This is the fourth installment in our 5 Keys to a Winning #GivingTuesday Strategy series (Read our first key here).

Fun Fuels Success

If you send your fundraisers out into the digital world on their own on #GivingTuesday with nothing but a “good-luck!” you’re likely to hear crickets unless they’re extremely self-motivated and social media savvy.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to provide a few simple tools and an atmosphere that motivates them to wring every ounce of fundraising success out of #GivingTuesday’s 24-hour period. In addition to incentives and prizes, in recent years, many fundraisers have discovered the power of gamification to boost excitement and engagement.

Our client Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes (ABCH) starts the big day with donuts in the office and keeps energy focused on fundraising progress all day. But that’s just the start.

Goals & Incentives

We’ve all heard the importance of setting fundraising goals, but goals can be a tricky thing. “Set the goal too high and you can demoralize staff if results fall short,” Jay Boyd, Director of Development, warns. If you set it too low, however, you run the risk that no one will be really inspired. Additionally, as we’ve seen from ABCH’s experience, the relationship between goal and results isn’t always clear:

For example, they set an initial goal of $2,400 in 2014 and brought in over $16,000, an astounding 578% leap. As their goals have become loftier, the gap between goals and results has narrowed, but they continue to exceed their goals significantly every year.


One way to encourage creative fundraising is to award prizes for non-financial goals:

  • Reaching a certain number of first-time donors
  • A percentage increase in peer-to-peer fundraising pages created
  • A donor from every county in your state, or one from every state.
  • Having the donor furthest away, or donors from the most countries.


No matter where or how you set your goals, the key to their success is to keep them front and center for fundraisers and donors alike through real-time goal meters. This is a powerful strategy for leveraging the competition that fuels fundraisers.

Jay says that on their first #GivingTuesday, they had a small number of staff members competing for a few gift cards, starting at $250 for first place.

In later years, more staff caught the fever and the organization broadened its fundraising group to include foster parents, adding nearly 200about 160 additional fundraisers and amping up the competition. The competition ultimately became more about personal bragging rights than the prizes, and the iDonate Goal Meter was watched religiously all day, inspiring fundraisers to reach out to their networks for more donations as “competitors” edged closer or ahead of them.

Since only the top few fundraisers could win a prize, ABCH also found ways to award t-shirts to the many other supporters participating on #GivingTuesday.

In 2018, ABCH is adding a new incentive, a cheesy award that the office raising the most will get to keep all year. The award is based on the football trend of awarding silly sideline swag to players who pull off a good play. They’re hoping it will become a coveted award that increases enthusiasm in #GivingTuesday participation.

Jay cautions that they’re careful not to make the rewards so big that the focus shifts away from the real purpose of raising funds to help kids have a place to call home. “The purpose of our incentives is to create energy and build a culture of stewardship among staff,” he says.

NEXT UP: #GivingTuesday Key #5 – Getting the Word Out