Giving Tuesday Fundraising Campaign Guide for Animal Shelters and Rescues

Giving Tuesday is less than 1 month away on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. There’s still plenty of time to make a big impact on the lives of your rescue pets during this international day of giving. According to, 174,000 people donated to their favorite charities on Giving Tuesday in 2019, and the average gift size was $112. Despite this year’s challenges, people will be looking for ways to give back during the holidays. Here are some tips to make sure they choose your organization.

Set up your fundraiser.

Make a goal. Choose an amount that you have to strive for, but is still attainable. If possible, offer a donation match to incentivize people to give now and have their dollars doubled.

Choose a platform. Donation collection sites, like Classy or GoFundMe, and Facebook show progress bars, so people can watch in real-time as you move toward your goal.

Build momentum. Send your fundraising link to key donors and supporters in advance of Giving Tuesday. If people see that a campaign already has donations, it communicates to them that others think it is a worthy cause.

Donations don’t have to be monetary. Is there a specific item your group desperately needs? Announce a pet food drive or towel drive, and invite people to your facility on Giving Tuesday to drop off supplies. You can also create a #GivingTuesday Amazon wish list to have the exact items you need delivered straight to you.

Choose your angle.

Appeal to your followers’ heart for animals by centering your campaign around an impactful rescue story. Ideally, feature a pet who is currently in your care to emphasize the urgent need. You can also highlight an animal who you went above and beyond to save (for example, a dog whose life was at-risk until you stepped in to provide an expensive surgery).

After choosing your story, use tangible examples to show what a contribution to your organization can do. Let’s say it costs $50 to get a puppy fully vaccinated. If your shelter is offering a #GivingTuesday match, that same $50 donation turns into $100 and protects two puppies instead of one. Remember, donors aren’t simply paying for vials of medicine. For $50, they’re ensuring that two orphan puppies have happy, healthy lives safe from painful and even deadly diseases.

Host a virtual event.

Facebook Event

Even if your Giving Tuesday efforts are 100% online, be sure to create an event listing on Facebook. Attendees will receive updates any time you post to the event page and a reminder on the day of Giving Tuesday.

Live Stream

Live video on social media is an easy way to make your followers feel like they’re part of your organization by giving them a fun, behind-the-scenes look. Consider interviewing special guests, such as local celebrities, animal professionals or even some of your most entertaining adoptables! (A live cameo from the pet featured in your Giving Tuesday campaign is sure to be a crowd pleaser.)

Online Challenge

Add an interactive element to get people excited about your campaign. In 2019, Helen Woodward Animal Center put webcams in a puppy playpen and kitten playpen. Every time a donation was made, staff tossed in either a dog toy or a cat toy based on the giver’s preference. (They also gave live shout-outs to people who gave $50 or more.) By the end of the day, the pets were swimming in a sea of toys!

Plan your marketing.


Inform your subscriber list that Giving Tuesday is coming in advance of the campaign. On the actual day, we recommend scheduling three emails:

  • Morning (Today is Giving Tuesday!)
  • Afternoon (There’s still time to give.)
  • Evening (It’s your last chance to have your dollars doubled.)

Social Media

Post on all your social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and don’t forget LinkedIn) letting your fans and followers know that you’re participating in #GivingTuesday. Make sure each post has a clear, singular call to action. (For instance, you don’t want to ask people to give money, donate pet food and buy a t-shirt in the same post.)

The Giving Tuesday organization offers a variety of digital assets, including customizable templates for the Canva app, and ready-made social media graphics available for download.

Press Release

Alert the media about your Giving Tuesday campaign, providing them with photos and video to share with their viewers and readers. Any bit of exposure helps! Example Press Release

Influencer Marketing

Does your organization have any well-known supporters? Reach out to celebrities or influencers with large social media followings to share your campaign. Their fans will gain awareness of your organization and maybe even be compelled to donate.

Giving Tuesday doesn’t end December 1.

Now that they’re invested in your campaign, donors will want to know how much money you raised and how those funds will be used. Post on social media and send an email sharing the total and, most importantly, saying thank you. Then, make a plan to stay in touch any new supporters.

Key Takeaway

With everything currently going on, including the pandemic and the election, the best way to capture the spirit of #GivingTuesday is by spreading a message of positivity. Show people that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that they can reach it by giving to you.

Even if you’re short on time and resources, our biggest piece of advice for Giving Tuesday is to do something. Again, people are looking to give, but they won’t give to you if you don’t provide a way for them to do so. We wish you the best of luck in your #GivingThursday preparations! Here’s to many more beautiful rescue pets finding forever homes.

Additional Giving Tuesday Resources

Download the 2020 Giving Tuesday Workbook

Giving Tuesday for Beginners

Last-Minute Tips for Giving Tuesday

Enroll as a charitable organization on Facebook

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