4 years after launching their first #GivingShoesDay campaign, Dress for Success Worldwide is on a mission to go bigger than ever this Giving Tuesday.

Through affiliate activation and strategic partnerships with brands and retailers, the #GivingShoesDay campaign is setting an example of how organizations can harness the power of the open source movement to drive support and awareness for their mission.

So how are they doing it?

They’ve created a campaign that focuses on connecting with women on a personal level. They’re not just asking women to clean out their closets—it’s deeper than that.

They’re asking women to visualize another woman walking in her shoes and taking her her first step to a better future.

For Dress for Success, #GivingShoesDay isn’t just a day of giving. It’s a day for them to make connections, to help women visualize the impact that even a single pair of shoes can have on a life. And this year they’re partnering with Aldo Shoes and California Closets to take the campaign to the next level.

I had the opportunity to speak with Katie Murphy, Director of Media Relations at Dress for Success Worldwide, who gave me insight into some of the key things that have driven their 400% YOY increase in total shoe donations:

Affiliate Activation

Dress for Success knew that they had to create a campaign that could be activated internationally, so their primary focus when creating the campaign was to make it something that their peers and partners could rally behind.

They created a full marketing and PR toolkit to arm their affiliates with the resources needed to be successful on the day. Everything from press releases and social media posts to talking points and media pitches is created at the headquarters to ensure that messaging for the campaign is consistent across the board.

Clear CTA

They discovered quickly that a very specific call to action would encourage maximum participation. They don’t just ask for a donation. They ask for something specific—a pair of shoes. This allows supporters to visualize exactly how their contribution is making a difference. It’s not just a donation; it’s a new opportunity for someone in need. It’s confidence for a first job interview. It’s a step closer to a new life.

Giving Shoes Day 5


They saw an opportunity to make the campaign even more appealing to supporters and affiliates by offering exclusive gifts to the top performing participants. In partnership with Fergie Footwear in 2013 and 2014, the top 10 individual shoe donors from around the world received a pair of limited holiday edition heels, and the top affiliates across the globe received a special gift of brand new shoes from Fergie Footwear. This year their top donors and affiliates will be receiving prizes from Aldo Shoes.


There is strength in numbers. Instead of running this campaign alone, Dress for Success has partnered with brands and retailers to help amplify their message and reach new audiences. Their partners are able to activate their own promotional networks and spread the word about #GivingShoesDay to people that may not be familiar with the day or the mission of Dress for Success.

EOY Campaign Kick-off

Their #GivingShoesDay campaign is not just about a single day of giving—it’s about creating meaningful relationships with supporters throughout the year. After #GivingShoesDay, they begin direct mail campaigns that play off of the shoes theme by highlighting women that have been able to take that next step.

A woman donates her shoes and has such a great experience that she wants to become a donor or a volunteer, or even ask her company to get involved. #GivingShoesDay is a first touch point with new supporters.” – Katie Murphy, Director of Media Relations, Dress for Success Worldwide

To learn more about how your organization can be a part of the Giving Tuesday movement, visit GivingTuesday.org.


Madeline Turner is the Online and Social Marketing Manager at Blackbaud. Prior to running Blackbaud’s social media and thought leadership blog npENGAGE, Madeline worked as a Managing Editor for Blackbaud’s Content Marketing program. It is her goal to create content and share ideas that challenge the status quo of the nonprofit industry. When Madeline isn’t tweeting or writing blog posts, you can find her drinking coffee out of her ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ mug, wearing giant headphones and singing off-key.

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