Giving Days are exciting events that can significantly benefit the community, but executing them requires considerable time and resources. When planning your Giving Day, it is important to take into consideration the long-term sustainability of your campaign; in addition to focusing your energy on supporting local nonprofits, look for ways to create benefits for your community foundation and reduce Giving Day costs.
Here are some possible approaches:
Do not cover credit card processing fees. Though many community foundations cover fees in the first year of their campaigns, experience demonstrates that nonprofit participation does not drop when the community foundation stops covering the fees. Be strategic in your communications around fees, relaying to nonprofits that they are part of the cost of fundraising and bringing new donors to their institutions. You may also want to talk to your donation platform provider about prompting donors to add the fees to their donation!
Use the Giving Day to raise money for your community foundation. To do this, you can:
- List the community foundation as a potential donation recipient on the Giving Day site
- Prompt donors to add a small donation (a “tip”) to the community foundation upon checkout
- Charge a participation fee
Some community foundations do not want to compete with nonprofits for donors on the Giving Day, in which case you should opt for a tipping function or charging a participation fee. This fee should be small enough not to deter organizations from participating, yet large enough to increase nonprofit buy-in and engagement with the program.
For example, the Sacramento Region Community Foundation used a tiered fee structure based on nonprofit budget size for their 2015 Big Day of Giving, and the San Antonio Area Foundation charged a 1% fee, taken out of nonprofit disbursements, for the Big Give S.A.
If you do charge a participation fee, be sure to reinforce all of the benefits that come with Giving Day participation, such as trainings, marketing, and exposure to new donors, so nonprofits can clearly see what they are receiving in exchange for the cost.
Take advantage of large Giving Day audiences to promote the community foundation’s other services to nonprofits and donors. For example, in 2014 Miami Foundation opened every call fielded on Give Miami Day with a short pitch about the community foundation and what it offers nonprofits and donors in the community. After the campaign, 40% of surveyed donors expressed interest in working with the community foundation and 65% were more likely to support the community foundation in the future.
Use the Giving Day to open and raise money for nonprofit endowment funds held at the community foundation. This can be done by offering special incentive prizes for nonprofit endowments and encouraging organizations to set up funds in advance of the Giving Day. The Blue Grass Community Foundation held two challenges that focused on endowment funds during its six-week 2014 Good Giving Guide Challenge. The first was a $75,000 Quick Start Endowment Challenge, which offered matching endowment fund grants to participating nonprofits. Later in the competition, the community foundation held an Endow the Bluegrass Challenge, which matched funds for new and existing nonprofit endowments at the Blue Grass Community Foundation at $0.50 to the dollar.
Use the Giving Day to engage existing Donor Advised Fund holders and market DAFs to potential new fund holders. Many Giving Days have created opportunities for DAF holders to contribute through their funds to the Giving Day. Some Giving Days have created the ability for DAF holders to give directly to nonprofits through their funds. Others have primarily engaged DAFs by asking them to contribute to their incentive funds. For more details on how to engage DAFs on your Giving Day, see the Donor Advised Funds section of the Playbook.
To incentivize donors to open new DAFs, consider offering a match or prize for DAF donations made through funds opened during the month leading up to your campaign. For more ideas on how to use incentives to drive new DAFs, see the Incentives section of the Playbook.
For Give Miami Day 2015, the Miami Foundation worked with Kimbia to create a separate donation page for DAFs that enabled fund holders to give directly from their funds. The foundation dedicated a staff member to verify the accounts and transfer the funds directly to the nonprofits with no donation processing fee. The community foundation marketed DAFs as a great way to give large donations on the giving day without incurring a fee, and in 2015 opened nine new funds through the campaign.
You can also find prospective new donor advised fund holders by following up with donors who demonstrate the needed capacity on the Giving Day (i.e. if your DAF minimum is $5,000, reach out to donors who give a total of $5,000 or more on the Giving Day).