Known as the "global day of giving," #GivingTuesday has provided schools with a day dedicated to philanthropy since its inception in 2012. Over the years, thousands of schools around the world have participated in Giving Tuesday for their school's funding, increasing donations for their annual funds, capital campaigns, or smaller, more targeted projects.
In 2022 alone, $3.1 billion worth of donations were made — a 15% increase in giving from 2021 and a 25% increase from 2020.
Whether this is your first Giving Tuesday or you're a seasoned pro looking for Giving Tuesday campaign examples, here are some top school fundraising ideas and ways to make the most of your development efforts.
1. Get Your Messaging Right
First things first! If you want your #GivingTuesday campaign to help reach your fundraising goals, your messaging and approach must be empathic AND logical, which can sometimes be a tricky balance.
Giving Tuesday Messages for Schools
This year's messaging should include two key components:
- Why give: Amplify the people and programs within your community directly impacted by donations. Don't forget that the goal is to show prospective donors exactly where their gifts are going.
- No donation is too small: Focus on receiving multiple small donations to encourage participation from first-time donors and your extended alumni community. Express that any donation amount can make a difference.
2. Create Your Own Branded Graphic
Because #GivingTuesday is a global initiative, adding your own spin and standing out is important. Create a graphic that blends together your school's branding with the #GivingTuesday branding and any unique hashtag you've created. This is the graphic you'll use on your social media channels, website, and fundraising pages, as well as in your email communications and page pops.
You can personalize and use some free templates on the GivingTuesday website.
This simple and clean graphic from the International School of Denver in CO unites the #GivingTuesday branding with their own for a cohesive look and feel.
3. Build a Dedicated Landing Page
This step cannot be skipped if you want to make the most of your fundraising efforts. Now is not the time to send donors to your standard donation page because:
Your content needs adjusting: Clarifying why families should give on #GivingTuesday is important. Focus on sharing the messaging you've developed for your campaign rather than the messaging you use for your regular giving pages.
Your donation form needs adjusting: Your standard giving page likely includes suggested donations in higher amounts (we've seen some as high as $25,000!), and it's important to drive home the importance of smaller donations on this day of giving in particular. Adjust your form to be:
- Shorter than normal
- Smaller suggested donation values
The experience needs to be mobile-first: For many schools, the majority of #GivingTuesday promotion and engagement happens on social media — meaning your landing page needs to be built with mobile in mind.
You'll want precise metrics: Creating a separate page on your website for #GivingTuesday allows you to track the traffic and conversions for that campaign, specifically in Google Analytics 4.
This page from Mount Dore Christian Academy does all the right things on its landing page, including adding photos and a precise and achievable goal. Its Giving Tuesday school campaign highlighted where the donations were going, helping donors understand the impact of their gifts.
You can also directly give on this landing page, making the process seamless for donors! If you use Finalsite Composer, you can easily embed a giving form. Check out these 3 qualities of great school landing pages here.
4. Create Your Content
Whether it be a video, a series of "Why I give" testimonials, blog posts, or alumni success stories, you'll want to quickly build, crowdsource, or dig up content you can use throughout your campaign in emails and on social media so you're not asking for donations without giving something in return.
You can also repurpose older content, as long as it helps to answer the question of "why give?" Villa Maria Academy High School offers a variety of voices to help spread the word about their Giving Tuesday efforts.
5. Link #GivingTuesday to Other Targeted Campaigns
Using #GivingTuesday as a way to fuel your annual fund is a completely fine idea. However, sometimes donors may still have the "my small amount doesn't make a difference" mentality, and linking a one-day giving event to a smaller campaign or case at your school makes reaching your goal much more feasible.
For example, in the spirit of giving, Southpointe Academy has used Giving Tuesday as a chance to raise funds for a charity of their choice. It's a great fundraising idea for schools looking to give back to local communities and keep the generosity going.
6. Send a Targeted Email Announcement
Once you've completed steps 1-3, you'll have all the content you need to promote your involvement in #GivingTuesday. Making your email lists is the next step.
The email should be simple. Include the branded graphic as a header image, key information on how to give, where the donations will be going (annual fund, capital campaign, something else), and of course, answer that oh-so-important question of "why give?"
Because the answer to "why give?" will vary slightly based on your audience, create an email template you love, and then swap out content based on the audience. Sending the same message to everyone won't resonate as much as a personalized message.
After this announcement, you'll need an email strategy. You'll also want to include a reference to your #GivingTuesday campaign in your weekly newsletter and send at least two more #GivingTuesday-specific emails in the days leading up to it and on #GivingTuesday itself.
Try to stick to three or fewer emails on the actual day of the event. You will also need to account for an email on the day after #GivingTuesday to say "thanks!" to all your donors and let your community know if you met your goal.
7. Create Targeted Page Pops
While Page Pops are useful for getting urgent messages out on your website, they can be a fundraising tool to drive targeted traffic when used strategically. Ask yourself — where do our key donors usually go? Adding Page Pops to your website's password-protected portals and other top-visited pages for current constituents and alumni will ensure they see your message.
Pro Tip: Avoid adding these Page Pops to areas of your website where prospective families spend time, as it may add extra noise as they explore your website.
8. Promote it on Social Media
A successful #GivingTuesday is powered by an engaging social media presence. But the real question on everyone's mind for this year's day of giving is: When should we post? What should we post, and where?
To simplify it, here's a Giving Tuesday social media strategy you can follow:
Step 1: Make your announcement on social media at least a few weeks prior to #GivingTuesday. At this point, you can also swap out your social media headers to promote #GivingTuesday, create a Facebook event, and make at least one post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X) and LinkedIn.
Keep in mind that if you have different accounts for alumni and current constituents, you'll want to tailor the message accordingly. You'll also want to have a branded hashtag for your campaign to aggregate all your posts into one place.
Step 2: Throughout the month of November, you'll want to make your community aware that your school is participating in #GivingTuesday, without letting it take over your entire feed. To maintain a balance of good content your community enjoys, like news, photos, blogs, and videos, we suggest the following sequence:
- 1-2 Facebook posts per week
- 1 Instagram post per week
- 1-2 LinkedIn posts per week
- 5 Tweets (posts on X) per week
However, these numbers can fluctuate based on how active your school already is on social media. Always keep the 70/20/10 rule in mind — only about 10% of all posts should be self-promotional.
International School of Paris posted to Instagram to highlight how its students were giving back to local communities and initiatives for its GivingTuesday efforts.
Step 3: You will also want to include some paid ads in your social media strategy. For your #GivingTuesday campaign, create different target audiences based on constituent status — student, parent, grandparent, alum, etc — and slightly tailor the text in your ads to engage those different audiences. This is extremely important, as the same thing that provokes a current student to donate may not be the same as an alum, and especially a grandparent. A realistic budget to make ads work for you is about $50-$100/week during the campaign.
Step 4: On the week of #GivingTuesday, we encourage you to increase the number of posts, and on the day of #GivingTuesday, post at least twice on Facebook and LinkedIn and post about every two hours on Twitter, or X. We also recommend using video, on both Facebook and Instagram, to engage your audience with updates.
9. Say "Thanks!"
The day after #GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to have content prepared to show your gratitude. While you may want to plan a bigger celebration to show your appreciation, an immediate "thank you" is absolutely essential.
Your "thank-you" can be done via email and social media, and we recommend getting that content ready beforehand. Get the graphic and page ready to go, and simply fill in the "blanks" the following day with the #GivingTuesday impact!
This year's #GivingTuesday may be more important than ever to your school's fundraising campaigns — so be sure to give your strategy the attention to detail it requires. By following the strategies above, you'll be able to engage your audiences with content and an experience that resonates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As the Social Media and Content Specialist, Hailey oversees Finalsite's social media accounts and helps grow its online community. Following her time at the University of Kansas, where she took up rowing, Hailey is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys playing soccer and running.