Skip to Content
Giving Tuesday: The Human Side to Holiday Messaging

Giving Tuesday: The Human Side to Holiday Messaging

Celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is an international day of charitable giving in reaction to the commercial nature of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If your holiday marketing strategy doesn’t already include a strategy for Giving Tuesday, it’s time to create one. 

Less known than other promotionally driven holiday events, Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season. Celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday has emerged as a date in the holiday calendar as pivotal as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Simply put, Giving Tuesday is an international day of charitable giving.

Illustration for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday allows everyone to give back

Giving Tuesday used to be the day that nonprofits launched their holiday campaigns, now it is the umbrella under which nonprofits, brands, and consumers alike highlight charitable giving and allow others an opportunity to take part.

There are a number of different ways this can be accomplished. Businesses can, for example:

  • Donate a percentage of total purchases from the day to a designated charity
  • Give a percentage of proceeds or a dollar amount from the sale of a particular product to your designated charity
  • Mention a charity partner and not make a specific financial commitment
  • Match customer donations to a charity

Thoughtful planning is the key to success

When planning for Giving Tuesday, everything from the selection of the charity to the messaging in your email matters.

Be sure to account for these key ideas:

  1. Define the charity. Is the charity the philanthropic arm to your organization or a partner?
  2. Consider how philanthropy resonates with your organization. This is the chance to speak from the heart about what matters to your organization beyond business and how the charity aligns with core values. The Third Edition of Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report shows that 56% of today’s customers seek to buy from philanthropically minded companies.
  3. Use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to educate. Let your subscribers know about the valuable work that is being done by your chosen nonprofit. Many consumers value “doing good” during the holiday season and are open to learning about new causes.
  4. Reach beyond Giving Tuesday. Here is another opportunity to highlight the philanthropic efforts your organization has participated in throughout the year. For many organizations, Giving Tuesday is often just the highlight of a year of good work.

Digital messaging for Giving Tuesday

For readers who are new to Giving Tuesday (and as a reminder to those with experience), here are some digital messaging best practices to keep in mind:

  • Plan early. Don’t wait until November to finalize your plans or your partnership.
  • Launch your messaging across channels (social, email, SMS, and push). As a key date in the holiday calendar, Giving Tuesday presents an opportunity for message amplification.
  • Reference the date by name. Giving Tuesday or #GivingTuesday should be referenced with prominence.
  • Tell your story. Your readers will be motivated by understanding how someone was affected by the cause, rather than focusing on facts and statistics.

Many of today’s businesses do more than just sell products and services. They have a commitment to their community and corporate social responsibility. Giving Tuesday serves as an opportunity to talk about those things that matter to your organization. It is very likely that they will also matter to your customer base. With an estimated $400 million donated in the U.S. on Giving Tuesday in 2018, the power of #GivingTuesday2019 is poised to break new records. Will you join the cause?

Heidi Robbins is a principal marketing consultant with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. She collaborates with clients to craft cutting-edge digital communication strategies, combining industry best-practices and digital trends that elevate the connection brands have with their customers.

More by Heidi

Related Stories


Get the latest stories from The 360 Blog, every week.

Get the latest stories from The 360 Blog, every week.

Enter a valid e-mail address
Select your Country
Select a state
Please read and agree to the Master Subscription Agreement

Yes, I would like to receive the Salesforce Weekly Brief as well as marketing communications regarding Salesforce products, services, and events. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Salesforce values your privacy. To learn more, visit our Privacy Statement.