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Posted by & filed under Giving Tuesday, Marketing/Communications, Mobile Giving, Next Generation Philanthropy, Small Shop, Social Media, Special Events, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Taslim Somani, Vice-President, Digital and Marketing Strategy

Stephen Thomas Ltd.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Canada? Yes, it’s a thing, even though our Thanksgiving happens in October. And Canadians are eating it up. Retailers north of the border have jumped on the bandwagon and are offering deals of their own. CTV recently reported that Canadians are so excited about the sales that 1 million of us plan to skip work on these days to rake in the savings! So, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday get increasing media-share and mind-share, Giving Tuesday which comes at the heels of this shopping bonanza, is poised to be a really big deal in its second year in Canada.

Last year, over 1300 charities in Canada participated and for some, it was one of the highest grossing days of the year-end fundraising season.

Like other integrated campaigns, your Giving Tuesday campaign requires fundraising, marketing and communications all working together. Strategy, creative and a well-honed communications plan are necessary components. A well-designed and well-executed Giving Tuesday campaign will generate momentum for your organization as you enter the all-important year-end fundraising push. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a splash and raise more money than ever.

There’s still time to make your 2014 Giving Tuesday campaign even better. Here’s my shortlist of what you need to successfully launch your Giving Tuesday campaign this December 2nd, 2014.

Giving Tuesday Identity

  • Giving Tuesday-specific call-to-action
  • Visuals that relate to your Giving Tuesday campaign
  • Consistency of visuals across all your digital marketing platforms
  • Customized Giving Tuesday donation page in place

Communications planGivingTuesday

  • Clean email list
  • Emails written, coded (mobile-responsive please!) and scheduled
  • Social media communications and engagement strategy
  • Social media calendar (with time of day for posts!)
  • #Hashtags and custom URLs defined
  • Community manager(s) assigned
  • PR story 


  • Donor thank you communications – email and social media
  • New donor welcome strategy
  • Analysis of key performance indicators – donation metrics (new donors, average gift, etc)., shares & likes, click-through metrics, conversion metrics, etc.
  • Recommendations for 2015

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, there are a lot of moving parts to a comprehensive Giving Tuesday campaign, from email and social media to your donation page and PR. And yes, you need to have resources throughout your organization to back the campaign and execute it flawlessly. A half-hearted attempt at Giving Tuesday simply won’t rake in the dollars. If you think you’re a bit late to the game, start small to test the waters. Even just an email to your existing audience of donors and supporters can be effective, and commit to planning for next year.

As for me, I’ll have multiple screens open on December 2nd, and plan to spend the day on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, maybe even Snapchat, to see how Giving Tuesday 2014 unfolds for my clients’ and the sector generally. And, I’ll be taking notes furiously as prep for next year. Best of luck with your Giving Tuesday 2014 campaign! I’m looking forward to seeing you in action.

Need more info? Check out more useful resources to take your Giving Tuesday campaign from good to great:

How to Plan a Giving Tuesday Campaign webinar Beth Kanter’s Giving Tuesday Playbook
Giving Tuesday Canada Partner Toolkit Blackbaud’s Giving Tuesday resources
Giving Tuesday Tools (US) Giving Tuesday Year 2: What now?
All about the #Unselfie movement


taslimTaslim Somani, MBA, Vice-President, Digital and Marketing Strategy at Stephen Thomas Ltd has worked in the digital space since the first Internet boom! She has worked with dozens of non-profit organizations on digital and integrated fundraising and marketing campaigns. Taslim is a member of the CMA’s Digital Council, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and contributes to industry publications. Follow her on Twitter @t_somani


Posted by & filed under Campaign, Digital, Direct Mail, Marketing/Communications, Social Media.

Jessica Lewis, Fundraising Innovation Consultant, hjc

November is here, the leaves have changed colours and the air is crisp and cool. Most people are starting to think about the holiday season and shopping. Not fundraisers, many of us have been thinking of the year-end holiday season for the past few months. As a fundraising consultant at hjc, my office is in full swing helping our clients launch their holiday campaigns.

If you haven’t started planning yet, don’t fret! Here are 5 tips to help you get started:

gold-giftDetermine your goals for this year. Start by looking at last year’s results. Was your holiday campaign a success? What worked well and what didn’t? Establish benchmarks this year, so you can measure your results and improve year over year.

Develop your creative concept. What is the main focus of your campaign? Create your key messaging and calls to action. Don’t forget to make it personal and leverage stories, imagery and video content to illustrate the mission of your organization.

Leverage symbolic giving. Symbolic giving is an easy and interactive way for people to support you, give gifts and send cards to their loved ones during the holidays. Do you have an existing symbolic gift program? There are multiple ways that you can transition your traditional giving program to online, either with a simple campaign landing page and custom donation form or a more robust e-commerce microsite like The Redwood’s Safe Haven Store.

Integrate your campaign across channels. What is your DM team planning? How can you integrate your offline and online holiday program? Make sure you have consistent messaging across your end of year DM letter, email appeals and social media communications.

Promote your campaign online. Invest in online advertising. Have you thought about Google AdWords, Facebook Ads or blogger outreach? Leverage your Google Grant, but also invest in paid ads as the holiday season is a competitive time of year for popular key words.

The best thing about symbolic giving is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving! You can change up the design and messaging and use the catalogue all year-round. For more helpful tips on symbolic giving and how to launch a new program online check out my session with Wendy Bray from The Redwood at Congress called “Small Shop Success: Traditional Gift Giving Program Transitions to Online Symbolic Gift Store.”

Jessica Lewis is a Fundraising Innovation Consultant at hjc, a global consulting agency in the nonprofit sector. She helps her clients us web technologies to market, fundraise, advocate and build brand awareness. Jessica will be presenting at Congress 2014 and you can follow her on Twitter @jessklewis.