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A Look Inside the 5th Annual Giving Day Leaders Forum

Our 5th Annual Giving Day Leaders Forum (GDLF) kicked off on July 28, 2021. This exclusive event brings Giving Day leaders from across sectors and communities together for two days of learning, growing, and collaborating!

With plenty of networking opportunities, partner-curated sessions, and the launch of two new initiatives, the Giving Day Spark Awards, and Buddy Program, our attendees left feeling energized and ready to build upon new ideas and strategies developed during this event.

GDLF-wave-graphic-1“I left GDLF feeling ready to tackle the challenges and celebrate the outcomes of my university’s next day of giving.” – Dustyn Hall, Director of Affinity Giving & Communications at Longwood University

As we launched the first virtual session, we saw a record-breaking number of attendees join in! With 160 Giving Day leaders in one “room,” there was a lot of excitement and chatter as partners introduced themselves and said hello to their fundraising peers.

Deborah Clark, host of NH Gives and partner since 2016, chatted in, Who remembers the first GDLF when we had about a dozen people around a table at the old GiveGab office?

A lot has changed since we first launched the Giving Day Leader’s Forum, but what has remained the same is our dedication to facilitating partner-led conversations that empower us to push the limits for our Giving Days.

Growth Through Stewardship

returning small donors (1)In the forum’s first session, Charlie Mulligan, GiveGab’s CEO and Co-Founder took the digital stage to discuss the Future Of Giving Days. Since COVID-19 reached the United States in 2020, fundraising experienced a dramatic shift, one that we will continue to see the effects from for many years to come. Now that more individuals were moved to donate during the pandemic, we must understand the needs of this unique new donor base and their role in shaping the future of Giving Days.

One central theme that Charlie introduced (and subsequently fed into our other sessions) was the importance of donor stewardship and how it plays a significant part in growing your Giving Day initiatives.

Additionally, to retain donors, they must receive communication regularly, which is why it is important to follow up with Giving Day contributors to keep fundraising needs top of mind.

As we plan our next steps at GiveGab, we will be looking for new ways to provide our partners with engaging tools and resources that will allow them to better steward Giving Day donors of all sizes in ways that will resonate most with them.

Innovating the #1 Giving Day Platform

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Perhaps the most anticipated session of the forum each year, Jesse Saldana, Sr. Director of Product, and Aaron Godert, COO, VP of Tech, Co-Founder, dedicated time at the start of Day 2 to discuss new innovations to the GiveGab Platform.

Our product team constantly strives to find new ways to bring impactful changes to the Giving Day platform. And most importantly, we are always looking to our Giving Day partners for insight into how they are using the platform and how we can improve their user experience.

Main Themes from this session included:

  • Greater Investment in UX/UI
  • Tools to support Year-Round Engagement
  • Stability and Security of the Platform
  • The Importance of Continuous Feedback
  • Added Value & Support from EveryAction
  • New Features and Tools on our Product Roadmap

Interested in learning about changes made to GiveGab products throughout the year? Check out our Monthly and Quarterly Product Updates blogs.

Getting into the Data

graphWe understand that data drives many of our Giving Day partner’s decisions as they look for innovative ways to grow their Giving Day. We have the same mindset here at GiveGab! Keeping data and trends top of mind has been instrumental in building the tools, offerings, and support we provide. 

Our Project Managers led industry-specific sessions on Giving Day trends we observed on our platform across 180 partners.


Key insights from this data deep dive included:

  • From Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, GiveGab has supported 74 Education and 110 Civic based Giving Days
  • The average size of an individual gift has grown, meaning donors are willing to give more
  • Lowering the minimum donation size has proven to encourage giving by creating opportunities for more donors to take part in the Giving Day despite their capacity to give.
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers continue to drive more donations to Giving Day sites

Looking to dive into more Giving Day data? Take a look at GiveGab’s Giving Day Data Report highlighting key insights and observations spanning six years and over 500 Giving Day! 

Learning Among Leaders

stage 2We are honored to support a Giving Day Leaders Network full of knowledgeable and skilled fundraising professionals. Our partners are continuously looking for creative ways to create a more engaging experience for their Giving Day participants, fundraisers, and donors. 

Throughout the Giving Day Leaders Forum, our partners led sessions on an assortment of topics. These sessions led to insightful conversations as our partners began to collaborate on future ideas and strategies fueled by their experiences.

This year’s partner sessions included:

[I] love the Giving Day Leaders Forum to be able to connect, share ideas, learn new things, and overall come together with like-mind people that help the great communities where we all live!” – Jenn Remmes, 401 Gives

Celebrating and Supporting Giving Day Leaders

The 2021 Giving Day Leaders Forum launched the start of two very exciting initiatives!

Giving Day Spark Awards

As the only Giving Day awards in the country, the Giving Day Spark Awards celebrate hardworking and innovative leaders, sparking community engagement and fundraising growth.

Winners of the Giving Day Spark Awards were nominated by GiveGab team members across departments as well as a network of their peers. 

Giving Day Spark Award Categories 

  • New Face of Giving Days
  • The Spark Award
  • Spirit of Innovation
  • Renaissance Leader
  • Partner’s Choice

    Learn more about our Giving Day Spark Award winners here! 

The Giving Day Buddy Program

Planning a Giving Day for your community or school is a unique experience unlike anything else. What makes GiveGab’s Giving Day Leaders network so special is that we have created a central place where thought leaders can come together and connect in meaningful ways.

Partners that participate in our Giving Day Buddy Program have the opportunity to form deeper connections with peers doing similar things within their communities and schools. Buddies will meet to discuss strategies, share new ideas, and support each other through their Giving Days. 

Our 5th annual Giving Day Leaders may have come to an end, but things are just getting started here at GiveGab. We look forward to seeing the innovative and creative ideas formed during this event come to life as our partners plan for their future Giving Days! 

Learn more about our exclusive Giving Day Leaders Network, and we hope to see you in attendance at next year’s forum as one of our partners experiencing the joy of fundraising on GiveGab.