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What is a Giving Day? A guide to fundraising success

November 01, 2021
This image depicts a young female professional planning a Giving Day for her nonprofit.

Fundraising events like galas, auctions, and competitive races are tried-and-true methods for securing contributions and raising awareness for important causes. But if you want to amplify generosity, attract a wider variety of donors, and make giving more accessible, consider hosting a Giving Day. In a true celebration of philanthropy, Giving Days invite donors to join together to support their favorite causes, creating a tremendous amount of impact through collective gifts—big and small.

In this guide, we’ll define Giving Days in more detail so your organization can take full advantage of this innovative and effective fundraising event. 

What is a Giving Day? 

Giving Days are 24-hour (or longer) fundraising events aimed at bringing communities together to raise awareness for a specific cause, increase engagement, and drive donations.

These events are often launched by purpose-built nonprofits, community foundations, hospital foundations, and educational institutions. With proven year-over-year fundraising growth, Giving Days have increased in popularity as a way to help revolutionize the future of fundraising.

Ten benefits of hosting a Giving Day

Giving Days are centered around raising as much support as possible in a short amount of time. By sending out an urgent call for donations during these 24 hours, you can generate a significant amount of engagement among your community. 

In addition to reaching your fundraising goals, hosting a Giving Day allows your organization to:

  1. Increase brand visibility and exposure as a leader in philanthropy. 
  2. Create a sense of urgency to raise funds quickly.
  3. Re-engage past supporters in a modern way.
  4. Attract new donors to steward in future fundraising efforts.
  5. Foster new relationships with community businesses through corporate sponsorships.
  6. Help participating nonprofits, groups, and departments build capacity by providing robust fundraising tools.
  7. Launch equitable funding opportunities in your community.
  8. Raise awareness of community challenges, annual funds, and other timely initiatives.
  9. Build online giving confidence across donor demographics.
  10. Celebrate and inspire your community’s generosity.

To reap these benefits, it’s important to align your Giving Day with your organization’s purpose, which we’ll explore in the next section. 

How different organizations use Giving Days

For the best results, Giving Days should be tailored to your organization’s purpose. Explore how these four types of organizations implement these 24-hour digital events to reach their intended audience and achieve fundraising success. 

Nonprofit Giving Days

One of the most well-known nonprofit Giving Days is #GivingTuesday, a globally known celebration of generosity, which encourages people to give back on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving each year. Your nonprofit can replicate the engagement and excitement created by this internationally recognized day of giving by hosting your own digital giving event. Giving Days allow nonprofits like yours to generate a sense of urgency around your cause and create a platform to amplify your goals and purpose.

Since Giving Days can be made virtual, nonprofits of any industry and size can tap into this powerful fundraising opportunity. 

Community-centered Giving Days 

Foundations, United Ways, and nonprofit networks work together to support their local communities and create lasting impact. Become a leader in philanthropy by hosting a Giving Day that provides a modern and secure place for donors of all sizes to support their favorite causes and discover new ones! 

Giving Days hosted by community leaders enable their nonprofits to leverage a secure online giving platform, raise brand awareness, advance equity, end a giving plateau, and launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign strategy.

Education Giving Days

Colleges, universities, and K-12 schools have the opportunity to increase student and alumni engagement through Giving Days. With a centralized Giving Day site, you can share campus stories, highlight areas of greatest need, increase online giving confidence, update alumni demographics and giving data, and create friendly competition between departments with leaderboards, challenges, and prizes. Educational institutions can also rally behind these digital efforts by using social media to spotlight student ambassadors and hosting exciting challenges, such as raffles, walkathons, and campus-wide scavenger hunts, throughout the day to better activate your school community.

With Giving Days, you can create a school environment where philanthropy is not just welcomed, but an ingrained part of your school's values..

Hospital foundation Giving Days

Hospital foundations have to balance fundraising with providing high-quality healthcare services to communities in need. By hosting a Giving Day, hospitals are able to creatively engage donors, patients, and staff to raise awareness for their life-saving work and ongoing needs. Consider hosting an online giving challenge for your hospital to boost donations and support. 

With a re-imagined fundraising strategy, it is easy to improve the ROI of in-person fundraising events, build a sustainable donor base, and engage current and past patients in a more meaningful way.

How to make the most of Giving Days

Giving Days have the power to transform your community. To launch your own 24-hour digital giving event, create a fundraising plan that details your goals, intended target audience, and marketing assets. You should also consider how modern Giving Day technology can play a critical role in your success. 

With Bonterra Donor Engagement’s Giving Day solution (formerly GiveGab), you will have guaranteed access to best-in-class technology, connections to a community of Giving Day leaders, and the project management team you deserve. 

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    Giving Days
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