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A View from the Mountain: From Tactic to Strategy in the Giving Challenge

January 13, 2013

mountainOn March 5 and 6, 2013, nearly 300 organizations in Southwest Florida will have the opportunity to participate in a 36-hour online giving campaign. More than $600,000 in matching funds and incentive grants will be available to encourage gifts ranging from $25 to $1,000 or more.

The dollars raised and the number of gifts received (total and per organization) will be broadcast for the world on a leaderboard updated every minute.

If you remember what happened last year, it was certainly hard to rip ourselves away from that wild leaderboard on our laptops, when $2.4 million was raised from 10,700 gifts and matching support.

For now, forget about the leaderboard. From a mountaintop view, we hope the Giving Challenge will:

  • Encourage everyone—regardless of means—to experience the joy of being a “philanthropist”
  • Engage our entire community in giving
  • Increase awareness of The Giving Partner as an online tool to inform giving so that all of us are more aware of the charitable choices before us

While the Challenge itself can be considered tactical, smart organizations that choose to go for it will approach the Challenge with lots of thought, including:

  • Careful decisions about the goals they would like to achieve organizationally
  • Great internal and external communication
  • Board and staff involvement, based on well-defined roles for each
  • Suggested contributions from your biggest fans and stakeholders to increase your visibility

Mix these considerations together, and you have some strong components of strategy.

Above all else, nonprofits are after dollars in this Challenge–it is a fundraising campaign after all. But the strategy involved in building a successful campaign is a powerful exercise. Look at your strategy as your mountain view: it’s priceless.

Can it be challenging to wade through the menu of incentive grants and stipulations on matching dollars to figure out what opportunities are best for your organization? Perhaps, but that is why we call it a Challenge. It’s meant to give nonprofits and donors many options to make giving both exciting and meaningful. You can do it!

We’ll be sharing ideas, tips and tools in the next few weeks, so be sure to tune in. Looking forward to your thinking…

-Susie Bowie
Director of Nonprofit Strategy
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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