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How your nonprofit can host a giving day

Giving days have grown out of local communities coming together to crowdfund on a particular day. These 24-hour events work because they bring large communities together for a single purpose, for a short period of time and sometimes, there’s even a level of friendly competition involved.

While participating in a larger community event can be positive for the charities that participate, there can be some downsides. The sites running the event may have large processing fees, the nonprofit might not get access to donor data and smaller charities are always competing with larger ones so there can be a scarcity of resources or discrepancy of promotions.

You don’t have to wait for a community-wide giving day to reap the benefits; you can host one of your own.

Tips for hosting a nonprofit giving day

1. Choose a date.

This can be something that is significant to your organization—an anniversary, the founder’s birthday, a milestone, etc.

2. Name your cause.

What specifically will you be raising money for on this date? Choose a single program aspect, service or donation type. This should also be timely and relevant to the day you choose. This will end up being your fundraising “pitch”.

3. Define your audience.

Who will you communicate to? Who are you trying to reach? Is your full list of donors appropriate to reach out to for this single giving day or does it make sense to segment and promote to a select subset of your audience?

4. Set your goal.

What is a reasonable goal for you to raise in one day’s time? Use past giving data to help you or think about what dollar amount would be significant in the way of communicating back dollars raised. For example, if your goal is to provide 500 backpacks to children, could you do that in a day? And if so, how much would need to be raised to ensure that goal is met?

5. Build your crowdfunding page.

Explain your need/what you’re raising money for. Describe the impact different levels of donations will have in support of this campaign. Include “social proof” elements such as a progress thermometer, donor roll or donor comments of support. You can even create digital “badges” for donors to download/share across their social media channels to expand awareness. Don’t forget to include social media sharing buttons and make your donation forms easy to find and fill out. (Check out our article, “How to raise your average online donation size” for more page-building tips).

6. Build excitement prior to the day.

Think of all the channels you can use to build excitement well before go-time and plan those pieces of content ahead of time. Craft images to coincide with social media posts, schedule an email marketing campaign, use video as teasers or as a promo for what’s the come. You can even use direct mail as a way to build excitement and get the page URLs in front of your audience. Think of a hashtag that can be used throughout the day and encourage users to add it to their social media posts before, during and after your giving day.

7. Stay engaged during and after the giving day.

Once you go live, keep close tabs on your digital channels, your crowdfunding page and any email communication/questions that may filter in. Update your giving progress in real time, tag donors on social media and send out an email (or three) throughout the day with these updates as well. Don’t forget your post-event thank you email and communications as well; these can act as “final chance to give” communications as well and gives you the opportunity to leave your crowdfunding page up and running for a period of time post event.

Three examples to get you started

Hosting a giving day may seem overwhelming at first, so here are a few examples of organizations that have seen success in this area. Whether you plan to kick off a giving day for your organization alone or tap into a community-wide one to start, these three organizations can provide food for thought as you continue to plan your process.

Rivier University is a 4aGoodCause client that hosts an annual giving day. This giving day was communicated to alumni and friends in the Rivier University community as a way to show support for the school. Through email promotions, social media and even an on-site celebration the day of the event, Rivier University exceeded its goal of $70,000 raised that day by over $6,000.

Rivier University Day of Giving crowdfunding page
Rivier University Day of Giving crowdfunding page

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle held Backpack Buddies Day on May 17 this year. This giving day, which encouraged supporters to help the organization feed as many kids as possible in 24 hours, provided a match (up to $5,000) from WellCare as well as volunteer involvement from the United Way of the Greater Triangle. The organization also provided digital graphics that donors could download and post as social media avatars; a great example of using peer influence and user-generated content/influence to encourage others to give and expand awareness about the day.

Backpack Buddies Day donation page
Backpack Buddies Day donation page

InterPlay coordinated a giving day in April as a way to bring their communities together, raising money locally. This organization, which has programs across the nation, built specific fundraising pages for the communities (and affiliates) supporting the nonprofit’s mission. Each community received a fundraising page to raise money during this 24-hour period that could then be used as needed, locally. By thinking how to expand a one-day giving campaign into multiple cities or markets like InterPlay did, your organization can spotlight key cities, programs or affiliates and the work those organizations do that support your overall organization. It’s a way to bring larger communities together by pooling marketing resources while also supporting local initiatives.

Give InterPlay Day fundraising page for Raleigh-Durham
Give InterPlay Day fundraising page for Raleigh-Durham

Looking to set up a crowdfunding page for your giving day event? We’d be happy to help. Contact us for information on how 4aGoodCause can partner with your giving day and online donation needs.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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