Guest Blog: What Is A Giving Day?
NOTE: This is a guest post from Linda Gerhardt, Senior Community Engagement Manager at Mightycause. It originally appeared on the Mightycause blog.
What is a Giving Event, anyway? Find out the whys, the hows, and all the information nonprofits need to know about Giving Events!
We talk a lot about Giving Events on Mightycause. They're one of our major offerings and we devote a lot of time, energy, and innovation to making Giving Events on Mightycause the best on the market. But let's take a step back: What exactly is a Giving Event? What are they all about?
So, what is a Giving Event?
Giving Events (also known as Giving Days) are online fundraising competitions that invite donors to come together and support nonprofits doing important work in their community. They are often built around empowering a specific community, cause, or university. Giving Events typically create urgency by limiting fundraising for the event to 24-hours, but they can last days, weeks, or even a whole month.
How do they work?
The Giving Event organizers partner with a platform (such as Mightycause) to build an event site, where nonprofits register to participate. During the event, that website is where donors go to find nonprofits to support and watch the action.
The event hosts work to publicize the event, rounding up sponsors, media partners, and nonprofits. Once registration is underway, nonprofits sign up to participate and start planning a fundraising campaign. Donors will find nonprofits to support through a combination of publicity from the event hosts, direct appeals from the participating nonprofits, and referrals from people in the community.
What are the goals of a Giving Event?
While the specific goals vary from event to event, all of them typically have some common goals:
Raising money: Some events raise a little, some raise millions, but a fundraising goal is always at the center of the event.
Empowering nonprofits: Giving Events are huge donor acquisition opportunities for the nonprofits that participate. Beyond that, the events provide fundraising training, establish them up with a year-round fundraising platform, and set them up for continued fundraising success.
Engaging sponsors: These events are excellent opportunities to engage sponsors and showcase their support of charitable causes in the community!
Encouraging philanthropy: Especially for foundations, Giving Events are often a key part of their mission to support & facilitate philanthropy in their communities.
Raising awareness: The event gives a boost to the causes and work of the participating nonprofits. And some events are even built around a specific cause (such as animals, education, and so on).
Anatomy of a Successful Giving Day or Event
So, what does it take to make one of these fundraising sprints successful? While there is some degree of magic✨ involved, there is actually a formula for success.
1. Strong concept
This is the basis of the whole event, the very structure it's built upon. What makes a strong concept? Well, it starts with the event hosts having a clear vision for their event, and communicating that through their branding. An event concept should be simple, easy for nonprofits and donors to understand, and have a clear call to action. What is a Giving Event trying to do? The answer should be crystal clear from its name, logo, and website.
2. Clear goals
Obviously, a fundraising goal is a good place to start. But these are annual. And the fundraising goal will change every year. So, what are the bigger goals for the event? What's the end game? Is it aiming to get people to invest in their own community? Raise money for a specific cause? Support a university or school? Give nonprofits a better toolkit for fundraising and empower them to fundraise sustainably year-round?
Having a clear understanding of what the long-term goals of the event are will help the event grow year after year and ensure it resonates with donors and nonprofits.
3. Engaged nonprofits
There's a lot of work that goes into hosting a giving day or event. But the bulk of the work in making the event a success comes from the participating nonprofits! They're the ones running campaigns, getting donors motivated to give, and raising money. So, cultivating a roster of motivated, enthusiastic participating nonprofits is key to Giving Event success.
The Park City Community Foundation hosts Live PC Give PC annually, facilitating millions of dollars of charitable donations!
Event hosts can do this through providing training, resources, and support. And, we won't beat around the bush, offering substantial prizes helps with nonprofit engagement as well!
4. The right platform partner
The event host steers the ship, but the platform is the ship! To run a successful event, you'll need to partner with a platform that is up to the task. Your platform needs Giving Event expertise that can build a website that's customized to your event's needs and brand. Because these events are high-traffic, having time-tested, scalable technology built (and tested) to withstand the flurry of activity and transactions happening on a giving day is essential.
The good news is that Mightycause is one of the innovators of giving days! Our team of experts can help you build a sleek, modern, user-friendly event site that reflects your brand, and provide a seamless experience for your nonprofits and donors. We've been doing this a long time and our technology is best-in-class.
5. Strong community partners & media exposure
When you're trying to pull one of these events off, it involves getting a lot of people excited. Sponsors, community partners, and local media are going to help you get the word out about your event to your audience.
The Value of Giving Events
So, what's the point? Why are these events worth the effort? Giving days and events are powerful ways to connect with donors, encourage philanthropy, invest in communities, and support nonprofits. Some events can raise millions in just 24 hours. Over time, these events become the centerpiece of many nonprofits' fundraising calendars. They come to rely on the event to raise the funds they need to do their work. And the community looks forward to them each year, planning their philanthropic efforts around the event.
And for hosts, they make their organization and brand integral parts of their communities. The event allows them to connect with nonprofits, donors, sponsors, media, and more.
About the Author
Linda Gerhardt is the Senior Community Engagement Manager at Mightycause, and has been helping nonprofits fundraise better since 2016. She manages Mightyblog (and writes much of the content), hosts monthly webinars for nonprofit professionals, and helps manage giving events for Mightycause.
About Chris Strub
Chris Strub is the 'Giving Day Guy,' partnering with community foundations and other organizations around the U.S. to help them best use social media to raise awareness and drive donations during their giving days. In 2020, Chris is working with six giving days around the country: Give Local York (Pa.); Midlands Gives (Columbia, S.C.); Give STL Day (St. Louis); The Amazing Give (Gainesville, Fla.); The Big Give (San Antonio, Texas) and Give For Good Louisville (Ky.).