Note from Beth: For the past two years, I’ve had the honor of facilitating a peer learning exchange of Knight Grantees who are hosting Giving Days. Later this morning, I’ll be moderating the first of a series of webinars about how to take Giving Days to the next level. This first webinar is about the Giving Days for Newcomers, covering the basics – featuring Knight Foundation grantees sharing their wisdom. Colleague Susie Bowie, Vice President for Philanthropic Education and Marketing at Community Foundation of Sarasota County , Florida that is a partner for the Giving Challenge, helping South Florida nonprofits fundraise, offered to share this insightful post about giving days.
What Sesame Street Can Teach Us About the Giving Challenge – Guest Post by Susie Bowie
I just read a fun piece on Next Avenue called “5 Sesame Street Lessons We Need Again As Adults” by Bryce Kirchoff. Loved it. And of course I thought about our community’s online day of giving on September 1 and 2 from noon to noon.
Here are Kirchoff’s five big Sesame Street lessons with a little Giving Challenge commentary added. (Click here if you need some Sesame Street video time.)
1. Put down the ducky if you want to play the saxophone.
Kirchoff reminds us that on Sesame Street, Ernie actually has to put down his favorite rubber ducky if he wants to play the saxophone. It’s not always possible to do something new or to do something well until we make the space for it, right? Consider what you might need to put down in the next couple of weeks to promote a Giving Challenge campaign with the results you’re seeking. Better yet, can you combine it with an existing goal or effort to concentrate your success?
2. A sense of adventure never gets old.
Adventures cover new territory and give us new experiences. So put on your field boots and a hat. Bring your butterfly net. The Giving Challenge is a chance to be adventurous with philanthropy. Plan thoughtfully but be flexible. Dress right for the occasion and lay the ground work, but build in a sense of excitement about the unknown!
3. Friends Matter.
Looking for new donors to give to your nonprofit for the $250 matching opportunity from The Patterson Foundation? Social campaigns are all about your friends and their friends. Your friends are your volunteers, board members, clients, vendors, family members, media partners. Reach out to them. Invite them to share your posts, host a gathering, follow the Leaderboard, make an appeal to 5 people they know, share, give, be a vital part of your campaign. When you let friends know how much they matter, they really want to help.
4. Celebrate Yourself.
September 1 and 2 is an AMAZING time to celebrate the good things your organization makes possible in this community. It’s not about what you do, but what impact you are making. To celebrate yourself, use your Giving Challenge messaging to tell stories about the lives you have improved and to share some data about positive changes resulting from your work.
5. When All Else Fails, Dance.
Think about movement and music. Consider how contagious they are. We’ve said it before, but when you have some fun with your campaign, and when everything is orchestrated with planning in mind, things flow. At the end of that 24-hour period on September 2 at noon, we hope you dance. Be thrilled with what you accomplished, whether it’s more funding, more Facebook fans, a more engaged board, a new partner, or a team effort that brought your volunteers together around your mission.
The 2015 Giving Challenge is made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Follow the Giving Challenge using #GivingChallenge15 and online athttp://www.givingpartnerchallenge.org.
Susie Bowie is the Vice President for Philanthropic Education and Marketing at the Community Foundation of Sarasota, Florida.