North Texas Giving Day was last week. This event has skyrocketed over the years as people give to organizations all in the name of competition. But why focus on just one day? Shouldn’t we consider a gift to our favorite organizations when our heart (and wallet) says it is time to give?
Don’t get me wrong. The fact that for one day, North Texans donate more than $50 million does not go unnoticed. We live in a philanthropic society, which is why we can successfully have a giving day. But I often wonder, is all the hoopla around the day worth it?
Giving Days should be treated like any other special event fundraiser. In the end, we may or may not know who all donated to our organization, we may have put much more effort into marketing the giving day than the ROI reflects, or we completely knocked it out of the park and can celebrate a huge success. It is amazing to see the multi-million dollar grand total at the end of the day. And if your organization is one of nearly 3,000 that receives a portion of that $50 million, then wonderful! The entire day is built around giving back as a community, competition, fun activities, and, much like a one-day holiday celebration, is meant to celebrate all of the nonprofits in our community by raising money for them. Each organization manages their participation in giving days differently. Some raise $500,000 or more, while others are happy when they reach $1,000, and others are listed but do not receive any donations.
So what about the other 364 days of the year? As fundraisers, we need to build a year-long giving campaign to make every day a Giving Day. Goals are important. And just like your fundraising luncheon, end of year direct mail, and anniversary campaigns, a giving day campaign complements the annual budget. But, why not do your own one-day push? Have an organization birthday you celebrate each year? Celebrate with asking for donations on or around that day for the number of years you have been in existence. It’s amazing what that can do to stir people’s hearts to give at a special time of year for your organization. Trying to determine how to increase awareness of your organization? Focus on an awareness campaign that shares how dollars make a difference, which allows for a soft ask. And don’t underestimate Giving Tuesday, that Tuesday after Thanksgiving where nationwide people are focused on end of year giving.
Giving Days are great. They show the power of crowdfunding. They show the power of the community. And just like other fundraising events, they are important to a lot of organizations’ annual budgets. They key, as fundraisers, is making sure that our budgets are not highly reliant upon one particular day that we struggle the rest of the year. And the key, for donors, is to remember the organizations other times of year as well. So, to the 160,000 plus people who logged on last Thursday, thank you! And to the others community minded folks out there who missed giving day, there are lots of days to give before the end of the year.