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Lesley Banis

The Amazing Give 2020 saw incredible results as they utilized GiveGab's platform to support a community in crisis and beyond.

Lesley Banis, Director of Programs at The Community Foundation of North Central Florida, shared her team's experience in postponing their Spring 2020 Giving Day, repurposing their site for Emergency Relief, and providing nonprofits with year-round engagement tools.


As the 5th annual The Amazing Give accepted its final donations, Lesley and her team looked at their screens with joy as they saw the total raised hit $1,420,827 for 112 organizations. Although exhausted from a full 24 hours of giving, they knew this event had made a tremendous difference for many nonprofits in critical need.

The Amazing Give is an annual fundraising event hosted by The Community Foundation of North Central Florida. This Giving Day first launched in 2016 to benefit nonprofits serving the local community by connecting donors to charitable causes they care about most.

In 2017, The Community Foundation of North Central Florida transitioned their Giving Day to GiveGab’s platform. Over the past four years, The Amazing Give has seen a 72% increase in dollars raised and a 49% increase in the number of participating nonprofits.

The GiveGab team has loved watching The Amazing Give continue to grow and flourish on our platform with record-breaking results. Check out this video interview with Lesley from 2017, where she shares her experience working with GiveGab, and what it's like to be a part of our Giving Day Leaders network.

By mid-March 2020, COVID 19 had officially entered into the United States. This caused nonprofits to shut down and shortages to occur. With less than a month to go until The Amazing Give 2020, the Community Foundation’s largest event of the year, Lesley and her team had to quickly determine how to best support the nonprofits that relied on them for guidance and support.

Their local nonprofits needed a safe and secure place to collect donations online, and they needed it fast. With this knowledge, the Community Foundation postponed The Amazing Give to August and launched an Emergency Relief with GiveGab’s Community Giving technology. This site encouraged donors to give what they could and to “support the nonprofits who are helping us all.”

Like many of our Giving Day partners in the spring of 2020, The Community Foundation of North Central Florida was able to utilize our Community Giving platform for their nonprofits. This platform allowed these philanthropic leaders to launch crisis relief campaigns with the goal of fulfilling immediate needs.

“The Community Foundation has repurposed The Amazing Give into the Amazing Give Emergency Relief platform to assist in raising critical funds for nonprofits in North Central Florida during this time of exceptional need.” – theamazinggive.org

Amazing Give Emergency Relief

The Amazing Give Emergency Relief site ran from March 19 to July 31, 2020, and raised an incredible $361,050 for participating nonprofits. Their decision to pivot their efforts due to COVID-19 was essential in supporting organizations facing unforeseen obstacles. It also highlighted to the community how important it is to rally around each other in a time of great need and uncertainty.

The Community Foundation was appreciative of their dedicated Project Manager at GiveGab, Vanessa, for assisting them in getting their Emergency Relief site up so quickly! Lesley also went on to share how GiveGab’s team provided support that made their organization’s transition from Emergency Relief to the Giving Day ‘seamless.’

“When COVID hit, it forced all of our Giving Day partners to make tough decisions on how to best support their nonprofits during an unprecedented time. As we pivoted The Amazing Give site to emergency relief, Lesley and The Community Foundation worked collaboratively with GiveGab and our Giving Day Leaders network to discuss strategies and options for fundraising efforts that went beyond just the technology. It was a rewarding experience to support and facilitate our community of partners in sharing solution-focused ideas, with Lesley being an integral piece of that collaboration.“- Vanessa, Director of Custom Projects at GiveGab.

The Amazing Give 2020

With momentum carrying over from their Emergency Relief efforts, The Amazing Give 2020 took place from 6 PM to 6 PM August 19 - 20, 2020. For this year’s Giving Day, generating community engagement was more important than ever for the campaign's success. The Community Foundation would need to find ways to keep supporters excited throughout the day despite the cancellation of popular in-person events.

Fostering A Community That Cares

To better engage with the local community during their first 100% virtual Giving Day, The Community Foundation went live during The Amazing Give. They worked closely with Chris Strub, the Giving Day Guy, to coordinate interviews with many nonprofits participating in this year's event. It was an exciting opportunity for local organizations to highlight their work and reach a wider audience than in years prior.

Lesley’s team found these live-streaming events to be beneficial to their Giving Day. They look forward to finding ways to implement a live-stream component in tandem with in-person events for future years.

The Amazing Give 2020's growth and success demonstrated that donors truly believed in the mission of this event. In addition to raising a record-breaking amount for participating nonprofits, donors also gave generously to the Community Foundation through GiveGab’s ‘Tip the Host’ feature.

'Tip The Host' allows our partners to receive 'tips' from donors when giving through their Giving Day site. When a donor made a contribution through The Amazing Give website, they saw an option to make an additional gift to The Community Foundation of North Central Florida. These donations will go directly back into preserving sustainability and expanding upon The Amazing Give. The team was astonished to see that ‘Tip the Host’ brought in $15,086 from 200+ gifts.

What surprised the Community Foundation the most were the number of tips made by the staff of organizations participating in The Amazing Give. Lesley noted that this really demonstrated the value her nonprofits see in both the Community Foundation and the annual fundraising event.

Tip the Host Results

Engaging With Your Nonprofit Participants

In addition to creating stronger community engagement strategies, Lesley and her team found creative ways to communicate with and assist their nonprofit members. It was more important than ever that the Community Foundation found effective methods of encouraging collaboration and connections among the participating nonprofits.

The Spring of 2020 was unlike any other. Nonprofits needed additional support and guidance as they began to navigate what fundraising would look like for their organizations. In response, Lesley’s team created a Facebook group exclusively for nonprofits participating in The Amazing Give’s crisis relief and Giving Day efforts. This allowed her team to engage with all the participants sharing important information leading to the day and allowing them to learn and grow together better.

In addition to utilizing Facebook Groups to engage with participating nonprofits, the team also hosted virtual happy hours leading up to this year’s The Amazing Give. Lesley’s team saw this as an incredible opportunity to connect with their organizations and see how they were handling these uncertain times. On average, 30-50 local fundraising professionals joined these calls. The happy hour events allowed the Community Foundation to get important information to administrators and build stronger relationships with their participants.

Lesley found that communicating with nonprofits on the day of The Amazing Give was not always an easy task throughout the years. This was one of their busiest days of the year, with inboxes already full of emails from donors, volunteers, and board members. For sending immediate communications that broke through the noise, Lesley’s team implemented a new strategy in 2020; sending communications out via text message. The Community Foundation used a third-party texting service at a low price that allowed them to save time and energy while creating a more accessible and effective way to talk to their nonprofits!

Prize Graphic

Also, in 2020, the Community Foundation introduced ‘Pop Up Prizes’ to generate excitement throughout the day for both the nonprofits and their donors. As the name suggests, these prizes seemed to “pop up” out of thin air, or maybe by some Amazing Give Magic. These prizes were released periodically throughout the day, keeping organizations engaged and ready to pounce on the next prize! The ‘Pop Up Prizes’ were a hit with participating nonprofits as they leveled the playing field and allowed for a greater variety of nonprofits to win than in previous years.

When the day comes to an end, The Amazing Give typically does an in-person wrap-up party to congratulate the participating nonprofits on the tireless efforts. It is a time to come together to celebrate the collective impact they have made in the community and in their work. This year, the wrap-up party went virtual, and nonprofits were ecstatic to close out The Amazing Give together, even if they had to do it through computer screens.

During the virtual wrap-up party, the Community Foundation showed their nonprofits a little extra love by awarding certificates highlighting unique victories throughout the campaign. These certificates helped spread joy and appreciation amongst the participants. With awards such as “most well-designed profile” and “most site traffic,” organizations knew their efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the Community Foundation.

Lesley noted that one nonprofit admin was so proud to have won the “best-designed profile” that she even added it to her resume. This highlights the importance of Giving Day hosts fostering relationships with the participating nonprofits and making them feel proud of their work to prepare for the big day.

Planning Ahead for Amazing Give 2021

The Community Foundation is excited to make new data-driven decisions around its next Giving Day initiative with support through GiveGab’s exclusive partnership with Accelerist, the Social Impact Intelligence Platform. In a recent webinar about this partnership, Lesley shared that she was able to acquire new sponsorship opportunities due to information provided in their Accelerist report.

“At the Community Foundation of North Central Florida, we are pleased with our partnership with Accelerist and GiveGab. The data provided helped our organization increase fundraising revenues, make more informed decisions, and increased our efficiency. The data has been an asset in growing our fundraising and outreach throughout the entire organization.” - Barzella Papa, President and CEO, Community Foundation of North Central Florida.

Originally Lesley’s team planned to use GiveGab’s Business Fundraisers feature for their 2020 Giving Day. This feature allows local businesses, corporations, or any for-profit entity that wishes to take part in a Giving Day, to set up a business profile that encourages their employees and patrons to give to charitable causes in their community.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on small businesses, the Community Foundation made the strategic decision to find alternative methods to connect with the community. In preparation for The Amazing Give 2021, Lesley and her team are excited to pick up where they left off with Business Fundraisers and their efforts to make their Giving Day a truly community-wide experience.

Creating Year-Round Impact

In addition to their annual Giving Day, the Community Foundation is providing a new way for supporters to connect with and learn about organizations serving North Central Florida year-round.

Lesley and her team have found that one of the most significant benefits of The Amazing Give Emergency Relief site and Giving Day is that they provide nonprofits with the ability to fundraise online effectively and securely. This has been increasingly important as more barriers for in-person donations develop due to COVID-19.

Many of the nonprofits participating in The Amazing Give, do not have the capacity to run their own online fundraising campaigns because they may be volunteer-run or simply just do not have the budget for an online fundraising platform of their own. This gave Lesley and her team the inspiration to embark on their next philanthropic adventure.

In mid-September of 2020, The Community Foundation of North Central Florida officially launched The Philanthropy Hub for their community. As described on the new site, “The Philanthropy Hub promotes nonprofits and helps donors learn more about our community. Find detailed information about local organizations, make informed charitable decisions, and give all in one place.”

The Philanthropy Hub acts as a database of North Central Florida organizations. This new initiative is powered through GiveGab’s Philanthropy Hub platform that creates a customizable website serving as a centralized directory of your member nonprofits.

Through this platform, foundations are given the tools to feature each of their member nonprofits’ organizational information and enable those nonprofits to promote their giving opportunities and fundraise throughout the year. Philanthropy Hub also serves as a central, trusted location for grantmakers and other entities to research organizations. You can learn more about our Philanthropy Hub Platform used by Community Foundations nation-wide here!

Philanthropy Hub Site Mockup

When we asked Lesley “What do you think the future of online fundraising for your organization is?” She proudly exclaimed, “it will be Philanthropy Hub”. Having a central place for all nonprofits to broadcast their organizational information, mission, and current needs are essential in creating more equity within their local nonprofit sector.

We are still blown away by the dedication that The Community Foundation of North Central Florida shown as they provided a space for organizations to fundraise for Emergency Relief, ran an incredibly engaging Giving Day, and provided year-round support to their organizations with The Philanthropy Hub.


The Amazing Give Fundraising Results


$1,420,847

Raised

4,929

Donors

112

Organizations



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