Articles by

Anna Dilernia

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    Building Your Foundation's Brand - Giving Day Webinar. Throughout the research Knight Foundation has done on Giving Days, one finding surfaces again and again: these online fundraising campaigns help the community foundations that organize them raise their own profiles, and increase awareness of the roles they play in their cities. Yet at the same time, many of the foundations don’t have a branding strategy in place to help them fully leverage the added boost of an attention-getting Giving Day. Last week, Knight Foundation invited brand strategist Sarah Durham of Big Duck to provide tips on putting that kind of strategy in place, and implementing it in Giving Day campaigns. You can listen to the recording above, and read through a few key take-aways below from the presentation: Giving Day brands should connect to the community foundation’s overall brand: Most Giving Days operate off a separate brand, but ideally they should be part of the same branded family, Durham said. You can do this by having them share similar logos, fonts and colors. You can also connect with the name, as other non-profits have done. The March of Dimes, for example, now calls its walk-a-thons the “March to Help Babies” as a way to connect the brand to the event. Extend the community foundation’s brand by find ways to connect Giving Day participants to the foundation: “Often times in marketing, we tend to think about just getting people to show up. If we get enough people to show up, it’s successful,” Durham said. But organizers should be planning for ways to educate participants about the foundation behind the event. If there are in-person events, make sure a speaker can talk about the foundation, and provide a call to action. If it’s virtual, use the captured emails to follow up quickly with a communication that helps connect participants to the organizers.
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    Video: Landing Corporate Sponsorships for Giving Days. Knight Foundation recently hosted a webinar on Landing Corporate Sponsorships for Giving Days, a session targeted to the many foundations that organize these campaigns and part of an ongoing learning series. The topic was spurred by a review of Knight-funded Giving Days and input from peers who were interested in learning more about this type of funding and tactical lessons on how to get started with securing corporate sponsorships. As we look forward towards the sustainability of community foundation-lead Giving Days, topics like corporate sponsorship are just some ways community foundation organizers are looking to gain skills that can be used beyond a Giving Day event. The webinar included lessons learned from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s partnership with Microsoft, Colorado Gives Day’s partnership with First Bank and tips from fundraising expert Shannon Doolittle. Here are a few top takeaways: Know the difference between sponsorships and partnerships: Here’s how Doolittle described it: Corporate sponsorships are a marketing objective, a way for business to build brand and increase sales. Partnerships, meanwhile, are a form of philanthropy and giving back.  While sponsorships come form the marketing budget and are often short term and transactional, partnerships are long-term propositions that take time to develop, often include additional value beyond providing dollars, and can be transformational for an organization.
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    Giving Day Basics for Newcomers from Knight Foundation on Vimeo. Organizing a Giving Day can seem like a gargantuan task. But five Giving Day experts demystified the process during a Knight Foundation webinar aimed at newcomers to these online fundraising campaigns. You can listen to the full recording here. When you do, here are seven of the many lessons you will learn from Victoria Fear of The Miami Foundation, Courtney Bengston of the Wichita Community Foundation,  Barbara Fischer of the Blue Grass Community Foundation, Mike Berkowitz of Third Plateau Strategies and moderator and trainer Beth Kanter. RELATED LINK Webinar: Giving Day Basics for Newcomers 1.    Set a goal: So many first-time organizers neglect to do this first important step. Your goal may be to raise a certain amount of money - or it may be something else entirely like engaging a particular set of donors, or trying to bring new endowment funds to a community foundation. Whatever it is, make sure it’s measurable.  “You can’t do everything with your Giving Day, so being clear about your goal is really critical,” Berkowitz said. 2.   Know too that your goals may shift over time: The Wichita Community Foundation launched it’s one-day campaign to support the local arts as a way to raise its community profile. Several years later, they’ve hit that goal. Now the foundation is looking at ways to use the day to highlight its services, including fund management and community leadership, said Courtney Bengtson, the foundation’s director of communications.
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    The Miami Foundation celebrates reaching a goal on Give Miami Day in 2012. Photo courtesy The Miami Foundation. Since 2013, Knight Foundation has helped community foundations experiment with online fundraising campaigns known as Giving Days. To date these Giving Days have raised $81.2 million dollars in 17 communities for 12,924 nonprofits. Beyond the dollars, our research has shown that these Giving Days provide community foundations with increased visibility in their community, engagement with new donors and better relationships with the nonprofit community. Despite these benefits, Giving Day organizers still struggle with the amount of time these campaigns take and the cost of running them. For these Giving Days to support both nonprofits and community foundations in the long term, organizers are starting to focus on reducing costs and aligning Giving Days with their overall structure and mission. Our evaluation partner, Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies, has found that community foundations participating in Knight’s Giving Day Initiative are making their campaigns sustainable by employing some of the following tactics: 1. No longer covering fees
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    Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream, Joyce Hobson Johnson of Beloved Community Center and Aaron Dorfman of National Committe for Responsive Philanthropy; Photo by Melvin Johnson at the 2015 EPIP National Conference. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) national conference May 12-14 in New Orleans. The conference brought together diverse young leaders in philanthropy to learn from peers and seasoned leaders to better advance pathways of social change. Here are three insights I gained from the conference: Compound leadership: It is challenging for younger practitioners in philanthropy to make a big splash with a project that gets lots of attention from staff or community leaders. Instead of focusing on getting a big break, Flozell Daniels Jr., CEO and president of Foundation for Louisiana, encouraged focusing on doing your core job well while also taking on small leadership projects. This “compound leadership” will grow social capital just as compound interest in a savings account grows financial capital over time.
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    Anyone who has hosted an online giving campaign can relate to the exhilaration that comes when the total-amount-raised tracker goes up and up and up.  Prizes offered throughout Giving Days, or online fundraising sprints, are a big part of generating that excitement and keeping donors and nonprofits engaged.   But what prizes are most effective in motivating donors? How can matching funds be used to keep the momentum going during a 24-hour campaign?  Below are some insights we’ve learned through an evaluation of the Giving Days run by community foundations that Knight Foundation supports. These insights build on Knight’s new report that contains 10 lessons for Giving Days.
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    Points of light (cc) by James Marvin Phelps. Last week I attended the Points of Light National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Aptly named “Service Unites,” it gathered more than 5,000 leaders from the nonprofit, corporate and civic sectors to learn and help shape the future of volunteerism. These changemakers from across the country were examining how to put civic engagement into action, a mission we live every day at Knight Foundation.    Throughout the conference, many of the topics on measuring impact touched on big data; nonprofits have shown a growing interest in the topic. Earlier this year Knight sponsored a webinar hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Data-Driven Strategy in the Social Sector,” which attracted a record number of registrations. Corporations, philanthropies and nonprofits all know big data is out there but how can they leverage it to inform decisions in the social sector? One significant way is through using data to assess the effectiveness of their work or to broaden it into more areas of need.  Here are a few themes related to big data that stood out from the conference:
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    Giving Day Playbook Presentation from Knight Foundation Nonprofits across the country have pledged to participate in #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3 – but signing up to participate in the online giving campaign is just the first step. Being truly successful on #GivingTuesday takes proper planning, outreach, logistics and follow up. Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Knight Foundation created an easy-to-use resource called the Giving Day Playbook full of ideas we hope you’ll borrow. It was written for the many community foundations around the country that have launched Giving Days, or geographically-based online fundraising campaigns. Organized into sections on planning, outreach, day of logistics and follow-up, the Playbook is full of tips, checklists, templates and examples of past campaigns that can be easily adapted for #GivingTuesday. RELATED LINKS Giving Day Playbook Recorded webinar: "Getting the Most from #GivingTuesday: Ideas and Tools for Nonprofits to Drive Giving" via the Stanford Social Innovation Review Drawing from the Playbook, here are four practical tips to help you maximize your campaign: 1. Set Clear and Measurable Goals To get the most out of #GivingTuesday, you’ll want to think carefully about what you want to achieve and the targets you aim for. Setting specific goals will help motivate your team and give a real focus to all your efforts. The Giving Day Playbook offers some specific examples and templates for setting measureable goals for your participation. The Playbook can aid with planning for the financial side by helping to set goals based on benchmarks developed by similarly sized nonprofits. If it’s your organization’s first time participating, the Playbook has the results of past campaigns to give you a sense of the financial goal you might aim for. Also, remember that goals can go beyond dollars and cents. Your organization can also set targets for donor engagement and brand awareness. When goal setting, keep in mind your target donor segment. Everything you do with your communication and outreach flows from the segment (s) you choose. For example, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation specifically targeted donations from young professions in their past Giving Day campaign. Using this target, they tailored their messaging to a younger audience, put on specific events and happy hour get-togethers. In the end, they raised over $15,000 from nearly 50 new donors. This was a great first step for engaging a new base of support and exceeded their goals.