Running your First Giving Day with Cattaraugus Gives

Posted by Karin Edsall on Apr 13, 2020 10:22:00 AM

Giving & Gabbing is GiveGab’s official podcast, featuring interviews with our philanthropic partners that highlight their unique digital fundraising and engagement stories. By offering this podcast, we strive to educate and inspire fundraising professionals from across the country – and perhaps even provide [a small morsel of] entertainment.

In our April episode of Giving & Gabbing, we spoke with Kirk Windus, the Communications and Fund Development Manager for the Cattaraugus Community Foundation. His organization hosts Cattaraugus Gives, a Giving Day in western New York that raised $110,996 in its first year.

Have you been considering hosting your very first Giving Day? The thought can seem overwhelming and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, and the impact it will make on your community is limitless! We talked to Kirk about all that went into running the Community Foundation’s first Giving Day and the strategies put in place to make it a success.

Here are some key points and tips from our discussion:

Take the Plunge 

It may seem daunting, and you may not have everything figured out, but jump in! You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish as well as the generosity of your community.

Recognize Your Year 1 Capacity 

It may take a couple of years to incorporate all the great ideas you have for your Giving Day. Keep that in mind for your first year. Do what your organization has the capacity to take on, and don’t stress about more intensive strategies that you can employ in the following years.

Have a Great Technology Partner 

You need a tech partner that has got your back and wants to do everything in their power to help you succeed. Kirk was very kind in giving a shoutout to our team here at GiveGab by saying, “GiveGab has been a fantastic partner for us. Without the support we get from our partner, there is no way we could be able to execute this.”

Be Adaptive

It’s impossible to predict all that comes up around your Giving Day. Go into this experience with a flexible, adaptive attitude so you can face any unforeseen challenges that arise. And remember, as your tech partner, we’ll be right there with you to help you handle it all!

Pursue Sponsorship Opportunities 

Having sponsorships is beneficial for multiple reasons. Financial contributions and provided services are incredibly helpful for your promotional efforts as well as whatever prize pool you are creating. A nice side benefit to this is that those sponsors can share your event on their social media and within their network.

A creative idea of partners at 401Gives had was to request video content from their sponsors where they shared why supporting their Giving Day was so important to them. Get creative!

Show Support Of Your Nonprofits

Kirk does a lot of 1:1 contacting. He says this opens the door to talk about strategy early on and lets the organizations know that you’re really there to support them. It also makes administrators realize how invested you are in their organization and their success, which in turn inspires them also to be more invested in their Giving Day campaign.

Be empowered to share tips and strategies around peer-to-peer fundraising, email engagement, etc. in weekly newsletters.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Prizes 

Prizes not only provide opportunities for nonprofits to drastically increase their fundraising efforts during the Giving Day. They also really encourage nonprofits to work harder and be more focused on fundraising throughout the day. Hourly prizes and minute matches help administrators reach out to their supporters for a very clear ask and increase hype around the event.

Be Transparent with Your Ask 

Right now, we’re all experiencing the hardship that COVID-19 presents. Nonprofits are having an especially hard time right now, and they need help financially to get through these unprecedented times. Encourage administrators to be direct with supporters about what their organization needs to survive and give them ways in which they can support their nonprofit. Recognize that everyone is in a rough financial situation right now, so provide other ways that individuals can help.

This could include sharing your posts and campaign on social media. Also, individuals could be peer-to-peer fundraisers so that they can call on their network to collectively give donations to support your organization. We’re all in this together, and transparency helps donors understand your needs and take action.

Create Video Content 

Getting good video content from your organizations equips your team with content to share on social media leading up to the day and during the Giving Day. Also, consider getting video content from your sponsors on why they support your Giving Day. Video content is super engaging and utilizing that can increase engagement online.



Kirk couldn’t emphasize one thing enough – to not be daunted by the process.

Don’t be too overwhelmed; you can really make it happen. It’s just a matter of investment and dedication. If I can do it, anyone can make it happen.”

With that, we encourage organizations out there who are considering running their first Giving Day to take the leap! It can do wonders for your community, and we’re here to help! Also, for any senior Giving Days out there, if you have suggestions or words of wisdom, please comment below.

Additional episodes include topics such as nonprofit communication and marketing strategies, as well as an interview with the Tompkins County SPCA. Giving & Gabbing is now available on popular podcast streaming sites such as Spotify and Google Podcasts. Start listening by clicking on the link below!

Giving & Gabbing Podcast


Meet the Author

Karin, Customer Success Champion, helps support our organizations and partners through #SuccessChat. She is also the co-host of GiveGab’s own podcast Giving & Gabbing. In her free time, Karin enjoys volleyball, biking, and making très bon crêpes.

Topics: Interviews, Nonprofit Causes, Nonprofit Champions, Nonprofit fundraising, Online fundraising platform, Day of Giving, Donor Engagement, Fundraising, Fundraising Ideas, Giving day platforms, Giving Days, Giving & Gabbing Podcast, Giving & Gabbing

Karin Edsall

Written by Karin Edsall

Karin Edsall is the Marketing Coordinator at GiveGab

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