6 Creative Approaches for Your Day of Giving

If the last 11 months have taught us anything, it’s that: a) donors are resilient, b) they recognize the challenge you face in funding your mission during a pandemic, and c) they’re ready to be the hero of the moment.

Despite a global pandemic and high unemployment, giving increased!

To keep the momentum going, there’s no time like the present to invite your supporters to join you in a Day of Giving.

As you plan your day, here are some creative approaches to you might consider as you develop your all-important theme.

Align with a Milestone

The University of Miami (OH) holds its annual Day of Giving in conjunction with student move-in day, marketed as #MoveInMiami. Do you have a milestone event for which you could align your Day of Giving?

Honor Someone

On Giving Tuesday 2019, McKendree University chose to honor their retiring president by giving socks with his likeness on them to every donor who gave $26 or more (to honor his 26 years of service). Do you have someone you could honor on your Day of Giving?

Rub Elbows with a Celebrity

The University of Kansas gave supporters an opportunity to Zoom with a famous alumnus during their Day of Giving this year. For gifts of $25 or more given during a certain time, donors received access to interact with actor Rob Riggle. Can you offer access to a celebrity in your midst as a way to invite gifts?

Issue a Non-Monetary Challenge

Financial-based challenges are standard Day of Giving offerings for a reason…they work! But how about mixing it up with a non-monetary challenge? Years ago, the Bryant College president offered to jump into a pond if 50% or more of seniors gave. Did they rise to the challenge? See for yourself.

For a less daring challenge, consider what Concordia College offered. If a certain dollar goal was achieved during an hour of their Day of Giving, they agreed to release the famous Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe from dining services. What is something unique you could offer as a non-monetary challenge?

Get Competitive

When devising Day of Giving competitions, we tend to think internally (e.g., class competitions). But what if you took the competition externally to a rival institution? In 2019, Washington State University and the University of Washington extended their Apple Cup football competition to a giving challenge. Hopefully, you have better luck than UW…they lost 1,163 gifts to 250 gifts.

Get Quirky 

The University of Florida campus is home to 400,000+ bats who reside in three specially built bat houses. Apparently, it is a tradition for crowds to gather by the houses at dusk to witness the nightly flight of the thousands of bats. So leading up to Halloween 2019, they ran a direct mail campaign that offered donors giving a gift of any amount “naming rights” for a bat! Each donor who gave and provided a name for their bat received a certificate making the name official (see below). Very creative! And it got me thinking…what if this were offered as a Day of Giving theme? What unique or quirky tradition might you have that you could turn into a Day of Giving theme?

Have you come across other fun ideas? I’d love to hear about them!


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