05/05/2014 11:01 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Biggest Giving Day Ever?


Tuesday's Give Local America event is expected to be the largest online community giving event in U.S. history. From a measurement perspective, nonprofit social media outreach is often a game of the aggregate. Communicators are often asked to measure, "How many interactions, sales/donation, return engagements or earned media mentions are generated via social?"

Beyond a one to one or a one to a small group basis, relationships don't really scale. That's why to really succeed on a mass level, an online fundraising event needs to inspire tens of thousands or even millions of one to one conversations.

Crowdfunding success is not the result of an individual engaging mass interactions via a broadcast tower, er account on Twitter. Rather it is the result many, many people coming together to have meaningful conversations about the same thing. They share an experience, and build off each other's momentum and excitement.

Back in 2011, I had the great privilege of working on one of the first giving days, Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington. We published research with the Case Foundation on how we were able to achieve almost $2 million in donations from 18,000 donors. It was clearly a moment of collective action with many causes and their strong advocates acting together.

Tomorrow, I also have the great honor to run point on social media for Kimbia's Give Local America, which again aspires to become the largest giving day ever. How can Give Local America beat North Texas' $25 million or Give Minnesota's $18 million?

Well, my experience gives me some insights. Seventy community foundations have united across America to run simultaneous giving days together. In essence, whether a community giving day is $700,000 or $17 million, when you band this many of together the aggregate result is going to be powerful.

Perhaps, what's most exciting about the event is not the size of it, rather the national scale of nonprofits acting together in unison. This seems to happen only two other times a year, which is end of year giving and now the budding #GivingTuesday event after Thanksgiving. Unlike those holiday season moments, Give Local America offers nonprofits a vital second window during year to fundraise online.

Providing a good reason to fundraise cannot be underestimated. I cannot tell you how many nonprofits I have talked to who have wanted a reason to launch a major Spring/Summer fundraising campaign. Maybe Give Local America will become that reason.

What do you think?