April 2, 2024

Connecting With Your Community on Giving Tuesday: Messaging insights to inform your 2023 Giving Tuesday Strategy

A staggering $3.1 billion was raised over a 24-hour period during Giving Tuesday last year; up +15% from the previous year and more than +25% from 2020, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. This impressive total demonstrates the strength of generosity among individual donors and the collective power of public-private partnerships as a driving force for good.  

Our team at Rocket continues to be energized each year by the number of new companies stepping into the Giving Tuesday space. It has been a leading moment in the nonprofit sector for over a decade and now companies engaging in these campaigns range from leading Fortune 1000 brands to small and mid-sized emerging brands dipping their toes into impact. All this goodwill can make it difficult for brands to cut through the noise at a time when customers are being bombarded with messages. 

So, what can we learn from last year’s Giving Tuesday efforts to make this year’s messaging more impactful?  


Many brands chose email outreach as their primary communication channel last year because it’s an easy way to connect directly with their community and build credibility. Although each brand must choose the right strategy authentic to their voice and brand, their email communications strategies fall roughly into four best practice buckets: 


  • Lead with the issue or cause 
  • Lead with CTA to join the movement 
  • Lead with highlighting a nonprofit partner and their work 
  • Lead with a fundraising activation 


Rocket outlines a few examples from last year below, sharing how each impact messaging approach can effectively engage audiences:

Lead with the issue or cause: SkinnyDipped 

Email Subject: ❤️ Happy Giving Tuesday!!

Key Messages:
Globally, women and children are disproportionately impacted by poverty and often have limited access to education, which is why SkinnyDipped is committed to supporting women and children in cocoa-growing communities throughout the year, not just on Giving Tuesday.

They are close to achieving their goal of building two schools through recycling 10 tons of plastic.

Why it works: Consistent and ongoing social impact efforts build brand trust and credibility because societal issues persist year-round. We love how SkinnyDipped acknowledges that Giving Tuesday is a big moment but uses it to remind customers of 1) the urgency of the issue of poverty 2) why and how they’re focused on impact all year-round and 3) their momentum closing in on a big impact milestone.

Lead with CTA to join the movement: Venmo

Email Subject: Join the giving movement

Key Messages:

  • This Giving Tuesday, Venmo is offering a new way to give back to charities.
  • Users can explore thousands of verified charities on Venmo and make donations with just a few taps to join the movement to amplify generosity and support causes that matter to them.


Why it works: A central goal of Giving Tuesday is to encourage more people to support nonprofits, which means it’s one of the few times that a broad CTA can hit the mark. However, a barrier to entry for many people is knowing where and how to give.

Rocket applauds Venmo for making giving easy and accessible, and bonus points for doing so in a way that is authentic to their core product and business.

Lead with highlighting a nonprofit partner and their work: & Other Stories

Email Subject: It's Giving Tuesday

Key Messages:

  • In honor of Giving Tuesday, & Other Stories is partnering with CARE to support their global efforts to fight poverty and achieve social justice.
  • CARE is a leading humanitarian organization that focuses on working alongside women and girls to lift communities out of poverty.
  • Donations to CARE can help improve basic education, increase access to quality health care, and expand economic opportunities for people in need.


Why it works: Authenticity is essential for creating effective impact programs. Sometimes the best way to build credibility is to use your platform to spotlight a nonprofit partner doing the work on the ground. All nonprofits are in need of dollars and awareness, and a brand’s willing to harness its platform to educate new audiences can drive deep and lasting impact in both areas.

Lead with a fundraising activation: Nordstrom

Email Subject: Support 2 great nonprofits on Giving Tuesday

Key Messages:

  • On Giving Tuesday, Nordstrom will donate 10% of all gift card sales to Operation Warm and Big Brothers Big Sisters, up from their usual 1% donation to nonprofits.
  • The donations will help support:
    • Operation Warm, a nonprofit that provides brand-new coats to kids in need.
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit organization that matches children from disadvantaged backgrounds with adult mentors who provide support, guidance, and friendship.
  • Customers can donate online when checking out or in-store at any Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, or Nordstrom Local location.


Why it works: As we’ve learned from the Effective Altruism movement, attaching a point-of-sale campaign to a moment when customers are motivated to spend is a great way to maximize fundraising and awareness for partner organizations.

It also can make customers feel good about the cause their purchase will support and we love how Nordstrom framed the subject of their email with this in mind: Support 2 great nonprofits. This properly empowers the customer as the difference maker rather than placing themselves as the sole hero.

We'd love to chat! Drop us a line.
Drew Yukelson
Account Director



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50 Slough Road
Harvard, MA 01451
Ph: (978) 790-6225
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