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Make your school’s #GivingTuesday appeal stand out from the rest

Holman Gao | 4 min read

#GivingTuesday, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a great day for schools to make a fundraising appeal, since it’s recognized as the US’s national day of giving. However, it can be a challenge to get your donors’ attention because many other organizations are asking at the same time. We put together a list of strategies that schools have used to make their appeals stand out from the rest.

Include a donation challenge

A great way to generate excitement for #GivingTuesday is to include a donation challenge as part of the appeal. Several examples of donation challenges:

Image: Matching challenge offered by PS8 in Brooklyn, NYMatching challenge offered by PS8 in Brooklyn, NY

Donation challenges are a great way to engage potential first-time donors as they provide the extra incentive of contributing towards a short-term goal. Studies have shown that matching donations increase both the number of donors and the total amount raised by around 20%.

Make sure you advertise your donation challenge in your #GivingTuesday marketing efforts so that donors are aware of the challenge well in advance of the giving day.

Create your own #GivingTuesday hashtag

Since most organizations use the #GivingTuesday hashtag in their marketing material, creating your own hashtag makes your appeal seem more unique. Pro tip: before you choose a hashtag, make sure to first search on Twitter or Facebook to see if the hashtag you chose has already been used for another purpose.

Image: Mount Alvernia High School's custom hashtagMount Alvernia High School's custom hashtag

To reinforce the importance of your hashtag, include it in all of your marketing and your fundraising page. Explicitly encourage donors to use the hashtag when sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Let your donors know throughout the campaign of posts and tweets that use your hashtag. This encourages others to use the hashtag. For campaigns run on BoostMySchool, schools can associate a hashtag with a fundraising page, so that the fundraising page automatically incorporates a Twitter feed!

Image: A BoostMySchool campaign with a custom hashtag feedA BoostMySchool campaign with a custom hashtag feed

Keep your donors up to date throughout #GivingTuesday

Most of your donors won’t be as obsessed with the campaign progress as much as you will be, so keep them in the loop. Good updates to send include an email after lunch to inform your constituent of the campaign progress and an email right when you leave the office as a final reminder to give before the end of the day.

Donors are getting used to crowdfunding pages like Kickstarter that automatically display a campaign thermometer and a donor wall. See if your website manager is able to post fundraising updates during #GivingTuesday, and if not, use a crowdfunding website to do it for you. Schools that have donation challenges love BoostMySchool because it also automatically updates thermometers associated with donation challenges.

Image: A BoostMySchool campaign with a matching challengeA BoostMySchool campaign with a matching challenge

As with any appeal, make sure to send a concluding email after the campaign to let donors know of the final amount raised.

Alternative solution: have your own Day of Giving!

The easiest way to avoid the competition of #GivingTuesday is to run your own Day of Giving. While you will not need to fight for your donors’ attention, you’ll have to do all of the marketing yourself as you lose the free publicity that comes from #GivingTuesday.

Image: Newark Academy has their own Day of Giving and a hashtagNewark Academy has their own Day of Giving and a hashtag

Choose a weekday as donors are not around their computers and phones as much during the weekend. Let your constituent know at least a month in advance, so that they can contribute ahead of time in case they are busy during the Giving Day. As with the #GivingTuesday appeal, start increasing your email and social media outreach as the day gets closer.

Hope you find our #GivingTuesday tips useful! Want more tips? Email [email protected] to schedule a free 15 minute fundraising consulting appointment.

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Written By

Holman Gao

Holman is the founder and CEO of BoostMySchool. He actively helps his former high school with their fundraising and alumni outreach, which is how the idea for BoostMySchool came about. He is a strong believer in the power of education to change the world and volunteers with programs that support underrepresented students in math and science.