Launching your first day of giving with a small shop

By on November 15, 2016

So you’ve decided to be a go-getter, a small shop fundraising warrior, and launch your first Day of Giving.


You probably have the same question. Will a flash campaign engage our constituents?

It was an experiment I knew we needed to try, but I was terrified.

With assistance from our Web & Digital Media Producer to push social content and our Director of Advancement Services for database segmentation, I launched Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s first Day of Giving in April 2016.

For your first Day of Giving, I recommend a healthy dose of fear for motivation and lots of caffeine…

How to get started

Do your research; Watch webinars and read blogs (like this one!) to wrap your mind around what it entails. The concept is easy, but the details can be daunting.

In a small office, time and budgetary resources are limited. It’s easy to get bogged down with those restrictions, so keep a dream big list of everything you would do if you had unlimited time and money.

The majority of our prep took place in the two months leading up to the campaign. If possible, add more lead-time, but know it can be done quickly.

The Building Blocks of a successful Day of Giving

Ultimately, I cut my dream big list back to the following creating a fairly simple day with just enough to make it run well. I recommend these components as the bare minimum.

Set your Goals

  1. What is important to your institution? Dollars, Donors (participation), Both?
  2. What will your Day of Giving Support?
  3. Your goal should be meaningful, attainable and clearly defined

For our Day of Giving I decided to do a strictly participation based campaign, our goal was 143 donors in honor of every year MassArt has changed the world (we were 143 years young last year).  If we reached 143 donors it would unlock $15,000 in matching funds, doubling each donors impact. This really drove home the participation concept and gave our donors more confidence in their gift’s impact.

Tip: Build in components to ensure you will hit your goal.  Our 70 volunteers were encouraged to give and we ordered 150 cookies for on-campus donors. Students, faculty, and staff WILL DONATE if cookies are involved.


Create a Brand, Stick to It!

Your Day of Giving Brand should be different from your regular appeals.

  1. Be playful and creative
  2. Don’t be afraid to be silly
  3. Bring on the swag

Launching your first day of giving with a small shop

Budget note: Our branding was done in-house by a student designer and everything but the t-shirts were made in-house to keep costs low.

Matching Donor = More gifts

You need a matching donor to gamify your Day of Giving.


Keep your expenses low with digital communications. You can expand on what we did, but we felt the following was reasonable with our resources.

Segmentation is the name of the game. It is time-consuming, but you will reap the rewards if your messaging and email signatories speak to your constituencies and specific donor behavior.

Email marketing

With 13 segments, we sent approximately 65 separate emails tailored to each audience.

Social media marketing

We tweeted every hour on the hour between 6am and midnight and posted on Facebook and Instagram three times from our MassArt account.

Launching your first day of giving with a small shop Launching your first day of giving with a small shop

A few more communication thoughts…

For increased Engagement consider the following:

Launching your first day of giving with a small shop

Identify your Ambassadors Early, Make their lives easier:

Who will be your best social, email and on-campus ambassadors? Are there internal departments or groups who will benefit from your fundraising efforts?

MassArt Day of Giving

MassArt Day of Giving

Launching your first day of giving with a small shop

Don’t forget to communicate with volunteers throughout the day with updates, thank yous and encouragement. You want to manage and nurture these relationships so they enjoy their experience and want to help next year.


This will differ for every organization, but we chose:

If you follow these steps, this is how you will feel at the end of your 24-hour campaign…

Launching your first day of giving with a small shop

[Webinar] Creating Engaged Social Ambassadors

Elon Day: A Collaborative Approach to a Day of Giving #HubbubWebinar

If you want to learn more about social ambassadors and how they can increase engagement in a Giving Day, don’t miss our webinar on March 29 at 2pm (EST).

This webinar will take a look at the successful social ambassador program at TCU focusing on the evolution of their program from a small community of volunteers to a richly engaged task force committed to giving.

Presented by Harmonie Farrow, TCU’s Director of the Office of Loyalty Giving, and Lewis Clayton, Hubbub’s Digital Fundraising Consultant, this is your opportunity to hear from our presenters about how TCU built a successful social ambassador program from the ground up and how they cultivated the program into a sustainable community of engaged alumni and volunteers.

Whether you’re a social ambassador pro or this is a new opportunity for your institution to explore, we hope that this webinar will be a valuable learning tool to help you improve your program and to engage your volunteers.
Register to attend

Hillary Babick

Hillary Babick

Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Hillary is responsible for Annual Fund strategy including Phonathon, Direct Mail, Email Marketing, Student Philanthropy and Stewardship. She also manages a prospect pool of 150 Annual Fund donors, priming them to make the jump to leadership Annual Fund donors.Hillary ran MassArt’s first giving day this year, and has since presented on it under the title, Launching your First Day of Giving with a Small Shop.
Hillary Babick

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