Today I’d like to talk about a monumental (primarily virtual) event and its history. For those unfamiliar, the Big Day of Giving is primarily an online event hosted by the Sacramento Community Foundation during the first Thursday in May. In fact, the 2021 Big Day of Giving just wrapped up at midnight.
During the Big Day of Giving, people in the Sacramento region are encouraged to simply “give where their heart is,” or, in other words, donate to nonprofits they care about in a 24 hour period. It started in 2013 as a day to raise money for nonprofits in the arts sector. By the next year, it spread to all nonprofits region wide, and grew from there.
The Big Day of Giving can feel downright magical. If feels like so much GOOD is being achieved in just 24 hours. The total of donations regionwide ticks up quickly and the meaning of the “sum is better than the whole of its parts” is truly brought to life. I will never forget the Big Day of Giving in 2020. The pandemic had just hit, and no one knew what to expect. As the day went on, though, the dashboard ticked to historical levels. By the day’s end, over 12 million dollars had been raised for nonprofits throughout the region. But… that certainly didn’t happen overnight.
As someone who has had several clients participate in this event over the years, I can say unequivocally that while it feels magic, it is really the product of consistent, hard work. Since the Big Day of Giving is largely an online event, creative and effective digital marketing strategies are key to its success.
I can tell you from experience that each year nonprofits get better at raising more money as we figure out how to improve the way we use online tools and strategies to reach their unique donors. We hone their messages. We build their audiences. We warm their leads. We tweak their custom audiences. I could go on and on…
So while the cumulative $12 million dollars raised for Sacramento region nonprofits in 2020 was exciting, it was actually the product of eight years of hard work in the making. Yes, you heard that right…. eight years.
Here is the history of the approximate cumulative Big Day of Giving Totals:
2020: 12 million
2019: 8.4 million
2018: 7.4 million
2017: 7.1 million
2016: 7.1 million
2015: 5.6 million
2014: 3.1 million
2013: Under a million
What these numbers tell me is that the banner $12 million in 2020 did not magically appear at all, but rather was the product of a consistent, slow build full of hard work and refinement. I want to highlight this to you because when people see marketing success online, it’s easy to think “they must be doing something special that I am not,” but what they should really be thinking is, “they must have worked hard and been really consistent during their slow build to success.”
Speaking of which… the Big Day of Giving raised a total of $13 million for nonprofits in the Sacramento region yesterday… a new high replacing last year’s “banner” sum. Is that a magical feeling? Yes. But is it really the incremental product of the slow digital marketing build? A RESOUNDING yes.
Keep going, my friends… the consistency and slow build is the tool you don’t always remember to see but it’s always there.