The Key to a Successful Giving Tuesday Social Media Plan | npENGAGE

The Key to a Successful Giving Tuesday Social Media Plan: Ambassadors

By on Sep 16, 2016


Giving Tuesday ambassadors

Fueled by the power of social media, #GivingTuesday has emerged as the largest day of giving with $116M raised, 114M Twitter impression, and 1.3M social media mentions. The single biggest reason for it’s viral success is the collective action of sharing on social media.

Because social sharing plays such a critical role, we want to show you how to radically boost your fundraising engagement by adding one piece you’re probably missing from your #GivingTuesday campaign—a social ambassador plan.

To be clear, this isn’t just about creating awesome content to share. It’s about developing a strategy to engage your supporters who are best positioned to expand the reach of your campaign through their social networks.

Building a Giving Tuesday Social Media Strategy

At the core, your Giving Tuesday social media strategy should be centered around mobilizing your supporters and contributing to the movement.

Just about every organization has influencers hanging out in their email list who can dramatically extend the reach of social campaigns. Social media ambassadors (aka influencers) are people who are active on one or more social networks with a modest to large following, driving action and awareness around campaigns. Like prospective donors, your organization’s social ambassadors are a specific segment which need to be cultivated so they share again, similar to donor stewardship. While social ambassadors come in all shapes and sizes, they have one thing in common: they drive action.

Your social media influencers are key to extending the reach of your #GivingTuesday message.

In our own research, we found that the top 5% in an email list has the ability to reach 85% of a nonprofit’s extended network reach. The Georgetown Digital Persuasion Study also reports that 65% find out about a cause through their friends and family, while 68% were prompted to donate after engaging with a cause on social media. The list goes on. 

Identifying Your Giving Tuesday Tribe

Finding Social Media Ambassadors

Your organization’s greatest assets are the people behind your mission. So, start with the people you’ve spent years cultivating, the people you already know. The most efficient way to find influencers with this approach is to match your email file with social data, which we do here at as proud new members of the Blackbaud family.

Enriching email with social data shows the social side of your supporters, donors, activists, etc by layering a rich social profile for each individual. This profile includes post frequency, Twitter and Facebook feed, top hashtags, Klout score, bio. etc. It allows you to segment supporters based on their network reach, topic relevancy, prior interactions, and more, while connecting this information back to your supporter or email solution. The main reason for segmenting by social influence is so you can deliberately cultivate this distinct group as new messengers with programmatic support and structure. The following segments are a great place to start:

  • Number of connections
  • Post frequency
  • Social biography
  • Klout score
  • Network membership
  • Social mentions

Enlisting Your Nonprofit Staff

In addition to finding your ambassadors with social data, consider enlisting your staff as social ambassadors, especially if you’re an large organization. The Ford Theatre trains their staff as social media ambassadors to provide behind-the-scenes access to their work, while cultivating diverse voices throughout their institution. Human Rights Watch also started their social media influencer program using their own staff to grow to an impressive 3 million Twitter followers.

How To Power Social Media Amplification

Create a social media ambassador sign up page. Take your campaign to the next level by creating a social ambassador micro-site or landing page to enlist anyone who self selects to share your message. A dedicated page allows people to sign up for the opportunity while providing them with sample content.

Provide #GivingTuesday posts for your ambassadors to share. This can be as simple as asking folks to hold up sign for a classic “unselfie challenge”, to creating a landing page with a collection of social media posts. The key is to offer customizable content such as Facebook posts, tweets, images, and talking points that empower your supporters to make your giving day message their own. Here are a few creative content examples:

Communication with ambassadors is key. Similar to building a donor program, you’ll want to develop a plan that cultivates your ambassadors as effective spokespeople, collaborators and partners to achieving your mission for the long run.

  • Email your ambassadors. A few weeks before Giving Tuesday, send your ambassadors a short email asking them to share your content on November 29. Explain that you need their help because social media is the best way to educate a broader audience about your mission to reach your fundraising goal. Let them know that you’ll send a toolkit to use on #GivingTuesday. Finally, remind them how important their gift is on this day.
  • Remind ambassadors about your #GivingTuesday campaign with direct messages. Once you integrate supporter information with social data, it’s easy to find your ambassadors who use Twitter so you can Direct Message (DM) them about your giving day. Think about using DM’s to remind ambassadors about #GivingTuesday, send them to your social share landing page, and thank for sharing your campaign.
  • Pay it forward with social media love. Leading up to Nov 28, pay close attention to the social activity of your ambassadors and show your gratitude with their social posts whenever possible. The best way to never leave an engagement opportunity on the table is to utilize social listening which our guide explains: Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening?

Build buzz with Facebook live streaming. Before (or during) the event, take your campaign to the next level by inviting your ambassadors to a live video conference (Facebook Live, Google Hangout, Periscope, etc). Use the opportunity to reinforce the social proof of your organization’s impact by inviting a few of your supporters to share their stories of how your group made a difference.

#SocialLove is your mantra for #GivingTuesday. On your big day, monitor your networks with the goal of showing special appreciation through likes, comments or retweets to your influencers (or anyone who participates). As much as giving days raise critical funds, it also connects your community with one another and your organization. It’s one of easiest, yet overlooked engagement opportunities for community building.

Email ambassadors your campaign results. After the campaign, leverage your hard earned momentum by thanking and updating influencers about your campaign success by using examples of ambassadors in action. The follow up email could also be the perfect time launch an official social ambassadors program with a call to action to sign up. Following up is the real opportunity to build on the momentum of your win and move participants to the next level of involvement.

Measuring #GivingTuesday Success

Total donations: On your #GivingTuesday fundraising page include a tracking code at the end of your url or create a dedicated fundraising page for ambassadors. At the end of the event, compare the number of ambassador generated donations with the total donations. If this is your first year tracking influencer driven donations, you’ll ideally want to compare 2016 with your future totals.

New donations: The goal is simply to track how many new donors came in through your ambassadors.

Social Media Reach: How many people did your ambassadors reach and which content did they share?

With a structured approach to ambassador engagement, your #GivingTuesday campaign will build more buzz, raise more funds, and empower your mission to do more good! 

EOY Fundraising Toolkit


Jeanette is a nonprofit marketer at Blackbaud who is dedicated to scaling social good through nonprofit technology. During her 20 years in nonprofit sector, she’s worked with thousands of nonprofits and brings a deep understanding of organizing, fundraising and modern engagement.

Her expertise is rooted a decade national organizing on environmental campaigns. Passionate about social activism, Jeanette writes and speaks nationally about how technology empowers everyday advocates to take greater roles in helping cause deliver their mission. As a digital pioneer, she’s spent nearly a decade evangelizing digital engagement platforms including Salsa Labs and, which was acquired by Blackbaud in 2016. Jeanette has served on the advisory board of JustGive, Board Director of the New Leaders Council (MT) and Co-founded the National Forest Protection Alliance.

She lives in Montana, California and Wisconsin with her husband of 21 years. She loves wilderness, mid century modern, yoga and cats of all varieties.

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