Armanino Blog

24 Hours of Fundraising: How to Maximize Giving Days

by Tom Schulte
June 20, 2016

Community-wide Giving Days are a great way to turbocharge your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. Hosted by local community foundations, these high-impact, 24-hour giving blitzes can deliver a much-needed lift for nonprofits—particularly those that have found themselves exhausting their traditional fundraising options.

The community foundation does its part by driving traffic to an official Giving Day website. Donors then choose the issues or organizations most important to them and make a secure online donation.

The Numbers Tell the Story
Giving Days can present organizational and operational challenges for nonprofits, however, the results can’t be ignored. Locally, the Orange County Community Foundation’s ‪#iheartoc Giving Day raised more than $3.25 million for 418 participating California nonprofits. In Sacramento, the total was more than $7 million during the recent Big Day of Giving 2016.

In addition to being a great way to generate revenue, Giving Days offer some surprising additional benefits, including:

  • Increased awareness: Through exposure online and at offsite venues, Giving Days increase public awareness of your programs and services and the impact they are having.
  • New donor acquisition: Leading online fundraising provider Kimbia notes that past Giving Days have yielded a 20% to 60 percent increase in new donors for participating nonprofits.
  • Valuable training: According to the Knight Foundation, nonprofits that participate in Giving Day trainings become more effective at raising money online and increase their own social media presence as a result of their participation.

Maximize the Impact
Obviously, you can’t adopt a new fundraising approach without proper preparation. Here are some ways you can maximize Giving Day opportunities:

Get trained. The sponsoring community foundation will typically provide a toolkit and all the support you need. Read every single email and don’t miss the kick-off meeting. There may also be webinars or other training on the mechanics of your Giving Day.

Line up support. Use the time before the Giving Day to cultivate matching dollars and other incentive funds from local philanthropists, supporters and the community at large. Businesses like to be associated with good causes in their communities and can be good sources of prizes that will further incentivize donors. Ask them to become sponsors or at least publicize the event in-store or on their website.

Build the buzz. Give your nonprofit’s ambassadors the tools they need to get the word out—ready-to-use hashtags, Facebook posts and images, email copy and campaign-related photos. Ask your community to use the content each week by posting an alert and sending an update email.

Create a compelling narrative. Feature inspiring stories and videos on special landing pages—and crank up the engagement factor with games, activities and contests.

Prepare for the big day. It is critical for all staff members to be able to answer questions and trouble shoot on the day of the event, so develop plans, procedures and “what-if” scenarios.

Staff up. The Knight Foundation Giving Day Playbook  recommends staffing up for the entire 24-hour period starting at midnight. During the peak hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. your entire team should be in the office. 

Mind the mechanics. Technology matters in a big way on a Giving Day. Ensure that your giving process is clean and simple (and also designed for mobile). Set up an automated thank-you and tax receipt for donors, as well as instant reporting on your progress so donors can see how their contributions are helping your organization meet its goals.

Go Give!
When done well, Giving Days have all the excitement and engagement of a great party— allowing nonprofits to engage donors online and establishing new donor relationships that can lead to long-term sustainability. From execution to timing, we can help your nonprofit identify and vet fundraising options. Contact your local Armanino nonprofit expert to learn more about how your organization can maximize your Giving Days.

Armanino’s Great Give 2016: Our Corporate “Giving Day”
Every year, Armanino closes its offices to deliver hands-on volunteer service through a variety of day-long philanthropic projects that serve the communities where employees live and work. The 2016 Annual Great Give event was the biggest in the program’s history, with 528 participants working on 33 projects across the country.

“The Great Give is one of the most popular events at the firm because it speaks to the values of our employees and the company,” said Andy Armanino, managing partner of Armanino LLP. “The nonprofit organizations we volunteer with make a difference in our work and living communities all year-round, and to be a part of their missions is a great honor for all of us.”

June 20, 2016

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