We’ve been hearing a lot about “giving days” lately. Geoff Livingston of Razoo drew my attention to this fabulous case study (PDF) of the Greater Washington Give to the Max Day. We also have buddies at Kimbia, and they are the similarly great platform behind San Diego’s most recent giving day.
Read the report. All of it! Very good stuff. Here are some semi scattered thoughts about the case study and giving days in general.
Don’t go for the most money, go for the most donors.
I think this element of their ‘gamification’ was very smart, acknowledging the long term value of a newly acquired donor. Keep the barrier of participation low and make sure people know how valuable $5 and $10 can be. The most common gift amount was $10, but the average was $105 or so.
Why was Razoo so important?
The report mentions that the Razoo platform was an important part of the success of this event. It finally occurred to me a few months ago why platforms that provide simple donation forms and fundraising pages are so successful (and so numerous!)
Unfortunately, most home grown nonprofit donation pages aren’t very good. Perhaps they ask for too many fields, don’t work in IE7, aren’t mobile friendly, or something like that. It’s really hard to get those pages right, so making sure the giving day is driven through a really great set of donation pages is very important.
Razoo and Kimbia are just two of the many platforms you could use (psst..you can embed HelpAttack! donation forms in any webpage, and soon on Facebook tabs). There are probably reasons why those two platforms specifically have been used for giving days, and I’d be keen to hear more about why.
Media partnerships were key
When we did our #givetober campaign in Austin, this is something we knew but weren’t able to achieve. This is also a great way to “punch above your weight” as a small nonprofit: Cultivating contacts in the media and asking for (and returning) favors when the time is right. The media gets tired of reporting all the bad news, so be sure to tell them what you’re up to.
I’m curious: How much did the Facebook ads and bus advertising cost? Who paid for it? Facebook ads in particular can be targeted by location, so it’s a very cost effecitve way to reach online citizens in your city.
Obviously we’re fans of using #hashtags to unify and expand support on Twitter.
$13 for each $1 in the prize pool
This is a very cool figure. They also mentioned how prize money, per dollar, is far more effective than matching funds.
I didn’t see a figure for the average time spent by participating nonprofits, but I’m guessing it was around 10 hours (based on the figures listed). In lessons learned, they suggest nonprofits planning to spend 10-30 hours participating effectively in a giving day.
Since each nonprofit raised an average of $1,600 or so, that means their return on investment was $160 per hour, or slightly less if they spent funds on transportation or their own advertising. Economists won’t let you forget that those 10 hours may also imply lost opportunity cost to work on other campaigns. The report notes that many nonprofits thought the giving day conflicted with other campaigns – probably no way to avoid that.
Unless development staff make way more money than it seems, this seems to represent around a 300% return.
What were the conversion rates?
I would love to see statistics on how the various online donation pages converted traffic, broken up by source. There are few opportunities to directly compare email, online ads, Facebook, and other traffic sources, and the unifying theme of a giving day makes the figures much more comparable.
The best part?
The training. I think it’s wonderful (and essential) that giving day organizers concentrated on training the participating organizations and building capacity. Giving days that have been run a few years in a row show serious growth.
Did you participate in a giving day, either as a nonprofit or as a supporter? What did you think?