When asked “which giving day do you think had the best planning and preparation?” the University of California Santa Barbara is always at the top of my short list of examples. From the theme, to messaging, to online ambassadors, to email, UC Santa Barbara does giving day as well as any institution.
One of the most impressive aspects of UCSB’s first giving day was in the realm of major gifts – an area that is not traditionally associated with donor participation events like giving days …but then again, times are changing in philanthropy.
UCSB raised approximately $1.5 million before their April 8, 2016 #UCSBGiveDay event. This helped secure an enormous $3.72 million overall. Here is the breakdown:
- $800,000+ was raised for a smart, balanced match and challenge plan. This allowed major donors to see themselves deeply connected to a grassroots campaign as sponsors of matches and challenges. The gamification provided by the matches and challenges also led to UCSB’s best single annual giving day in the school’s history as it was one of many drivers of donor activity throughout the day.
- $600,000+ was raised for large “seed” gifts. These are simply large gifts donors preferred to give prior to the day offline as opposed to making an online gift during the event.
- In addition to the money raised from major donors before the campaign, another donor gave a $1.6 million real estate gift during the event. Because of the large gift protocol UCSB had in place, they were able to use the giving day as additional leverage for locking down and promoting this large gift during the event.
Big giving from major donors during a giving day doesn’t happen by accident. UCSB had success with their large gift donors, because development department leadership made the giving day a priority. The enthusiasm that started at the top with Associate Vice Chancellor Beverly Colgate trickled down through the entire department and energized gift officers to use the giving day as another tactic for engaging and re-engaging their donors and prospects. The results speak for themselves: more money for giving day and major donors who were excited to be part of an exhilarating event.
Just as a reminder, here is why you want to get the major gifts program involved well before you launch your giving day.
- Because major donors love digital and we want them to be happy:
- 85 percent of all millionaires use social media, text messaging, and smart phone apps (Fidelity Investments)
- 55 percent of affluent individuals use mobile pay. That’s compared to 40 percent of the general population and 52 percent for Millennials. (Accenture) That’s right – major donors as a group are more likely than Millennials to pay for a cup of coffee with their iPhone.
- Giving days are a HUGE celebration of an institution and philanthropy. When major donors are at the center of such a vibrant event, they feel good. (That’s why we say giving days offer major donor stewardship opportunities)
- Matches and challenges drive small gift giving. According to The Why Axis, by Uri Gneezy and John List, donors are 20 percent more likely to give when a match is in play.
Majors donors love online giving … big gifts drive small gift activity … digital campaigns offer another point of engagement, cultivation, and solicitation for major donors … the reasons for building major donors into your next giving day are many. Be sure you major gifts team is ready to seize this opportunity.
Justin Ware is the Vice President for Digital Fundraising Strategy at ScaleFunder – a Ruffalo Noel Levitz platform. Justin can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn by clicking here.
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