Encouraging engagement with your Giving Tuesday campaign – Lessons from across the pond


The Giving Tuesday movement would not be possible without one crucial thing – the spirit of generosity. Last year, despite concerns ranging from the rising cost of living to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, people continued to show their generosity in all kinds of ways. From showing support to volunteering time as well as financial donations, it seems the drive to contribute to important causes hasn’t gone anywhere. This sends a clear message that people are still willing to give when and where they can, and it’s this generosity that will help the third sector weather the storm and continue proving vital support.  

With that in mind, we review findings from our friends over in the States at Giving Tuesday US to understand what inspired supporters to give, and offer ideas for how you can engage your audience.  

What can we learn about driving engagement for Giving Tuesday?  

Evidence collated on the top keywords used by participants in the states shows a significant rate of asks made around the word ‘consider’. Whether that be considering alternative ways to support them for Giving Tuesday, donating, or something else entirely, 67,352 pieces of content featured this word. Given that things like fundraising, volunteering and donating items such as clothes are increasingly offered by those wishing to support causes, this suggests that audiences are indeed responding to asks beyond donating money.  

The key word that trumped them all, however, was of course ‘giving’, followed by ‘help’ and ‘today’. While these findings aren’t particularly surprising, the two latter keywords support the finding that more emphasis has been placed on urgency in 2022 than in previous years. The focus on urgency may be an ask centred around the need for funds to continue furthering a cause, for example. This could be largely explained by the increasing cost of living as many organisations find themselves impacted, and may urge their audience to give.  

But, as Giving Tuesday US highlighted, emphasising urgency may not be the best way to encourage giving – this is because it encourages one-off transactional giving rather than longer-term, regular giving. Organisations may be missing a trick here, as highlighting the impact of regular donations might be better suited for eliciting long-term support. And while some people may give a one-off gift regardless, the hope is an increased number of regular givers would commit to your cause off the back of your campaign. The key to this appears from the analysis to be informing and empowering donors in an impactful way.  

How can charities encourage engagement with their Giving Tuesday campaigns? 

So, if not urgency-related asks, what should Giving Tuesday participants be doing to raise funds and support off the back of their campaign? The key is to, as far as possible, encourage transformational giving over transactional. 

Take Brain Tumour Support – their messaging on this Twitter post not only encourages regular giving, but it also shares other ways people can show their support. This, combined with the use of a visual and relevant hashtags, is a great example of making transformational asks.  

Brain tumour society social media post

Here are a few tried and tested ways to encourage your audience to offer their support over time and make a significant difference to your cause:  

  • Analyse what has worked well for you in the not-too-distant past – have people responded better to informative, fact-based campaigns? Or have they found your storytelling more compelling? By figuring out what works with your audience, you’re chances of successfully engaging them in your campaign should go up 
  • Tell your audience exactly what you want from them and why you need it – be clear, transparent, and of course, show your gratitude in advance as much as possible 
  • What is the end-goal of your Giving Tuesday campaign? Make it explicitly clear what you hope to achieve through your campaign – this extends to the impact that the generosity of your audience will have on your cause  
  • Whatever your ask, whether it’s encouraging people to volunteer or share your message with their own network, make this as simple and easy as possible – this could be by embedding shareable icons on your campaign webpage 
  • Be visually engaging and eye-catching – social media timelines, inboxes and the like can make it easy for even the most dedicated supporter to miss your campaign if it blends in with the rest. Spend some time creating graphics and other digital materials to make sure your campaign really stands out  
  • Make sure you have an easy, engaging donor journey process in place – you don’t want to invest all your time and energy in making it engaging and securing asks, only to see donors dropping off because they don’t feel valued