Giving days have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for causes in the past decade. Find out what giving days are, how they work, and learn how nonprofits can participate!
Giving days have been a charitable giving trend on the rise for close to a decade now. Community foundations and universities had hosted days of giving before, but they rose to global prominence after the first #GivingTuesday in 2012. Since that inaugural year, #GivingTuesday alone has raise hundreds of millions of dollars for charitable causes. Local, university, and cause-based giving days have raised millions as well.
But what are these giving events all about? How do you host one, or participate in one? Consider this your one-stop shop for information about these charitable giving staples!
What are giving days?
Simply put, giving days are 24-hour marathons of charitable giving. They usually start with a foundation, whether it’s a community foundation dedicated to serving a particular location, a foundation with a mission like education, or even a university. The foundation partners with a fundraising platform like Mightycause to create a custom website. Then, the foundation works to recruit nonprofits, chapters or indviduals to participate in the event, usually requiring them to fill out a registration form to ensure they meet specific criteria.
Leading up to the big day, the host foundation and Mightycause’s fundraising experts work to provide fundraising and platform training. And on the giving day, the nonprofits work to rally donors to raise money for their cause (through the chosen platform), compete on leaderboards, and try to win prizes!
What’s the purpose?
The purpose of these events is, very simply, to inspire people to give to causes doing vital work in their communities.
What do donors get out of giving days?
Bringing donors together around a cause is a key part of these events. Without a groundswell of support from donors, these days of giving wouldn’t exist! Donors are drawn to giving days because they are built to appeal to their sense of altruism, with the added value of feeling like part of a community of everyday philanthropists. These events are built from the ground up with donors in mind. Both the host of the 24-hour event and the participating nonprofits work to appeal to donors by channeling their community spirit, enthusiasm for causes, and instilling in them the urgency to give now.
Donors also have the added benefit of their hard-earned dollars doing more for the nonprofits they support. With each donation, donors have the opportunity to help their favorite nonprofit win much-needed funding from prize grants. And the nonprofits themselves often offer incentives like matching grants that allow donors to double their donation.
How do nonprofits benefit?
Events like Give to the Max Day in Minnesota and #GivingTuesday are major fundraising opportunities for the nonprofits that participate. Some nonprofits plan their entire year and fundraising calendars around them. And the reasons why aren’t hard to see:
- These events offer prizes (sometimes every hour) that will help fund their work
- Days of giving offer nonprofits the opportunity to connect with new donors and acquire new supporters
- The event hosts provide marketing support and fundraising training
- A day of giving is the perfect opportunity to engage donors and sponsors
Giving Days 101
When you’re gearing up to either host or participate in a giving day, it’s helpful to brush up on the basics! We’ve got free resources that will help introduce you to this new trend in philanthropy.
Giving Day Playbook
If you’re looking to host your own day of giving, this ebook is the perfect place to start. You’ll find out how these events work, from the first step to the last. And we’ll also give you the scoop on how to choose a platform partner for your event. This is a can’t-miss piece of content for community foundations, universities, and anyone looking to start their own day of giving!
How to Run a Winning Giving Event Campaign
Participating in a giving day that’s coming up, or wondering what these “giving days” are all about? Then this is the resource for you! Learn what it takes to participate in giving days, how to plan and execute a successful campaign. From how to set your fundraising goal to reaching out to donors, this free ebook will walk you through all the steps to topping the leaderboard and taking home prize money for your cause!
Giving events and days of giving can be excellent opportunities for nonprofits. Not only can organizations connect with new donors, they can win prizes! But it’s not as simple as registering and watching the donations come in. Learn the four keys nonprofits need to unlock fundraising success!
Days of giving are powerful donor acquisition tools. And so is peer-to-peer fundraising. When you combine the two? It can take your fundraising to a new level. Peer-to-peer fundraising is not only an essential component of a giving event campaign, but is often essential to the structure of the event itself. Incorporating peer-to-peer isn’t hard, but it these tips will help!
Types of Giving Days
So, no two days of giving are exactly alike. And the ways to run an event like this is as diverse as can be! Here are the different kinds of events that are typical.
Community Giving Days
This is often seen as the standard template: Rallying donors in a community to support the organizations within that community. As we mentioned, these events are typically founded and hosted by a community foundation or a nonprofit membership network. And because community foundations often have grant-making and investing in the community in their missions, these events are perfect vehicles for them.
Here’s a look at just a few of the community-based events on Mightycause!
Minnesota is home to one of the biggest days of giving in the country: Give to the Max Day. This event, which occurs annually in November, brings together thousands of causes with hundreds of thousands of donations. In 2018, Give to the Max Day’s first year on the Mightycause platform, they raised more than $21 million dollars. And they’re continuing to grow!
#GivingTuesday is one of the biggest giving days in the world. And lots of local events have been created to harness #GivingTuesday’s momentum to inspire people to support and empower their own communities. GAgives on #GivingTuesday is one of those events. Created by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, this event connects donors in Georgia with nonprofits operating in their state.
With sponsors like The Coca-Cola Foundation, GAgives on #GivingTuesday attracted lots of interest from donors and nonprofits alike in their first year on Mightycause. When all was said and done, they raised $13.5 million!
This day of giving based in Park City, Utah has been with the Mightycause platform since 2011. And the Park City Community Foundation has built a strong event, engaging sponsors, hundreds of nonprofits and countless donors. 2018 was a banner year for Live PC Give. In just 24 hours, they raised $2.5 million dollars!
Cause-Based Giving Days
It’s most common for days of giving to revolve around a location, but it’s becoming more common to see giving events built around a specific cause. What does that mean, exactly? Instead of rallying donors and nonprofits in a particular community, the event rallies donors and nonprofits interested in a specific type of cause. That could be animal welfare, the arts, education.
These caused-based days of giving on Mightycause are excellent examples of how to bring donors together around a cause!
Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries hosts this annual event focused on ape conservation and welfare. And it’s a unique day, bringing together ape sanctuaries and rescue centers from across the globe! They have participating nonprofits from North America, but also Africa and Asia.
Every year, this day of giving has grown. It brings in invaluable funding in to sanctuaries that rely on Giving Day for Apes to help provide medical care, food, water, enrichment, and protection to the apes in their care. In 2018, they raised half a million dollars for the participating ape sanctuaries. And in 2019, they had their biggest year yet, raising over $648,000!
Give 8/28 is the only event that is focused on uplifting and empowering Black-led, Black-supporting nonprofit organizations. Held every year on August 28th, Give 8/28 ends Black Philanthropy Month with a day of giving for Black-benefiting organizations with boards, leadership, and staff that accurately represent the communities they serve.
School & University Giving Days
Education is always a popular draw for donors, and that makes them excellent for days of giving! There’s a lot that can be done with education-focused events. From engaging students and alumni at universities to gathering support from parents of K-12 students, the possibilities are endless.
These events are usually aimed at alumni giving, which can be a little old-fashioned. With an online giving portal, there’s no need to have students make phone calls to alumni or send out mailers. Everything the university needs to effectively engage alumni is baked right into the event structure itself. And, even better, tools like matching grants and ambassadors offer even more opportunities for engagement.
University giving may bring in the big donors, but hosting an event can help empower students of all ages. Most schools have tax-exempt status either through their National Center for Education (NCES) ID, their PTA, through a church, or a “Friends Of” organization. And that means they’re more than able to host and participate in days of giving!
Covenant Life School used the momentum from the biggest day of giving in the country, #GivingTuesday, to run a successful campaign. This Christian school provides an education for kids from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. And on #GivingTuesday, they raised nearly $50,000 by utilizing our Events product to organize their campaign, peer-to-peer fundraisers, and appeal to donors.
Most donors can agree that taking care of our kids is essential. And days of giving that help fund early childhood education, head start programs, and quality pre-K are bound to capture donors’ interest. These events may be hosted by a school, “friends of” organization, PTA, or even a community foundation.
And schools don’t need to have their own custom website built to host a day of giving! The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County in Indiana used our Events product for their “Thrive by 5” campaign. Structured similarly to events on Mightycause with custom websites, their campaign raised $70,000 for their early childhood education program.
Yes, #GivingTuesday is its own type of giving day! #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Since 2012, this day of giving has been getting donors from across the globe to come together in the name of philanthropy. Though GivingTuesday.org collects data and provides a directory of #GivingTuesday events, there is no central place to participate in #GivingTuesday. Rather, platforms, community foundations, nonprofits, and other community stakeholders organize their own #GivingTuesday event.
Mightycause has hosted a #GivingTuesday event on our platform since 2013. In 2018, nonprofits raised a total of $3.6 million on Mightycause. And in 2019, that amount almost doubled, with nonprofits bringing in more than $6 million. Participating in #GivingTuesday on Mightycause is free, easy, and convenient for nonprofits already using our platform!
So, we have a few basic roles defined: The host, the participants, and the donors. But what role does a platform play in a day of giving? Choosing a platform partner is one of the biggest and most consequential decisions a host can make. It’ll inform almost every aspect of how your event operates.
Here’s what a platform partner does, and how to choose the right partner for your day of giving.
Build the Giving Day Site
The website is the foundation that a day of giving is built around. So, it’s extremely important to choose a platform that can build sleek, professional-looking website that donors, nonprofits, and peer-to-peer fundraisers can easily navigate.
But a giving event website isn’t all about looks. It’s got to function for your staff and your event.
Easy Event Management
The hosts are going to need to do a lot of things leading up to, during, and after the event. You’re going to need to help edit your site. You’re going to need to assist in building your registration form. And once your registration is launched, you’ll need to easily be able to approve or decline registrations and manage your participating nonprofits.
So, one of the chief considerations are tools the donors and nonprofits will never even see: your editing tools, event management dashboards, registration tools, and more.
Detailed Reporting & Analytics
Getting data from donors and nonprofits is key to helping giving event hosts understand what worked, what didn’t, and what could be improved from year to year. That makes reporting and analytics a key function of a platform partner.
In general, you’ll want to ensure your platform has comprehensive donation reports, donation data, information about how donors are giving (mobile? desktop?), and anything your foundation or school needs to evaluate your success. (And, yes, Mightycause offers our event hosts everything listed here and more!)
Days of giving are hectic! No one wants to manually pull prizes if they can help it. And prize structure is a big piece of giving events. They help motivate nonprofits, inspire donors to give, and make the day more exciting for all involved. So, a platform partner needs to provide automated prizes that will enhance your event without adding work for the hosts or nonprofits.
Mightycause offers a variety of options to help structure your event, so you can build in excitement and opportunities to win.
Provide Tools to for Nonprofits
Nonprofit engagement is essential to the success of a giving day. Typically a platform partner will provide a profile the nonprofits can use to explain what they do, make an appeal to donors, and accept donations. But, if nonprofits struggle to register, can’t figure out how to edit and utilize their profiles, and don’t have the creative freedom to their their stories, they’re less likely to be successful. And, if that happens, the event itself will be less successful.
Registration is usually the first touchpoint with the platform, and the first step to participating in a day of giving. So, a quick, easy, convenient, and easy to understand registration process is a must-have. (And as the host, you’ll also need to ensure you’re capturing the data you need.)
Mightycause’s registration process is customizable, built-in (so there are no third-party forms), secure, and easy as can be. Nonprofits sign up for an account (or sign in if they already have one), choose their organization by name or EIN, and fill out a form designed by the event hosts. And they’ll also gain access to their Mightycause profile as soon as their registration is approved, which they can customize in preparation for the event.
Donation Management Tools
Capturing donor data is as important for nonprofits as it is event hosts. So, it’s important to find a platform partner that allows nonprofits control over the donation process and unfettered access to their donor data.
On Mightycause, we provide that, and more. Nonprofits not only have a customizable donation flow (with the ability to add dedications and designations) and robust reporting, but a full suite of fundraising tools (such as a widget, peer-to-peer fundraising, and more) to allow nonprofits to take control of their donation process.
This may sound simple, but giving days are large-scale events. Some have hundreds of donors processing donations every minutes. So, a platform partner needs to be able to scale to the needs of the giving day. Event hosts should look for platforms with 100% uptime that able able to easily handle more than the heaviest load a giving event could possible put on the donation process.
And beyond that, the process needs to be quick, secure, PCI compliant, and easy. When making a donation is hard or takes to long, those donations could be lost. Many donors want to support lots of nonprofits in a single transaction, so shopping cart functionality is also essential.
Project Management and Support
Giving days are big projects. They take a team effort to get them launched and see them through until the end. So, giving event hosts should look for a platform partner with an experienced team to not only manage the technology, but provide a road map for the whole project. (And make sure it stays on track!) You’ll want a giving event expert who can answer questions about the platform and donation process, as well as provide advice and guidance about prizes and social media and email templates to share with nonprofits.
A large number of nonprofits and donors also means that there will be a large number of emails from people looking for help. That’s why it’s essential to partner with a platform that makes prompt, friendly customer support a priority.
Learn More About Giving Days on Mightycause