Proven #GivingTuesday Strategies for Higher Ed Institutions | npENGAGE

Proven #GivingTuesday Strategies for Higher Ed Institutions

By on Oct 23, 2018


Giving Tuesday tips

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Henry Timms, president and CEO of 92nd Street Y and who was the driving force behind the founding of #GivingTuesday, felt that after two big days of consumerism, we needed a day that was all about giving.

Stay on top of your game for #GivingTuesday: Watch the Blackbaud Higher Education Solutions webinar #GivingTuesday Prep Tips from Your Peers

In 2017, #GivingTuesday was celebrated in more than 150 countries with 42 independently-led movements among 42 separate countries. Good in giving doesn’t have geographical boundaries, really, good is for everyone and for every entity regardless of where you are. It is a grassroots movement where people, companies and organizations, including higher education institutions, can decide what they’re volunteering for or what they’re raising money or advocating for – it’s truly a great day to showcase the giving spirit in the United States and all around the world.

Below are some key take-aways from a recent conversation I had with Erica Burroughs, director of Family Engagement and Annual Giving at High Point University, and Stephanie Odierno, assistant director of Direct Marketing, UCF Alumni Engagement & Giving at University of Central Florida around tips, tricks, and best practices for a successful #GivingTuesday.

Getting Started: You can start a Giving Tuesday effort fairly late in the game and still be successful because there are many resources and marketing materials available that you can access. Before taking any steps, be sure to:

  • Set goals/objectives, tactics, and how to measure the campaign’s success.
  • Determine your communication strategy and your timeline; develop the timeline of what you need to do and how quickly you’re going to start communicating with your audiences
  • Share your campaign with the right internal people/teams as soon as possible (we’re all busy during this time of year, advanced notice will help ensure you have their availability to help execute the campaign.)

Capitalize on trending topics: UCF’s athletic teams saw an opportunity to capitalize on the FBS football rankings. The new rankings came out on #GivingTuesday and UCF was ranked #14, so its social media and athletics teams shared “If you disagree with this ranking, donate $14 to our football excellence fund.” Afterward, UCF saw its numbers double from 5:00 p.m. through midnight.

Must-use campaign resources: With a limited budget and small staff, resources can be hard to come by. UCF and High Point found these to be their most helpful & popular campaign resources:

  • Social media ambassador tool kit: High Point made this available as a volunteer opportunity for all of those who are engaged with the university.
  • Realtime reporting: This allowed UCF to track and process gifts then share the results with donors and staff instantly, keeping the positive momentum going.
  • Weekly targeted emails: These were sent between 7:00-8:00 a.m.; UCF also sent three emails on the day of that were heavily segmented by donor type or constituent type

Differentiating YOUR #GivingTuesday campaign from ALL the others: High Point rebrands #GivingTuesday to match its university’s branding so that it is recognizable to constituents, while also sharing it throughout the day through email communication. UCF specifies dollar asks and articulates impact in its campaign messaging ($25 to colleges of science will help purchase protective eyewear) to demonstrate that collectively a lot of small gifts make a big impact.

To learn more about the tips and tricks High Point University and UCF leveraged for successful #GivingTuesday campaigns, listen to the full on-demand webinar recording.

And be sure to visit to find more resources, tools, and insights to make the most of every moment.

#GivingTuesday tips


Sally J. Ehrenfried leads Philanthropy and Volunteer Engagement at Blackbaud, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLKB), headquartered in Charleston, SC., and is responsible for the company’s global community relations, corporate giving and volunteerism portfolios.  Sally also manages the company’s public policy efforts by working with local, state and federal groups to advocate for policies that benefit the nonprofit community.

Sally spent 13 years in the United States Senate as an aide to Senators George J. Mitchell (D-Maine), William S. Cohen (R-Maine), and Ronald L. Wyden (D-Oregon), serving in a variety of committee, personal office, and leadership staff roles.

Sally is the Immediate Past Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ US Government Relations Committee and a member of the Giving Institute’s Public Policy Committee.  She serves on the board of directors for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations and is a member of the Leadership Faculty for the Corporate Institute, a Points of Light enterprise.

Sally is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, ME, and received a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.  She is a recipient of the Bates College Distinguished Young Alumni Award, a past President of the Bates College Alumni Association and is a member of the Bates Fund Executive Committee.

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