5 Examples Of Successful GivingTuesday Campaigns

Get inspired by winning campaigns from international nonprofits, regional organizations, and local institutions.


This year’s GivingTuesday will be here before you know it. To help you prepare, GlobalGiving has put together a list of five GivingTuesday campaign examples to serve as inspiration for your own GivingTuesday campaign. These are some of the best GivingTuesday campaigns we’ve ever seen, complete with a brief analysis of why each campaign works and what you can learn from them.

CASE STUDY 1: Unselfies for Parkinson’s (Michael J. Fox Foundation)


You may know Michael J. Fox as the star of the “Back to the Future” franchise. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 29. However, he didn’t reveal his diagnosis until 1998, at which point he began working to spread awareness about Parkinson’s disease. This led to an ongoing campaign to increase funding for Parkinson’s research as well as the creation of the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation participates in the popular #Unselfie campaign around GivingTuesday every year. The foundation encourages followers to post unselfies, or unselfish selfies, with the hashtags #Unselfie and #GivingTuesday to showcase how they’re contributing to the foundation’s Parkinson’s campaign.

In the first year, the Michael J. Fox Foundation was tagged in 107 unselfies. While that may seem small, those unselfies generated 5,000 word-of-mouth endorsements and led to donations totaling nearly $400,000, not including a $100,000 matching donation from foundation supporter Terry Weinberger.

Why it was successful

Use of the #Unselfie hashtag is very high in November. The Michael J. Fox Foundation—and by extension, Parkinson’s disease—gets a major boost in visibility by participating in the trend. The Michael J. Fox Foundation #Unselfie campaign for GivingTuesday is a great example of using an existing trend to increase awareness.

Another reason the campaign has been a success for the foundation is because people who participate in the campaign are recognized for the time, effort, and/or funds they’ve donated. After all, most people who donate like to receive recognition for their contributions, and in this campaign, that’s achieved by having participants post their selfies.

How to replicate it

You don’t always have to create an elaborate social media campaign from scratch. Find a relevant popular hashtag or trend around which to build your GivingTuesday campaign. When you can tap into an existing community that already participates in the trend, you basically have a captive audience. And when the goal is to boost donations, tapping into an audience of people who are more inclined to donate will likely result in more contributions.

CASE STUDY 2: The Book Bowl (Enoch Pratt Free Library)


The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, has run a very unique GivingTuesday campaign each year since 2015. The campaign is called #BookBowl, which was created to raise funding that would go toward maintaining and improving the library. It’s unique because the campaign combines locals’ love of the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team with the friendly competitiveness of sports and traditional fundraising.

In the days leading up to GivingTuesday, Pratt Library holds a fundraising competition. To mirror the week’s Ravens game, Pratt Library competes with a library from the same town as the team the Ravens are playing. Whichever library loses the #BookBowl has to have its executive director dress up as a character from a book written by a local author and perform a reading of that book at the library.

Pratt Library raised $39,340 from 165 donations in just the second year of the #BookBowl, beating the Cincinnati Public Library. Since then, Pratt Library has also won against the Houston Public Library (2017) and the Oakland Public Free Library (2018).

Why it was successful

The #BookBowl is tailored to the community in which it takes place. Since many Baltimore residents are fans of Ravens, the #BookBowl gives Ravens fans the chance to feel like they’re playing for the home team. In this way, leveraging the local Ravens fandom for an annual GivingTuesday fundraiser is quite brilliant.

Another reason the #BookBowl has been a success is because many people are inherently competitive. If Baltimore residents want their library to win, then they must donate; so the desire to help Pratt Library win the #BookBowl incentivizes donations.

How to replicate it

Find a way to tailor your GivingTuesday campaign to the community or demographic you’re targeting. There are many ways to make a campaign more relevant and interesting to the community where it takes place; Pratt Library does this by mirroring the week’s Baltimore Ravens games. You may need to do some research, but it could result in stronger turnout and a more successful campaign.

Similarly, the Pratt Library campaign plays to the competitive streak many people have. If you can find a way to introduce the element of competition in a way that makes sense contextually, it could boost participation and donations.

CASE STUDY 3: Community ambassadors (Wisconsin Singers)


The Wisconsin Singers are an award-winning show choir and nonprofit entertainment organization based at the University of Wisconsin. When they aren’t performing, they’re promoting the musical arts and helping to create arts programs for youths.

Each GivingTuesday, the Wisconsin Singers have a one-day fundraising campaign. The goal is to raise funds to start performing arts booster programs in communities that wouldn’t otherwise have these programs available. However, while the campaign itself lasts just one day, the Wisconsin Singers begin recruiting ambassadors months in advance.

The ambassadors are temporary, honorary members of the Wisconsin Singers. They are assigned key roles in the campaign such as social media reporters, commentators, and donors who will match a portion of total GivingTuesday donations. The main purpose of the ambassadors is to spread awareness and promote the campaign. But by recruiting locals to help, the Wisconsin Singers’ GivingTuesday fundraising campaign is inclusive and highly visible in the community.

This model has been a huge success for the Wisconsin Singers. On GivingTuesday 2018 alone, the troupe raised over $40,000 which consisted of $22,000 in actual donations and donation matching arrangements. That figure doesn’t include proceeds generated by performances and further boosting funds raised.

Why it was successful

The Wisconsin Singers GivingTuesday campaign works because the group gives so much to the community as entertainers. Because of the performances, attendees are more likely to donate as a token of gratitude and appreciation.

While many fundraising initiatives leave donors feeling only as valuable as the amount of their donations, the Wisconsin Singers have created a more communal campaign. Ambassadors get to really be involved with the campaign by helping to raise funds with the Wisconsin Singers. It’s also a great way to get people to care about their initiatives instead of just donating and immediately forgetting the campaign.

How to replicate it

Turn to your community and recruit volunteers to play active roles in your GivingTuesday campaign. Even having people promote your initiative on social media can go a long way to increase visibility and donations.

People are more likely to engage in your GivingTuesday campaign when they see your organization is a real part of the community and makes an effort to better the community. In the case of the Wisconsin Singers, the group is actively involved in the community, performing locally, and creating booster programs to generate more opportunities in the performing arts. 

CASE STUDY 4: Hope Kits (World Vision with Thirty-One Gifts)


World Vision is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to helping impoverished and underserved communities. In the fall of 2014, World Vision partnered with Thirty-One Gifts in a GivingTuesday campaign to create and distribute Hope Kits which are tote bags containing hygiene products like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and soap.

The campaign offers participants multiple ways to contribute. First, they can give a direct donation to sponsor a Hope Kit. Alternatively, they can host a kit-building party. The host and his or her friends get together to build (and sponsor) Hope Kits. World Vision also sets up booths in larger cities throughout November so the public can participate. Then on GivingTuesday, World Vision distributes the Hope Kits and funds raised through donations, to women in need.

In 2018, there were 2,500 Hope Kits produced and distributed, making it such a success that it became an annual event. Additionally, Thirty-One Gifts matches donations with an equivalent amount of product (which is added to the kits). More kits have been created in the wake of the Hope Kit’s success including Promise Packs and SchoolTools for children and Hygiene Kits for US and international families.

Why it was successful

World Vision and Thirty-One Gifts Hope Kits give participants the chance to make a direct and positive difference in someone’s life. It’s a tangible record of impact!

Another great feature of the Hope Kits campaign is that there are multiple ways to donate. Participants can donate a small amount, sponsor a Hope Kit, or give their time and energy to hosting a kit-building party.

How to replicate it

When donations have a direct, quantifiable, and positive impact, participants will feel like they’re making a bigger difference and are more likely to donate.

The Hope Kit program lets participants contribute in a few different ways. When your participants have multiple ways to contribute (or there are multiple levels of donations), people are more likely to donate because they can give in whatever way they prefer. 

CASE STUDY 5: GivingTREEvia (Trees Forever)


Trees Forever is an Iowa-based nonprofit organization emphasizing environmental awareness through the planting and care of trees. The organization aims to inspire passion for and interest in the natural environment. One way Trees Forever does this is with tree trivia (#GivingTREEvia) fundraiser parties.

Trees Forever #GivingTREEvia is a cross between a standard trivia party and a miniaturized fundraising event. For a #25 registration fee, the host orders the #GivingTREEvia toolkit which contains the trivia questions and recipes for snacks. When it’s time for the actual TREEvia, every player sets his or her donation amount for each question missed. Then at the end of the evening, the host collects donations from the players and sends them to Trees Forever.

Initially, #GivingTREEvia parties were meant to be held on GivingTuesday, after which the hosts would post photos of their TREEvia party attendees along with their scores and the requisite tags (@TreesForever, #GivingTREEvia, #GivingTuesday). But over the last couple of years, Trees Forever began to encourage TREEvia parties throughout the year.

This initiative has been quite successful for Trees Forever. On the first GivingTuesday the event was held, Trees Forever raised enough money to buy a new watering vehicle needed for the Trees Forever Growing Futures program.

Why it was successful

Most charity work tends to feel like, well, work. But Trees Forever overcame this issue with gamification which is when you take something that’s usually not very game-like and introduce the mechanics of gameplay. So you could say that #GivingTREEvia puts the “fun” in fundraising.

Besides the gamification, #GivingTREEvia offers a level of flexibility that isn’t usually associated with charity work. While the game was originally intended to take place on GivingTuesday, TREEvia can be held whenever it works best for the host. This eliminates the inconvenience that’s sometimes associated with fundraising and makes TREEvia less disruptive to a person’s schedule.  

[Get researched-based fundraising ideas in GlobalGiving’s “Generosity in Practice” series.]

How to replicate it

By making your GivingTuesday campaign fun, you may appeal to those who aren’t normally enthusiastic about donating or fundraising. This gives your campaign a much broader appeal which means more participation, more donations, and making a bigger difference.

Versatility is another strength of #GivingTREEvia that can be replicated. Due to the way the TREEvia kit was designed, participants have a lot of flexibility in how they host the event and can work TREEvia into their schedules.

GlobalGiving can help you create your own GivingTuesday Campaign


GivingTuesday is a day that unites us in our care for others, offering many opportunities to turn generosity into real change and benefit. With a well-crafted GivingTuesday campaign, you can inspire positive influence. In fact, we created this list to inspire GivingTuesday ideas for your own campaign, so you can become the next GivingTuesday success story.


Featured Photo: Prevent Child Trafficking Through Education by The Freedom Story (Formerly The SOLD Project)
Get Free Tips + Tools in Your Inbox
Subscribe to get the best content from the Learn Library in your inbox once per month.
Meet Your New Fundraising Team
Join GlobalGiving for training and support tailored to you.

Looking for something specific?

Find exactly what you're looking for in our Learn Library by searching for specific words or phrases related to the content you need.

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.