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  • Writer's pictureChris Strub

GiveGab Recognizes Give Local York, The Big Give With Industry Benchmark Spark Awards

The nation's top giving days are recognized every summer at GiveGab's Giving Day Leaders Forum with the Giving Day Spark Awards.


GiveGab, which was recently acquired by nonprofit software conglomerate Bonterra, invites giving day leaders from around the country to its annual leadership forum in Washington, D.C., an event highlighted by a presentation of the Spark Awards.

Kate Harmon from Give Local York, pictured with Casey Keller, GiveGab's VP of customer success, was recognized the 2022 recipient of the Spark Award. [ Picture from GiveGab.com ]


Every giving day strives to successfully engage its local community to drive participation and donations, but in 2022, top honors were given to the team at Give Local York, for "sparking outstanding community engagement on their giving day." From their website (bolded emphasis mine):


"Give Local York is honored with The Spark Award for sparking outstanding community engagement on their annual Giving Day. Hosted by the White Rose Leadership Institute, this team does an incredible job engaging nonprofits, businesses, and community members from across York County, PA. Throughout the Giving Day, Give Local York’s team coordinates interviews with local nonprofits to share their stories and the impact that they have on their community, works with businesses of all sizes to run events and spark philanthropy, and closes down their main downtown street for nonprofits to engage directly with the community and share in the spirit of the day. "


It's my honor to have worked with Give Local York on those interviews for three consecutive years now -- 2020 (all virtual), 2021 and 2022 (hybrid). Hosted by Philip Given, a charismatic York-based restauranteur, former local government official (and husband of the day's founder, the more camera-shy Meagan Given), our day-long livestreams, broadcasted from PeoplesBank Park in the heart of downtown York, are a beautiful manifestation of all the positive energy that Give Local York represents.


Philip Given, host of the Give Local York livestreams, is able to dynamically connect with nonprofits participating from around the York County area who appear on the screen in front of him, while also managing a collection of participating nonprofits in the room at PeoplesBank Park. Give Local York won the 2022 GiveGab Spark Award.


Our livestreams, which run parallel to dozens of local events around the community, including First Friday, helped this relatively small giving day in York County, Pa. raise a stunning $4.17 million in 2022 for 292 participating nonprofits -- many of whom we had the opportunity to speak directly with during the giving day, through both in-person and virtual means.


Here's a great example of a livestream video we produced for Give Local York, live from PeoplesBank Park in May of 2022.


I've been live-streaming giving days since 2017, and this was perhaps the most impressive and cleanly run giving day I've ever partnered with. Our partnership with the York Revolution (the local minor-league baseball team) helped us take advantage of a gorgeous location to livestream from. The improved technology I brought to York, including a Rodecaster Pro soundboard, new microphones and headsets, brought a remarkable sense of professionalism to the effort. And of course, the most important element was the enthusiastic participation of about 50 local nonprofits, as well as a selection of our community partners and sponsors.


GiveGab's recognition of the hard work of the White Rose Leadership Institute team (which hosts Give Local York each year) is the clearest indication yet that a strategically designed livestream is the perfect way to embody the energy and gravity of a giving day. It was one of two awards won by my longterm clients at this events ceremony.


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Scott McAninch, CEO of The Nonprofit Council, kneeling front right with sunglasses on, and Mercedes Alhaj, COO of The Nonprofit Council, kneeling next to Scott, were recognized at the 2022 GiveGab Giving Day Leaders Forum in Washington, D.C. [ Photo from GiveGab.com ]


The Big Give in San Antonio was awarded a Partners' Choice Award at the 2022 GiveGab Giving Day Leaders' Forum. From their website:


"Love Your Longwood Day & The Big Give SA are celebrated as winners of the Partners’ Choice Spark Awards. Both Giving Days — hosted by Longwood University and The Nonprofit Council, respectively — have consistently stepped up as mentors and friends and are always willing to connect with fellow partners to share best practices and brainstorm new ideas. These partners are thought leaders in the fundraising space and have transformed philanthropy across their communities. In addition to the support these Giving Days are so willing to provide their peers, they are also incredible advocates for GiveGab, providing crucial feedback to ensure our platform continues to grow and serve the needs of Giving Day leaders and their communities. On September 23, 2021, The Big Give SA raised $5,245,624 for 433 organizations operating in San Antonio, Texas."


A panoramic view of our livestream setup in the atrium at The Nonprofit Council office in San Antonio for The Big Give 2021, as Jerry Moore from TNC interviews Hugh Farr from Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. Observing at far right is Scott McAninch.


I have worked for four consecutive years with The Nonprofit Council, the San Antonio-based entity that is now planning its 10th anniversary of The Big Give this September. I've worked with giving day leaders in 10 states, and had preliminary conversations with many others -- I can confidently say that Scott McAninch's leadership, grounded wisdom and strategic vision are exceptionally well deserving of such an award.


As is described in GiveGab's text, Scott is frequently looked to by other giving day leaders as a visionary in the industry. Through numerous in-person and online training sessions and our giving day executions, I've met hundreds of the participating Big Give nonprofits over the years, all of whom share this mutual respect for Scott's work ethic. Through my first four years of working with The Big Give, we've produced 70 livestreamed videos, collecting well over 15,000 views and 56,000 impressions.


Both The Big Give and Give Local York are looked to for their forward-thinking digital strategies. Kate Harmon from Give Local York was featured in June on a 'Giving Day Leader Origin Stories' webinar, the replay of which you can see here. I'm proud that the Giving Day Guy concept has been a big part of the annual game plans for Give Local York and The Big Give, among other clients throughout the year.


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I don't distribute my own giving day awards, but if I did, the 2022 edition of Give for Good Louisville, hosted by the Community Foundation of Louisville, would be atop my list as well.

Give for Good Louisville (image from 2021 G4GL) holds a special place in my heart, as a client that I have worked with for six years running -- including three different giving day leadership teams. Since 2017, we've produced a whopping 109 livestreamed videos, adding up to over 26 hours of runtime.


The most important data point for a giving day, of course, is its yield; Give for Good Louisville has raised, in its first 9 years, more than $50 million for participating nonprofits in the Kentuckiana area -- including $8.2M in 2022.


But the most important data point from a livestream producer's perspective is consistently the average watch time of a video. Of course, what good is a video if people aren't watching it?


Since 2016-2017, I have emphasized -- to the point of including it on every single data report I've sent out -- the important benchmarks to consider for average watch time. Back when I started livestreaming with Give for Good Louisville, I would consider 12 to 15 seconds a good watch time, with anything exceeding 15 seconds being excellent. Considering the average Facebook Live video is watched for 10 seconds (source), a 15-second watch time is awesome.


Our 2022 Give for Good Louisville livestream setup was hosted from Louisville Slugger Field. Much like Give Local York, our rotating set of live hosts were able to simultaneously interact with guests who appeared in-person and guests who were being streamed in virtually. On the table, you can see my laptop, iPad Pro and Rodecaster Pro.


Like a weightlifter or sprinter with a continuous focus, raising the average watch time for my videos has been my No. 1 goal -- for six-plus years now. In 2021, we hit a figure I'd have never imagined possible -- a 30-second average watch time.


But in 2022, when we did the math, I almost fell out of my chair. Our average watch time for our Give for Good Louisville live-streamed videos was 1.23 minutes -- or nearly 74 seconds per view.

Creating high-quality video content around your giving day is an important way to reach core audiences. Our Give for Good Louisville livestreams are watched, on average, nearly 7.5 times longer than a standard Facebook Live video. Meanwhile, my work with another giving day, Give Local 757 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, reached an even higher average watch time in 2022: 1.63 minutes, or more than 97 seconds per view. By capturing people's attention with compelling on-brand live messaging, the Giving Day Guy plan is successfully helping giving days around the country grow with each event we support.


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My job as the Giving Day Guy is to help support my clients and their giving day campaigns in the best way possible. This looks different for every single giving day, based on a broad variety of factors: community size; number of nonprofits; staff size; goals for the giving day; time of year; budget -- and much more.


Every giving day is different, and I am exceptionally blessed to get to work with so many different giving days across the country each year. Heading into 2022, I'm already signed on to work with two brand new-to-me giving days: Give Where You Live Collier on Feb. 15-16; and NEPA Gives, in June 2023 (official date will be announced soon).


Here's an example of one of the livestream videos we produced for Give for Good Louisville 2022, live from Louisville Slugger Field.


Every year, I make a commitment to all my clients to grow and improve in a big way, be it in our planning processes, the day-of content, the equipment I've amassed for production, or other elements of the day. In 2022, I used a brand new Rodecaster Pro to vastly improve our sound quality. Recent updates to the Switcher Studio platform include new video transitions and scrolling text, and the Switcher Studio team has even helped me create custom on-screen configurations to optimize the visual performance of our videos.

I'm exceptionally proud that two of my longtime clients were officially recognized for their impressive efforts by GiveGab with the Spark Awards, and I hope that the impending 10-year anniversary celebrations taking place across the country this year for many giving days inspire other communities to get started with their own giving days in 2023 or 2024.


The giving day industry continues to blossom and expand from coast to coast. It is a true honor to get to work with so many talented visionary leaders in communities around the country. I'm continuing to piece together my 2023 schedule, which is filling up quickly. If you run a giving day and would like to work with me in 2023, please email me ASAP -- chrisstrub [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com. I can't wait to hear from you and help your giving day reach new heights this year and beyond.


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Chris Strub is the 'Giving Day Guy.' Since 2017, he's partnered with 25+ giving days in 10 U.S. states to help them utilize live social video to expand their reach and capture new donors. Contact Chris via email at chrisstrub [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com or find him on Instagram and Twitter, @ChrisStrub. Learn more about Chris's giving day clients over the years on the @GivingDayGuy Instagram.

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