Uplifting Your Nonprofit Community Through a Media-led Giving Day with Pittsburgh Magazine
In this Giving & Gabbing exclusive interview, Caite Miller, the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Pittsburgh Magazine – and host of Give Big Pittsburgh, offers insights into how running a Giving Day as a Media Outlet has helped maintain Pittsburgh’s title as the “Most Generous City.“
Pittsburgh Magazine joined GiveGab to host their Giving Day in 2017 raising an astonishing $1.4 Million and has since grown substantially year-over-year. During the most recent Give Big Pittsburgh on GivingTuesday 2021, over 500 organizations raised a record-breaking $3.2 Million! Throughout this interview, we discuss the strategies and efforts that have led to this incredible philanthropic success in her community of Pittsburgh, PA.
Running a Giving Day as a Media Outlet “Just Made Sense”
Caite shares how Pittsburgh Magazine taking the lead as the host of a community-wide fundraising event fit so well into their mission and values as a Media Outlet.
“Since the founding of Pittsburgh Magazine in 1969, they have a rich history of supporting nonprofits through their editorial coverage. So our editors have always been writing about nonprofits and ways to give.”
Pittsburgh Magazine already had a strong connection to the hundreds of nonprofits that operated in their community. When they were approached by the Pittsburgh Foundation to support their 2017 Giving Day, they knew it would be a great addition to the services they were already providing.
“When we heard of the idea of hosting a Giving Day, it just fit so well.”
Pittsburgh Magazine had already been publishing a popular “Give” magazine every November that showcased local causes for their readers to connect to, and they also worked with organization’s throughout the year to help share their stories online and in print. Through a Giving Day, Pittsburgh Magazine now had the opportunity to leverage its position as the community’s Media Outlet to uplift the voices of hundreds of nonprofits at once!
Amplifying the Voices of Pittsburgh’s Nonprofits
Implementing sophisticated marketing and advertising strategies is essential in growing the impact of a Giving Day. While many Giving Day hosts seek outward support from local media outlets to develop these strategies, Pittsburgh Magazine could do this all in-house.
“We have our print publication. We have our daily e-newsletter that goes out every single day of the week. We have our website and our social channels. How can we not use all of these great platforms to push out such an amazing message?”
By utilizing their already well-established communication channels to advertise Give Big Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Magazine has been able to drive more traffic to the site and create awareness around the participating nonprofits.
Working with GiveGab
Throughout this interview, Caite reflects on her experience working with various teams at GiveGab to support Give Big Pittsburgh.
When Pittsburgh Magazine first joined GiveGab, they were assigned a dedicated Project Manager. This Project Manager’s role is to support the overall Giving Day project and ensure that Pittsburgh Magazine was on track to reach its goals. Caite shares that having this support system, especially in their first year, was crucial in ensuring that Give Big Pittsburgh was a success.
“[My Project Manager] was always there. She always answered my calls, and was answering my emails right away. I was so blessed to have her that first year…They were so helpful on the day of giving, signing up the nonprofits, and getting their information processed.”
Caite and the Give Big Pittsburgh team also benefited from the services provided by our in-house Graphic Design team. By receiving design assets such as social shares and email banners already branded to the Giving Day, Pittsburgh Magazine could focus on getting the message out to their audiences.
“It makes it so much easier for our staff because I would have to make 25 Facebook banners, and captions, and logos – like all of these things that I can even barely make one. I am not a graphic designer.”
Pittsburgh Magazine is incredibly proud of the work they have done in their community through Give Big Pittsburgh. The impact that has been created by this annual fundraising event has been instrumental in ensuring that nonprofits operating in their community have their stores told and are receiving the support they need to further their missions.
Caite encourages other Media Outlet’s across the country to join Pittsburgh Magazine as philanthropic leaders in their communities by hosting a Giving Day of their own!
“We just want all of the other magazines to [host a Giving Day]…It’s so fun. You’re giving back to your city and your community in the best way.”
In this episode of Giving & Gabbing, Caite Miller, Marketing & Events Coordinator at Pittsburgh Magazine discusses:
- The History of Give Big Pittsburgh and what first inspired Pittsburgh Magazine to host a Giving Day
- How Give Big Pittsburgh fits in Pittsburgh Magazine’s mission
- Caite’s experience working with her dedicated Project Managers at GiveGab
- Examples of how hosting a Giving Day has benefited Pittsburgh Magazine and their participating nonprofits
- How Pittsburgh Magazine uses its media resources and large audience to encourage generosity
- The growth that Give Big Pittsburgh has experienced since hosting its first Giving Day with GiveGab in 2017
- Advice to other Media Outlets considering hosting their first Giving Day
Check out the full interview with Caite Miller, the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Pittsburgh Magazine, on Uplifting Your Nonprofit Community Through a Media-led Giving Day:
Watch the live interview recording:
Listening to our Giving & Gabbing Podcast episode:
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Podcast episodes include outreach and marketing strategies, and interviews with fundraising professionals from across the nonprofit and education sectors.
Molly: Hi, I’m Molly, GiveGab’s Product Marketing Manager and fundraising enthusiast. Co-hosting this exciting episode of Giving And Gabbing is Jackie, our Sales Ops Coordinator. We’re thrilled to introduce our special guest today as Caite Miller, the Marketing and Events Coordinator at Pittsburgh Magazine and host of Give Big Pittsburgh. Caite and her team have been long-standing partners with GiveGab since joining our platform to host their day in 2017.
We’ve loved watching Give Big Pittsburgh grow with us over these years. During their most recent event on GivingTuesday 2021, over 500 organizations raised a record-breaking $3.2 million. In this episode, we’ll be diving into how hosting a Giving Day fits into the mission of Pittsburgh Magazine and the impact the event continues to have in their vibrant community.
So welcome, Caite. We’re super excited to have you today. I gave a brief introduction to kind of get us started and to set this up, but I would love if you just kind of kicked us off by saying hello to our audience and telling us a little bit about what you do at Pittsburgh Magazine.
Caite: Yeah, so thank you guys so much for having me. Working with GiveGab is awesome. I started at Pittsburgh Magazine in 2017, and that was our first Giving Day. So my first day on the job, I was handed a packet that said Give Big Pittsburgh and was told to just run with it. But yeah, we are just so thrilled to be working with you guys and helping our Giving Day grow throughout these past four years or five years. How many years has it been now?
Molly: Right, I know. It’s always like you have to count in years, but then also, maybe not count in years. Like it doesn’t always line up. I love and sympathize with you that they handed you a packet on your first day and were like, “You’re gonna run our Giving Day.” When they handed you that packet, what was your understanding of what first inspired Pittsburgh Magazine to host a Giving Day?
Caite: So, since the founding of Pittsburgh Magazine in 1969, they have a rich history of supporting nonprofits through their editorial coverage. So our editors have always been writing about nonprofits and ways to give and ways to donate. We had a partnership with the Pittsburgh Foundation who used to host Pittsburgh’s Giving Day, and they were experiencing some technical difficulties like their site crashing almost every year. And they reached out to us for some help and if we had any guidance. They passed that baton over to us, and we kind of took over the Giving Day as the media outlet. And they were our big supporters right along with it. Nonprofits and giving has always been throughout the magazine. Each year, we publish a Give magazine, which comes out in November, and focuses on nonprofits. And when we heard of the idea of hosting a Giving Day, it just fit so well.
Molly: Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like it just fits exactly with your mission to really uplift the voices and the stories of organizations in your community that need constant support. I mean, I assume just based on kind of that mission and the goal of helping these organizations tell their stories, but also helping donors in your community understand where to give, how did hosting a Giving Day open up the doors for you to find like these new stories or new organizations to feature, stuff like that?
Caite: Yeah, well, we always write about someone that has a connection or like it can be anything, but this was just eye-opening to realize how many nonprofits are really out there. So it was like we had 10 on our list, and now we had like 500, 600 nonprofits. And I was like, oh my gosh, I did not realize that these many nonprofits were in the Pittsburgh area and surrounding areas just serving the community. And so it was just, it was eye-opening for not only me, but the rest of our staff.
Molly: Absolutely, I feel like you now have just like this whole group like this whole portal of people that are doing amazing work in your community that you can tap into to not just like feature them, but learn about the challenges that your community faces and how you can help your readers and how you as a company can help them further their missions.
Caite: Exactly, and not just on the editorial side, but on our advertising side as well, how they can push their message out through our platforms and our social channels and get in on that advertising side, as well as some other forms throughout the magazine.
Molly: Yeah, I love that, ’cause I love when I hear of hosts that are giving their participants an opportunity to build capacity by participating in the Giving Day. And I think advertising is one of those things that for a nonprofit can be really scary, because it might seem like it costs a lot, because advertising budgets are often slim in that sector, but you’re giving them a platform, but also an understanding of how it works and how to create meaningful connections to make those kinds of opportunities happen.
Caite: Yeah, for sure.
Molly: So, you’ve been running this Giving Day for several years. In what ways have you seen Give Big Pittsburgh change throughout its evolution?
Caite: So, that first year, our goal was to just raise as much as we could. And I remember we went out as a staff that night, and we were just having like a little happy hour get-together just to kind of celebrate our day. And it was almost 8:00 p.m., almost like 9:00 p.m. I would say, and we reached a million dollars raised. And I had never thought that that was possible. I had done all this planning, and finally, it was like coming to fruition.
And I was like at the bar with our staff, like we were jumping up and down and cheering, and then to see however many years later that we’ve tripled that number in our reach and people know what Give Big Pittsburgh is, and that Pittsburgh Magazine is the host in supporting these nonprofits through this Giving Day. It’s crazy to see and think back like we were sitting at this little bar, our staff cheering everyone on, and how far it’s come.
Molly: Oh my gosh. Ugh, it gives me all the feels, because like just being a part of the Giving Day, the community is so inspiring. And I think you’re exactly right. Like you set out to already do this amazing thing. And when you’re able to see it grow substantially as it has, it’s something that you don’t even picture in the beginning. Like your whole goal, in the beginning, is just to like help people become more aware of the organizations that they can give to in your community. And now, I’m sure years later have seen the benefit of what these dollars have done for these organizations, the impact.
Molly: I think you’re very unique in we obviously work with a lot of partners and a lot of Giving Days that are run by nonprofit networks, community foundations, and you guys are a media outlet running a Giving Day. So can you talk a little bit about how maybe that changes your strategy, how you would encourage maybe other media outlets, and why you would encourage them to host a Giving Day similarly to why you guys have?
Caite: Yeah, so it just made sense. So we obviously are a media outlet. We have our print publication. We have our daily e-newsletter that goes out every single day of the week. We have our website, our social channels, and it was like, how can we not use all of these great platforms to push out such an amazing message? And so it just kind of made sense where a smaller nonprofit or someone like doesn’t have the reach that we do as a larger media outlet.
And so we were just willing to partner with our friends at the Pittsburgh Foundation and just kind of take on that leading role as the promoter of this event. And so that’s what we do. We’re promoters and we promote things all the time. And so, on paper, it was like, yeah, this is exactly what we have to do. It aligns with our mission, and it aligns with what we’re doing now. So, why not?
Molly: Yeah, I love that. I love the fact that you like take a step back and think, okay, like how can we be using our business model to promote good. And you’re right. You already have that audience base. And I’m sure your audience base has grown too, because of the Giving Day.
Caite: Yeah, and because we publish a Give magazine every November, we have that audience already in our hands. And so it’s just an extra thing that we can promote.
Molly: Is there anything that you feel is super unique to Give Big Pittsburgh that you want other people to understand?
Caite: Ooh, that’s a tough one. I would say that it’s not… We are on the ground with the nonprofits. Like we are not just up in our offices at tippy top of the tower. Like we are here. We are out like with them. My first year, I remember driving around with a big sign that said #GiveBigPittsburgh. And I was driving to like 10 nonprofits a week just to take pictures with them, so that we could promote them and promote their nonprofit and that people can give money to them on Giving Day.
And so we are just very hands-on, and we love chatting with our nonprofits and answering their questions and just making sure that they have the best day.
Molly: I love that, that’s awesome. Jackie, I feel like you’ve done so much for GiveGab, and I feel like you probably have a good perspective of questions that you can chime in on for Caite about what it’s like to actually run it and what it’s like, the operational side behind a Giving Day and things that you’ve seen come through and how they have helped their organizations thrive.
Jackie: Yeah, definitely. I think what you just described sounds like such a fun experience for everyone. I know, because I have worked at nonprofits before hosting fundraising events that to have some opportunity like that would be so great. We were so excited anytime that it got picked up in the press of any kind. So I know that that is just a really special moment to have, and that Give Big Pittsburgh, it’s uniquely positioned to be able to do that for them. So, we know that Give Big Pittsburgh takes place on GivingTuesday, which for people who may not know, GivingTuesday happens Tuesday after Thanksgiving. So the date is slightly different every year, but it’s always that same Tuesday. How do you think that running your Giving Day alongside GivingTuesday has helped to encourage that generosity?
Caite: Yeah, so the Give Big Pittsburgh brand, we built it around the fact that Pittsburgh is the most generous city in the world. And so this goes back to a bunch of research that was found on a per capita basis in Pittsburgh. And actually, it was our cover story a while back. And it was proven that Pittsburgh is the most generous city. And so we were able to take that sort of and run with it. And then this Give Big Pittsburgh just kind of proved that, yes, Pittsburgh is very generous in year one all the way ’til now with the dollars that were raised. And so it was kind of nice to be able to like go back to that feature story that we ran probably in like 2009, and then say to this day, it still upholds that proven fact.
Jackie: That’s great, I did not know that, by the way. So I’m happy to have learned that today. I think that’s really impactful that it kind of goes… It’s like a two-way street in a sense, because people might already be aware of GivingTuesday or giving a bit more in Pittsburgh, because they know that stat about the city, and then having these events kind of bolsters that as well like you said. So that’s really cool.
Caite: Yeah, and so it gives us the push to say like, you have to give, so that we can keep this title.
Molly: I’m like, I wanna be part of the most generous city. I’m a little bummed that I didn’t win that, but it’s fine.
Jackie: Yeah, wow, congratulations, Pittsburgh. So as established, you’ve been with GiveGab since 2017, which seems like a long time ago to me. That was the year before I started working at GiveGab, so yeah. Can you tell us about the impact that working with GiveGab continues to have on your Giving Day? What was your initial experience with joining us in all the way back in 2017, and how has your relationship evolved with our team throughout those years?
Caite: Yeah, so back in 2017, I remember calling Vanessa, I think nine million times a day. Vanessa was my girl. I was like, what does this mean? Somebody’s asking me a question, what do I say? How do I do this? And she was always there. She always answered my calls, and was answering my emails right away. And I was so blessed to have her that first year, because I would’ve not known anything. And so after that first year, I was like GiveGab gets a gold star. They were so helpful on the day of giving, signing up the nonprofits, and getting their information processed. I feel like I didn’t even have to do anything because they were just so helpful. And I was like, I never wanna go anywhere else, and GiveGab is our BFF. And to this day, Vanessa has a new position or a new role, I believe, but she still reaches out and contacts me and wishes us the best on our Giving Day. So it’s so nice to still have that connection, but I work with, I believe, Nikki it is now, but she’s just as great. I can’t speak more highly of GiveGab.
Molly: I just love that. And I love what you said about how the people that you’ve met through GiveGab have followed you through these years. I had a very similar experience when I used to run a Giving Day like my first PM still checks in with me. And now that I’m at GiveGab, it’s like we all now check in with the person that’s running that day now. It’s just like it becomes this community and this family that not only is instrumental in helping you facilitate your day, like you said, helping you like actually run the day, but like is there for you as like an emotional support system too. And I love that.
Caite: Yeah, no, I would get like angry emails or phone calls and I would be like, what do I say, help me. They were always there to say like, okay, it’s fine, we can deal with it. Like, let’s walkthrough. And I’m like, okay, thank God you are here, because I would just be going crazy.
Molly: So we’ve touched on a little bit the growth that you’ve had starting in 2017, and you said how exciting it was to raise that first million and hit that milestone. And now you’ve hit many more milestones. And this past year in 2021, you all raised 3.25 million on GivingTuesday. What specific strategies do you attribute to that success year over year? What do you kind of like always feel like you have to continue doing to help you grow?
Caite: We do a lot of things. I know this past year we were really pushing our print side. So obviously we have a print magazine. And so I was running ads in the magazine for what felt like six months, almost a year, to promote and get people excited. But we also were heavily pushing in our daily newsletter like a register here button for nonprofits to just click and it takes them directly to the Give Big site. And then when it was actually Giving Day, like a give here button, so people didn’t really… Like it was just pressing a button, and it took you to givebigpittsburgh.com, and it was there. And so I feel like obviously, things have shifted. So we are now leaning more towards the digital side of things, but I love the print magazine and I love my ads in the print magazine. And so I feel like we will forever continue those. And they reach, I feel like, sometimes a different audience than your digital side does. So it’s always been beneficial to do all of the above.
Molly: No, totally I agree. I think you’re right in adapting as the world is changing, but still remembering that you’re reaching audiences in different places, and then exactly what you said, which what I think is always the most important thing and always something that I know like our chat specialists try to help nonprofits with as they’re going through the process as well is just like, how do you immediately get somebody to give? And it’s like breaking down the barriers, giving them a direct link, a specific place to go, so that they can, at the end of the day, register or make that gift, whatever cycle that you’re in.
Caite: Yeah, for sure.
Molly: In what ways or what things have you maybe learned from the GiveGab team whether it’s like your project manager or maybe other people that you’ve met through the Giving Day Leaders Network that you have taken back to grow your Giving Day?
Caite: Definitely just like the on-site. We love the webinars, the live things. And our nonprofits love those. And so we’ve learned over the past years like they might have done the Giving Day the past four years, but they watch the same video every year, because they forget. Like it happens once a year. And so by the time you come back to log in, you’re like, how do I log in, what’s my password? And so just keeping that open communication, but, yeah, GiveGab has taught us so much, so yeah.
Molly: Yeah, I know we have a lot of partners say that access to the resources and like the nonprofit toolkit is such a lift off of what they have to create for their teams. It allows them to focus on more of like the overarching Giving Day strategy and goals rather than helping each individual organization succeed. They can do that by pointing them to those resources instead.
Caite: Yes, it makes it so much easier for our staff, because I would have to sit here and make 25 Facebook banners and captions and logos like all of these things that I can even barely make one. I am not a graphic designer, but you have to do what you have to do. And so that, yeah, for sure.
Molly: Yeah, we’ve got a great graphic design team. I get the pleasure of working with them all the time, and they’re phenomenal. And I love that they’re able to not just support GiveGab as a whole, but all of our partners. And I don’t think everybody knows that.
Caite: Yeah, I think that the first year when we had like over 100 prizes or something, they had created like each little individual graphic that went along with our prizes and I was like, these are perfect. They described what our prizes are, and it makes my job 10 times easier. So now I can just promote all of our prizes.
Molly: Yes, and who doesn’t wanna promote prizes, ’cause they’re also a fun part of a Giving Day?
Caite: Yes, for sure.
Molly: Well, what’s your favorite Giving Day prize?
Caite: We had our sponsor 84 Lumber the past four years. And so it was the person who gave at 8:40 p.m. for our partner at 84 Lumber, but also the first of the day is also I think my favorite.
Molly: I always like that gift too, ’cause you’re always like you know, and people that know you personally, you probably experienced this, they’re like texting you like, “How do I win it? “What’s the real key? “Do I hit submit it at 11:59, “or is it really midnight or is it whatever?” And so like to watch how many people get excited and stay up ’til when you’re gonna launch your Giving Day is so fun.
Caite: Yeah, I love seeing that rush right at midnight.
Molly: Yeah, you’ve talked a little bit about what I wanna dive into next, but as a media outlet, you’ve talked about how you have helped them understand advertising and given them space to advertise. Are there any other things and benefits that you’ve been able to provide participating organizations? Maybe it’s knowledge. Maybe it’s access to a particular tool, but something that like you have been able to provide them in your unique position as a media outlet?
Caite: Yeah, I think it’s just new relationships. So not only the relationship with us here at Pittsburgh Magazine, but they’re able to connect with like all of these other nonprofits, and all of these new donors that they’re getting and donors that probably might have never known of their organization until Give Big Pittsburgh. And so I think new relationships are definitely a big one that we have been able to help our nonprofits with over the past few years.
Molly: Yeah, helping them like steward for their next generation of philanthropists is huge. They need that longevity to their organizations. That’s awesome.
Jackie: On the flip side, in what ways has hosting the Giving Day benefited your organization?
Caite: It’s been great. So, we have seen so much growth throughout Pittsburgh Magazine since hosting our Giving Day, a lot more nonprofits coming in on our advertising side, but also like our readers and our followers are more interested in giving and more interested in helping the community. And we saw that a lot when we hosted our COVID Giving Day.
So we had turned our site back on in May 2020 to host a COVID Giving Day. And we really saw that growth of our partners and our sponsors and just the city in general just ready to step up and give during a time of need. And so then that following year, when we hosted the Giving Day, it was just above and beyond, because they knew these nonprofits needed all the help that they can get and were the backbone to our city. So yeah, I would say it’s just helped not only Pittsburgh Magazine, but these nonprofits in our city.
Jackie: The generosity of Pittsburghans again. Is that what you’re called or did I make that up?
Caite: I don’t even know. I know we speak Pittsburghese, but I don’t know what they would call us.
Jackie: Okay. I’d be interested to hear some Pittsburgh regionalisms, but maybe not during the podcast. I will jump to talking about marketing right now. What types of ways do you market your Giving Day?
Caite: Yeah, so we try to connect with our advertisers and bring them in as sponsors of our Giving Day. So a lot of our advertisers and our sponsors love that philanthropic part to their organization. And so we love to bring them in and give them an opportunity to gift to these organizations. And so that’s a huge way, because then they can market through their staff and their outlets, but then us here, we create so many new connections.
We had a local radio show reach out to us and ask our publisher to talk about Giving Day, which created then a new partnership, and we’re now on their show weekly. And so, our friends at Lamar Advertising are always like willing to have billboards up for us and running throughout our Giving Days. But it’s just created so many great doors and opportunities for us to grow.
Jackie: Definitely, that’s awesome. Do you do any sort of tracking of the results of those efforts? Do you see the impact that those have made over the years?
Caite: I think, yeah. I like to create an end-of-the-year document that says like how much we raised, who our donors are, where they come from, all that kind of stuff. And then our partners give us some of their insight as well. And so that’s something we like to share with future advertisers, our staff, family and friends of the magazine, just because it makes you feel good to see all these numbers at the end. So every year after I’m like running around looking for numbers and I become a number guru and making it look pretty in a PowerPoint, but yeah.
Jackie: Awesome, yeah, I bet that you see… Do you see any trends with where donors are hearing about the day? Is it from those media communications in the city or is it like ?
Caite: A lot of it, so random, is from Facebook.
Jackie: Facebook, yeah, we hear that.
Caite: All the time and I’m like I don’t even know how, but it is. And like number two is just they know and they go straight to the giving site. So they must be hearing it from their nonprofits that they wanna donate to and then navigate straight there. But yeah, Facebook is always the winner.
Molly: Facebook and that Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. I’m telling you, everybody knows somebody on Facebook, and everybody will share it.
Jackie: That makes sense, especially ’cause I think the nonprofit sector uses Facebook more than other social medias. I don’t know if that’s changed in the last couple years, but it seems like that. So I could see that being the case too that they’re going on to the nonprofit’s Facebook page and might get the knowledge from there if they weren’t already aware of the day. Cool.
Molly: And I always think too, it’s like when that day comes around and somebody posts that they gave or they see something from a nonprofit, it’s all about that recognition of, oh my gosh, I was just looking at that Give magazine, or, oh, I remember seeing that billboard on my way to work, and it just like reinforces the legitimacy and the generosity behind the event. I think it’s like one of those things that it’s hard to quantify exactly what leads somebody, but the overall exposure is something that I think all Giving Day hosts work really hard to create.
I think I’ve seen some Giving Day hosts have a post donor survey where they ask like, what did you see, how much? but I think you’re exactly right. It’s like a combination of all the things that you do. And to your point that you said earlier, we know we’re reaching different people in different places, just because people have different lifestyles. So somebody may never be on Facebook, but they may always read a print magazine, or they may always drive the same route to work and see that billboard or see a digital advertisement.
Caite: Exactly, yeah.
Jackie: Yeah, talking about the donor engagement piece, as well as maybe the nonprofit engagement as well and just people in the community, how have you been able to create that excitement and engagement around your Giving Day? In what ways do you try to do that?
Caite: Yeah, so we try to get our nonprofits pumped up by starting early, and getting them registered. So then they’re not rushing around at the last minute trying to get all their information in and giving them all of those tools on that nonprofit toolkit. And so it’s just easy for them to press the button and spread the word. And some nonprofits use that and run with it, and others need a little bit more help and guidance.
And it’s nice that our staff is here and they can call us and we answer any of their questions, and we can help them navigate to use those tools. But within the community, I think, since the growth, Give Big Pittsburgh is now becoming like a term here in the city. I would say the first year it was like, what is that what is that, what are you talking about? But now, throughout the years, I think people are like, oh yeah, that’s the Giving Day. You should totally give to this nonprofit or find a new nonprofit to give. And so it’s definitely becoming like a household name.
Molly: I love that. We had another Giving Day partner, Maria, from #HudsonGives on the podcast a little bit ago, and she said a very similar thing about how it’s become a movement. It’s not just a day. Like people look forward to it. They know it’s coming. She’s just like, “In some ways, “like we barely have to prepare them for it now,” and that’s exciting.
Caite: Yeah, for sure.
Molly: You could go anywhere with this, but what’s the most surprising outcome or a bit of feedback that you’ve received as a result of Give Big Pittsburgh? And it could be anything from like your favorite impact story or like maybe a way that a donor has told you that they think now or how they find organizations now.
Caite: Yeah, so think I have two. So one, our first year, and I think this is, I think, one of GiveGab’s favorite stories as well. We actually had a nonprofit sign up on the day of giving and received the most donations. And I don’t even know how that happened. They had like missed the deadline, completely didn’t realize what was going on, because it was such a new thing and were able to get all of their information in, signed up and registered, and received the most donations that year and were like at the top of all our charts and all of our leader boards. I think that’s just crazy like how just one nonprofit can do basically no promo and just become the winner of Giving Day almost.
Molly: Oh my gosh, that’s wild to me. Katie, other Katie, not you, Katie who like helps run the technical side behind the podcast just chatted in and was like, “Oh my gosh, I remember this,” which that is wild. That doesn’t always happen. So they must have had like some crazy experience and wild ride, but I mean, to your point, it’s like joining this movement for organizations can be so impactful, because they’re also working together as a unit if they’re not competing against each other by driving people to the site. They’re lifting each other up.
Caite: Mhm, yeah. And so my second one is we had a nonprofit this year reach out to us and say they were also hosting donations on their website. And their website had crashed six times during the day. And they were like, “If it wasn’t for Give Big Pittsburgh, “we would’ve received no donations today,” because their website just completely went down. And I would’ve never known that if they hadn’t reached out and said, “Thank you so much for Give Big Pittsburgh “and for hosting through GiveGab, “because if not, we would have had no money come in “on the biggest Giving Day of the year.” And so that just kind of put a little bit of reassurance behind it and just made it so much more bigger and better, because we were able to help just one nonprofit. And I’m sure a lot of things happen. There are over 600 nonprofits that are on the site throughout the day. So everybody probably experiences their own technical difficulties or minor things. But this was just awesome to hear that they were able to receive so many donations.
Molly: Absolutely, and I think too, like as a host, to your point, that does touch your heart, and it makes you feel proud to be a part of facilitating this, because I mean, there are organizations of all sizes and with all different kinds of capacity. And while that org had a website that they were depending on, like some are brand new organizations that don’t even yet have a way to collect funds except for through the Giving Day or some just don’t understand how to work the technology. And so giving them as a host the outlet to do that is incredible.
Caite: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Molly: Yeah, so the last question that we’ll ping you with today. As we wrap up, what piece of advice would you share with another media outlet that’s considering hosting a Giving Day? Why would you tell them that they should join you and do it too?
Caite: It’s so much fun. We actually had another magazine media outlet reach out to us, Honolulu Magazine, I believe. And they were like, “You guys host a Giving Day. “We want to too. “It looks so much fun.” And I remember sending them all of my emails and talking to them on the phone about how we just love a Giving Day. And so it was so awesome to see another friend magazine jump on board. And so we just want all of the other magazines to do so, because why not? Like it’s so fun. You’re giving back to your city and your community in the best way.
Molly: Yeah, and because of you now, GiveGab has Give Big Hawaii, and that’s cool. Being able to be like, oh, well, we’re basically almost in all 50 states, Hawaii, you would think would be a hard one to get to, but the most philanthropic city helped us get there. So. props to Pittsburgh.
Jackie: Wonderful, thank you so much. As we get close to time here, is there anything else that you want to add just about your experience or that we didn’t really touch on today?
Caite: I don’t think so. I’m so happy to be at Pittsburgh Magazine and to help host our Give Big Pittsburgh event and it to be sort of my baby for the past however many years, but it’s definitely been so fun, and we love seeing the number grow each and every year. And our goal is always to just beat the year prior. So, hopefully, bigger and better this year.
Jackie: Wonderful, and you’ve done such a great job.
Caite: Thank you.
Jackie: Before we close, I would like to thank Caite for sharing her Giving Day experience with us all today. We loved getting to learn more about what makes Give Big Pittsburgh such a unique and successful Giving Day. Looking for more tools like this to take your digital fundraising to the next level, visit our resource library to stay up to date with our podcast, webinars, downloadable content, and more at info.givegab.com.