How to Turn #GivingTuesday into a Success for Your Organization

How to Turn #GivingTuesday into a Success for Your Organization

Five years ago, a group in New York was fed up with the sales frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They came up with a brilliant idea: create a national day of giving on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. The concept was simple — on the heels the two most outrageous shopping bonanzas of the year, create a day focused on putting investing money where it can really do some good.

That day has now become Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday). The event harnesses the power of social media to mobilize communities to invest in the organizations that are helping to make a difference day-to-day. It truly seeks to “celebrate and encourage giving.”

Wow, that’s good news for animal welfare. But we need to make it better news, because as the old marketing adage goes, in high tide all boats rise. We need the animal welfare boat to rise higher.

Making #GivingTuesday work for you

So how do we get those donations aimed to animal welfare and more specifically, your organization? Take the #GivingTuesday social networking advice, but do it ahead of time. You need to get to work early so good things can happen on November 29.

  • Black Friday. Numerous shelters do a great job taking the momentum of Black Friday and offer their own Black Friday deals on adoptions. A few shelters even go the extra step and offer Black Friday specials on black cats or dogs. Brilliant. Those messages are clever. However, as you advertise your adoption specials, be sure to include a #GivingTuesday message for the people in your community that want to get involved but may not have the space to adopt a new pet.
  • Cyber Tuesday. Another handful of shelters have a similar strategy for Cyber Monday, seizing the momentum of all of the Cyber Monday hype and steering some of that to their online location. Also brilliant. Cyber Monday is the day before our big day, so there should be plenty of communication happening about #GivingTuesday. Leverage that, and direct the hype to your local organization that’s saving lives right in the community.
  • And all those other days… Help spread the #GivingTuesday message as much as you can, especially within the two weeks prior to the day. Media messaging should be prominent then and your message can easily help make their “what to do” a “where to do it.”

It’s a great thing that some forward-thinkers came up with the idea to create a day focused on giving back. Help it be an even greater thing by making sure your organization is the recipient.


Tom Tholen

Tom Tholen is SAWA's Senior Vice President of Marketing & Development. The SAWA member has served as President of Companion Channel, a cloud-based digital screen media service that streamed into partner shelters. Tom is perhaps best known in the animal welfare industry as the former President & Chief Marketing Officer for Callahan Creek, which was the agency of record for Hill’s in the early days of their shelter program. Over the years, he has worked for several agencies, as well as major corporations including Hallmark, Sprint and General Electric. A Colorado native, Tom received his BS in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he lives with his family in the Kansas City area.


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