The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Lessons from N4G’s #GivingTuesday Award Winners

Network for Good hosted a special #GivingTuesday campaign, N4G Gives, focused on equipping nonprofits with the tools and knowledge for #GivingTuesday success. The N4G Gives campaign provided free #GivingTuesday resources to the entire nonprofit community and special training and matching funds to nonprofits using DonateNow, our online giving platform. In addition to matching funds, we also recognized the leaders in 10 fundraising categories with special awards. Read about seven special award winners below and learn more about the top three winners in a previous post.

Honorable Mention Most Dollars Raised: The Sikh Coalition

The Sikh Coalition was founded by volunteers on the night of September 11, 2001 in response to a torrent of violent attacks against Sikh Americans throughout the United States. The Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh American advocacy and community development organization in the United States. Today, the Sikh Coalition works toward the realization of civil and human rights for all people.

Key tactics
The Sikh Coalition built their #GivingTuesday campaign around a core tenet of Sikhism focused on the obligation to be generous. They “love #GivingTuesday because of the urgency created around a one-day campaign and the ability to inspire donors to give earlier in December.”

Key elements

  • Two emails really drove the campaign. On Monday, 12/1, they sent an email out focused on driving #GT donations in a general way. On #GivingTuesday, they sent an email focused on the story of the wife of a Sikh hate crime victim. They believe it was a powerful one-two punch and their results would support that.
  • Then, on #GivingTuesday, the Sikh Coalition rallied their supporters around the competition of the N4G Gives campaign. They shared updates about their position on the leaderboard through social channels throughout the day.
  • As they saw their position rising on the leaderboards, they asked a longtime supporter to add a match to dollars raised, which he did, and they were able to build significant momentum late in the day. (This willingness for a donor to come forward with matching funds on the day of a campaign with good momentum is something we have seen in many giving days around the country.)


Honorable Mention Most Donors: Harding University


Harding University is a liberal arts college in Arkansas with about 6200 students. With the growing popularity of giving days among colleges, the team at Harding has been thinking about launching a giving day. In November, they decided that #GivingTuesday would be a great day to test the concept.

Key tactics

  • Branded campaign theme and visuals
  • 5 emails sent during the last 10 days leading up to and on #GivingTuesday
  • Thank you email sent early on 12/3
  • Fun contests launched during Thanksgiving week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to build excitement for the campaign
  • A video of their President sharing the goals of the campaign was shared on social channels and included in the email on Monday 12/2
  • On #GivingTuesday, they posted on social channels at least hourly and asked faculty, students and staff to share actively
  • A #GivingTuesday giving area was set up in the student commons with tables, iPads, couches, donuts, balloons to spur spontaneous giving and sharing – and great picture opportunities.


Honorable Mention, Most New Recurring Donors: YogaSeed Collective


Yoga Seed Collective is a group of community members who bring yoga to vulnerable and high risk populations that suffer from high rates of chronic disease, behavioral health problems and lack of accessibility to culturally sensitive services.

Key tactics
Yoga Seed focused its #GivingTuesday campaign on recurring givers at $15 a month. They believe that, while recurring donors may produce lower donations in December, the long-term impact of committed sustaining donors is more powerful in the long run. They even plan to refocus 2015 development efforts so that half their time is spent on communicating and collaborating with these dedicated supporters, instead of constantly asking for more.

Key elements

  • Yoga Seed focused heavily on social marketing for #GT.
  • They created and shared a youtube video alongside thank you memes.
  • One of the most creative campaign elements we saw were the personal graphics that Yoga Seed created for supporters, like the example on the right.


N4G Staff Pick for Best Campaign: Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue


Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue (BBAR) won over the N4G team with their amazing campaign and straightforward mission: Saving badass dogs from idiot humans. BBAR is a nonprofit, all-volunteer dog rescue composed of a network of fosters and volunteers who work together to rescue sweet, adoptable dogs from high kill, rural shelters in the southern U.S. and get them adopted into wonderful forever homes.

BBAR has grown through the commitment of its passionate volunteers and they recognized earlier this year that they need to define a strategy for sustainable funding streams. Recurring givers were identified as a key emphasis. And #GivingTuesday became the jumping off point for their first-ever planned campaign.

Key tactics
What made the BBAR campaign special was that they brought together an actual rescue of 11 dogs from a shelter in Georgia (the #GivingTuesday dogs) with email and social outreach. They live tweeted and instagrammed the rescue of the 11 dogs while asking supporters to give, spread the word, and set up a recurring gift.

Key elements

  • BBAR has built a “badass” website, so all outreach leading up to, and on the day of #GT, centered around driving people to the BBAR website
  • They did a series of emails and posts using #GT as the kickoff of year end, with the theme “Give a Little. Save a Life.”
  • Emails stressed both one time and recurring gifts, and asked donors to consider making both a #GivingTuesday gift and to set up a recurring gift to start in January.  They had a meaningful number of donors who did both…it pays to ask!
  • Online giving page was set up to support the visuals and strategy of the campaign, including an emphasis on recurring giving
  • Added a banner to their homepage driving visitors to #GivingTuesday donation page
  • Created a Facebook event for #GivingTuesday and then paid for Facebook ads to drive people to the event/campaign
  • Encouraged adopters to share #UNselfies with their Badass dogs


Most time on the Leaderboards without “Winning” a Category: Sankara Eye Foundation

Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF) is dedicated to eradicating curable blindness in India. Sankara has a big job: to provide eye health and surgery for the 55 million blind people in India. They are heavily volunteer driven with only 1 full-time and 2 part-time staff people.

Key tactics
SEF participated in #GivingTuesday for the first time this year. They developed their campaign as one element in a year-long matching gift challenge. The campaign message centered around the concept that for less that the cost of a movie and popcorn, you can give the gift of sight. Hey also focused on the opportunity to earn extra funds by winning a category in the N4G Gives campaign as an additional motivator.

Key elements

  • “Thanks for providing 1.2 million free surgeries” email on the Monday of Thanksgiving week, highlighting opportunity to give on #GivingTuesday
  • On the day of #GT, heavy focus on outreach through social channels, including individual channels of CEO and Development Director
  • Publicized the campaign on portals of a couple of related advocacy organizations
  • Ran a few targeted radio ads to build awareness for their campaign
  • Provided hourly updates of their progress moving up the leaderboards


Best Social Campaign: Collective Action for Safe Spaces


Founded in 2009 as Holla Back DC!, Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) has evolved from a blog to a dynamic organization that mobilizes the community to end public sexual harassment and assault in the DC metropolitan area. It does this through both online and offline activism. CASS has only one paid staff member and a committed base of volunteers.

Key tactics
CASS participated in #GT 2013 with a campaign that was put together in a hurry and had a good response but felt that they could do better. So this year, a core team met to plan a robust #GivingTuesday campaign. They read materials from experts like N4G and followed the recommendations for building a powerful campaign, with a heavy emphasis on social outreach. The result was that they quadrupled their results over 2013 and ranked 4th among all N4G nonprofits for number of donors on #GivingTuesday.

Key elements

  • Beginning in October CASS shared messaging every Tuesday about their good work and the opportunity to support them on #GT
  • They scrubbed and segmented their donor list so that emails could be written with an emphasis on what was important to each audience
  • 12 people were trained to reach out effectively to their networks on #GT
  • A phone bank pizza party was held to prime the pump and get people excited about #GivingTuesday
  • They emailed before, day of and after #GivingTuesday, including a terrific Thank You email!
  • They made effective use of social channels and reaped the benefits of training an outreach team to leverage their messages
  • They raised more than $17,000 and exceeded their original #GT goal by 43%


‘Rookie of the Year’ for an organization new to the N4G Family: Our Little Roses

Little girls begging for food is an all too common sight in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in Central America. Our Little Roses (OLR) provides a full-time residential home for abused, abandoned and neglected girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, dedicated to transforming neglected girls into productive, joyful young women. The girls who arrive at Our Little Roses often come from overwhelming situations of abject poverty, physical or sexual abuse, abandonment and oppression.

Our Little Roses new Executive Director, Cheryl Chapman, followed a legendary founder who recently retired after 25 years. Cheryl is not a professional fundraiser, but clearly she is a fundraiser at heart. Just six weeks ago, she decided that OLR needed a much improved online giving capability and she turned to Network for Good. She followed the NFG recommendations for best practices and geared up to launch her first-ever #GivingTuesday campaign. OLR’s straightforward, focused campaign was so successful that they were in the top ten for dollars raised among all N4G organizations!

Key tactics
OLR focused on board activation and email outreach as core strategies for #GivingTuesday. They also highlighted the availability of NFG matching funds and bonus funds. Throughout the day they used their leaderboard standing as a reason to pump up their communication.

Key elements

  • Beginning Thanksgiving week, OLR actively communicated with their board about the campaign, the opportunity for matching funds, and the importance of spreading the word about Our Little Roses to friends and family.
  • On #GivingTuesday, OLR sent two emails, one in the morning and one in the evening.
  • They actively marketed their leaderboard standing on Facebook throughout the day.
  • A supporter was so energized by the success of the OLR #GivingTuesday campaign that he came forward on December 3rd with an unsolicited offer to match the entire campaign!


Make this #GivingTuesday your best yet! Kick off your year-end fundraising with our tools, training and matching funds. It doesn’t matter if your organization has 2 staff members or 200, you can raise money on #GivingTuesday and we can help.

Free #GivingTuesday resources are available to all nonprofits through Network for Good’s All TUEgether campaign. Network for Good customers can leverage matching funds for all donations made on December 1, 2015. Plus, customers have access to expert coaching, new donors, and exclusive resources to help plan a stellar #GivingTuesday campaign.

Not a Network for Good customer yet? No problem. Sign up for a demo and find out how easy it is to raise money online. Get ready to have your best giving season ever.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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