Driving a #GivingTuesday campaign: employee engagement, partnership and participation

 “We make a living by what we get but, we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill

Giving Tuesday is a national day of online giving which is held at the start of the annual holiday season following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

Year over year, the numbers of growth are inspiring. Last year, $45.7 million was raised on #GivingTuesday, a 63 percent increase from the prior year. Why does #GivingTuesday work so well? As a corporate citizenship professional, why should you be paying attention?

By getting involved, you can connect your company’s corporate citizenship programs to the momentum of a growing, digitally connected global event and achieve your strategic business objectives. According to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s forthcoming Community Involvement Study, business executives and corporate citizenship professionals agree that community involvement contributes to reputational and employee related business goals.


#GivingTuesday has the potential to be one of the most powerful days of the year to engage your stakeholders in corporate citizenship. Whether you have been involved in #GivingTuesday since its inception or this will be your first campaign, here are a few ideas to make this year the best ever.

Create a goal

Think outside the box. This goal does not need to be financial. You can create an engagement goal OR a financial goal. Build your corporate citizenship or partner organization’s social networks (for example, aim to get 10 percent of all company employees with a Twitter account to share the campaign or grow your company’s CSR dedicated handle with followers). The purpose is to focus on that goal, and don’t be shy. Think BIG. Communicate your goal. Set that goal as a rallying cry for your team. Show your stakeholders EXACTLY what is it is going to take to get to that goal.


Don’t forget to brand your #GivingTuesday campaign. Creating a visual identity for your campaign is important. Integrate a #GivingTuesday logo with your brand colors. Even if you are not lucky enough to a have design team available, you can use some free online resources. Now, after it’s created, use it everywhere—in your Twitter banner, email signature, or any outreach you do tied to your giving Tuesday campaign. Your visual identity has the opportunity to break through in a way that text cannot.


Be a passionate leader. Are you the leader that is advocating for #GivingTuesday in your organization? Are you the person that is rallying your team? Are you offering your stakeholders a choice in the causes you support or are you driving towards a particular partner? Are you social media savvy? If you are not that person, find someone on your team who is. Passion trumps experience any day.


Leading up to #GivingTuesday, create a piece of original content to publish on your social channels. This can be as simple as an image for Instagram or as lengthy as a company blog post explaining why your organization is getting involved. Ask your employees to share the content via their social networks. Be consistent. Send out your rallying email message at the same time every week (ex: Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m.) and make it easy to cut and paste and send the information into their connections). Don’t worry about overwhelming with information. The key is to activate your ambassadors, repeat the message to save the date, and be consistent. All of your messages should lead up to: TODAY IS THE DAY TO GIVE! Don’t forget to make your content extremely sharable. Sharable means visual. Sharable is storytelling, not a press release.


Specifically describe what you are asking your stakeholders to do to support your corporate citizenship efforts on #GivingTuesday. What are their responsibilities and when should they act on them? The quickest way to amplify your message is to ask employees to share your organization’s content on their personal profiles. Engage someone from your communications team to brainstorm a strategy with you, think about someone with a large social following that might have some insight to share. Share your expectations and get everyone excited. Let your employees tell the story of how your company’s corporate citizenship efforts make a difference. Have them inform their networks about the causes that your organization supports.  

On #GivingTuesday, Google took over #GivingTuesday’s Google+ page to host the first-ever donateable hangout-a-thon with Mashable. The hangout-a-thon was held from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. EST and invited nonprofits around the world to take part in the #GivingTuesday conversation. Google also promoted the hangout-a-thon with a direct link below Google’s homepage search bar.

Creative Volunteering

Connect #GivingTuesday to your volunteer efforts. According to the forthcoming Community Involvement Study, 83 percent of companies surveyed offer an employee volunteer program.employee volunteer program

Be creative. You can also visually capture the impact and share with your stakeholders. Do you measure your volunteering efforts and showcase your company’s impact?


According to the forthcoming Community Involvement Study, more than 80 percent of companies surveyed offer a workplace giving program.

CI-Fig-19.jpg Businesses should leverage #GivingTuesday to increase employee charitable giving and program participation. Encourage your nonprofit partner to launch their year-end fundraising campaign on #GivingTuesday to kickstart donations. Bank of America organized a campaign to support (RED) in the fight to end AIDS by doubling each donation made on #GivingTuesday to the U.S. Fund for the Global Fund, up to $2,000,000. This is a day-long campaign that needs to feel outside of the normal dollar matching campaigns. Don’t forget that mobile giving accounted for 17 percent of #Giving Tuesday donations last year – and will only keep increasing—so be sure that your partner has a mobile-friendly way to collect donations. If you have a gift matching program, be mindful that #GivingTuesday is the entire day so it might be a good idea to create limits to encourage the giving all day long and within your budget (ex: $100 of matching funds each hour).

Kick off an extended campaign

Citizens Bank used the awareness and visibility of #GivingTuesday to kick off a 1 month giving campaign. Followers were asked to set #AnExtraPlate at their tables over the holiday season and share a photo with #AnExtraPlate which was matched by donating a meal to a local food bank. In the 1 month long campaign 100,000 meals were donated.

Go Global

Microsoft took their 2014 campaign global by expanding the promotion to include 10 countries outside of the United States. The company matched donations up to $350,000 to create technology education opportunities for young people around the world. #GivingTuesday is now active in 13 countries.

Global Giving Tuesday

 Image Source: http://www.givingtuesday.org


Celebrate, thank your employees, and encourage them to stay connected to your community involvement efforts throughout the year. Plan a time of celebration with a special announcement from your CEO or another member of your C Suite – pre and post #GivingTuesday. This will help to strengthen the bond between all employees at your organization.

The best and the possibly the worst thing about #GivingTuesday is that it is one day long. The challenge is to communicate the urgency and invest in a campaign that will be impactful and meaningful, and advance your long-term corporate citizenship goals. Are you in charge of your company’s corporate giving program? Have you participated in #GivingTuesday? Tell us about it.

The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship also has resources to support and enhance the impact of corporate giving at your company. If you would like to learn more about this topic we are offering a course Corporate Giving: Maximizing Effectiveness.

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I hope your #GivingTuesday is a success!