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From the 6th Annual Shorty Impact Awards


Winner in Non-Profit Partnership


Starting in 2020, T-Mobile transformed April Fools’ Day from a day of pranks to a day of appreciation. Inspired by a study showing those who witness a single act of gratitude are more inspired to join in, T-Mobile ignited a movement of giving back through their #GiveThanksNotPranks social media campaign.

Recognizing how teachers went above and beyond to keep students learning throughout COVID-19, T-Mobile used their 2021 campaign to rally public support for classrooms through nonprofit DonorsChoose.

Full time teachers at any US public, charter, or Head Start school use DonorsChoose to request resources their students need to thrive, and donors give at any level to bring those learning dreams to life. The most trusted crowdfunding platform for classrooms, DonorsChoose vets each request and ships resources directly to the classroom. Since 2000, 4 million people and partners have contributed $1 billion to support 2 million teacher requests.

Starting March 22, T-Mobile encouraged the public and other brands to use #GiveThanksNotPranks to unlock up to $500,000 supporting classroom basics requests on DonorsChoose. From UPS to TikTok to The Cheesecake Factory, brands cheered on the good work of the T-Mobile and DonorsChoose communities.

Along with supporting public education, T-Mobile implemented #GiveThanksNotPranks to differentiate their brand in the competitive telecoms industry. By becoming the cellular carrier that’s doing good for the world, T-Mobile aims to build brand loyalty among existing customers. Unlike other carriers who rely only on promotions to acquire new customers, T-Mobile builds awareness and affinity through philanthropic campaigns.

Strategy and Execution

Beginning March 22, T-Mobile invited brands, customers, and fans to forego trickery and #GiveThankNotPranks in celebration of teachers and students. The public was encouraged to engage on social to unlock T-Mobile’s generosity or activate T-Mobile’s matching funds by directly supporting requests for classroom basics on DonorsChoose.

Social media

Every time a social media user posted using the hashtag #GiveThanksNotPranks, they unlocked $5 of support to DonorsChoose teachers, thanks to T-Mobile. T-Mobile posted a one-click share on Twitter, enabling users to spread gratitude with just the click of a button. Posts encouraging the public to use #GiveThanksNotPranks were also shared through the social channels of DonorsChoose.

Cross-brand engagement

In order to create a movement, T-Mobile enlisted other brands to join in committing to pausing the pranks and giving thanks on April Fools’ Day. Leading up to April 1, brands such as Motorola, OnePlus, SanMar, Wattpad, Mattress Firm,, and Drone Racing League pledged their support for #GiveThanksNotPranks and committed to a donation. On the big day, the challenge was in full swing as brands joined in the fun to help spread awareness through customized brand banter. In total, T-Mobile helped raise $1,050,000 for DonorsChoose projects.

Classroom Basics Match Offer

Funding unlocked through social media supported classroom requests through a match offer, doubling donations to DonorsChoose projects requesting classroom basics like rulers, notebooks, and pencils. These essential resources became even more vital during COVID-19, as teachers needed to provide individualized materials for every student. Educators teaching remotely had to ensure every student had these basics available at home, and those working in the classroom needed to give each student their own tools so they could avoid sharing and stay healthy.

Donors were able to make their giving go twice as far by teaming up with T-Mobile and donating to this category of projects. T-Mobile’s logo and a statement of support was visible on every classroom basics request, allowing donors and teachers to see exactly why T-Mobile was excited to support education.

Additional outreach

The DonorsChoose email marketing team promoted T-Mobile’s match offer to nearly 40,000 DonorsChoose supporters, letting them know that their donations would go twice as far with support from T-Mobile. They also emailed over 800 teachers supported by T-Mobile, encouraging them to join the wave of gratitude on social with #GiveThanksNotPranks.


T-Mobile Traditional Media

T-Mobile Social Media

DonorsChoose Social Media

Impact on classrooms


Video for #GiveThanksNotPranks

Entrant Company / Organization Name