8 Ways to Spice Up Your Giving Day
- May 7, 2019
The many organizations using the CiviCore Giving Platform are a constant source of inspiration for the CiviCore team. We’re repeatedly impressed by their resourcefulness, creativity, and ability to engage their community in a unique and nuanced way. If you’re ever strapped for ideas on how to boost engagement for your online fundraising event, look no further! Here are 8 ways to make your giving day unique, inspired by 8 CiviCore Giving Platform clients.
1) Empower Nonprofits
Midlands Gives, an annual 18-hour online fundraising event in South Carolina taking place today, May 7, knows that strong nonprofit engagement makes for a strong giving event. Hosted by the Central Carolina Community Foundation, Midlands Gives offers participating nonprofits a robust training schedule prior to the event. They host a total of 7 nonprofit trainings leading up to their giving day, both in person and via webinars.
Among the sessions is “Midlands Gives 101,” which teaches nonprofit administrators the basics of participating in a giving event, provides advice for developing a sound strategy, and calls upon organizations who have found success in the past. Midlands Gives also held three logistics webinars, once each month in February, March, and April. These sessions provided detailed information on how nonprofits can stay on track when preparing for and participating in Midlands Gives. During these training webinars, the Midlands Gives team trained nonprofit administrators on how to best utilize features of the CiviCore Giving Platform such as scheduled donations, peer to peer fundraising, and matching fund capabilities.
Also in February, Midlands Gives held a webinar entitled “Maximize Your Digital Presence for Midlands Gives and Beyond.” This training session encouraged nonprofits to utilize social media and other digital resources to grow their organization and audience.
2) Involve the Community
Give for Good—which also takes place today, May 7, and is hosted by the Community Foundation of North Louisiana—does a great job of engaging their community with fun events. The biggest event celebrating the giving day is Shop for Good. Donors and community members can come by a local shopping center to shop at some of their favorite stores and learn more about the nonprofits participating in the event. People will have the rare opportunity to speak with the incredible people behind their favorite organizations, and they can schedule their donations at the event as well. All gifts taken at Shop for Good will go towards the Lagniappe Fund, which is the foundation’s “stretch pool” for the giving day. Stretch pools (also called stretch funds) are doled out by the foundation after the giving event to either offset costs, or are distributed to a variety of participating nonprofits that have a particular need.
The Give for Good team encourages individual organizations to host their own events as well. We spoke with Emily Smith, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, about how nonprofits get creative around their events.
“From 5K races and open houses to trivia and all-out festivals, we ses a lot of great Give for Good events,” says Emily. The Community Foundation of North Louisiana encourages nonprofits to forge partnerships with local businesses for events as well. Emily says that many end up contributing proceeds or matching gifts to the nonprofit. “It’s a great way for community members to meet staff and volunteers of organizations and even do site visits of places that they may not normally see,” Emily reports. “It really gives a face and a place to Give For Good.”
Emily shared her anticipation about the 2019 event. “We’re really excited about the growth we see every year through Give For Good. Since our first gives day in 2014, we have doubled the number of donors that give and tripled the number of participating organizations. We can’t wait to see what happens this year!”
“We’re really excited about the growth we see every year through Give For Good. Since our first gives day in 2014, we have doubled the number of donors that give and tripled the number of participating organizations. We can’t wait to see what happens this year!”
– Emily Smith, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Community Foundation of North Louisiana.
3) Rely on Volunteers
The power of relying on volunteers for community giving events cannot be underestimated. Give Local Piedmont, which also runs today, May 7, and is hosted by the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, is primarily run by volunteers as opposed to paid staff members. Located in central Virginia, the community of Piedmont is on to something: volunteering is one of the most powerful ways a nonprofit (such as the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation) can grow their organization.
Research has found that people who volunteer for an organization are more likely to donate to that organization than non-volunteers. The donations made by past volunteers are more likely to be higher than gifts from non-volunteers. But using volunteers doesn’t just boost donations, it boosts morale and loyalty, too.
After someone spends time with an organization, they may talk to their friends and family about it. They may post about it on social media, expanding the nonprofit’s audience and increasing visibility. Millennials are especially important in this equation, considering at least 86% are on social media and they highly value philanthropy.
By utilizing volunteers to run their annual giving day, Give Local Piedmont is tapping into this powerful resource and bringing their community into the heart of the event.
4) Get Creative With Your Funds
In a large area west of Dallas, Texas, the San Angelo Area Foundation works hard to grow their giving event and the fundraising that supports it. San Angelo Gives—which is also today, May 7, and is in its first year on the CiviCore Giving Platform—utilizes an amplification fund to facilitate their giving event.
Many giving day sponsors offer matching funds to online fundraisers. In those cases, donations are matched dollar-for-dollar up to a certain point. For example, a sponsor might offer $10,000 in matching funds. Once the general public has given a total of $10,000 in donations, the sponsor will add their $10,000 to the pot, effectively doubling the donation.
While matching funds are a generous way for sponsors and corporations to get involved in giving days, prorated amplification funds offer another way to catalyze and grow donations raised. Once San Angelo Gives is over, they will determine how much each nonprofit receives of the amplification fund based on the proportionate amount the organization has received in donations. For example, if a nonprofit raises 5% of the total donations for the giving event, they will receive 5% of the amplification fund. By utilizing this model for additional funds, each organization receives a boost and is further encouraged to raise their donation amount in order to get more of the amplification fund.
Each foundation running a giving event finds a unique way of covering processing fees on donations. Some require nonprofits to pay a registration fee; others offer donors the option of offsetting the processing fees at checkout. In the case of San Angelo Gives, The San Angelo Area Foundation covers all processing fees through their “stretch fund.” Stretch funds are often used to raise additional money for nonprofits, fund the following year’s event, or cover other costs associated with running a giving day. By utilizing their stretch fund to cover processing fees, San Angelo Gives lessens the burden on participating nonprofits and allows all of a donor’s gift to go towards the organization of their choice.
5) Be Inclusive
Hosted by the Community Foundation of Acadiana, South Louisiana Giving Day is redefining their parameters for participating organizations. In addition to traditional nonprofits, their May 9 giving day is open to schools and churches. CiviCore is familiar with the growing need for school fundraisers and think this is a great way of folding online fundraising for schools into a giving event.
South Louisiana Giving Day has had huge success utilizing this inclusive model. Last year they recruited big name celebrities to participate, including Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq, who went to undergrad at Louisiana State University, made a sizeable donation of $20,000 to Lafayette High School. A portion of the money was reportedly used to update the high school’s weight room, which Shaq visited in July of last year.
In no small part due to Shaquille’s donation, South Louisiana Giving Day broke $1 million in donations last year—which was their very first year running a giving day. They’ve facilitated donations in 2019 by enabling scheduled donations, prizes, sponsors, and matches.
The Community Foundation of Acadiana knows that stronger nonprofit participation equals greater success for everyone. To capitalize on this, they encourage nonprofits to secure their own matches from businesses, sponsors, or grants. Securing their own matching funds allows nonprofits to build their individual networks and spreads the word about the event as a whole. Available matches are displayed publicly on a nonprofit’s profile page, and count down as donations roll in.
6) Use Prizes All Day Long
The Great Give Day, also held on May 9, is hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. From 7am to 10pm on the day of their event, the Great Give Day team is keeping things interesting with over $28,000 in prizes.
They’re kicking the day off at 7am with the first of 10 Golden Ticket drawings. Each nonprofit who has received a donation in the hour prior is eligible to be chosen at random and receive $500. At 8am, they continue the excitement with the first of 5 Money Match Periods. During each period, which either lasts 30 or 60 minutes, all donations up to $500 will be matched proportionally by that period’s match pool. For example, say a nonprofit has received a $500 donation during a Money Match Period. If the total raised during that period is $10,000, the $500 donation represents 5% of the total, and the nonprofit will receive 5% of the total match pool.
The Great Give Day is rounding out their event with two sets of Power Hours. During these, the organization with the most unique donors in the past hour and the organization that has raised the most money in the past hour will both receive $500.
Prizes are an excellent way to boost friendly competition during your giving day and keep donors engaged throughout the entire event.
7) Remember Your (Grass)Roots
Give Grandly, which takes place on May 11, is a great reminder to connect to your community roots. Presented by the Southwest New Mexico Non-Profit Coalition and sponsored by the Grant County Community Foundation, this giving day holds an in-person kickoff at the first farmers market of the season in Silver City. In addition to shopping for some local foods, patrons can learn about nonprofits at their respective booths and make a donation manually. Give Grandly keeps folks up to date via a leaderboard displaying the growing total as gifts roll in.
Since the community held its first annual giving day in 2014, they’ve raised over $500,000 for nonprofits in their area. Like Give Local Piedmont, Give Grandly relies on dedicated volunteers to keep the event running smoothly.
8) Partner With Businesses
Give Local 757, hosted by the Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia and held on May 14th, does an excellent job of utilizing business funders. They’ve landed a corporate partnership with Bank of America, who sponsored their prizes during the 2018 event. This year, they’re hoping to further capitalize on this partnership by enabling deeper community engagement through an orchestrated employee giving project.
They’ve opted into several of the employee giving features available on the CiviCore Giving Platform including business landing pages. Each company participating in Give Local 757 has a unique page they can customize with their logo, mission, and photos. Employees can visit the page and donate to any nonprofit they choose.
All employee donations are totalled under the name of the business, and those totals are displayed on business leaderboards throughout the giving day. With the leaderboard feature, companies can see how they stack up against other local businesses as well. They could even make a friendly competition out of it!
Give Local 757 also highlights out-of-state donors with the Nifty 50 prize. This incentive, worth $757 in prize money, is awarded to the organization with donations from the most states. It’s a great reminder that all giving days, no matter how small, can have a large reach.
If you’re running a giving event, check out our blog. We’re always posting fresh articles about giving events, sharing what we’ve learned on everything from marketing your giving day to innovating with the latest features on the CiviCore Giving Platform. Or contact us anytime!