How to Leverage Giving Tuesday for Your School

Alex Levitz

November 17, 2022


    If your school is looking for a way to increase donations, consider participating in this year’s Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, which means this event will occur on November 29, 2022. After the shopping frenzies that occur on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this day dedicated to philanthropy offers your community a chance to give back.

    You can leverage Giving Tuesday to raise support for your school, but regardless of whether this is your first Giving Tuesday or you’re a seasoned pro, you may want to know some tips and tricks for raising funds this year. Fortunately, we have all the Giving Tuesday ideas for schools you need!

    What Is Giving Tuesday for Independent Schools?

    Also referred to as the #GivingTuesday campaign, this global day of giving provides schools with a day of philanthropy. Since the event’s inception, thousands of educational institutions have joined in to increase donations for targeted campaigns and annual funds. 

    Giving Tuesday leverages the power of social media to inspire millions across the world to give back and support the issues and causes that matter most to them, such as education. The goal of Giving Tuesday is to inspire a wave of generosity that continues beyond that day and helps people all around the globe. Everyone can participate in Giving Tuesday, including:

    • Schools
    • Families
    • Nonprofits
    • Individuals
    • Corporations
    • Small businesses
    • Religious organizations

    In every country, you can find organizations and individuals participating in Giving Tuesday. Participants can give money, time, goods or simply their voice to support those in need and fight for causes they care about.

    History of Giving Tuesday

    Giving Tuesday launched in the United States in 2012 after beginning as an idea in 2011 from the Chicago nonprofit Mary-Arrchie Theater Company. Through The Huffington Post, the nonprofit and its producing director urged shoppers to donate to charity after Cyber Monday shopping. The initial name suggested was Cyber Giving Monday. The next year, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation partnered up to found the initiative in response to the widespread consumerism and commercialization of the post-Thanksgiving season.

    This day of giving was initiated with the beliefs that:

    • People want to donate and talk about giving.
    • Social media and technology could be utilized to make giving back go viral.
    • Society was capable of showing more creativity, collaboration, and innovative leadership.

    After Giving Tuesday took off, these beliefs were proven accurate. Today, Giving Tuesday has shaped how the world views generosity and highlights the immense power communities across the globe have to create change. 

    The movement has also led to the creation of #GivingTuesdaySpark, which is for and led by young people. Giving Tuesday Spark gives young people the agency to make changes in their communities and inspire generosity. By encouraging people to default to generosity, empathy, and kindness, we can create a lasting positive impact.

    Giving Tuesday Ideas for Teachers


    In light of budget cuts, teachers need support more than ever before. Fortunately, individuals and organizations can support teachers in a variety of ways. The following are some of the ways the community can support your teachers and ways your teachers can support your Giving Tuesday goals:

    • DonorsChoose: With DonorsChoose, teachers can set up a project and request funding. For example, if a teacher wants to purchase a new rug for student activities like circle time, they can use DonorsChoose to raise money. Donors can search by the type of project or by location to find a project to support.
    • Charity Navigator: Charity Navigator can be used by donors to find schools they can support on Giving Tuesday. Charity Navigator does the research for donors, so donors can trust that their money will go to those schools that need it.
    • Amazon wish lists: Teachers can make wish lists on Amazon for their classrooms, such as for classroom supplies and books. Encourage your school’s teachers to set up these Amazon lists so your community can fulfill their wishes.
    • Adopt a Classroom: Though similar to DonorsChoose, Adopt a Classroom is specifically designed to help get teachers the supplies they need for the classroom. Adopt a Classroom makes matching contributions up to a certain limit, which can make donations go further.
    • Fund for Teachers: Teachers can receive grants through Fund for Teachers, allowing them to improve their students’ learning experience. Today, this organization has invested $35 million in grants to teachers.
    • The New Teacher Center: The New Teacher Center provides coaching to administrators and teachers to train and retain educators. Their mission is to build a sustainable, equitable culture in classrooms and schools. Teachers can participate in coaching to further their own Giving Tuesday goals of accelerating equity in your district.
    • The Learning Forward Foundation: The Learning Forward Foundation gives teachers scholarships and grants for professional development. The result could give your educators the financial power and education to support their classrooms further.

    You can also encourage your school’s community to donate to these and other services your teachers use this Giving Tuesday.

    Giving Tuesday Ideas for Schools

    There are several other ways that individuals and organizations in your community can support your school. The following Giving Tuesday ideas ensure classrooms and students get the support and supplies needed:

    • Khan Academy: This nonprofit’s mission is to provide a world-class, free education for anyone in any part of the world. The Khan Academy website includes lessons, videos, and practice exercises. Khan Academy uses donations to keep resources free for teachers and students. If your school uses this resource, you may want to encourage donations.
    • NEA Foundation: Educators founded this organization to help other educators improve public education for students. This foundation provides teacher fellowships and grants for schools.
    • Operation Backpack: Operation Backpack is an organization run by the Volunteers of America, providing students in need with the school supplies they need. Operation Backpack operates in several states and cities.
    • Children’s Literacy Initiative: The Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) helps to ensure that low-income students are able to read at or above their grade level. CLI provides materials, workshops, and coaching.
    • The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation: Donors who want to support schools’ music education programs can do so through this foundation, which provides underprivileged students and school music programs with musical instruments.
    • GiveSmart: GiveSmart is a donor management platform with a mission to help organizations reach their fundraising goals, all while engaging donors. This platform can help the success of your Giving Tuesday and virtual fundraising campaigns. With GiveSmart’s Giving Tuesday toolkit, you get access to dozens of ideas, templates, and free resources to ensure a successful giving season. Hundreds of schools and nonprofits trust GiveSmart to make Giving Tuesday as impactful as possible.

    If your school uses any of these resources, encourage donations this Giving Tuesday.

    How to Raise Funds On Giving Tuesday

    Giving Tuesday is a great way to encourage support and drive donations to your school. After joining this day of giving, many schools have reported excellent results. Whether this is your first Giving Tuesday or your 10th, follow the tips below to successfully encourage more participation from your community and raise more money.

    1. Determine Your Goal

    First, consider what your goals are for raising funds on Giving Tuesday. If this is your first Giving Tuesday, you can research what other schools typically receive in donations on this day of giving. If this isn’t your first Giving Tuesday, you can review your previous year’s total donations and try to top it! After you establish a goal, you can identify the best ways to achieve it.

    2. Brainstorm Ideas With Students


    If you want to get your school’s students involved, identify the issues and causes most important to them. Ask them what they care about and brainstorm ideas together to determine how you can meet your goals for gaining support for your school. Examples include:

    • Fighting inequity: Your community and students can work toward fighting inequity by giving support to underprivileged schools and writing letters to elected officials. This effort can also be focused on your school, identifying and fighting inequities students recognize.
    • Spreading kindness: In the true spirit of Giving Tuesday, your school and students may want to focus on spreading kindness and generosity. This can include encouraging donations to your institution, forming a generosity wall, and sharing prompts for random acts of kindness in public places.
    • Tackling food insecurity: Students can face food insecurity at home, and during Giving Tuesday and around the holiday season, your students can create bagged lunches and include kind notes for those who may be facing food insecurity in your district.
    • Fighting climate change: Many students today care about fighting climate change, and your school could raise funds to help students in their efforts, such as funding to plant a garden or trees.

    With these ideas, you can encourage support for your school and get your students involved in spreading generosity throughout your community and beyond.

    3. Fine-Tune Your Messaging

    Your approach and messaging should be both logical and empathic, showing your community why your school needs their support. In a rocky economy, many families and educational institutions are facing financial hardships, and your messaging should reflect that. Your message should include two key elements:

    • Encouragement of donations of any size: Be sure to make it clear that even small donations make a huge difference to your educational institution. Focus on requesting small donations from first-time donors and your alumni network. Every dollar can make a difference.
    • Reasons why your community should give to your school: Make sure you also include reasons why your community should give to your educational institution this Giving Tuesday. Highlight the programs and people who donations directly affect. By doing so, you can show donors where their money is going and exactly how they’re making a difference.

    4. Establish a Matching Gift Challenge

    A matching gift challenge can encourage donors to make a donation up to a maximum amount within a certain timeframe, such as Giving Tuesday. You can then reach out to local businesses to see if they’re willing to match up to a set donation amount.

    This set timeframe gives donors a sense of urgency, so even small donations feel large because they will be doubled during the challenge. For example, when a donor gives a $50 donation that turns into a $100 gift, this makes the donor feel even better about their donation and further increases the support to your school.

    Your matching gift challenge can encourage participation among several constituent groups and allow you to receive more donations and engage the entire community.

    5. Develop a Landing Page


    One of the most helpful steps you can take before Giving Tuesday is developing a landing page specifically for donors. On this page, specify why the community should give to your school. If you already have a standard donation form for fundraising, adjust it so it states the importance of every donation regardless of size, and ensure the form is mobile-friendly. Since much of the engagement with Giving Tuesday occurs on social media, your landing page should be built with mobile devices in mind.

    6. Give Real-Time Updates

    Throughout Giving Tuesday, give real-time updates with a goal graphic on your school’s website. This information provides donors with a way to see how you’re making progress toward your goal and inspires donations from community members who haven’t given yet. Donors are likely to be excited and encouraged by seeing the immediate impact of donations and watching as the progress bar gets closer to your goal. 

    Some schools that have implemented this technique have found that they far exceeded their donation goal. Since Giving Tuesday occurs during a single day, giving real-time updates can make an enormous difference in your fundraising efforts.

    7. Create an Infographic

    Your school’s alumni likely lives across the nation and maybe even the world. With a map infographic, you can show where donors live and where the donations are coming from. This visual representation shows how far your alumni network reaches and how meaningful and valuable the school experience was for your alumni. On this infographic, include the distribution of donors and participation levels from faculty and alumni. This information will encourage your community to feel proud of your school and facilitate a meaningful connection between alumni.

    8. Show Gratitude

    Perhaps one of the most important steps to take when raising funds on Giving Tuesday is showing and stating your gratitude to donors and the community. Even a simple “thank you” can go a long way. Before Giving Tuesday arrives, email past donors to thank them for their donations and explain how their gifts made a difference for your educational institution. 

    Include short videos or testimonials in both the email and on your website’s landing page. Ideally, feature faculty, students, and staff in these videos to show everyone’s appreciation. Thanking past donors can remind them of the upcoming Giving Tuesday and may even lead to gifts this year. More importantly, donors deserve appreciation for their support.

    Request a Demo From School and Student Services (SSS)

    After the Giving Tuesday fun is over, the next step is to decide how to allocate the money you raised. Many schools choose to use fundraising money to award additional financial aid. At SSS, we offer a full suite of tools, data, and features in a single centralized system so you can administer a successful financial aid program and better serve your school’s families through every step of the financial aid cycle. With a solid financial aid program, you can enroll mission-appropriate students and secure your school’s financial stability. SSS gives you an objective baseline, powerful analytic tools, and a holistic family view so you can make well-informed decisions. Features include:

    • Fast application delivery
    • Easy application monitoring
    • Speedy document verification
    • Immediate access to documents

    We want to help schools help families. Request a live SSS demo from us today to learn more about how we can bring efficiency and consistency to your financial aid program.

    Stay on top of the latest and greatest. Sign up now.

    Recommended for you