The Year of All Years

Time is an interesting concept. Sometimes, we feel like time moves too fast. Other times, we feel like time moves slower than a snail. Either way, March 2020 to March 2021, was a year like no other that many of us have ever encountered. Some days felt like it went on forever, while others flew by. It’s been a year of all years!

Time is simply that – time. It’s how you utilize your time that makes an impact on your life. Returning from Spring Break last year, my family & I didn’t realize that the week we spent together because we needed some time together would be the beginning of months together. My family is blessed. I’m not going to lie. Moving to virtual school in the spring was tough, but it happened, and we did it. Our jobs kept going – we just worked from home instead of in the office. We had food on the table, money in the bank, and a roof over our heads.

Not everyone was as blessed as my family during this past year. Not every company was as lucky as the ones we work for to continue to keep everyone employed.

Food Bank needs were at an all time high as families struggled to keep food on the table. Organizations, many who support those in need, suffered from special event cancellations, summer activity cancellations, and loss of donors, as the uncertainty of the pandemic set in. Organizations shifted their workforces to virtual, when possible, or limited the people who could come to the office. Fear filled the air, as no one had an answer to what would happen next. It’s in our human nature to want to know what’s next. This year taught us, change is inevitable.

The beauty of the past year is simple: We are resilient. While everyone had a different experience, we all continued moving forward. Organizations pivoted. Who knew the image of Ross yelling “Pivot!” while carrying a couch up the stairs would be a symbol of 2020 for many of us. I watched as organizations moved events to non-events, and raised more money than originally anticipated. Some events were moved to the drive-in, so people could be socially distance while still celebrating together. Most of us who work in some sort of capacity for non-profits probably knows more about CDC guidelines than has ever been necessary before in our positions.

As a communicator for nonprofit organizations, it’s not easy to not know what to say to clients as to what is next. It’s not easy to admit that you have no clue. But that is exactly what many of us did, and still do, as we navigate through these times. I learned that it’s okay to say “Here’s what we are going to do…and understand this could change tomorrow as we learn more.”

This past year was a year of learning. Learning what is most important: family, community, mental health. All of these aspects, and more, of our lives were impacted by the shut-down of life as we knew it.

The past year was a year of growth. I watched organizations grow in their technology understanding and needs. I watched as organizations grew in their missions. I watched communities grow together as they rallied around those in need to make sure local businesses could stay open.

The last year was about slowing down. Our busy day to day lives came to a screeching halt in March 2020. During those first few months, I watched families spend more time together – eating meals around the table again instead of in the car from one activity to another. I watched as my neighborhood was filled with people walking and playing outside. I listened as friends and I shared with each other the struggles that our children were having or how we could help those in need. I remembered to enjoy the little moments because those moments make up the big moment that was 2020.

Plans change. Lives change. Mandates of what we can and can’t do change. Even the organizations we support and/or work for change. Time, on the other hand, keeps on ticking forward. So, as we move into March 2021 and Spring Break (that we can only pray will be one week this year), I challenge you to look at the positives from this past year in your life and your organization. What stands out to you?

Take your Daughter to Work

Working from home. Schooling from home. Everything has gone home. So how exactly do you celebrate Take Your Daughter to Work Day on April 23? Most of us have seen the hilarious videos of the important business meetings with the kids running around in the background. That is not exactly taking your daughter to work. While these videos are humorous to most of us, Take Your Daughter to Work Day is about showing your daughter that she can do anything! No matter what your job, this special day each year gives parents (moms and dads) a chance to bond with their daughter(s) with career choices.

This year, with the current Stay-at-Home lifestyle, Take Your Daughter to Work Day is going virtual with the help of Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains and Junior Achievement of Northern California are joining forces with Diane Knapp to present a day long conversation with a variety of strong female leaders.

The event can be found live on Instagram @girlswhoruntheworldbook and videos will then be posted on the Facebook page for the Girls Who Run the World Book.

Read the complete press release below, and enjoy some time with your daughter on April 23, 2020.


Diana Kapp
Author, Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business



San Francisco, CA –This year’s April 23rd Take Your Daughter to Work Day is going virtual. Prominent CEOs including Sallie Krawchek of Ellevest, Mariam Naficy of Minted, Nancy Lublin of Crisis Text Line and Gregg Renfrew of Beauty Counter will bring their wisdom and advice to kids nationwide on Instagram Live.

Diana Kapp (the author of Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business and host of the event), will be “in conversation” with a different female leader starting every hour on the hour, from 9am EST to 8pm PST. The segments will be 20 minutes each. There will also be giveaways including Birchbox subscriptions, cases of HINT water, Girl Scout cookies, make-up, and copies of Girls Who Run the World.

“The mission of this event and my book is to raise the visibility of female CEOs and founders. I strongly believe you can’t be what you can’t see. To raise a generation of girls who expect to be CEOs, they need to see what this looks like in action. Far too many girls do not see themselves in these roles. Let’s change that. Boys, too, need to see badass women doing what they do, to change mindsets about who does what in this world,” says Kapp.

The full list of participating women to date: Sallie Krawcheck, CEO & Founder, Ellevest; Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg, Co-founder of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Mariam Naficy, CEO & Founder, Minted; Katia Beauchamp, CEO & Cofounder, Birchbox; Heidi Zak, Co-Founder & Co-CEO,  ThirdLove; Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of Task Rabbit; Leslie Blodgett, Creator & former CEO bareMinerals; Gregg Renfrew, CEO & Founder, Beautycounter; Theresia Gouw, Founding Partner, Acrew Capital; Nancy Lublin, Founder & CEO, Crisis Text Line. Many of these women are featured in Kapp’s book Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business.

Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains and Junior Achievement of Northern California are partnering with Kapp to promote the event to their networks of youth.

“It is such an honor to work with two such stellar youth-serving organizations. The Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains and Junior Achievement of Northern California are full-time dedicated to this very mission of raising the next great generation of leaders,” says Kapp.

The event can be found live on Instagram @girlswhoruntheworldbook and videos will then be posted on the Facebook page for the Girls Who Run the World Book.

Diana Kapp is a San Francisco-based journalist. She writes about education, culture, technology and entrepreneurism for media outlets such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, ELLEO the Oprah Magazine and Marie Claire. She holds an MBA from Stanford. Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business (Random House Delacorte, October 2019) is her first book.

Junior Achievement of Northern California Since 1950, Junior Achievement of Northern California has prepared students to succeed in a global economy by connecting students, educators, and business professionals to create greater economic opportunities and career pathways for the 90,000 students served  in 26 Northern and Central California Counties

Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains is the pre-eminent leadership development organization for girls in 78 Texas counties and three Oklahoma counties. Girls get the opportunity to try new things, develop skills, practice leadership, and just be themselves. Girls work towards badges in categories which today include entrepreneurship, robotics, cybersecurity, space science and STEM.

My Thoughts…

Many of us are at home now. Homeschooling (or attempting to). Working from home. Trying to decide if the trip to the grocery store is needed today. We are all doing our best to make the best of the current situation.

In the non-profit world, this means changing the way we do business. Cancelling or postponing fundraising events. Checking temperatures of visitors. Cancelling volunteer programs. Finding a new way to work while still continuing to fulfill our mission.

The great news is…the nonprofit community is resilient. We are flexible. We are strong. We come together to help each other out. Maybe it’s because I’m in Fort Worth, and naturally, we come together in times of need. Maybe it’s because I surround myself with people with big hearts, so I see this time of community building on a regular basis. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because we all realize this too shall pass, and we should all do our part.

One of my clients is a local social service organization. I have been told not to come into the office, which is also a shelter. I also work part-time at my son’s school, which is closed through the end of the month. It’s amazing how much work I can get done with a computer and phone by my side. I have friends who have packed up their offices and moved home to help with social distancing. Work continues whether we are in the office or not.

For a fundraiser, the concern of meeting budget is hitting, or will hit, if it has not already. Organizations are going to have to make tough decisions as funding will change. This is not similar to a hurricane or tornado that impacts a specific group of people or area of the country. This is impacting everyone, across the country, and across the world. All organizations are going to need financial support to continue their missions.

So, as we continue to distance ourselves socially, that doesn’t mean we have to distance ourselves financially. If you have the means, give a donation. See who was scheduled to have a fundraising event in the next couple of months, and give to that organization. Consider organizations that are helping the most vulnerable during this time, as their caseloads are increasing. Or simply make an extra donation to your favorite organization. We all have reasons why we give, and now is as good of time as any to make that donation. Plus, with online giving, you never have to be within six feet of anyone to give.

And in the words of Mr. Rogers, who says it better than anyone else, ““My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

How do we Keep our Donors?

Donor Retention.

Even the name of this topic sends chills down my spine. Donor retention is a constant battle. The segmentation, the plan, the “how do we keep our donors?” questions that occur when talking about donor retention. The stats that a good database can spit out telling you the percentage of donors retained over the past 1 to 3 years. Those same stats can tell you how many donors left during that same time. One of the ways I’ve found that helps me manage the “how do we keep our donors?” question is to think like a donor myself. I start to think about my own donations and how I view those organizations.

I’ve been the one-time donor, the donor that rolls off the donor list after 3-5 years, and the long-term donor earning me a spot on the planned giving mailing list. With each type of donor I have been comes a reason. The one-time donor is typically because a friend asked me to give to something she/he was interested in (the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign). When I am the donor that gives for 3-5 years and then stops is typically because that phase of my life is over, and the organization, while still important, does not have as much to do with my personal goals as it once did. As a long-term donor, those organizations have impacted my life in some way that makes me want to continue my giving (think education and religious organizations).

As a fundraiser, the term donor centric is used often when writing a development plan. As the plan for donor centricity is developed, the one concept that always seems to get lost in the mix is the donor. We all strive to put the donor first. But, when the overall plan is finalized, the bottom line of “how much money?” takes over.

The reasons for why this happens are plentiful. You thought you kept the donor at the center of the plan. You just knew the donor would respond to this idea or that. Your board said so. Your CEO said so. You CFO said so. The consultant said so. Your development team said so. And the list goes on and on. But, did the donor say so? The bottom line, when we implement a plan putting the donor first, how many of us take the time to TALK to the donor. There is not enough time in the world to talk to every donor you have, but there are ways to gather information about what your donor wants. Select a sample of donors (not just the ones you know best) and ask questions.

The questions don’t have to be doctoral style research. Ask basic questions:

  • Why do you give to us?
  • Tell me the story of your first donation that truly had meaning to you.
  • What organization do you give to most often and why?
  • What keeps you giving?
  • How do you like to be thanked?

When we take the time to get to know our donors, retention comes naturally. Simply expecting donors to continue to give year after year without any personal connection is the same as Clark Griswold expecting his yearly bonus and receiving the jelly of the month club instead. Without personal connection, the gifts can change or go away completely.

So what is it that makes these organizations keep receiving my gifts or stop? There is no one answer. And when you talk to donors, each will have a different reason for giving, what the organization means to them, and why it’s on their donation list. For me, it’s personal connection. My connections fall into three main categories: personal, business, and friends/family. I give to the schools that I’ve attended. Why? They gave me the foundation of everything I know today. I see how they are constantly growing and impacting students. I receive information from them on a regular basis with stories of success and how my donations are making an impact.

I give to organizations of which I am a member or employee. Why? I am a big believer that you have to give where you are. If I am a member of an organization that offers an annual fund, I give. If I’m working for an organization that has an employee campaign, I give. It’s a lot easier to talk to a donor prospect when you are a donor yourself.

The third grouping is where most of my random giving comes in- friends and family. Almost everyone I know is involved in fundraising in one way or another. If it’s important to you, and you are a good friend of mine or close family member, chances are I will give if I can. Sometimes I stay a donor with these organizations over time, other times it’s a one and done type of donation.

No matter what your thoughts are on donor retention, how it plays into your development plan, remember the donor. Not every donor loves your organization the same way that you do. Donors have their own story of why. Don’t get caught up in the “how much money?” when the real question is “why us?”

Know When to Go

This is to those of you who struggle with the thought of moving on. The thought that there is still so much you can offer, if only… The thought of finding a new job and starting all over with a new organization keeps you standing still in a bad situation.

In the nonprofit world, especially fundraising world, each of us brings our own experience and expertise to the position. And, if we are lucky, we learn new skills along the way. But what happens, as a fundraiser, when you realize it’s time to move on?

First off, job hunting when necessary is frightening. Bills don’t stop just because you don’t have a pay check. So, before you get to the point in your life that you are asked to resign, you’re fired, or you simply quit, take into account some warning signs that can help you know it’s time to go.

Warning sign #1: You literally don’t want to go to work. That may seem obvious, and we’ve all had those days when we didn’t want to go in. But does it happen more often than not? If you are not excited to go to work, as in…never want to be there, dread talking to the other people in the office, dread answering questions from donors… then it’s time to find something new. As fundraisers, how we feel about the organization we are raising money for shows through to the donor. If they can tell we aren’t into it, why should they give their hard earned money to it?

Warning sign #2: your boss has ghosted you. Your boss keeps cancelling your regular meeting or doesn’t have a regular meeting with you at all. There is literally no relationship between you and your boss outside of approving time sheets and vacation. Now, I’ve been the boss that has reschedule regular meetings for various reasons. And, without fail, it impacted the same person each time. What did I do? I called that individual, apologized for constantly having to reschedule, and we set a new time regular time to chat in hopes that it would work better with both of our schedules. I also made sure to check in (usually via e-mail) with her on a regular basis to see if she needed anything specific from me to do her job. Why did I do that? Because I didn’t want her to think she wasn’t an important part of the team. If your boss doesn’t value you as a team member, that may be the writing on the wall that your boss is ready for you to find something new.

Warning sign #3: You get drug through the mud no matter what you do. You are going along, doing your job as it has been asked for you to do, thinking you are doing a great job, and then your boss comes to you and wants to know what you’ve been doing – and why haven’t you done this – and why aren’t you doing that? If you know how to fill in the this and thats in this scenario, you’ve likely been in this situation. Again, this goes back to having a relationship with your boss – one where you both talk to each other and know the expectations of each other. If your boss is the type of boss to only point out what you are doing wrong and never compliment you when you do something right, then it’s time to find a new boss.

Notice these warnings are about people, and not necessarily the job. Most people, when they really think about it, leave a job or think about leaving a job because of a supervisor of some sort- either directly or indirectly associated with their position. Relationships at work are important. We often spend more time with our work family than our own family.

I’ve left jobs too soon, too late, and just at the right time for me. I’ve also accepted jobs just to get out of the current situation only to realize the grass isn’t always greener, even if the paycheck is.

Change is hard. And while my personality tells me to take on the new challenge, that same personality loves to fix things. I want to “fix” the current dilemma I’m in. “I can make this work.” “I will make this work.” “I will outlast this horrible situation I am in because I know I can make this work.” We can tell ourselves all sorts of motivational quotes to try to make our work situation better, but in the end, it’s probably the “It’s time for a change” quote that we need to listen to and accept the most.

Fundraisers move around a lot. CEOs know this. HR departments know this. Donors know this. But why do we leave? Often times, it’s the pressure of the job. I’ve heard many colleagues say, “They raised my budget again and think I can just magically make money appear. I’m not sticking around to fail.” The challenges are built up larger than we care to attack. And other times we realize the organization is simply not the right fit for us. Fit is important. If you aren’t a fan of animals, don’t take a job with the local animal shelter simply because you want out of your current position. Being able to passionately talk about an organization is what helps donors understand and believe in the mission. If you can’t put your entire support behind the mission of an organization, then that organization is not for you. And that’s okay! Sometimes we don’t realize it’s not the right fit until we get there.

There are many reasons to leave. And just as many to stay. If you are stuck in a rut, maybe it’s just that, a rut. But if you’ve been stuck in a rut for a while (and only you can determine what constitutes a while), maybe it’s time to update that resume, match it to your LinkedIn profile, and get your name out there. I’ve hardly ever turned down an interview because remember: you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

Locally, we have great nonprofit job boards to see what’s available including:

Best of luck to those who are ready to take the leap and start looking.

And if you are stuck in a rut, talk to your boss. See if together, y’all can pull you out of it.

Either way, we all want to be doing a job we enjoy!

Buy the Cookies!

It’s that time of year where those smart girls in blue, green, and khaki vests and sashes set up shop outside of our convenience stores, grocery stores, knock on neighborhood doors, and have their parents post videos on social media saying “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”

Your answer should be YES! Your answer should always be YES! Purchasing Girl Scout cookies is not about spending money on a box of cookies. Purchasing Girl Scout cookies is about supporting the largest girl-led business in the world. The Girl Scouts selling cookies are working toward a personally set goal.

Next time a girl asks you, “Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” Say yes and ask her what she’s going to do with her cookie proceeds. Ask about her goal.

When I worked for the local Girl Scout council, I started to ask the girls what their goals were. The answers amazed me. These girls knew exactly how many boxes of cookies they needed to sell to reach their personal end goal. Some girls wanted to sell 250 boxes, others wanted to sell 1,500 boxes, while others had even larger goals in mind. Here are some of the ways girls use their cookie proceeds when you buy the cookies:

  • Attend Girl Scout overnight camp
  • Go on a Girl Scout High Adventure Trip
  • Save to go to Europe with our troop before we graduate high school
  • Help a horse that was malnourished heal and learn about taking care of equine in the process
  • Go on an end of year or summer trip with their troop

Girl Scouts make plans, set goals, and sell cookies. Like any business, they learn goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. The shyest, youngest girl learns to be a top cookie seller and look adults three times her size in the eye and ask if they will buy cookies. The older girls learn the value of repeat customers (and are typically the customers who hear first that cookies are on sale each year). No matter the girls length of time in Girl Scouts, they learn how to run a business from the first cookie purchase to the last.

So, as you go about your shopping this year, and you see the girls out selling – stop and ask them what their goals are. Ask them how they plan to spend their cookie proceeds. And buy the box (or more) of cookies.

Need to find a Girl Scout selling near you? Check out and type in your zip code to find a booth location near you.

Q and A with Jaime Cobb, VP of Dementia and Caregiver Education, James L. West

PBx: How long have you worked for the organization?
JC: 8 years

PBx: Why do you believe in the work of this organization?
JC: We truly do provide the best care and are always learning. We are always applying our core values of passion, integrity, excellence, respect, and support. We are always trying help everyone affected by dementia.

PBx: Share your favorite organization experience?
JC: My favorite experience here is when I see family members come through our multi-session education classes and see how they positively transform from the first class to the last class.

PBx: Describe your organization in 3 words.
JC: Expert, Visionary, Caring

PBx: In what ways can someone get involved?
JC: People can get involved through being an advocate of our education programs and share our services to all families affected by dementia. We have volunteer opportunities to help our organization in a variety of ways.

PBx: What makes your organization unique?
JC: We are solely dedicated to providing dementia care and we are the only community we know of that has a department dedicated to providing education to families, health care professionals and medical students.

PBx: What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about your organization?
JC: We offer a Day Program, Respite Care, Residential Care, and we offer around 20 Educational classes in and outside our community.

October Nonprofit of the Month: James L. West Center for Dementia Care

Many of us today have been touched by a family member or friend who has suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s. In 1993, a group of Fort Worth residents understood the need for a center to care for those individuals whose specific needs change daily, and they created James L. West Center for Dementia Care.

James L. West is a not-for-profit organization which serves persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and their families in a compassionate and spiritual environment. This Center is dedicated to providing individualized care and support to enhance the quality and dignity of each person’s life throughout the course of the disease. By participating in meaningful research and sharing its experience and knowledge, the Center is committed to enriching lives now and in the future.

Throughout the month, you will learn about the residential and day programs offered, as well as education classes and support groups.

To learn more now about James L. West, visit them on social media or the web:


Transforming Lives

Family Housing

Christy was raised in an abusive home and cycled in and out of the foster care system. For most of her childhood, she was never shown love by her family. As an adult, she entered into an abusive relationship that left her homeless and living in her car, with nowhere to turn. Her housing instability resulted in her children being removed by Child Protective Services.​

Undeterred, Christy wanted a better life for her children. She was referred to the Center for Transforming Lives Rapid Rehousing Program. Christy overcame the obstacles of poverty by utilizing resources offered by the Center such as Financial Empowerment and Child Violence and Trauma Intervention Therapy. She worked hard to make sure she had a safe home for her children, and developed better parenting skills to become more loving and caring.​

Since then, Christy and her family moved into their own home. She is working and becoming more independent each day. The Center for Transforming Lives has been instrumental in making it possible for Christy and her family to experience safety, security, and belonging – in their own home.

Child Development Center

Alone with a baby, Veronica wasn’t sure where to turn. She desperately needed a job to provide for her daughter, but didn’t have anyone to watch sweet Vivian while she worked. Then she learned about the Center for Transforming Lives and scheduled a tour of the Arlington Child Development Center.

She immediately felt comfortable with the warm and welcoming staff, and she noticed the rooms were filled with natural light, learning centers, art projects, and books. The curriculum was award-winning, and the teachers were highly trained. Best of all, a sliding payment scale was available for those who need it. Veronica would not have to spend nearly her entire paycheck on child care – she would have money left over for groceries and rent. 

Once Vivian was enrolled, it was not long until Veronica knew she had made the right decision. Vivian quickly became attached to her teachers. So did Veronica! The teachers not only took wonderful care of her daughter but also provided support to Veronica as a first-time mom. They taught Veronica how to help wean Vivian off her pacifier, and they helped with potty-training.           

The teachers scheduled regular meetings with Veronica to discuss Vivian’s development, keep her informed of her progress, and talk about techniques to use at home to enhance her learning.  Veronica was impressed with Vivian’s development and could not believe how fast her child’s vocabulary was growing.

In a recent visit, Vivian – now 5 years-old – commented that markers are her favorite art tool, and she loves to draw.  “I’m an artist,” she said proudly.  She also shared, “I have lots of favorite friends here,” and in Miss Sasha’s classroom, “I felt like I was home.” 

Family Strengthening Services

Shafeeqa made six-figures in a corporate career and owned her own home. When she suddenly became ill, she lost her job, savings and her sense of stability. She had no other choice than to keep going because she had a young child to feed.  Shafeeqa carried a passion for food in her heart and had a desire to heal, so she starting cooking. After studying ways to heal the body, she dedicated her kitchen to healthy, plant based vegan food—PlantChicks. Trying to manage her business and family, she was strapped to  make ends meet. She could not take her business to the next level since her sales were only making enough to balance her monthly income and expenses. Due to the damage on her credit report, she did not qualify for traditional lending from a bank.

Shafeeqa’s friend suggested that she apply for the Individual Development Account (IDA) offered by Center for Transforming Lives. Shafeeqa saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn how to establish a plan for her business and get funding to purchase equipment and other materials for PlantChicks. Shafeeqa began networking and marketing her way to success. She is part of a co-op in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where several small businesses share a kitchen that provides space for each business to prep meals and various delicacies. The IDA program funding helps Shafeeqa continue working toward her best possibilities.

“Prior to coming to CTL, I was not able to separate my personal finances from the business, make long-term plans, or attempt to substantiate my passion in a reputable way. Sharing a beautiful space with women all focused on personal & professional growth is empowering.”

Shafeeqa considers herself a “mommy-preneur” and has learned to balance the needs of her business and commitment to family. Her mentors and leadership at the Center for Transforming Lives Financial Empowerment Program hold her accountable and offer tools that have set her up for success. “I am so grateful for the measurable growth of PlantChicks categorically and the confidence to keep growing with tools and a network of people that champion its success. Not only is Plant Chicks making lives better, I am better as a small business owner.”

Giving Days Should be Every Day

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.