Creative and brand strategy, Digital strategy, Email strategy

The Making of a Top Performer: Five Creative Strategies From Giving Tuesday 2023

When making an appeal to your supporters on any day of the year – but especially in major fundraising moments like Giving Tuesday and year-end – we firmly believe that bold and innovative creative is central to a successful campaign. At its heart, this comes down to telling a compelling story: of the work your program is doing to realize its world-changing mission and of the critical role that a supporter can play in making that work possible.

On Giving Tuesday this year, top-performing emails and ads across our nonprofit partners shared a few creative approaches to help communicate need, urgency and impact with clarity: from when and how they messaged supporters (think: previews, deadlines, extensions) to bold visuals and compelling voices.

For insights and ideas around the creative approaches to fundraising that drive response and revenue, check out our five top-performing creative strategies from Giving Tuesday:

1. GIFs drove results by catching supporters’ eye and engaging them from the start.

With email inboxes getting more crowded every Giving Tuesday, bold creative that will drive supporters to click and engage is central to a successful creative campaign. Lately, graphics that incorporate motion, with GIFs and videos, are driving top performing emails.

Direct-to-camera appeals make asks feel personal.

This year, some of our nonprofit partners’ most compelling email creative featured leaders from within the organization, in direct-to-camera GIFs, making eye contact with readers to make their appeal feel all the more urgent.

A GIF deployed by Human Rights Watch in their 2023 Giving Tuesday email campaign reads, "As conflicts escalate around the world, we need your support. Donate 5x now."

Thermometers in motion illustrate need.

To connect supporters more directly with the status of their Giving Tuesday goals, several of our nonprofit partners found success incorporating motion into their thermometer graphics, illustrating need in a direct, clear way.

2. Midnight deadlines added urgency to late-in-the-day messaging.

This Giving Tuesday, we saw many of our partners’ top-performing emails sent in the final hours of the day. With midnight deadlines driving energy and motivating supporters to make their donation, the most successful email creative layered several urgency-driving tactics at once:

Compelling language asks supporters to act now.

With active language inviting donors to “rush your gift” and stressing approaching deadlines for matches, nonprofit emails that made it clear to supporters that these were late-breaking, last-chance appeals drove the highest response.

A donation ask array deployed by Save The Children in their 2023 Giving Tuesday email campaign reads, "Last chance to have your gift matched 5x toward our $500,000 goal."

Countdown clocks make “time is running out” messaging literal.

And one of the most powerful ways to give supporters a sense of urgency this Giving Tuesday was using a GIF to create countdown clocks that illustrated the fast approach of their midnight deadlines.

A GIF with a countdown clock deployed by Action Against Hunger in their 2023 Giving Tuesday email campaign reads, "Match Expiring at 11:59 PM! Triple my gift now"

3. Previews and extensions drove results for more than a single day.

Gone are the days of the Tuesday-only Giving Tuesday campaign. Nonprofit fundraisers who stretched their email messaging for Giving Tuesday with previews and extensions saw a strong return on their campaigns overall – for one of our partners, it helped drive a 28% year-over-year increase.

Early access to matches offer an exclusive appeal.

For some of our nonprofit partners, preview messages granting early access to a match gave supporters an opportunity to give that felt more unique and impactful.

A GIF deployed by Save The Children in their 2023 Giving Tuesday email campaign reads, "Early Giving Tuesday 5x match access. Make 5x the difference for children."

Missed-goal extensions give urgency to further need.

On Wednesday morning, our inboxes were full of match-extension emails – and messaging around nonprofits falling short of their campaign goals drove supporters to make a donation, even in the days after Giving Tuesday. In fact, extension messages sent the day after Giving Tuesday saw such major results for our nonprofit partners this year that it was one of the highest revenue days of the entire EOY season.

4. Signers added familiarity and weight to appeals.

Giving Tuesday email messages, sent directly from a well-known leader from your organization or a celebrity advocate, have proven to resonate with supporters and drive a stronger response – so there is value in acquiring celebrity signers or building name recognition around the leaders behind your organization’s work and mission.

Including a photo of a celebrity signer helps emphasize known voices.

In several of our partners’ Giving Tuesday emails, creative strategy also included using a headshot of your well-known email signer to add an extra layer of connection with supporters.

Actor and Human Rights Defender Alyssa Milano appeared as an email signer in emails from Human Rights Watch in their 2023 Giving Tuesday email campaign.

5. Ask arrays that communicate impact made giving feel even more compelling.

Careful testing over the years has proven the value of ask array buttons, which offer supporters an easy way to make gifts of various sizes. We’ve continued to test what tactics make ask arrays even more compelling to supporters, driving clicks to donation pages.

Match math, when combined with equivalencies, can share greater impact.

When a match is on the table, match math allows the increased impact of a gift to be made clear – and for some of our nonprofit partners, including both match math and impact equivalencies helped a supporter also see what sort of tangible difference their matched donation could make.

We’re excited to follow up on these creative trends as we look back on 2023 year-end fundraising with our End-of-Year Report! If you’re ready to read more of the top trends from Giving Tuesday, check out our 11 Takeaways. You can also dig into our review of Giving Tuesday Strategies That Work, highlighting the proven strategies that drive urgency and action in major moments.

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