3 Creative Ways to Grow Your Giving Day
- April 30, 2019
It’s the beginning of giving season here at CiviCore! Between April and May, our team facilitates more than 20 events on the CiviCore Giving Platform. These online fundraisers take place across the country, supporting thousands of nonprofits and raising millions of dollars in donations. We’re fueled by the success of our clients; when they succeed, we succeed.
Whether you raise money for nonprofits, schools, churches, or other organizations that benefit your community, we want to empower you to reach your full potential. Inspired by CiviCore clients, here are three ways to get creative and expand the potential of your fundraising events.
1) The Big Payback: Host Kickoff Events
The Big Payback, a giving day hosted by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee on May 2nd, does a great job of engaging their community with in-person events. Each year to kick off their giving day, they host a free event called The Big Payback Plaza Party. Participants and sponsors are invited to listen to live music, patronize local food trucks, and compete for cash prizes. Radio and TV anchors scout out the crowd for interview opportunities, and people come dressed in their best ensembles in the hopes of winning a costume contest.
This event is a wonderful opportunity for nonprofit staff and volunteers to engage with members of the community. By showing up and demonstrating the great work they do, nonprofits can increase awareness of their organization—and hopefully their donation total in tandem.
The service area for The Big Payback is substantial: it covers 40 counties that comprise a good chunk of Tennessee. To make sure everyone has a nearby kickoff event to attend, The Big Payback hosts 4 County Rallies across their service area at various times throughout the giving day.
In addition to events on the day of The Big Payback, organizers offer virtual office hours. They held two sessions this season, one on prizes and events, and one on features available during their giving day. In order to empower nonprofits to raise as much as possible, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee also holds a rambunctious in-person training event. They covered topics such as peer to peer campaigns and marketing strategy, and also made time for a photoshoot with a boa of fake cash and matching cowboy hat. This kickoff gave nonprofit administrators the chance to get silly and network with representatives from other organizations, strengthening the community as a whole.
Due to successful partnerships with corporate sponsors, The Big Payback has maintained a substantial prize pool. The Big Payback 2018 secured about a quarter of a million dollars in prizes. That’s a lot of additional cash up for grabs!
One of the ways to earn some of that prize money is through The Big Payback Video Contest, new in 2019. Earlier this month, participating organizations were encouraged to create a short video telling donors why they should donate to their particular nonprofit during the online fundraising event. The general public voted and the nonprofits behind the top three videos were selected! Their prize is an interview by the NewsChannel 5 team on Facebook Live during The Big Payback Plaza Party. With a potential audience of 740,000, this exposure could be just what a nonprofit needs to meet or exceed their donation goal—not only for the day, but for the whole year.
The Big Payback is also holding a creative Instagram contest. They’ve made several poster templates available on their website to print. Once a donor has printed one, they fill it out with the nonprofit they’re supporting and their reason for doing so. They’ll pose for a photo holding the sign and tag it with #MyPaybackPic on Instagram. Each photo with this hashtag will count as a vote for the nonprofit mentioned. The organization with the most mentions will win an additional $1,000 in donations.
All of this is an excellent strategy for engaging the community and encouraging them to publicize their participation in the event.
The Big Payback 2019 is on May 2nd. Stay tuned to their site for more great ideas!
2) Coastside Gives: Engage Volunteers
Over on the west coast, the Mavericks Community Foundation is also hosting an online fundraising event on May 2nd. Coastside Gives is a volunteer-run giving event that supports nonprofits in the Half Moon Bay area of California. Last year the giving day had just 36 participating nonprofits and managed to raise nearly half a million dollars! With those numbers, they achieved one of the highest averages of donations per organization of any CiviCore giving event.
Their success is almost certainly attributed to their dedicated team of volunteers. The California giving day is run by 5 women with roots in the area and extensive volunteer experience with a variety of organizations. Reading through their bios, we’re reminded of the incredible value of utilizing volunteers for your fundraising events—and it’s not simply because you get free labor.
Research has shown that people who volunteer contribute larger monetary gifts than those who don’t. A study by Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund (which you can download here) reported that people who had volunteered in the last 12 months gave as much as 10 times more than people who had not donated their time. One reason for this increase is emotional investment. When people give time to an organization, they receive an equally powerful gift. In addition to making us feel connected to our community, volunteering is known to have positive effects on our mental health. Volunteering boosts our mood and makes us feel good. When we have that experience and attribute it to time spent with a nonprofit organization, we forge a bond and are invested in their success.
In addition to higher monetary donations, volunteering is a great alternative for people who don’t feel they can give a financial gift. If someone has lost their job or is in the throes of an economic downturn, charitable giving may simply not be in their budget. This makes the prospect of donating a few hours to a nonprofit serving their community all the more appealing.
For every individual who volunteers with an organization, there is an entire network of potential new connections. After someone has volunteered their time and feels good about their contribution, they are likely to talk to their friends and family about the experience. With 69% of the American public on some type of social media, there is also a good chance volunteers will post about their time volunteering. This expands the potential for new audiences exponentially.
With their combined networks and philanthropic experience, the women behind Coastside Gives have been able to secure at least 16 sponsors ranging from local restaurants to real estate agencies.
This year, Coastside Gives has 44 participating nonprofits and has set a goal of raising $500,000. We wish them the absolute best of luck!
3) East Texas Giving Day: Partner with Local Media
Of course, your gives day marketing strategy would not be complete without partnerships with local media. This is something that the people behind East Texas Giving Day do particularly well. Run by the East Texas Communities Foundation, East Texas Giving Day (ETGD) supports a service area of 32 counties. With such an extensive region to engage, ETGD relies on media partnerships to get the word out.
In August, East Texas Communities Foundation Director of Public Relations Holly McFarlin gave us her advice on leveraging the media—specifically local TV stations—for giving day success. She spoke about the importance of keeping your messaging consistent when speaking to the media, and recommended pitching stories rather than informational segments.
Research has shown that people are more motivated to donate when they hear a moving account about a specific individual who has benefited rather than a story about a group as a whole. Known as the “identifiable victim effect,” this strategy negates anonymity and brings home the impact a donor’s gift can make. One study even found that people were more likely to give to a single person in need versus two people.
There’s an art to how the story is told, too. Greater Good Magazine reported that people preferred giving to someone whose situation was “inspiring and rewarding” rather than “emotionally exhausting and tiring.” Keep this in mind when pitching: by sharing an inspiring account of someone who has benefitted from donations, a news outlet is more likely to share the piece—and donors are more likely to give more.
In order to get the air time to share these stories, Holly recommends focusing on long-term relationships rather than short-term payout. She works hard to connect on a personal level with anchors and producers from local TV stations. By understanding what causes interest anchors most, Holly knows exactly who will be most engaged when an uplifting anecdote about a participating nonprofit comes her way. Plus, when the anchor speaks about something he/she is passionate about during a segment, that passion is contagious.
On the day of East Texas Giving Day, which is today, April 30th, TV stations across the region will air segments featuring specific nonprofits that benefit from gives day donations. Stay tuned to ETGD’s website for press releases and more tips on leveraging local media for your online fundraising event!