How to Create a Giving Tuesday Photo Sharing Campaign

For the last several years, photos have been at the top of the list when it comes to uploading and sharing content online.

According to the SocialTimes:

  • 8,796 photos are shared on Snapchat per second
  • 80 million pics are uploaded to Instagram each day
  • 350 million photos are added to Facebook daily

Between selfies and sunsets, delicious home-cooked dinners and adorable dogs, there’s no shortage of opportunities to take a photo and share it with the world within seconds.

Thankfully, many nonprofits have figured out how to leverage pics for good – more campaigns are using photo and video sharing as a central strategy for engagement, and #GivingTuesday is no exception.

In its second year, the annual global 24-hour giving campaign added an #UNselfie photo sharing component, which entailed donors holding up a sign showing how they were going to give on #GivingTuesday, labeled with the #UNselfie hashtag – a reverse of the selfie, to put a spotlight on generosity.

Thousands of people uploaded pics to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter declaring their support to all kinds of nonprofits and causes, leading sites like Mashable and Forbes to highlight some of the most inspiring and fun examples.

But while it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” it’s not always that easy to get supporters to upload and share photos on social media for the purposes of your crowdfunding campaign. For some people, it may seem like just one extra thing they have to do when they want to just donate and be done.

Three Tips for Giving Tuesday Photo Sharing Campaigns

So how can you help to make photo sharing easy for your community to engage with your cause this #GivingTuesday? Here are a few tips.

Tip #1: Lead by Example

It may seem like the easiest thing in the world to follow directions like “Snap a pic of yourself giving back and share with us on social media!” But we’ve seen numerous examples of folks needing a little extra push in the right direction.

In 2011, the Case Foundation created a fun video for their holiday campaign, called #GoodSpotting, in which they asked people to share photos of themselves or others doing good around their communities.

The video, below, features Case Foundation staff doing their own #GoodSpotting at the office and around town, as well as other tricks they were “good” at. It was a great way to provide examples, as well as to explain how the campaign worked.

Tip: Whether you use videos, example photos, bullet points in a blog post, or a combination of approaches, the key is to make it personal, relevant, and easy to understand.

Tip #2: Incentivize It

Everyone knows that people are more likely to participate in something if there is a chance to get something in return, like a reward or prize. Hosting a sweepstakes or contest is an easy way to compel photo sharing for your #GivingTuesday campaign.

Whether it’s gift cards, physical prizes, or a unique opportunity to take their engagement with your cause to the next level, there are numerous options for incentivizing photo sharing.

Let’s say that you work at a nonprofit that supplies books for classrooms in communities in need. For your #GivingTuesday campaign, perhaps you ask people to share photos of themselves with their favorite book, and in return they’re entered for a chance to win a copy of a current bestseller or a favorite children’s classic. The ask is really easy, and the prize is pretty cool, too.

In 2014, Habitat for Humanity hosted a photo contest through Instagram, asking people to upload pics depicting the mission of Habitat using #HabitatPhotoContest.

Habitat For Humanity

The “Editor’s Choice” winner was selected to volunteer at the 31st annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Dallas, Texas, and the “Viewer’s Choice” winner received a $100 gift card to the Habitat online store. Habitat’s approach went beyond the basic selfie to show the impact of their work, and they provided rewards that truly connected to their mission and deepened engagement.

Tip: Make your incentives relevant to your cause as much as possible for authenticity. Don’t offer books for a health-related campaign; do offer water bottles if you’re a water organization.

Tip #3: Keep it Simple

As you’re trying to think of fun ways to incorporate photo sharing into your #GivingTuesday campaign, it can be tempting to try to come up with something completely unique that no one has ever done before. And while that is a great goal, the execution and potential success can be hampered if you make it too complicated.

Less is more, they say, and it applies to photo sharing, too. Asking people to go well out of their way to find hard to reach backdrops or acting out a very specific and complicated pose will limit your audience significantly.

The hashtag and/or caption you want people to use with their pics needs to be easy to remember and type out as well. There’s a reason why #UNselfie and #Goodspotting have been so successful – it’s easy, it’s obvious, and each campaign has just enough of a creative twist to make it “new” yet approachable.

A couple of examples:

  • St. Jean the Baptiste High School in NYC launched #85kindacts on #GivingTuesday in 2014, in which they asked students to share photos online of acts of kindness as part of an anti-bullying campaign. Why it worked: it’s extremely relevant to the topic and audience and easy to remember.
  • Well Aware hosted a two-month selfie fundraising challenge earlier this year to raise money for clean water around the world, using the easy to remember hashtag #WaterThx.

Well Aware Photo Share

Tip: Stick to one ask– “Take a photo of X, use the hashtag X, and share online!” Adding other steps or complications to this action will decrease the likelihood that hundreds or thousands of people will complete it.

The important thing to remember when using a photo sharing element in your #GivingTuesday campaign is to make sure that it gives people a sense of connection to your cause. Photos are a way to visualize doing good, and of course, it’s a way for people to get some recognition for giving back. Don’t force it as a tactic if you don’t think it suits your audience, or if you are struggling to find the right ask.

Learn more about the #UNselfie from GivingTuesday.org, and visit CauseVox.com for other #GivingTuesday resources and tips.

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Jenna Sauber is content and writing specialist at CauseVox, an platform used to easily create fundraising websites.

John Haydon