Big Day of Giving Empowers Nonprofits to Raise More
- April 18, 2019
- CiviCore gives days, CiviCore Giving Platform, community giving
For nonprofits in the Sacramento area, this week marks the start of a generous giving season. Starting Monday, April 15, people are eligible to schedule donations for Sacramento’s regional giving event, Big Day of Giving.
Big Day of Giving, hosted by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, is in its seventh year of raising money for Sacramento area nonprofits. So far, donations total over $30 million! So of course we can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring.
For the first time this year, Big Day of Giving (or BDOG, as it’s known) is adding peer to peer fundraising campaigns to its arsenal of growth tools for the benefit of the nonprofits it serves. This functionality allows committed fundraisers—donors, board members, staff, and others—to create their own personal fundraising pages to leverage their personal networks. In order to create a peer to peer campaign, a donor simply chooses one nonprofit they’d like to support—and that can be a difficult decision to make when you have about 600 organizations to choose—walks through a few easy steps, and voila! They have their own web page to share across social networks or via email to drive awareness and donations to their chosen cause.
In addition to peer to peer functionality, BDOG is accepting contributions from donor advised funds (DAFs), and is also offering numerous fun prizes throughout the 24-hour event.
Fundraising Prizes that Encourage Engagement
Sacramento Region Community Foundation does a great job of creating unique and engaging fundraising prizes that promote the involvement of nonprofits of all sizes. One of the potential pitfalls of a giving event is that the larger nonprofits inordinately benefit from prizes and gamification. BDOG does a great job of engaging nonprofits of all sizes with a variety of creative fundraising prizes.
During Big Day of Giving, nonprofits will compete for additional donations to boost their total numbers through gamification. The giving event holds several established contests, such as fundraising prizes for the nonprofits who bring in the most donations overall and who have the most unique donors overall. BDOG also holds hourly drawings and booster prizes, and randomly selects three nonprofits who are participating in the event for the first time to win $1,000 in the Newbie Challenge.
In addition to these contests, Sacramento Region Community Foundation does an excellent job of using fundraising prizes to encourage behaviors that will boost the success of nonprofits overall. For example, they host the Photo Contest and Video Contest in which 10 total nonprofits will win prize money for posting the best BDOG-related content to their social media channels. In order to enter these contests, nonprofits must post photos and/or videos on social—which is a great way to promote their day even if they don’t win!
A unique prize at BDOG is the 100% Board Giving contest where 100% of a nonprofits’ board members must schedule donations prior to the event to enter. One organization in each of the three size categories that meets these qualifications will be randomly selected to win $2,000. This encourages nonprofits to engage their Boards and reminds them to schedule donations, two practices that are beneficial whether or not the nonprofit wins. BDOG has several other interesting fundraiser prizes like these. For a full list and to get some great prize ideas for fundraisers, visit their giving page website.
To motivate nonprofits to take full advantage of giving event functionality, BDOG will hold 10 random drawings throughout the day which pull from a pool of peer to peer campaigns that have raised $100 or more. These initiatives, which they call the Fundraising Campaign Golden Tickets, encourage nonprofits to publicize the peer to peer functionality to their networks.
To win $1,000 in the Best Business Partnership prize, an organization must plan a business partnership campaign and submit it to BDOG. In mid-May, after the event is closed, BDOG will announce three winners who have demonstrated an exceptional job of building partnerships to boost the success of the day.
Similarly, nonprofits participating in BDOG can submit the details of their marketing campaign for a chance to win the Best Integrated Marketing Campaign prize. Three organizations will win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes (of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively) for doing an excellent job marketing the event.
To give all 600 nonprofits the best chance of winning, and to empower them to take full advantage of the online fundraising event, BDOG offers fantastic training for all organizations involved.
Exemplary Fundraising Training for Nonprofits
Big Day of Giving is one of the largest giving days CiviCore runs on the CiviCore Giving Platform. We think their success comes not only from generous donors, but also from the participating nonprofits who are empowered with excellent training. For the 2019 event, Sacramento Region Community Foundation began offering nonprofit training in February when they held bootcamps for administrators. They offered nonprofit communications training and nonprofit marketing training, including how to create valuable partnerships and collaborations, how to best utilize social and traditional media, and more.
Vasey Coman, Marketing Manager at Sacramento Region Community Foundation, sees the direct link between this training and a stronger community. “We want to strengthen the nonprofit sector in the Sacramento region,” she says, “because we believe that a stronger nonprofit sector leads to a strong community—which benefits everyone who lives here!”
One of the other topics covered in BDOG’s fundraising training for nonprofits is how to engage a board of directors. This has been a training topic for years, and the Foundation will continue to train on it because they see results. “The healthiest nonprofits have engaged boards,” Vasey says.
“The healthiest nonprofits have engaged boards,” says Vasey Coman, Marketing Manager at SRCF.
The National Council of Nonprofits agrees. “When truly engaged, board members will become your nonprofit’s best ambassadors, advocates, strategists, and all around supporters.” Board members can be a nonprofits’ link to their community, offering access to new networks and partnership opportunities. When engaged and invested in the success of the organization, board members will advocate for the nonprofit inside and outside of meetings. During spirited discussions about decisions and direction, they will give their honest opinions because they know enough about the success of the organization to disagree when necessary.
This and the other topics covered in bootcamp training are paying off. Post-event data analysis showed that the nonprofits who attended the bootcamps outperformed those who did not. Since this is the first year BDOG is offering peer to peer capabilities, the Foundation had experts available to train nonprofits on the feature as well.
Post-event data analysis showed that the nonprofits who attended the bootcamps outperformed those who did not.
In short, the thoughtful prizes and gamification behind their day is a motivator for BDOG nonprofits to more actively engage in the training, and better training has been proven to drive greater success for the nonprofits involved—ultimately a great winning strategy for the community.
Media Coverage for BDOG’s Giving Day
In addition to the expert training Big Day of Giving offers, their success is due also, in part, to excellent media coverage and creative partnerships. Vasey corroborates this, saying they have a robust strategy for outreach, but also gives credit to the media outlets who provide coverage. “They have supported BDOG since the beginning. They see it as a community asset, and are always, always, always happy to help.”
Of course, any good partnership is a two-way street. “We produce a ton of easy-to-share content (graphics, PSAs, key messages) to make it easy for them to spread the word, and we host a morning media event on BDOG to kick things off.” The Big Day of Giving toolkit includes beautiful images to use on social media, a nonprofit user guide, a fundraising campaign user guide, information on event registration, a work plan, and more. For foundations interested in beefing up the resources offered to participating organizations, CiviCore highly recommends visiting BDOG’s website.
All of the team’s hard work partnering with media culminates in scheduled coverage on local TV stations, many of which spotlight specific nonprofits and the good they do in the community. Walking around the Sacramento area, you’re likely to see some advertisements as well.
“Leading up to Big Day of Giving,” Vasey says, “you’ll encounter BDOG advertisements on TV, radio and billboards, and in magazines, newspapers, movie theaters, supermarkets, and mailers. And that’s just the outreach we coordinate! Participating nonprofits spread their own messaging, which amplifies coverage even more.”
In the Foundation’s experience running BDOG, they’ve learned to be inclusive. “We invite all media outlets—even competitors—to participate as BDOG Media Partners,” Vasey reports. She recommends that foundations trying to ramp up media exposure do the same. Avoid assuming which media outlets will and won’t want to cover the event. You never know until you ask! Here’s a great example of coverage for a kickoff event during the giving day. In addition to the article and the event itself, a local radio station will be broadcasting live at this event, providing further exposure.
The Foundation also partners with a PR firm to ensure contacts, schedules, tactics, and follow-ups are relevant and appropriate. “We try to pitch stories about BDOG nonprofits that are relevant to our Media Partners’ coverage so it feels like a natural fit,” says Vasey. This strategy can make your media coverage soar.
Before pitching to a particular news outlet, take the time to get to know them. Read, watch, or listen to their coverage. Do they often share humanitarian stories or environmental ones? Do some research on the host or anchor and find out their interests. If, for example, a local TV anchor loves animals, you’ll be more likely to get a response pitching a story about an animal shelter than one about land conservation.
Follow Vasey’s advice on nonprofit training and media partnerships and see how your giving event can grow. “Big Day of Giving has so many benefits,” says Vasey. “It helps nonprofits raise much-needed unrestricted funds during the 24-hour giving day and it helps them better meet our community’s needs every other day of the year, too.” And these tips are applicable for your event, whether you have a larger or smaller team. Reaching out to media costs nothing. And, while building relationships takes time and tends to grow year over year as you are persistent, it can pay big dividends.
So, if you’re a community foundation, nonprofit alliance, or school organization in need of guidance running your next giving day, contact us and/or check out our blog. Stayed tuned to Big Day of Giving on May 2nd to see their results!
CiviCore has a ton of great resources available with real-world experience from our clients to back it up. And of course, if you need software for your online fundraising event, contact us today! Our number one goal is helping you build capacity so you can do more good.