4 Tips to Build the Purr-fect GivingTuesday Campaign

publication date: Oct 3, 2018

With summer now over and fall in full swing, it only means one thing — the holiday fundraising season is around the corner and GivingTuesday will be here before we know it.

Now celebrated as the largest global day of giving in over 150 countries around the world, GivingTuesday is set to take place this year on Tuesday, November 27th after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thousands of charities are getting ready to take part, including the team at the Toronto Cat Rescue who ran one of the most successful GivingTuesday campaigns in 2017.

“The extra exposure provided by GivingTuesday seemed perfect for our need to raise a large sum at one time,” says Belinda Vandersluis, Executive Director at the Toronto Cat Rescue speaking about last year’s campaign.

According to Belinda, last year’s GivingTuesday fundraising goal was set at $6,520 which was enough to rescue 50 cats. Incredibly, the Toronto Cat Rescue blew their goal out of the water and raised $30,572 on GivingTuesday alone, kicking off their team’s 2017 holiday fundraising campaign which raised $32,640 post-GivingTuesday.

So, how did the Toronto Cat Rescue use GivingTuesday to kick-start their holiday fundraising campaign? The cat is out of the bag! Here are Belinda’s tips to make your charity’s GivingTuesday campaign the best one yet:


Donors like to know where their dollars are going so they can understand and visualize the impact they are making with their gift. At the Toronto Cat Rescue, their 2017 GivingTuesday campaign narrowed in on a specific fundraising need they had at the time which was to rescue 50 cats, and because of this, they set a fundraising goal of $6,520. To reach their goal, they asked supporters to give $125 on GivingTuesday which is enough to rescue one feline friend in need at the Toronto Cat Rescue.

“Combine GivingTuesday with a particular need or a particular campaign,” says Belinda. “This gives you a chance to talk about a concrete example of how donations have an impact to your cause. It’s more compelling than just asking for money.”


Whether you choose to incorporate the Internet’s best cat memes into your campaign or craft your own messages and visuals, social media and email marketing should play an integral role in your charity’s GivingTuesday campaign according to Belinda.

“We have a pretty solid social media reach, and this is our main way of communicating with the general public and our way of driving people to our website,” says Belinda whose team used social media and their email list to drive the campaign. “We were successful, but we did more than just use the hashtag. I’d say just using the hashtag would not be particularly successful.”


Remember the excitement you’d feel when your teacher would pull out a book at story time? Time may have passed, but grownups are still drawn to the power of storytelling.

“Think about a compelling story your charity has and use it for GivingTuesday,” says Belinda. “Lots of charities use the hashtag, so there is ‘noise’ and competition. Your cause needs to come through loud and clear.”

At the Toronto Cat Rescue, their 2017 GivingTuesday campaign told the story of an over-crowded shelter in Quebec who needed their team to help rescue 50 cats over the holidays. It was a desperate plea for support which painted a clear picture to donors about the urgent need and the important work the Toronto Cat Rescue does year-round.


After GivingTuesday, be sure to use the #ThankYouThursday hashtag to thank supporters on the Thursday following GivingTuesday. Whether you choose to post a thank you message on social media, send out an email campaign announcing your charity’s fundraising results like the Toronto Cat Rescue did, or take the time to call your GivingTuesday donors to thank them over the phone, a thank you can go a long way and keep donors coming back according to Belinda.

As for this year’s GivingTuesday campaign, Belinda and her team are using last year’s success to build a paws-itively perfect campaign for this year’s GivingTuesday.

“This year, our goal will be to have greater reach,” says Belinda. “We will again use an urgent and compelling case, but I think we’ll do some advance video storytelling about our rescue cats.”

To learn more about how your charity can get ready for another great GivingTuesday on Tuesday, November 27th, visit www.givingtuesday.ca.

Nicole Danesi is a Marketing Associate, Social Media and Donor Marketing at CanadaHelps. As a registered charity itself, CanadaHelps.org allows donors to safely donate and fundraise online for any registered Canadian charity and also provides charities the secure online fundraising platform and education resources they need to succeed. Stay connected with CanadaHelps on Twitter @CanadaHelps.

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