A content strategy approach to your Giving Day

By Posted in - Content Strategy & Fundraising on November 26th, 2019 0 Comments A group meeting. Text reads "A content strategy approach to your Giving Day".

A Giving Day is an intense 24-hour philanthropic event, held by many charities, schools and universities each year.

Giving Days are primarily marketed online and typically have two objectives: increase awareness of a cause, and collect as many donations as possible, all within a day.

Due to the time restriction, there is a challenge element to any Giving Day campaign. Organisations up their marketing activity to generate excitement around the ticking clock, urging people to make donations before time runs out.

More and more universities, colleges and schools are embracing the Giving Day concept to fundraise for their institutions.

Naturally, a high volume of content is required to maintain interest during the 24-hour period, so it is tempting to jump straight into content creation: donor testimonials, campaign messaging, spotlights on research projects, interviews with recipients of scholarships…

However, a Giving Day campaign needs a robust content strategy. A strategic approach will ensure maximum impact of your content (messages, images, videos, webpages) by considering your objectives, stakeholders and audience, thereby offering a greater chance of achieving your fundraising goals.

Therefore, before you create a single piece of content, we urge you to consider the following.

1. Your content strategy mission statement

It is helpful to begin by agreeing a content strategy mission statement. This will set out your intentions when approaching each piece of content during your Giving Day campaign.

A suggested template is below:

The content we produce helps our organisation accomplish [goal] and [goal] by providing [adjective] and [adjective] content that makes [audience] feel [emotion] and [emotion] so that they can [action] or [action].

For instance:

The content we produce helps our organisation raise awareness of our Giving Day campaign and raise £50,000 by providing inspirational and captivating content that makes our alumni feel empowered and motivated so they can engage with our content and make a donation.


2. Strategic alignment

We next recommend a strategic alignment exercise. This encourages you to consider your strategic goals, either as a university or a fundraising department, and how your content can help you achieve these. This ensures every piece of content has a strategic purpose, thereby maintaining focus on the bigger picture.

We recommend a table, such as the one below. An example is included.


Our goal is…


Our content must…


Platform considerations


To inspire first-time donations from recent graduates.


Appeal to a younger audience, featuring stories about
fellow recent graduates
who already donate.

Assume no prior knowledge, informing these graduates on
the process of donating and
where their money will go.


Younger demographics are prolific on Instagram, therefore this could be a key channel to utilise.

A donation sticker could be added to an Instagram Story (a popular format) to allow for quick donations.


3. Stakeholder mapping

An ambitious Giving Day event will require input from a large number of stakeholders. We therefore recommend you conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise to identify these groups.

Ask yourself:

– From whom do you need buy-in or input?
– Who will be impacted by your work?
– Who will be required to support your event?
– Which of the above have a High Interest or High Influence on your Giving Day?

Once this is done, you can focus on…

4. Stakeholder analysis

We next recommend that you conduct further analysis of your High Influence stakeholders. It is important to consider the questions in the template below to ensure you understand your stakeholders, what you need from them, and how you will work with them. Their buy-in and support is crucial for a successful campaign.

For instance:




University social media manager


Why are they a stakeholder?


Will need their help and advice on posting content throughout the Giving Day on official university social media channels.


What do they care


Large followings and high engagement with university social media activity, and how these channels can serve organisational goals.


What do we want them to…?




A Giving Day is a 24-hour philanthropic event held online to raise awareness of a cause and encourage as many donations as possible.




This could be a good opportunity to show the potential of their social media channels in achieving a strategic goal.




Excited to be participating in a large fundraising campaign. Great for personal development and career profile.


Become a key part of the planning group, offer their expertise, and post during the Giving day itself at key times.


How shall we
reach them?


Meetings and email contact.


How often must be
keep in touch?


At least weekly. More frequently as the Giving Day approaches.


Core questions to
ask them


Which social media channels are already established? Can we be allowed permission to assist with posting and responding to comments? What types of content are most popular on our social media channels?


Notes from discussion
with them and any
follow-up required


Carry out an audit of our existing content to see if this can be repurposed for our Giving Day. Social media manager to analyse which types of content are popular on which channels.

5. Audience insight

One of the most important elements of any content strategy is to seek insight about your audiences. This will help you make informed decisions about the content, messaging and channels to use during your Giving Day.

You can gather this insight from your key stakeholders, provided they work closely with your audiences on a regular basis. Alternatively, you can carry out primary audience research: online surveys, focus groups, 121 interviews, workshops, and more.

Use your research to understand what your audience is thinking, feeling, seeing and doing. You can then consider what you would like them to think, feel, see and do. Finally, you can consider how your content can help you achieve this change.

For example, a recent graduate might:




Our aim


How to achieve change




I miss university


I want to reconnect
with my university


Ensure they are seeing inspiring university content on their social feeds




Quarter-life crisis, nostalgic, disenfranchised


Empowered to give back
to university,
make a difference


Provide them with instructions on how to give back and where their money will go




Posts from former
university friends
on their
Facebook feed


Our content about fundraising activity, particularly our
Giving Day


Digital advertising to boost our Giving Day posts; seek ambassadors who are fellow recent graduates to share content.




Busy with
graduate scheme
and professional


Find time to share our content, donate,
stay in touch


Make the donation process quick and simple.

And now…

It’s time for content. Only after considering your goals, stakeholders and audiences, should you begin developing ideas for your Giving Day content itself.

Rest assured: your content, the distribution of your content, and your overall campaign, will be all the more impactful thanks to your strategic planning.

If you would like to learn more about adopting a content strategy approach to your Giving Day, then drop an email to hello@picklejarcommunications.com. We are the only digital communications agency with a specific focus on content strategy in the education sector. We would love to share our insight with you.

You may also wish to enrol in our 16-week online learning programme on how to create a content strategy. The programme includes an institutional license which can be shared throughout your entire organisation. Watch our introductory video to learn more.

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