Giving Days are a great way to increase the visibility and excitement around philanthropy at your institution. In an increasingly digital world, having a day to encourage your school’s donors to give back and then celebrate that collective impact can be incredibly powerful.
GiveCampus has powered over 1500 Giving Days, and by working closely with our partner community of nearly 1,000 schools, we’ve been lucky enough to learn from a lot of experts—17 of which participated in our first ever Giving Day Boot Camp in January 2021. Here are three of them, speaking to three important dimensions of Giving Day planning.
First: Giving Days should be meaningful, aspirational, and fun — and so much of this starts with a goal. Listen below to Amy Gallo, Director of Advancement Communications at Princeton Day School, as she talks about setting goals and using four key segmentation tracks to make them achievable. She also describes some of the specific messaging angles that encourage participation and build an entire culture around giving.
Your planning and goal-setting leads up to the part where you gather up your alumni and constituent volunteers. You know that your Giving Day is going to give donors an incredible opportunity, but Giving Days take a village. You are going to need to get buy-in from others to take your Giving Day to the next level (and stay sane while doing it). Your key to recruiting and communicating with volunteers is demonstrating impact — tell them why they should get involved with your Giving Day, and arm them with the tools to make doing so easy and fun.
Christene Riendeau, Director of Annual Giving and Volunteer Engagement at College of the Holy Cross, talks about how to best engage and empower your volunteers in the weeks leading up to the big event. Plus, she talks through ways to steward volunteers and creative ways to help them feel that they made a difference.
In addition to your external volunteers, it is also important to get buy-in from your internal stakeholders. Your key stakeholder net should be campus-wide, and can and should include: athletics, deans, faculty, facilities departments, campus dining, beloved staff, and student organizations. Send a recruitment email well in advance of any planned trainings or resources that you share, and make sure your core group feels confident about their roles and responsibilities. Erin Pollard, Director of Annual Giving at the University of Hartford, shares how she gets buy-in from key internal stakeholders and the “team captain” model that has worked so well for them.
The bottom line? A lot goes into planning a Giving Day and you don’t have to do it alone. The GiveCampus partner community comes with a 365-day forum for sharing ideas and best practices (which means ongoing access to experts like Amy, Erin, and Christene on this page), a dedicated Partner Success lead to talk strategy with, and a support team that answers questions in 13 minutes on average.
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