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Giving Tuesday is an annual fundraising initiative – a national day of giving – founded by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations in 2012. Last year more than 7,000 nonprofits participated in the event raising $19 million. Just like any crowdfunding, though, the amount of money you can raise will very much depend on having a focused plan and sound strategy.

Fortunately, the sector gets better at this every year and people and organizations are generous with their tools, tips, and ideas. Here are a few of the best I’ve seen to date. Even if you don’t participate in Giving Tuesday this year, you’ll find some great ideas for other projects.


Happy planning!

In 1858, the Australian colony of Victoria was young and rich. Neighboring not-so-rich colonies had been launching expeditions of discovery into the "barren void" of the interior for years and the leaders of Victoria wanted in on that action. The Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria (later the Royal Society of Victoria) began making plans for an expedition in the name of progress and science. If there’s glory to be had, so much the better.

An anonymous donor (later revealed to be Ambrose Kyte) issued a £1,000 challenge grant to support the enterprise on the condition that £2,000 in matching funds be raised from the public within 12 months. A fundraising committee was established forthwith.

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“They all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.”

Two years ago, video of three 7th grade boys harassing their bus monitor, Karen Klein whose eldest son had committed suicide, went viral. “Making the Bus Monitor Cry” hit a raw nerve with millions of viewers and the mainstream media picked it up. Someone set up a Indiegogo campaign to raise $5,000 to send Mrs. Klein on “the vacation of a lifetime.” The campaign raised $703,833 and people kept giving. They wanted it all to go to her and ended up giving her a nice retirement and the donors felt good about that.

The reasons why people are so generous to one individual rather than an organization that could have more impact has already been written about so I won’t go into it here. I do want to turn a spotlight on what has happened since then that reveals how unscrupulous people have used this phenomenon to enrich themselves.

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