How “Give Local America” Raised Over $51 Million In 24 Hours

Give Local America (Tuesday, May 6, 2014) raised over $51,641,978.98 from 31,0944 gifts. Can you freaking believe it?

How did they do it?

Before the campaign launched, I asked Lori Finch, Vice President of Community Foundations at Kimbia how they plan to succeed:

What specific objectives are you measuring during the campaign?

Give Local America‘s goals are to generate significant philanthropy outside of the traditional giving season with a focus on supporting local communities and local organizations.  The key measures are:

  • Total donations – in dollars ($51,641,978.98), numbers of donations and average gift amount.
  • First time donors  – our experience tells us that up to 60% of the donors in these one day events are first time donors to an organization. Even in 5th year events like the North Texas Giving Day in Dallas/Fort Worth area new donors can represent up to 25% of total donors.
  • Brand mentions – we’re using a really cool tool, Zoomph, to do that. We want to build something that nonprofits across the country can use every year.  We anticipate Give Local America is going to be an annual event, and we want to see a strong foundation built.

How are you using content to engage people in the campaign?

We’ve developed a few ideas and tools to help drive content creation as well as engage individuals.  Our focus is putting a face on the missions and work of nonprofits in communities across the country.

More than anything we focus on training and encouraging nonprofits to develop strong visual content that tells stories. We are encouraging unselfies, and we launched an infographic today as well.

How are you using Facebook and Twitter to engage the community and/or promote the campaign?

For a couple of months leading up to Give Local America we organized social media contests to generate buzz in advance of the big day: a GLA Social Media Day on March 6, and a Tweet-a-Thon April 8.

These contests got our community foundations’ creative juices flowing, and they came up with some really great shares!

On May 6 we will blanket social media with posts that leverage the competitive nature of the largest giving day in America.

Image posts with photos of community foundations and nonprofits working away and celebrating key milestones, posts about fundraising progress, and posts with funny or goofy memes.

We’re also utilizing a relatively new tool, Thunderclap to increase social reach and to help us trend nationally throughout the day.

What’s behind the timing of the event?

Community foundations work with local nonprofits serving their communities throughout the year.

The goal of Give Local America is to bring focus on these organizations, so it was important for the event to occur at a time outside of the normal giving cycle to let the spotlight shine on these incredible organizations and their causes and drive additional donations.

What made you decide to create Give Local America?

Give Local America celebrates the 100th anniversary of community foundations in the United States and the vital role they play in philanthropy, and specifically, local philanthropy. Most notably they assist donors by identifying which nonprofits are having the greatest impact in their local communities.

In addition, over the last four years the many community foundations that have implemented Giving Days on our platform have increased community awareness of the role they play and increased funding for the many nonprofits they serve.

For example, last fall Communities Foundation of Texas raised $25.2M for 1,351 nonprofits in just 17 hours. Give Local America can serve as a platform to enable more community foundations to achieve those goals.

Just like “Shop Local” this is a grass roots initiative. At a time when it often seems easier and more imperative to give internationally than it is to help people and causes in our own community, Give Local America serves as a catalyst to reignite the spirit of local philanthropy here at home.

Do events such as these drive recurring giving?

They certainly can and do. These events introduce new donors to organizations who now have an opportunity to engage the donor (and ultimately the donor’s network) on a regular basis, moving them to monthly giving and bequests. And online-acquired donors who give to and share a nonprofit’s mission across many channels have the highest lifetime value.

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John Haydon