Trends in Giving Tuesday Fundraising Strategies for 2021

Retaining current donors and drawing new supporters is key to the health of any nonprofit. Participating in GivingTuesday, an annual day of charitable giving celebrated worldwide, can help you accomplish both goals at once while raising funds.

Even organizations with limited staff and resources can take advantage of GivingTuesday. This guide covers data-backed strategies that are easy to implement in time for the late November campaign.

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is an international day of awareness created in 2012 to encourage a culture of generosity. It takes place each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Often stylized as #GivingTuesday, organizations typically leverage social media networks to spread awareness about their mission and make appeals. Some nonprofits also fundraise offline, using traditional tactics such as direct mail.

Nonprofits that participate in GivingTuesday can see significant returns on investment. In 2020 alone, organizations raised almost $2.5 billion during the campaign, a 25% increase from 2019 totals.

Both local and nationwide nonprofits have seen tremendous success as a result of Giving Tuesday campaigns. For instance, in 2014, the Michael J. Fox Foundation raised nearly $400,000 from over 1,600 donors for Parkinson’s research. In 2020, Dillard University in New Orleans raised over $780,000.

Donation Trends for GivingTuesday 2021

A study from GivingTuesday Data Commons found that despite increases in new donors, newly retained donors, and recaptured donors, donor retention was down in 2020. This was true for donors of all gift sizes.


This implies that many donors stopped supporting one nonprofit in favor of giving for the first time to another. The COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement likely played a role by influencing shifts in interests and concerns. For instance, the same study noted decreases in donations to arts and culture organizations and increased giving to health and human services nonprofits.

That being said, some experts contend giving trends could return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021. Regardless, the data suggests that this GivingTuesday, organizations should focus on retaining small and mid-size donors acquired in 2020 in addition to attracting new supporters.

Strategies for GivingTuesday 2021

These techniques will help you engage both existing donors and attract new ones on GivingTuesday:

  • Get Clear on Who You’re Targeting

Before devising a GivingTuesday campaign, it’s important to clarify what kinds of donors you’re targeting and how best to reach them. A service like Wealth-X can analyze your donor database and provide market insights about your small and mid-size donors from 2020.

Wealth-X can also help you identify prime new donors by answering vital questions such as:

  • Where are our ideal prospects located?
  • What are the common traits of prospects in these areas?
  • How familiar are these prospects with our brand?
  • What content can our marketing team create to attract and activate these prospects?

The data is then consolidated into an analytics report that can inform your marketing decisions.


Once you know who you’re targeting and what characteristics define them, you can then begin to design a campaign tailor-made to appeal to their interests.

  • Make Your Campaign Unique

Thousands of organizations participate in GivingTuesday. Distinguish yourself by putting a spin on your campaign. For best results, keep the interests of your ideal donors in mind and look for ways to gamify the experience.

For example, since 2015, the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore has hosted the “Book Bowl” during the week of GivingTuesday. To capitalize on love for the local NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens, Pratt Library goes head to head with the library from the town of that week’s opposing team. The library that receives the most donations between the football game’s kickoff and midnight on GivingTuesday wins.


In 2017, when the Ravens had a game against the Texans during the week of GivingTuesday, Pratt Library competed against Houston Public Library. Pratt Library won the contest, securing more than $53,000 from over 150 donors.

  • Garner Interest With Email and Social Media

GivingTuesday coincides with the start of the holiday season when people are typically very busy. As such, it’s vital to start dripping emails and social media posts weeks before in order to build enthusiasm for the fundraiser. Plan to draft marketing copy in October, then gradually increase the frequency of posts leading up to GivingTuesday.

Depending on what software you use for securing gifts, you can give donors the option to schedule a donation for GivingTuesday. Let supporters know during your lead-in campaign that this service is available.


This takes the pressure off the donor to remember to give the day of, allowing them to participate on their own schedule.

  • Create a Recurring Donations Program

During GivingTuesday, give donors the option to automatically donate a small amount monthly. This increases donors’ overall donation and gives you an opportunity to connect with them throughout the year.

For instance, plan to automatically send an email thanking them after each recurring donation. You can also craft personalized emails that share news about the projects funded by their gifts. This lets donors see the concrete impact of their donations.

  • Design a Year-Round Donor Engagement Plan

When it comes to keeping donors engaged after GivingTuesday, sending regular emails is only the tip of the iceberg. Different gift tiers will need to be engaged throughout the year in different ways, like being invited to program demos or galas. Come up with a plan now so you’re prepared to follow up with them once GivingTuesday is over.

How WealthEngine Maximizes Your GivingTuesday ROI

WealthEngine is a tool that allows nonprofits of every size to better understand and act on their prospects. These techniques are applicable during GivingTuesday and beyond. Reuse them for year-end giving, capital campaigns, and more.

  • Better Understand Your Prospects

As your donor base grows, keeping all that data up-to-date is a full-time job. WealthEngine automates the process by detecting and correcting inaccuracies. With data cleaning, you always have the most current email or mailing address on hand.

WealthEngine also enriches data, giving you a more complete view of donors and prospects. The tool draws from 60 sources and 300 million profiles on individuals. With this information, you can understand donors’ wealth, income, lifestyle, and affinities.


With better data enrichment, it’s easier to group donors into ultra-targeted groups. As we’ll discuss shortly, these groups make it possible to predict campaign outcomes and even increase the size of gifts.

  • Analyze Your Audience

WealthEngine digs into your donor list and generates actionable insight to help you identify your top prospects. It also scores and ranks individuals so you know which prospects are ready to be engaged during your GivingTuesday campaign and which ones you can likely pass on.

Using your best donors as an example, you can also use WealthEngine’s database to find new prospects with similar attributes. Their donor score updates in real-time as they interact with your organization’s website or email marketing.

  • Design Your Donor Pyramid

WealthEngine can predict the outcome of campaigns using donor pyramid modeling. For example, you can forecast how many prospects will donate within a specific gift tier or you can anticipate donation ranges for each prospect.


The modeler works by first building a unique formula for your organization’s donor base. It then generates a score to compare prospects against. Finally, it splits your donor list into ten deciles that illustrate individuals’ lifetime value and probability of being retained.


This bird’s eye view of your list makes it easier to target people who are the appropriate match for your GivingTuesday campaign.

  • Make Tier-Appropriate Asks

You wouldn’t ask a prospect who falls into a lower decile within the donor pyramid for a $100 gift. Likewise, your “true believers” probably aren’t expecting you to ask for $10 this GivingTuesday. Plan to personalize your requests based on the tier a donor falls into.

To simplify the personalization process, use a combination of email templates and targeted email lists with donors grouped according to tier or decile. This way, you only need to adjust the size of the gift request within the body of the email, then automatically send it to the appropriate list.

  • Use Email, Social Media, and Press Release Templates

While you can create your own email templates from scratch, customizing existing templates can save time. This GivingTuesday Toolkit not only includes email templates but also social media and press release examples.

Using templates keeps the focus on essential information and frees you to spend more time on high-touch tasks, like connecting with major gift donors in person or over the phone.

Start Planning Now for GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is one of many ways to activate donors throughout the year. It helps you attract new donors and engage existing supporters, increasing retention.

Wealth-X helps you zero in on who you should target during GivingTuesday and how to engage them. With this data-driven information, your marketing team can strategically design a GivingTuesday social media campaign. Once the campaign is over, Wealth-X can analyze your donor database and organize gifts by tiers, giving you a better idea of what engagement strategies you should use to engage individuals in the months to come.

Get in touch today for a free, personalized demo and learn more about how Wealth-X can help you exceed your fundraising goals.


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