Giving Tuesday.

Organizations that look at Giving Tuesday as a single activation in a long-range communications and fundraising plan are better positioned to share their messages and impact throughout the year and gain more loyal advocates and donors.

Want to talk more about communications plans for your organization? Email us at













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