12 Trailblazing Giving Tuesday Trends to Try in 2023

October 10, 2023
5 minutes
The Giving Tuesday logo sits on a dark blue background with a bar graph of electric blue bars underneath it

Hark, nonprofiteers! As 2023 winds down and we enter the misty waters of year-end giving (misty being a synonym for really-super-busy), it can only mean one thing: Giving Tuesday fast approaches, and we'd best get ready. But after so many Giving Tuesdays, you may find yourself having some thoughts. “That same old ask again?” they whisper intrusively. “It's 2023! How can I spice things up? What's new? What's trendy? Where do we go from here?"

While your brain is being totes rude and should probably just let you get that PSL and take a long lunch break, we get it. If you haven't already done so, it may be time to update your Giving Tuesday arsenal with the latest trending tactics. So, join us as we explore some Giving Tuesday examples that stand out in a crowd and provide some excellent inspiration for what lies ahead.

Our take on Giving Tuesday Trends in 2023

In our view, Giving Tuesday is the day to break out the trends that you want to try. If we were fundraising in 2023, we'd try these three nonprofit trends:

1. Target audience

We think that while blasting your social media platforms and emailing every potential donor is on the menu, so is segmenting your email list, evaluating insights into donor behavior, and sending out targeted asks. 

2. Collaborative efforts

A rising tide lifts all ships! With the decline in overall giving, community is more important than ever. We believe that the generosity movement is bigger than any one nonprofit organization or any individual cause.

3. Upgraded giving experience

If we're taking it all online (and everyone should be on Giving Tuesday), we want a mobile-friendly donate page. We want to make donating easier than buying socks on Amazon. We want low cognitive load and a high conversion rate. (Obviously, we want Funraise.)

Examples of trendsetting Giving Tuesday campaigns

Gamifying giving

Donating to charity may give you the warm and fuzzies, but it isn't exactly a thrilling experience. Enter William & Mary's Giving Tuesday campaign, which gets the adrenaline pumping by engaging donors in a series of flash challenges to unlock matching gifts. From 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, different types of gifts are automatically matched based on the schedule. It's fun, it's fast-paced, and it plays to individual donors' personal preferences by highlighting different causes throughout the day.

William and Mary's giving day challenges - several challenges noted by text on gray background

Hyper-personalizing the giving experience

Including a donor's first name in your Giving Tuesday marketing email is a good start, but this year, it's all about going above and beyond when it comes to personalization. Adding basic demographic information no longer does the job, so this Giving Tuesday, experiment with a hyper-personalized approach. Donors want to feel like you know the real them—their likes, their dislikes, who they're rooting for on Golden Bachelor. We're talking content recommendations based on donors' browsing history or preloading smart amounts to donate or ways to get involved based on history with your organization. 

Leaning into new technology

Keeping up with the latest tech trends is a full-time career unto itself. This year, generative AI has dominated the headlines, and if you're not using the emerging technology to craft show-stopping campaigns and lighten the Giving Tuesday load, you're missing out. You can start by using Funraise's AppealAI, built just for nonprofits, to personalize the giving experience and generate Giving Tuesday-specific campaign appeal text. In fact, we have all the AI prompts you need right here. Wow, that was easy! Other ways to use AI this GT include brainstorming key messages and fundraising ideas, reworking content for different channels, and increasing accessibility.

Making giving as easy as possible

Willamette Week's Give!Guide highlights nearly 200 local nonprofits in the greater Portland area each November. Donors can go to a single website, click on a cause, and then enter the amount they want to give to each individual organization. We're all busy and stressed, so anything you can do to make the giving experience easier will go far in the years ahead. To recreate this type of giving experience, consider partnering with other local nonprofits that support different types of causes on a single Giving Tuesday donation platform. The fewer clicks, the more giving, as we always say. (Well, we occasionally say that.)

A burnt orange ruler on a blue background with stats in white text underneath

…and incentivizing younger donors

The Give!Guide has a lot of smart Giving Tuesday tactics, and one is the “35 & Under Challenge.” Nonprofits with the most individual donors under 35 get an extra cash prize of $1,000. Donors under 35 also have extra chances to win prizes if they donate on specific days, with goodies like a coffee subscription and a custom tattoo. Clearly, Give!Guide knows their hip young audience. Wait, we mean “lit.” Lit young audience. Ugh, we're so old.

A peach background with blue text noting a challenge for donors under 35 years old.

Highlighting current events

In 2023, the big headlines shared a common theme: 2023 was a year of increased (and increasing) economic uncertainty. With rising interest rates, global turmoil, surprising lay-offs, and whispers of a recession, everyone was building up their rainy-day funds and laying off the avocado toast. When Giving Tuesday rolls around, it could be tempting to brush off the reality of current events. Instead, lean in. Craft your campaign messaging around familiar stresses and how giving back to your cause can be a balm for a better, more equitable, and less volatile world.

Emphasizing accessibility

This pandemic hasn't had a whole lot of bright spots, but shining a spotlight on the need for improved accessibility was one net positive. LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired embraced this trend by focusing their Giving Tuesday campaign on making their camp retreat accessible for all guests. Plus, they threw in a healthy dose of environmental awareness—always a good idea!

A picture of an open-air bus with its wheelchair ramp extended. Underneath is an appeal for donations in black text on white

Telling stories that resonate—in multiple formats

In the year of AI, human storytelling is more important than ever. It can set your organization apart and foster a sorely needed sense of connection. This Giving Tuesday, tell stories that resonate, and tell them in many ways. Write them or record them, go long-form and evocative or capture key themes in snappy social posts. All the while, it's about having a distinctive tone of voice, keeping things authentic and conversational, and sticking the landing: your audience can write a happy ending.

For example, in a time when the world feels divided, we often long for bygone, simpler days. By capturing that wistfulness and appealing to donors as human beings, Camp Kesem weaves a giving story that connects to its audiences. In the year ahead, this type of evocative storytelling will be ever more important.

The words Magic Awaits on blue sky background with a picture of a young child with long dark hair blowing bubbles below it. There is text to the child's left.

Making it human

And while we're talking about giving your content that human touch: we were a bit surprised by the “no subject” in the subject line, but International Rescue Committee's simple, personalized Giving Tuesday appeal is a great way to make an impression. No graphics, no giving options—just that little “sent from my iPhone” at the bottom, showing you that a real person actually hopped on their phone to send the request. We've all been there.

A plain text email appeal with a highlighted link in the middle of it

Focusing on the positive

Raise your hand if you’ve done a quick Google search for “good news” lately. Yeah, most of us have been doing that on the regular since March 2020. When times are kinda dark, we all want to know what’s going right in the world, so let’s give the people what they want! IllumiNative kicked off their Giving Tuesday campaign with a list of wins, reminding people that their donations get real results.

A Facebook post from IllumiNative showing pictures of smiling and active Indigenous people

Making it interactive

The pandemic made all of us (well, most of us) realize that life is short, and as a result, a lot of spending has shifted to experiences over things. The more you lean into immersive experiences related to giving, the more engaged your donor base. Stand out from the Giving Tuesday crowd with interactive videos (choose your own giving adventure, anyone?), tools (calculate your impact!), and quizzes (which of our adorable adoptable bunnies are you?).

Taking a community-minded approach

Sometimes, Giving Tuesday can feel like the Nonprofit Olympics, with everyone making a breathless push for donations all at once. But for most of us, that approach is pretty out of step with our values. Instead, embrace the collective good and community over the competition by doing values-driven fundraising and uplifting other organizations, like The Environmental Center. Last year, they pledged to amplify BIPOC voices and efforts and highlighted partner organizations in their campaign. What a mensch!

A list of the The Environmental Center's partners

Giving Tuesday 2023 FAQs

When is Giving Tuesday 2023?

Back to basics! We love it. Giving Tuesday 2023 is Tuesday, November 28th. Mark your calendars!

Why do we celebrate Giving Tuesday in the first place?

Giving Tuesday was created as an antidote to the consumerism of the holiday season. It's a way to ensure we dedicate time to giving instead of taking, mainly through donations to registered nonprofit organizations. 

Should my nonprofit participate in Giving Tuesday?

It's a great question, and only you can answer it. On one hand, it's the biggest giving day of the year. It's a great chance to attract new donors, collect online donations, bring awareness to your cause, and highlight other causes that matter to you. On the other hand, it requires a time commitment, and you'll be facing a lot of competition from other organizations. Weigh the pros and cons and forge ahead accordingly. (But yes, obviously.)

If we don't participate, what should we do instead?

Use the day to highlight other organizations that you support! Giving Tuesday isn't just about donations—it's also about inspiring people to do good and give back.

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