Giving days are a great way to engage new donors, raise funds and increase your social media engagement.

There are hundreds of giving days across the U.S. each year. Chances are, there’s already one in your town. These events focus on gathering the local community together to raise funds for local nonprofits in a 24-hour period.

Most are hosted by community foundations or other community-centric nonprofits such as regional United Way chapters. These foundations usually incentivize nonprofits to participate with competitions and prize drawings throughout the day. The competition is typically displayed publicly, with leaderboards showing different categories of nonprofits on the giving site and who’s in the lead throughout the day.

Plus, many hosts put a lot of marketing muscle behind giving days — you can typically find ads on your local tv and radio stations and blanketing social media in the month before the giving day. Many will also invest in media placement opportunities such as morning news shows and newspaper articles. This can help bring in new donors, some of whom seek out opportunities just like this to give their yearly donations.

The Bottom Line: Raising Money

According to the Knight Foundation, the average giving day in a community raises under $1 million. The largest giving days can raise as much as $30 million in just 24 hours for nonprofits in their community. The longer a giving event has existed, the more ubiquitous the brand becomes in the community. This brand can help make these events some of the largest days of giving for nonprofits in their area.

For nonprofits new to online fundraising or giving days, setting a modest goal can be a realistic marker of success. But, for bigger nonprofits that usually rise to the top of the leaderboard, setting a goal to win can motivate donors to give more than they originally intended. Plan to debrief the campaign like you would any other and set your goals for next year.

Of course, like any other campaign, the amount of money raised depends largely on the amount of effort a nonprofit is willing to put into the campaign and promoting their participation. Ahead of giving days on our platform, Mightycause provides training sessions to help participants start marketing their participation to donors early and bring on ambassadors to help them grow their donor pool. Plus, we’ll provide tips to help you keep up engagement and social media best practices, too!

The Case for Participation

It may not seem like an obvious case for participation: You’ll compete for funds from the same donors against other nonprofits in your area, and you’re already overloaded with your own fundraising appeals so why should you add another thing onto your plate? Here are 4 reasons why your nonprofit should participate in a giving day.

1) The “Why” Is already answered

Unlike most fundraising appeals, where you need to provide a sense of urgency as to why you need funds for this campaign now, the urgency is already built into the campaign: It’s 24 hours, and you’re competing with other nonprofits to raise funds and win prizes. Since the host group will be promoting the giving event itself, you’ll spend less time explaining to prospective donors what the event is about.

So, you can spend less time focusing on the “why” and more time focusing on the “what”: What does your nonprofit do and what will a donor’s donation enable? Focus your promotional efforts on storytelling and honing in your key messages, instead. Focus on gathering the most compelling stories of your work and making them ready to share on a variety of mediums, such as Facebook, Twitter and your blog.

2) Be part of a larger conversation

Ride the momentum of this day of giving! Use the hashtag to stay involved in the conversation happening on social media and bring new followers to your page. Get media attention from local news outlets writing about the event by proactively let them know about your nonprofit’s participation — you may be able to get an extra shoutout.

Many giving days have brand ubiquity in your region, so just being able to mention that you’re a part of the giving day will add a positive perception to your nonprofit from donors. With all the publicity around giving days, your nonprofit should take advantage of the news and be part of the movement. There are so many opportunities available to nonprofits for giving events that might not be available otherwise.

3) Bring in new donors

New donor acquisition is a costly endeavor with a pretty low success rate (compared to re-engaging lapsed donors). Time after time, nonprofits spend money on marketing campaigns for new donor acquisition to no avail.

Since marketing for giving events largely comes from the hosts, you can bring in new donors in a much more cost-effective way. Focus on expanding your network by taking advantage of the publicity, the hashtags on social media and any in-person events surrounding the day of giving. You can expand your reach even further by engaging peer-to-peer fundraiser. Plus, you can look to your peer nonprofits for their tips and best practices for bringing in new donors for this event.

4) Up your social media game

By now, you should know the importance of social media for your nonprofit: It’s a low-cost way to reach a large audience and an easy platform for your message. Effectively using social media means that you’re able to reach out to your followers and ask them for help spreading your message. It should be a meaningful medium to acquire new donors, raise funds and get other forms of support from your followers.

In order to effectively use social media, you must have a robust audience first. Since giving days largely focus on online donations, one of the most important pieces of giving days is the virality of them. On Mightycause, donors are prompted at several points to share their impact on social media. Since most of your donors will be coming from online avenues, be sure to share on social media consistently. At the very least, you’ll increase your engagement and bring in at least a few new followers to your page.

How do you get started?

Check and see if there’s a giving event in your community: The more localized an event, the better your chances of bringing in long-term donors and winning the event! If you aren’t sure where to look or don’t know of a giving event in your community, you should join #GivingTuesday: You can get all the same benefits of taking part in a community giving day and be part of a national movement to raise funds for nonprofits on Nov. 28, 2017.

Mightycause hosts #GivingTuesday on its platform, and allows any 501(c)3 nonprofit to participate. When you use Mightycause for your giving day, you’ll be partnering with an official partner of #GivingTuesday and benefit from training sessions, social media conversations and Mightycause’s robust nonprofit fundraising platform. To join Mightycause’s #GivingTuesday, click here and register today!

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