Would you buy a glass of virtual lemonade?
It won’t quench your thirst. In fact, you can’t even drink it. But that didn’t stop those who bought virtual lemonade from seven-year-old Morgan Marsh-McGlone. In the end, Morgan sold over $50,000 of her pretend lemonade.
Like many seven-year-olds, Morgan dreamed of serving up ice-cold lemonade from her very own stand. However, it was 2020, and lemonade stands were severely out of style (#pandemic). Instead, Morgan set up a virtual one to collect donations for a local non-profit in exchange for an I-O-U-lemonade coupon.
Morgan hoped to raise $90, but her community caught wind of her campaign and sprung to action, showing us that all it takes is someone with a creative idea to make a big splash.
As a creator, you’re brimming with unique ideas that can potentially snowball into something big—just like Morgan’s did. But you need to start somewhere. And with Giving Tuesday right around the corner, now is the perfect time to create a campaign that gives back to causes you care about.
Giving Tuesday: a day to do good stuff
Giving Tuesday is the brainchild of Henry Timms, the president and CEO of the world’s leading performing arts center, The Lincoln Center.
Timms wanted a way to reverse the hyperconsumerism that overshadows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thus Giving Tuesday, branded as a way to encourage people to go out and do good stuff in their communities, was born in 2012.
And thanks to some publicity from high-profile personalities like Bill Gates, Giving Tuesday went viral and has since raised billions of dollars for charity.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) November 27, 2012
Today, Giving Tuesday is the largest philanthropic day of the year. In 2021 in the United States alone, people raised $2.7 billion for their favorite causes on Giving Tuesday.
But money isn’t the core value of Giving Tuesday, and you can still participate even if you don’t have change to spare. In fact, over 76% of Giving Tuesday acts are non-monetary, like helping a neighbor, making someone smile, or promoting a cause you care about.
When is Giving Tuesday 2022?
Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday following Cyber Monday. This year, Giving Tuesday is November 29, meaning there’s still plenty of time to plan your Giving Tuesday campaign (more on that later).
Why creators will want to participate in Giving Tuesday
But aside from how giving benefits you, it also makes your community a better place. Creators like Holly Singer, owner of the candle brand Milk Jar, use Giving Tuesday as a way to raise thousands of dollars for local charities.
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And like Holly, you can also start a Giving Tuesday campaign that improves your community. Here’s how.
4 steps to creating a thoughtful Giving Tuesday campaign
1. Outline your campaign with the 5Ws 1H framework
The easiest way to outline your campaign is to use the 5Ws 1H framework (what, who, when, where, why, and how). Journalists use the 5Ws 1H framework to tell stories that capture essential details, but you can use this framework for a variety of different applications—including your Giving Tuesday campaign.
💡 Question to answer: what’s your goal?
The first step to a successful Giving Tuesday campaign is to set your goal. To start, choose which bucket (or buckets) you want your giving goal to fall into:
- Money: raising funds and donating a set dollar amount to a cause you and your audience care about, like raising $500 for a local animal shelter
- Time: volunteering your time for something that needs a helping hand and encouraging your audience to do the same, like serving food at your local food bank
- Items: collecting and donating objects, like gently used sweaters for a homeless shelter
- Advocacy: using your platform to spread awareness for a cause you want more people to know about
A clear goal is the foundation for your entire campaign. When you know what you want to achieve, you can begin building out the specifics. But before moving onward, make sure your goal passes the SMART test:
- Specific: does your goal clearly define what you want to accomplish?
- Measurable: can you track your goal?
- Attainable: is your goal attainable within your timeline?
- Relevant: does the goal align with your and your audience’s values?
- Time-based: is there a deadline?
After passing the SMART test, it’s time to move on to the next step.
💡 Question to answer: who are you giving to and who is involved?
Your campaign can include as many or as few people as you like. Jot down the organizations or people you intend to give to, as well as people you might collaborate with to make your campaign come alive.
When choosing an organization to help, make sure it’s one that your audience is interested in. That way, they’ll feel excited to donate or spread the word.
At this time you also need to decide if you’ll run your campaign solo or team up with other creators. Building a campaign with others can help you increase your reach and impact, but might be more challenging to execute if there are too many hands in the pot.
💡 Question to answer: when will your campaign take place?
The bulk of your campaign will take place on Giving Tuesday, but use this section to note other important dates for your campaign, like the day you plan to announce your campaign, the exact times you’ll promote your campaign throughout the day, and when you plan to wrap up everything.
Knowing these times helps you prepare promotional content, so you won’t need to worry about missing a beat when Giving Tuesday rolls around.
💡 Question to answer: where will you promote your campaign?
As a creator, you have an incredible advantage for Giving Tuesday: an audience willing to listen. You already have great tools like an email list, a blog, and social platforms. But go beyond these traditional promotion methods and have fun with your Giving Tuesday campaign. Consider innovative ways to reach your audience, like being a guest on your local radio station to talk about your initiatives or taking over the socials for your non-profit of choice.
💡 Question to answer: why are you participating in Giving Tuesday?
Spend time reflecting on why you’ve decided to lend a hand to various individuals or organizations. Your reflection helps build the story around what this campaign means to you and why your audience should care.
Ashlee Sang has over a decade of experience working in fundraising. She notes that the why is an essential component of building a thoughtful donation campaign and that many entrepreneurs often forget this step in their lead-up (the promotional period before you announce your campaign):
If the brand has never mentioned their values before, the causes they care about, or their founder's story, then a fundraising campaign is going to fall flat. It might even come across as performative or inauthentic.
But when businesses lead with their values in everything they do, from their partnerships to the email signatures and everywhere in between, their audience will be attracted to them because of their values and will likely want to support the same types of causes.
– Ashlee Sang
As you reflect, take Ashlee’s advice and see how you can weave elements of your why into your brand. It’ll make for an authentic Giving Tuesday campaign.
💡 Question to answer: how will you achieve your goal?
Now it’s time to attach actionable tasks to your goal. You can list as many tasks as you’d like, but if this is your first campaign, keep it to a maximum of three to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:
- If you plan to raise money: donate a dollar amount, ask a company to match any donation you make, add a donation option onto your invoices, or offer to donate a percentage of the proceeds of any digital product sales on Giving Tuesday.
- If you plan to volunteer your time: donate your creative services to an organization, like designing promotional flyers they can use.
- If you plan to donate items: gather your donations while also encouraging your audience to donate things like food, clothes, or gently-used household items to local charities.
- If you plan to advocate: use your platform to spread the word about a cause you care about. Send out emails, go live on Instagram, or host a social media takeover and let the nonprofit access your audience for the entire Giving Tuesday.
Blogger Dede Raad uses her blog to share the non-profits she donates to, plus resources for her audience.
Like Dede, you can use your platform in many ways to bring awareness to the causes you care about.
2. Create a landing page
Rather than participate in Giving Tuesday quietly, create a landing page to share with your audience so they can learn more about why you care so much about the initiative and how they can hop in to help.
ConvertKit’s landing page templates make it easy to craft professional landing pages where you can tell the story about your cause and why it matters to you—no coding required.
First, head to Grow > Landing Pages & Forms.
Click Create new and then select Landing Page and choose from one of ConvertKit’s many templates.
Then, customize your landing page with your own text, colors, and branding.
As to what you should include on your landing page, fundraising expert Ashlee Sang says:
Make it personal. Share why this cause, this campaign, and this organization, matters so much to you as a solopreneur. Explain why your audience should care too. And show how you're creating an opportunity for your audience to be part of something bigger than you both.
– Ashlee Sang
If you plan to collect donations, consider using ConvertKit’s Pay What You Want feature, which gives your audience the opportunity to donate as much as they can.
3. Launch your campaign
After laying out the blueprint for your campaign, you’re ready to launch it! Black Friday and Cyber Monday may hog the attention leading up to Giving Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo any promotion before the event.
It’s a good idea to talk about your campaign before it occurs to create buzz with your audience, so they are familiar with the cause you’re supporting. Consider creating an automated email sequence to build up excitement for your Giving Tuesday campaign.
4. Post-campaign follow-up
After Giving Tuesday ends, share the results of your campaign with your audience and thank them for their help. Try reaching out to the organization you supported and ask if they have stories you can share that highlight the impact Giving Tuesday had for them.
Giving Tuesday lessons from Henry Timms
Finally, when creating your Giving Tuesday campaign, keep in mind these lessons from its founder, Henry Timms:
Lesson #1: Put mission over brand
As Henry says, “our impact is limited with the confines of the credit we want for ourselves.” Often, the idea of getting credit for doing something good is what drives people to do good, rather than the deed itself. While you might want brand recognition for your Giving Tuesday campaign, Timms says the most success happens when you untie your brand—and yourself—from the outcome. This way, you can focus 100% of your energy on your campaign.
Lesson #2: Embrace collaboration
Henry notes that the most philanthropic people are the ones who have a low ego and are highly collaborative. These are the people who put the spotlight on others rather than want the spotlight on themselves.
For your campaign to be successful, focus on ways to remove yourself from the spotlight and focus on the causes you are putting your energy towards. This might look like removing your logo from the campaign and prominently featuring the logo of the nonprofit you intend to help instead.
Lesson #3: Avoid tying your goal to a campaign institution
Lastly, Henry says that people are becoming increasingly distrustful of large institutions like government agencies and big foundations. If you plan to encourage your audience to get involved with your campaign, try to find something smaller rather than a national institution. They may be more inclined to spread your message if they trust the organization you’re promoting.
No campaign is too big or too small for Giving Tuesday
This quote from the GivingTuesday organization sums up what Giving Tuesday is all about:
“It’s a simple idea: whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to contribute toward building the better world we all want to live in.”
No matter the size of your audience or how much you have to give, there are plenty of meaningful ways you can participate in Giving Tuesday. You don’t need to plan a flashy campaign to make a difference. Start small and watch as your campaign puts good back into your community.
Ready to create your Giving Tuesday campaign? Use ConvertKit to help you at each step along the way!