In total, Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington efforts netted participating nonprofits $2,034,434, which included 17,838 individual donations totaling $1,886,434, plus the prize money contributed by five foundations to be awarded to the giving day’s winners. The event fueled significant word-of–mouth marketing for regional nonprofits, and served as a proof point to many of the area’s nonprofits that social media can produce significant donations.
Survey results show that both donors and nonprofits were impressed with Give to the Max Day. An impressive 96 percent of donors said they were likely to give more money to their selected nonprofits as a result of their participation in Give to the Max Day. Ninety-one percent of nonprofits said they would refer Give to the Max Day to a sister nonprofit.
From a marketing standpoint, Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington generated significant attention. Consider the following results:
Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was small in comparison to leading 2012 state and regional giving day totals – Give to the Max Day Minnesota ($13.5 million), the North Texas Giving Day ($10.7 million), and the Central Ohio Big Give ($8.7 million). However, each of these events were already well in their third or fourth year of existence. With the exception of Minnesota, which grossed an incredible $14 million in its first year, each giving day has grown with time.
Dollar totals don’t necessarily reflect population size. For example, Ohio has a population of 11,500,000, while Minnesota has 5,200,000 people. Instead, giving totals have much to do with a region’s character, cohesive identity, and the type of contest it has—match versus gamification—with gamified contests faring slightly better.
Perhaps a fairer comparison is Pittsburgh Gives, which, like DC, is a giving contest based on a metropolitan region centered on a city. During its inaugural campaign in 2009, Pittsburgh Gives netted $1.5 million. In its third campaign, which took place in 2011, participating nonprofits netted $6,448,448—a more than fourfold increase.
Additionally, Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington achieved $13 donated for every $1 in the prize pool. In comparison, the North Texas Give Day garnered $9.70 to every $1 matched ($1 million in matching grants), and the Central Ohio Big Give netted $8.70 for every $1 of matching grant money.
Perhaps the true barometer of a social good movement was the organic spread and traction of the event messaging. Give to the Max Day clearly inspired the DC metro area. Word-of-mouth performance directly fueled half of the giving day’s donations.
Word-of-mouth and the use of social networks were also effective in bringing non-local donors into the campaign; 19 percent of donors came from outside of the Greater Washington area. In comparison, 10.3 percent of donors to GiveMN were from outside the state in 2011.
Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington also experienced a higher non-local giving rate due to the city’s highly mobile and connected population. Further, one of the more popular efforts was the IMAlive fundraiser, which featured nationally acclaimed PostSecret blogger Frank Warren. Warren’s marketing of the giving day significantly boosted non-local participation.
The marketing program, which focused on consumer outreach and support for participating nonprofits’ communications, created a successful inaugural event. Looking ahead, the 2012 Give to the Max Day event will continue the two-track approach.