Giving Day for Apes is a unique giving day. While many giving days are built around a specific community, this one is centered on a cause — and it’s global. Since its inaugural year in 2014 as Great Apes Giving Day, the event has aimed to help organizations working to advocate and care for apes raise awareness for their causes. It started with sanctuaries in Africa only, but has grown to include sanctuaries in Asia and North America.

Screenshot of Giving Day for Apes site

2018 was a landmark year for Giving Day for Apes. It had the most participants in the history of the event (37) and raised a total of $558,579 — the highest Giving Day for Apes has ever raised.

About Giving Day for Apes

Giving Day for Apes is hosted by Arcus Foundation and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). The event is invite-only, and all sanctuaries that are invited meet GFAS and Arucs Foundation’s standards for ethical and humane operations.

The sanctuaries invited to participate operate all over the globe. Participants in the 2018 event were located everywhere from the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Indonesia, to the Blue Ridge mountains in the United States. The participants outside of the United States work with 501c3 fiscal sponsors to ensure that all donations are tax-deductible.

The animals helped and issues addressed by Giving Day for Apes participants are as diverse as their locations. “Ape” is a classification that includes many different species and subspecies, including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, gibbons, and orangutans. And because there is such diversity, the sanctuaries are all engaged in unique work, from caring for chimpanzees who have been retired from biomedical research, to protecting apes from poaching, bushmeat, deforestation, and the exotic pet trade, to providing a safe haven for apes who have been used in entertainment.

Giving Day for Apes aims not only to help raise awareness of these issues and funds for the participating sanctuaries, but to help them build capacity as well.

How It Works

Giving Day for Apes grouped its participants by location. Sanctuaries from Africa, Asia and North America were all ranked on separate leaderboards, as well as an all-inclusive leaderboard for the entire event.

Giving Day for Apes' Africa leaderboard
Giving Day for Apes’ Africa leaderboard

They also have a separate leaderboard for peer-to-peer fundraisers, to incentivize engaging staff, board members and supporters in their fundraising efforts.

Giving Day for Apes P2P leaderboard
Giving Day for Apes’ peer-to-peer leaderboard

This year, the prizes available totaled $50,000. The top three spots on each leaderboard were awarded a large cash prize, and sanctuaries had additional chances to win prizes through random Golden Tickets and competitive Power Hours.

The Build-Up

Giving Day for Apes features participants from diverse backgrounds, and sanctuaries with different resources. In some cases, the individuals running the fundraising for Giving Day for Apes are also the individuals caring for apes at the sanctuary. So, providing a user-friendly, easy-to-use platform and outstanding customer support is a must for this event!

Arcus Foundation, GFAS and Mightycause work together in advance of the event to ensure that all participants are ready to fundraise. Mightycause’s project manager for the event works with individuals at the sanctuaries on fundraising strategy, as well as providing training videos and materials to help coach the participants along the way. The trainings go into detail about utilizing social media, email, and all the tools the participants have at their disposal to make an impact — as well as help with storytelling and fundraising messaging.

Arcus Foundation works hard to secure sponsorships that provide the ample prize money available, as well as advertising the event online.

Focus on Storytelling

Alongside the record-breaking fundraising, 2018’s Giving Day for Apes was especially notable for the incredible storytelling of its participants. The sanctuaries who shone in 2018 stepped up their game considerably, sharing stories, videos and photos that made the impact their work has hit home with donors.


Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center raised a whopping $63,966 on Giving Day for Apes, and created this video that featured their staff talking about their favorite chimpanzees at the sanctuary.

International Animal Rescue used Giving Day for Apes to help them plant 20,0000 trees — with the call to action that $10 could help them plant 10 trees. The fundraiser supported their recovery from a devastating fire that occurred near their sanctuary that destroyed the habitat of a large number of orangutans, and also drew attention to the issue of deforestation. They raised nearly $17,000 for Giving Day for Apes.

Save the Chimps topped the North America leaderboard and raised an incredible $52,488, no doubt due to their smart campaign messaging. They used Giving Day for Apes to fund the care of four apes, and meted out photos, videos and information about the four apes as they reached fundraising milestones.

Screencap of image from Save the Chimps

These are just a few of the great stories told during Giving Day for Apes, and the success of the event can be attributed to the smart fundraising and passionate efforts to engage donors from all 37 participating sanctuaries.


Peer-to-peer fundraising was another important element of Giving Day for Apes’ success. By providing prizes for the top peer-to-peer fundraisers, participants are incentivized to empower their staff, board members, volunteers and supporters in their fundraising efforts. Peer-to-peer fundraising helps these sanctuaries reach more people and raise more money on a day when every social media share counts.

Topping the peer-to-peer leaderboard was a fundraiser for Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center, who has the incredible job of flying orphaned chimps to the sanctuary.

$42,481 was raised by peer-to-peer fundraising on Giving Day for Apes.

The Mightycause Difference

Mightycause’s platform giving day platform is on the cutting edge of giving day technology, making the event easier to manage from start to finish. Unlike many of our competitors, Mightycause offers live, on-page editing of giving event sites, a streamlined registration tool, and tools that help giving day hosts track participants, manage the pre-event, live and post-event sites, build ancillary pages, acknowledge sponsors, and more.

Mightycause has also released an integrated analytics dashboard that allows giving day hosts like Arcus Foundation and GFAS to get up-to-the-second donation analytics.

Learn More About Giving Days on Mightycause

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