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9 Reasons Why Giving Days Are Our Business
By Paula Van Ness, President & CEO, Connecticut Community Foundation
We’ve all heard the buzz about Giving Days by now. #GivingTuesday will soon flood social media with the third installment of philanthropy’s version of Black Friday. GiveMN has raised more than $70 million for Minnesota nonprofits through its annual Give to the Max Day. And in its first year, Give Local America, which the Connecticut Community Foundation (CCF) participated in, raised more than $53 million in a single day, making it the biggest community-giving day ever.
Despite all of the staggering results, I still hear a number of my community foundation peers questioning whether Giving Days fit our business model. It’s a fair question, and one that Connecticut Community Foundation has answered: Yes. Here are nine reasons why.
1. It works.
Last year, through Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills, our community raised more than $500,000 for 147 local nonprofits in just 24 hours. We’ve created new and lasting relationships with several of these nonprofits that we had not worked with before.
2. If it’s good for our community, we want to be there.
To me, it’s pretty simple: If we can help direct hundreds of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits, we want to! At its core, CCF is about strengthening the philanthropic spirit and the organizations that make our neighborhoods better places to live. This helps!
3. It’s a reason to give.
From disaster responses to pledge drives, we know that urgency inspires giving. When we established a time limit and challenge match through our Giving Day, we provided one more reason for the community to give generously—right now.
4. First impressions matter.
They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and this is the introduction we want. For the thousands of people new to CCF, their first experience was big, easy, high-energy, and made a difference.
5. It’s more than a day—it’s a doorway.
The benefits of a Giving Day go way beyond a 24-hour period. Not only have we welcomed new donors, but we know what they care about! That information allows us to connect throughout the year and to create the underpinnings of a long-lasting relationship. We’ve already added some hall-of-fame givers to our rolls.
6. We’re good at it.
It doesn’t surprise me that of the three earlier Giving Day examples, community foundations are squarely in the center of two: We know our communities, we know our nonprofits, and we have the relationships to pull off a Giving Day at any scale.
7. It’s easier than ever.
Three words: trailblazers, tools, technology. Thanks to the efforts of early adopters, the path has been cleared, the territory charted, and the signposts marked. They have left a vast and growing library of tools and resources, and technology has made every aspect of giving remarkably easy—for donors, for nonprofits, and for us.
8. It brings us together.
There are hundreds of nonprofits in our region, and big things happen when we all link arms for a common cause. Last year, CCF and nearly 150 nonprofits teamed up to tackle homelessness, the environment, arts funding, education, women’s services and more. Together, we coordinated a social media campaign, reached out to new donors, and participated in many events held by local nonprofit organizations. And it worked.
9. It shines a light on us.
Give Local put our community foundation in the middle of the action. As much as we don’t like to admit it, there are donors and nonprofits that don’t know CCF. Our event put us center stage in the media mix and front-of-mind for all the right reasons. Now, more people know who we are and what we do.
That’s why we’re excited about Give Local America 2015. On May 5, we’re making it our business, all over again.