Back to Blog

When Should I Start Planning My Giving Day?

Planning a Giving Day event is similar to planning a wedding – although it’s only one day, you want months to prepare so everything goes smoothly.

– Michelle Mullins, Assistant Director of Integrated Marketing Strategy at College of Charleston


We are often asked, “When should I start planning my Giving Day?” by Foundations, Hospitals, and Educational Institutions looking to host their own. The long and short answer is: As soon as you can! Let’s talk through why providing your team plenty of time to prepare is key to your Giving Day’s success.

Imagine your Giving Day is 3-5 months away. You are busy finalizing details and assisting participating organizations. There’s no time for brainstorming or implementing creative strategies and fun ideas to increase engagement and support. You keep saying things like, “That is a great idea! Maybe next year!”. No need to wait until next year! … By starting your planning process 6-9 months out, you’re allowing yourself and your team enough time to strategize, plan, and implement ideas for this year’s Giving Day.

You may be wondering, “What do I need all that time for?”. Great question! You’ll want to give yourself enough time to:

  • Coordinate with sponsors or partners for prize and/ or media sponsorships. Communication outreach is often a lengthy process when done right! It involves developing a strategy, crafting and sending personalized asks, following up, and meeting to outline an agreement, among other pieces. This process takes time, but is the driving factor in the engagement and success of your campaign, not to mention it’s essential in finalizing your Giving Day’s prizes and challenges!









  • Consult with other GiveGab Giving Day partners to learn valuable tips & effective strategies. – The Giving Day landscape is ever-changing, with much still to learn in regards to what strategies and features are most effective. As the #1 solution for Giving Days, we work with a variety of experienced partners across the country. We’re happy to connect you so you can benefit from their knowledge and expertise. The earlier you start planning, the more beneficial and easier it will be to implement their tips!
  • Choose a date and communicate it in advance to organizations. Nonprofits and student organizations often plan their fundraising schedules up to a year ahead. Sharing the date early will allow your Giving Day participants to allocate the needed resources, time, and effort their Giving Day campaign will entail, as well as ensuring their other campaigns will not interfere! Also, this will help you create milestones to ensure you are on track for success!








  • Customize & stand up your Giving Day site. When you work with GiveGab, you have a dedicated Project Manager who works with you to customize your Giving Day site according to your organization or school’s unique needs. The more time you have to be creative and develop content, the more tailored your site can be!
  • Build a strategic marketing campaign & coordinate with local media. Many factors are overlooked when planning a robust Giving Day marketing campaign. The biggest factor – time. Strategizing, drafting copy, preparing social media posts, and coordinating with media sponsors takes a substantial amount of time and coordination between the many people involved in this process. By developing your marketing campaign 6-9 months before your Giving Day, you are ensuring that communications to participants are thoughtful, intentional, and effective. Trust us, your Giving Day will be much less stressful if you take the time to develop a game plan!







  • Train participants on how to run a successful Giving Day campaign. Like any new skill, learning how to run an effective campaign takes preparation, practice, and time. Whether you’re providing training to nonprofits, school departments, or student organizations, you will need time to plan and run the training sessions. Your GiveGab team has strong experience providing trainings and will help you along the way!


Also, you’ll want to consider that participating organizations and funds need time to:

  • Coordinate other fundraising efforts throughout the season to ensure there aren’t conflicting campaigns.
  • Secure match sponsorships as they significantly boost fundraising efforts.
  • Recruit Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers to strengthen their campaign & reach new donors.
  • Customize their Giving Day profile because organizations that connect their goals to GiveGab features do the best! 
  • Review training materials so they are prepared for success!
  • Create their communications strategy to build awareness and hype within their supporter base.


This list, while non-exhaustive, provides key milestone examples that require time, planning, and forethought.


Essentially, it’s about setting yourself up for success. The most successful Giving Days we see are those with sponsors, prizes, and a strategic plan in place to meet their goals. Perhaps your goal is to boost dollars raised, increase engagement, or bring in new donors. GiveGab project managers are here to help you strategize ways to meet your specific goals.


Our partner at College of Charleson’s CofC Day, Michelle Mullins, says that “a year to six months (is) the sweet spot for preparation to ensure the day is a success.” Her advice is to “give yourself as much time as possible to coordinate all the moving pieces – fundraising, marketing, project management, and events – and reach out to your GiveGab team for a sample project timeline to help you (stay) on track!” Just like planning a wedding, you will want to give yourself plenty of lead time before the big day!




So, when should you begin planning to ensure your Giving Day is a success? … Connect with our Engagement Team to discuss your ideal timeline and begin planning your Giving Day today!


Chat With A Giving Day Expert