Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, and Year-end

Coming into the holidays and year-end season, we’ve been optimistic. Donors, particularly small donors, have been stepping up at unprecedented levels since the onset of the pandemic in March, and we haven’t seen any signs of that diminishing. 

Early signs are very encouraging. 

November was a solid month of online fundraising, showing that neither the economy nor the pandemic have slowed down donor generosity, so long as you keep asking. 

Looking online, November giving culminated on #GivingTuesday with the biggest giving peak our clients have seen since the pandemic hit. 

In fact, when we compare the two-week high during the outpouring of generosity this spring to the past two weeks online, including #GivingTuesday, over the last two weeks we saw 75% more giving in our data set than that previous high watermark. 

Just looking at last week with Giving Tuesday, here are some examples of what we’re seeing:

  • One rescue ministry saw a 52% increase YOY Friday through Tuesday.
  • One ministry saw a 6X increase over 2019 Giving Tuesday, and another saw a 12X increase YOY.
  • One organization blew through a $115,000 Matching Grant, switched to an additional $50,000 Challenge Gift, and hit that right away. All told, they raised more than double the matching and challenge grants combined.
  • Another organization had a goal to raise enough to serve 14,500 children on Giving Tuesday. They ended up raising enough to serve 40% more children than their goal.
  • Another rescue ministry surpassed its goal to provide meals by nearly 60%.

One thing we’ve noticed is that the most successful efforts right now for us are when we can start promotion earlier, with Facebook especially — they are always changing, and with new rules in place, it can be very tricky to optimize budgets in time for big days like #GivingTuesday. Our team monitors those changes and adapts our strategies accordingly. This year, anticipating this change, we tested starting campaigns before Thanksgiving and saw tremendous success. 

We’re optimistic about the rest of the holiday season and year-end. The key during this time is to continue to stay in front of partners and prospects with relevant messaging.

If you are one of our readers, I would love to hear from you — how are things shaping up for you? Did you run a campaign for #GivingTuesday? How are things trending year over year? Email me at

Dave Raley
EVP, Strategic Innovation