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Case Study: Giving Tuesday

Using Social Instigators to Leverage Their Audience


Project Info

In 2016 the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka wanted to use #GivingTuesday, the national day of giving after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to be a soft launch for its community campaign and an introduction to the end of year/Christmas appeal for giving. The YMCA wanted this to be an entirely digital campaign to grow donations, establish a campaign format for subsequent years, and grow their donor database.

To help The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka achieve their goals, Digital Giants developed a strategy to leverage staff and volunteers to be social media ambassadors, to instigate peer to peer appeals. The underlying message was always to help people understand the Y is a charity.


  1. To receive 50 online donations of any amount, half from paid social posts.
  2. Get 50 YMCASM staff and volunteers to be social media ambassadors, promoting #GivingTuesday.
  3. Simplify the donation process by making access less than 2 clicks and providing pre-selected amounts.


The budget for this campaign was $400. This was distributed across social and Google.

How We Did It

The main piece of this campaign was “social instigation”. The YMCA recruited 11 community members that represented the many business lines and shared a passion for the YMCA and the #givingtuesday cause. These individuals were given a turnkey communication and promotion kit with clear instructions and objectives to meet. Each member was responsible for reaching out to at least five people in their social networks to encourage donations. To further motivate the participants this was presented as an internal competition. To track the performance and donation leads, each participant was provided with a gShift KontexURL ( a unique url that tracks the clicks it receives on every platform and channel – website, social, etc.).



The YMCA recruited instigators that represented their service lines. Each instigator was provided with an avatar for their social profiles. Before #givingtuesday the instigators were educated on social messaging and the expectations the YMCA had. To track the performance of each instigator gShift KontexURLs were used. These would show the engagement each instigator was responsible for.

Donation Page

The donation page was simplified to make the process as simple as possible for users. The page used predetermined donation amounts which included an anchor value which made the other values appear less costly. The page was then optimized for mobile, tablet, and desktop.


Content was developed to increase awareness and educate people of #givingtuesday and the YMCA’s goals

Online Advertising

Google Grants and Google Remarketing were used on the day of the campaign. Google Remarketing targeted those who had visited the YMCA pages. These ads were tracked with a KontexURL.

Budget allocated was $50

Social Advertising

A Facebook ad was created to target those who liked the YMCA page and their friends. This ad would reach those who were involved with the YMCA to some degree.

$250 was used to boost a post on #givingtuesday

$100 was used for the ad targeting the custom audience



More than $15,000 was raised through the campaign

Tracking Instigators Through Kontexturls

Instigators were able to drive 470 people to the donation page. The competitive element motivated some instigators more than others. The top-performing instigator drove 30% of the total engagement.