Six Tips for Giving Tuesday and Fundraising in General from the #GivingTuesday GivingLab

October 29, 2018 Partner Success
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist


Founded by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 27. #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. In 2017, #GivingTuesday generated over $300M in online donations in the US.

WePay has been involved in helping the #GivingTuesday GivingLab foster discussions about gathering and understanding data around philanthropy in order to improve the organization and its partners’ ability to drive action and change.

We wanted to take some of the lessons that the GivingLab and researchers and partners associated with it have gathered from the DataDives they have organized and take those lessons to provide some insights and actions that any organization can use to become more effective in fundraising and crowdfunding.

Six Lessons from #GivingTuesday GivingLab data

The digital transformation is significantly altering the giving landscape. While growth in online retail has continued to outperform the nonprofit sector, online giving transactions tracked by MasterCard rose by 8.9% in 2015 and by 8.6% in 2016. 7.2% of overall funding revenue (excluding grants) was raised online in 2016 and 10% of online donations were $1000 or more. Mobile devices are increasingly relevant to giving transactions, with 17% of online gifts being on a device.

  • Highlight your mobile and online options aggressively to take advantage of ‘in the moment’ opportunities.

Research found that those more loyal to an organization were more likely to donate, but that after their first #GivingTuesday, their value and frequency of donations to that organization increased dramatically. Additionally, crowdfunding donors acquired on #GivingTuesday were more loyal and valuable to those organizations than donors acquired at other times.

  • Concentrate on your loyal donors and make sure you reach them reliably and effectively, and whenever someone new donates, immediately add them to your mailing list and outreach.

The strongest predictor of giving is having been asked by someone to give. Two main reasons why people donate to charity are that they have been asked to give, and asked by someone they care about.

  • Your single best tactic is to encourage your donors to encourage the people they know to also give. Make it easy for them with social and email sharing tools and options, even as simple as including a sample email template to forward to their friends in your thank you messages.

When financial costs of giving are lowered, the likelihood of giving increases Various solicitation techniques are used to subsidize the costs of giving, including rebates, gifts, and donor matching. However, experiments have found that matching is reliably more effective than other techniques at encouraging gift-giving.

  • Set up matching programs so that you can offer matches to donors and promote them aggressively.

Besides a financial incentive, matching helps communicate information concerning the suitability of a charitable cause for donors. A leadership match can promote the credibility and value of a charitable organization or cause. Likewise, matches signal that the cause is a time-imperative need, that is also worthy of social support. The familiarity and reputation of the leader also is shown to be a determinant for successful matching.

  • If you get a well-known or high-reputation donor ask them if they would be willing to let you share the news in some form to encourage others.

There are a lot of emotional and social factors to giving. Some of these include the following. Individuals who give report higher levels of happiness. Positive moods are associated with higher propensity to give. Social approval and reputation have significant influence on donor behavior. When presented with a choice, donors choose to have their giving publicly recognized.The best stories guide donors to an emotional payoff of giving to a cause. Emotional stories are most impactful on new donors. Smiling faces of beneficiaries engender positive emotions for donors. The clearer beneficiaries are defined as a singular and unified group the higher an emotional response. This group of ‘feel good’ factors around stories can be combined very powerfully to influence giving.

  • Represent your beneficiaries in your campaigns clearly and uniquely and in the most positive light with a strong and emotional story that can be shared easily  to support your message.

About the author


Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

Owen Linderholm is Senior Content Strategist at WePay. He has previously held content and editorial roles at Yahoo, Microsoft, IDG and the BBC.

More blog posts by Owen Linderholm