Giving Tuesday Worked Because It Had a Generous Marketing Strategy

Dec 3, 2019

First came Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Then, in 2012, Giving Tuesday was born.

The idea behind Giving Tuesday is nothing new. Plenty of nonprofits ramp up appeals around the holidays and run concentrated one-day fundraising campaigns. But few efforts in raising money have caught on like #GivingTuesday.

The folks behind the international day of giving made smart marketing choices that cemented Giving Tuesday’s place in the post-Thanksgiving holiday calendar.

A Smart Giving Tuesday Marketing Strategy

Organizers stripped the effort of any nonprofit-specific branding. Most people don’t realize the initiative was created by New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. That’s because those groups put all their branding efforts into a clever name and worthy hashtag. It gave away online fundraising tips and best practices for harnessing #GivingTuesday for free to any nonprofit marketers that wanted them.

That gave charities and causes of all shapes and sizes the ownership to make it their own and gave the media countless angles to cover it. “Without the branding [for the Y], people were more likely to own it and shape it,” Asha Curran, chief innovation officer at the 92nd Street Y, told Vox. “You can cross borders with a big idea.”

Organizers took a similar approach to reaching donors in their blog posts, media outreach and partnerships. The focus of Giving Tuesday’s early coverage wasn’t on where to give, but how to give.

Giving Away Content Marketing

It’s content marketing at its finest – and most admirable. Giving Tuesday engaged in the generous act of helping its target audiences solve their most pressing problems – with information, insights, authority and empathy. Crucially, it gave the media a timely and memorable alternative to cover amidst of flurry of stories driven by shopping and holiday gift giving.

Now in its eighth year, Giving Tuesday has grown every year in terms of donors and dollars. A quarter of those who give on Giving Tuesday are new donors. Each year continues to secure top media hits and robust posts on social media.

Long story short: When it comes to long-term brand awareness and engagement, connecting audiences with compelling content and useful resources can be a gift that keeps on giving.

Give the gift of this story.

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