Skip to main content

What You Should Be Doing Right Now to Prepare for #GivingTuesday and #ILGive

It’s August, 2018, and #GivingTuesday is November 27th. What should you be doing right now to ensure that your campaign is successful?  Here is a timeline of recommended activities from the Complete Toolkit published by #GivingTuesday.  Visit to register  for #GivingTuesday and to download the toolkit and other valuable resources.  If you are an Illinois nonprofit, also register at #ILGive at  You should also review their timeline and download their resources. 

Don’t worry if this is the first you’ve heard of #GivingTuesday and the calendar of activities.  It’s not too late to catch up. 


So you’ve signed up for #GivingTuesday, but where do you start? This timeline will help you plan for #GivingTuesday. 

May – June (5-6 months out) 

  • Make sure you’ve registered for #GivingTuesday at by clicking the “Join Now” button. This will add you to our list of Participating Organizations and our newsletter, so we can send you the latest updates and news. If you are an Illinois resident, you should also register at #ILGive at 
  • This is the crucial planning period for your team. Have a staff meeting and select the team that will work on your #GivingTuesday campaign. Assign roles and start floating ideas for how your organization can get involved. You can review the case studies as a group and start thinking about ideas for campaigns. 
  • If you are thinking of working with another organization on your campaign, now is the time to pitch partners and get them on board. Reach out to local businesses, funders, and potential partners and explore ideas. 

July (4 months out) 

  • Set a goal. Would you like to recruit more volunteers? Get more social media followers? Raise more money for a campaign? Whatever your initiative, set a goal and give your staff and community something to aim for. 
  • Think about a match. If you are organizing a fundraising campaign, talk to donors about providing a match or challenge grant to build extra excitement on #GivingTuesday. 

August (3 months out) 

  • Confirm your campaign plan and goal. Map out a team timeline and share internally with your staff. 
  • Confirm assets and graphics you will be using for your campaign. You are welcome to re-create our logo to better represent your campaign. 
  • Map out your editorial calendar for the fall. When will you announce your campaign? When will you email your constituents? What will your social media look like? Put all of this into a google doc or calendar to get a clear idea of what the next three months will look like. 
  • Think about your evaluation strategy. How will you track and measure your campaign goal? How will donations come in on the day? What would you like to learn about from your #GivingTuesday campaign? Find a team member to oversee this evaluation and use the resources on the #GivingTuesday website to determine how you will track, measure and share the results from your campaign. 

September (2 months out) 

  • Share your plan and goal in a press release or with a staff or community launch party, and start spreading the word about your plans for #GivingTuesday on social media. It’s best to announce early to get your community prepared and excited to give. 
  • Share your story. Write a blog post about your campaign and share it on the #GivingTuesday blog
  • Send a save the date. Schedule some regular social media messages and send a newsletter or e-blast to make sure your community has November 27th marked on their calendar. You can use our Save the Date graphic and sample language in our Social Media Toolkit. 
  • Talk to your mayor and local government officials about proclaiming November 27, 2018 #GivingTuesday. Use our Mayoral ProclamationToolkit to get started. 
  • See if your city or state is planning a community campaign for #GivingTuesday. If there’s a local movement, reach out to their team to see how you can get involved. You can view the list of campaigns on our campaign map

October (1 month out) 

  • Build a drumbeat. Start scheduling regular (2-3 times a week or more) social media messages to talk about your campaign. 
  • Pitch your local press. Use our Sample Press Release to share your campaign plans with local media. We see a lot of coverage for #GivingTuesday — don’t wait to pitch your story to TV, radio, and local newspapers. 
  • Send a “1 Month to Go” email, newsletter and social media messages to make sure your board, staff, and community knows that we are in the final countdown for #GivingTuesday! 
  • If you are planning an in-person event or celebration on November 27, send out invitations! 

November (Final month!) 

  • Go big on social media! There’s less than a month to go — tweet, post, snap, share and do whatever you can to get your campaign out there. Remember to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday in your messages so we can retweet and share your plans. 
  • Continue pitching the press. Share your story to get your team and community excited. 
  • Email reminders to your staff and community leading up to #GivingTuesday. Make sure they are ready to give on the big day! 
  • November 27 — #GivingTuesday! Remember to update your community about your campaign throughout the day. Share where you are against your goal and use the buzz and momentum from the day to build excitement for your campaign. 
  • November 28 — Send out thank you messages in emails and on social media. Share any initial results. 


  • Report results from your campaign. Email the #GivingTuesday team at any interesting findings, high-resolution photos, or announcements we can share. Illinois nonprofits should also report results to #ILGive.  Email
  • Say thank you to your staff, donors, volunteers, partners, faculty and community. 
  • Continue to use the momentum from #GivingTuesday to boost your end-of year or holiday campaign.

About the Author

Valerie F. Leonard is an expert in community and organizational development, helping organizations build sustainable communities.  She is the Founder of Nonprofit Utopia, the ideal community for emerging leaders, and host of the Nonprofit Utopia podcast. Valerie teaches courses in nonprofit management for the University of Illinois at Chicago's Certificate in Nonprofit Management program.  For further information, visit

Keywords: #GivingTuesday, #ILGive, Capacity Building, fundraising, Organizational Development, Valerie F. Leonard

Posted in Common Sense Media