Guest Post: The Giving Glow

Monday, October 24, 2016

2016 is the third year that Forefront has organized #ILGive, llinois'  official civic campaign for Giving Tuesday.  For the second consecutive year, Grand Victoria Foundation is providing additional technical support and incentives to encourage its grantees to make the most of this worldwide day of giving. Learn more about #ILGive here. If your foundation is interested in offering your grantees matching gifts or incentives for #ILGive, let us know! It's easy to set up on our new platform!

Live Here, Give Here

“The giving glow.”

It’s what Ebenezer Scrooge experienced that Christmas morning after visits from the three spirits. It’s the feeling you get when you’ve just found THE perfect gift for someone special, and then again when you see that person open it up. There’s nothing quite like it. On Tuesday, November 29th, Giving Tuesday 2016, the giving glow goes worldwide.

Giving Tuesday 2015
If Black Friday and Cyber Monday can generate such incredible buzz in the commercial world, why not use the power of social media to create that same level of participation for charitable giving? With this simple question, the Giving Tuesday movement was born in 2012. With Forefront’s help, Grand Victoria Foundation and 24 of its grantees joined the groundswell in 2015. 

We knew that our grantees wanted to build capacity for online donor acquisition, so we decided to have a little fun with a challenge. The Foundation agreed to match 1:1 any online donation received on Giving Tuesday up to $5,000 per organization. Using techniques and tools supplied by Forefront, those 24 organizations raised a total of more than $150,000 online on December 1st, 2015. Seventeen of the participating agencies (70%) qualified for the full $5,000 match. Our partner grantees raised a grand total of $251,659 that day. Talk about a great holiday surprise!

This was uncharted territory for us and for most of our agencies, so our expectations had been kept firmly in check. The unanticipated and unbudgeted bonanza gave all of us that “giving glow!”

Giving Tuesday 2016
This year we’re raising the stakes in hopes of surpassing last year’s success.

Why? Simply put, our success depends on our grantees’ success. Grand Victoria Foundation’s philosophy is that positive change comes about when four conditions are present:

  • high-functioning systems
  • strong public policies
  • engaged communities
  • effective organizations

Whatever we can do to help foster these conditions helps our grantees and, therefore, the Foundation itself.

It’s no secret that online giving is here to stay. Millennials (born between the early 1980s and late 1990s) are both tech-savvy and active charitable givers. Eighty-five per cent of this group gave to charitable causes in 2014, and 62% of them prefer to donate via mobile device. Providing our grantees with tools that increase their capacity to acquire donors online definitely helps them engage this community.  The increased giving in turn strengthens the organizations allowing them to operate at a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness.

To give our grantees the best chance to take full advantage of the worldwide buzz around Giving Tuesday to acquire new donors, we are offering extra help and extra incentives. In addition to the online fundraising tools and training provided by Forefront, Grand Victoria Foundation has invested in a minimum of two hours of technical assistance for each participating organization. We want to help staff make the most of the event through smart planning and careful follow up with their newly acquired donors. 

Kick-off Meeting
Early in September, we invited our grantees to a meeting to learn about Giving Tuesday and its Illinois companion, #ILGive.  Representatives from Forefront, GiveGab (the #ILGive online platform) and Grand Victoria Foundation presented the background, technical tools and incentives for Giving Tuesday. Claudette G. Baker of Claudette G. Baker & Associates described technical assistance she would provide and laid out the information she would need to prepare for her one-on-one assistance sessions. Since we needed to know how many organizations would be involved to develop a budget for the match, and we wanted all participants to have the benefit of the giving platform demo provided by Forefront and GiveGab, we made attendance at this kick-off breakfast mandatory. 

The Incentives:

Gift Match
In 2015, the Foundation matched all online gifts up to a total of $5,000 for each organization. We’re repeating this in 2016 with one restriction: The portion of matched gifts from organization employees included in the $5,000 total is limited to a total of $500. In 2015 we found that a few very generous staffers gave last minute gifts so the Foundation match would be maximized. And knowing our grantees to be thorough fundraisers taking advantage of every opportunity to increase support, we should have expected nothing less!

In 2016, however, we want to focus our incentives to reward reaching a new audience of donors and retaining them. The $500 limit is a compromise between choosing to match no employee gifts and choosing to match them all.

Additional Bonuses
Three additional incentives have been added this year:

  1. Bonus to the organization acquiring the largest number of new donors: $3,000
  2. Bonus to the organization retaining the highest percentage of donors acquired on Giving Tuesday 2015: $2,000
  3. Bonus to the organization raising the highest amount of money online on Giving Tuesday: $2,000

These extra perks are designed to highlight the importance we place on increasing capacity to acquire and retain new donors online. Besides rewarding the greatest amount of money raised, we also want to reward other important benchmarks such as largest number of new donors and highest donor retention rate, giving smaller organizations a better chance to be competitive.

After the results from Giving Tuesday are in, we will invite all our participating grantees to a party where we will award the additional bonuses, celebrate a job well done, toast to the holidays and bask in “the giving glow!”

Lucy Tarabour, Network Leader
Grand Victoria Foundation

There's still time to register your nonprofit to participate in #ILGive for #GivingTuesday!