Started in 2011 by 92nd Street Y, #GivingTuesday occurs on Tuesday, Nov. 29th. The day is dedicated to bringing people together around the values of giving back. Since 2011, it has become a global movement that connects individuals, communities, and organizations.

In the same vein, #GivingZOODay is a specific #GivingTuesday campaign that seeks to align donors with a cause near and dear to their hearts—the habitat preservation, safety, and care of animals that are sheltered in zoos and aquariums across America. #GivingZOODay is all about empowering fundraisers and marketers within the zoo and aquarium community to embolden their campaigns around the giving season.

Why is it important?

Blackbaud reports that #GivingTuesday has had double-digit, year-over-year growth in online donations since 2012. In 2015, the number of nonprofits that received an online donation on #GivingTuesday grew 15% from the previous year, and total online giving grew 52%.* That’s huge! This means that #GivingZOODay is a prime opportunity for zoos and aquariums to turn a single day of giving into something more. It’s a time to spotlight your organization’s efforts and remind communities of the work accomplished because of their support. It’s a perfect opportunity to build momentum and raise your voice for your cause—just around the time of year when fundraisers can take advantage of the giving spirit and raise dollars that meet end-of-year campaign goals.

How Zoos and Aquariums Can Get Involved:

Start by asking your board, your staff, your supporters—and yourself—a series of questions:

  • What are our biggest needs—for our animals, for our facilities, for our exhibits?
  • What are the future opportunities that lie ahead for our zoo or aquarium?
  • What is our community asking from us in the coming years? How can we serve them better?
  • How can we continue to meet our mission and vision in the long- and short term?

After you’ve answered these questions, you can develop your goals. Are you trying to raise awareness around a specific cause your organization is passionate about? Are you trying to build more membership? Retain existing supporters or boost a sustainer program?

Then, you can form strategies and detailed plans around how you’ll go about accomplishing these goals with fundraising and marketing campaigns. #GivingZOODay provides the perfect occasion to boost your efforts and amplify your message.

Top Considerations when building your #GivingZOODay strategy:

  • How will my organization participate in #GivingZOODay?
  • What channels will we use to promote it?
  • Is there a special project or event that we want to host in order to draw attention to #GivingZOODay?
  • How can we extend #GivingZOODay beyond one day?
  • Don’t forget to thank your donors!

To learn more, download the webinar, Turning #GivingTuesday into Your Day of Giving. Michelle Boyle, director of institutional advancement at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, will shared her organization’s #GivingZOODay strategy.

*#GivingTuesdayTrends: A Closer Look at the Online Fundraising Impact in the United States by Steve MacLaughlin.



As associate account manager for Blackbaud’s internal marketing agency, Rachel guides the development of creative campaigns from idea inception to project completion. She specializes in the arts and cultural sector, managing programs that address general admission and reserved seating organizations like museums, theaters, public gardens, and zoos. Rachel graduated with a BA from Coker College for communication, and her extensive writing background has continued to bring Blackbaud closer to its customers during her five year tenure with the company.

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