Giving Contests Boost Nonprofit Donations

Giving contests are becoming an increasingly common tool for cities and regions to boost donations to nonprofits.

A recent report titled How Giving Contests can Strengthen Nonprofits and Communities suggests that “giving days“— one-day online fund-raising events that use widespread community promotion to prompt donors to donate to a range of causes— help nonprofits to garner donations that they would not otherwise receive, and often from brand-new supporters.

The Case and Razoo Foundations commissioned the report to provide an in-depth look at “Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington;” a giving contest held in November 2011 to strengthen the area’s nonprofit community. The report found that:

  • 96% of donors said they were more likely to donate in the future to their nonprofits as a result of their participation in the day;
  • 84% of nonprofits surveyed said the pre-event training day – which was a key component of the initiative – increased their ability to interact and fundraise online; and
  • $2 million was raised for 1,200 nonprofits from 18,000 donors on November 9, 2011.

According to the report, nonprofits taking part in giving days should follow these important tips:

  • Plan to invest 10 to 30 hours of the staff’s time to design ways to spur giving.
  • Offer contests and prizes to create a sense of urgency that excites donors, volunteers, and advocates.
  • Incorporate giving days into larger fundraising efforts, such as annual campaigns.

Is your nonprofit partaking in a giving day?


Shannon McGarry
Project Specialist
Campaign Consultation, Inc.


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Shannon McGarry

Shannon McGarry is Project Specialist at Campaign Consultation, Inc. and an advocate for systemic, holistic approaches to building the capacity of nonprofits and community organizations. She has worked with nonprofits to strengthen and diversify their funding streams, expand and mobilize their membership base, and build sustainable programs. Read more.

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