Regional Giving Day Tips and Why They Matter

By Jarrett O'Brien | May 31, 2019 | Fundraising, Nonprofit

Who doesn’t love a good flowchart?

(Seriously, we haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love the way these super-organized but fun resources make sense of information.) So, we made one about one of our favorite topics: regional giving days. Click through the image below and bask in the fundraising best practice glory.



I know, I know. You’re thinking –but why Regional Giving Days? Well, let me explain.

Just The Basics

The excitement about Regional Giving Days has been building for the last few years.

Typically, #GivingTuesday hogs lots of the spotlight (for good reason – GT 2018 brought in $400,000,000 globally)… But according to the Urban Institute, more regionally focused days like Colorado Gives Day and North Texas Giving Day raised over $30 million each in 2016! So, we decided to follow the money and focus on these more local and regionally focused festivals of philanthropy, too.

A Regional Giving Day can sometimes take the shape of a college wide initiative – like Giving Blues Day at the University of Michigan or Cornell Giving Day, for example… or a cause-based day like Give Out Day.

Examples We Love

These organizations have cracked the code on regional giving days. Here’s what we love about their approach:

GiveNOLA Day & ADL’s Playbook

New Orlean’s just finished GiveNOLA Day, and preliminary numbers say they brought in almost $6M in a day. The Greater New Orleans Foundation gamified the whole experience so that nonprofits received more money, for raising the most money.

The Anti-Defamation League’s local chapter wanted to participate and inspire people to donate, but they had to move fast. Here’s a quick 3 step playbook, courtesy of Maryanne Nigro for a nonprofit who wants a quick turnaround.

    1. Report & Segment – In a matter of minutes, they were able to report on a segmented list of potential donors in their target ZIP codes.
    2. Start the Campaign – They spun up a campaign nested in the right hierarchy in Nonprofit Cloud to track their local chapter’s performance, fully integrated to a trackable donation page.
    3. Personalize Your Communications – From there they were able to take that link to the donation page with a tailored email, and send that out to the right people with the right message the night before and day of.

With the right technology, this small local chapter boosted donations by $10,000 that day. The best part is that these new donors will receive future communications, and the right follow up from development teams.

Maryanne Nigro“Our focus is to provide a great experience for all of our supporters, but also staff, with modern tools they can use to Fundraise. New opportunities come up all the time for us to raise money or react to a need from our constituents. With marketing and fundraising working together, we were able to grow our funds raised for Giving Tuesday in 2018 by 157% year over year.”

– Maryanne Nigro, Director, Development Operations at ADL

Giving days are just one of the many experiences that ADL provides with chapters, including their Concert Against Hate, Walk against Hate, and Giving Tuesday which raised over $316,000, with an average donation of $173. Of the approximately 5,000 nonprofits using the Classy donation platform, they brought in the sixth-highest Giving Tuesday total, with a quarter of these donations were from new donors. Nicely done, ADL.

Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s Big Day of Giving

23,000 donors who gave 44,000 donations. That’s right – their giving day just wrapped up on May 3, so these numbers are fresh (and impressive).

Kerry Wood“Our goal is to promote, inspire and build philanthropy in the region. The Big Day has raised a total of $40M. We’re excited to see the giving trend on an upward climb – this year, we raised $1M more than last year, with a total of $8.4 million going to benefit 600 nonprofits in our region.”
– Kerry Wood, Chief Marketing and Donor Engagement Officer, Sacramento Region Community Foundation

Kerry shared her 5 key ingredients in making their recipe for success:

  • Solid Training: 601 vetted nonprofits were involved in their big day of giving. They attend mandatory bootcamps and training sessions, adding 30 more nonprofits this year than last year.
  • Strong Communications: How do you get 85,000 more likes and views than the year before? The Big Day of Giving had a strong social presence leveraging more video than years prior, complemented by strategic ad placement.
  • Amplified Voice: The Foundation used local media partnerships across TV, Radio, digital billboards, and print to ensure everyone was aware of the events.
  • Activations Everywhere: With their nonprofits, they had 105 Events throughout the region to create exposure, including nonprofits, art centers, eateries, breweries, and far more.
  • Matched Gifts: By working with partners, they were able to secure an additional $1.5 dollars in matched gifts.

We love this approach because it goes beyond just one day – and it doesn’t focus only on fundraising but includes skill building and capacity-building, too. Trainings take place before the Big Day of Giving and include topics like donor engagement, board development, collaboration, marketing outreach, and storytelling prior to Big Day of Giving. High fives, Sacramento.

What do these examples have in common? The fundraising machines and marketing strategy are working in sync – this means data flows from one department to the other and volunteers slash donors don’t get stuck in a silo. Use our Regional Giving Day flowchart as a checklist to make sure your systems are in good shape as you begin or continue prepping for your community’s big giving day!

Tech Can Help Your Giving Day & Much More (hint hint, end of year giving!)

One other reason we love Regional Giving Days – they’re fabulous practice for end-of-year fundraising which, in case you hadn’t checked, is right around the corner! Regional Giving Days are a good way to test what works to motivate your donors to give, to ensure your systems are running effectively.

Also, for more regional giving day inspiration, watch this webinar with Urban Institute. Now is the time to double check that your marketing and fundraising teams are in lock step and you have the right staffing structure in place along with technology…so when prep for your end-of-year appeal, gala, and #GivingTuesday, you’re ready to GO.

WATCH THE WEBINAR

We still really love #GivingTuesday and know how important year-end fundraising is. Here is our #GivingTuesday Guide from 2018 is full of juicy strategy suggestions, technology info and process suggestions which can be applied to all of your fundraising and marketing activities so that you can crush your goals.

More on 2019 is coming soon!