Giving Day Guide


Section I - Best Practices

Board engagement

As ambassadors for your organization, your board’s engagement in Give Big Pittsburgh is a crucial element for success. What roles will you ask them to take for your campaign?

Questions to consider

  • What will be your goal for board giving?
  • What donor engagement strategies will your board employ?
  • What social media/marketing activitieswill you ask of your board?
  • What other tasks or strategies would you like your board to participate in?

Know your audience

To craft the most effective message, you need to know your audience. Who are they, how can you reach them, and how can they be your best ambassadors?

Questions to consider

  • Who is your current audience?
  • Who is your prospective audience? 

  • How will you reach them?
  • What stories of impact can you share?
  • What tools do you need to 
implement your strategy?

Donor engagement

Stewarding your donors – before, during and after Give Big Pittsburgh – keeps them aligned with your organization for continued engagement and support.

Questions to consider

  • How will you engage your current donor base?
  • How will you thank your donors when the campaign ends?
  • What is your plan to follow up with donors 1, 3, 6 months after campaign?
  • How will you engage new donors?

Goal Setting

Goals for Give Big Pittsburgh can be more than financial. Manage your expectations for setting your overall philanthropic goals: new donors, visibility, marketing, social media.

Questions to consider

  • What is your financial goal for Give Big Pittsburgh?
  • How many donors would you like on Give Big Pittsburgh?
  • What other goals do you have?
  • Are there internal vs. external goals?
  • How do you plan to share your success with your donors and volunteers?
  • What tools do you need to make this happen?

Communication Tools

Once you’ve defined your audience, crafted your message, and set goals, be sure to maximize the communication tools available to you. A press release can provide a broad overview, email marketing and traditional marketing can engage existing volunteers and donors, and don’t forget to use your board as effective community ambassadors. Use what works best for you!

Questions to consider

  • What communication tools does your organization already use?
  • What tools are you not using that you may want to incorporate for Give Big Pittsburgh?
  • What current marketing materials can you add your Give Big Pittsburgh message to?
  • What other tools and resources do you need?

Social media

For an online event, social media plays a huge role. Utilizing Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will help you communicate with your current and future donors at every stage of the campaign.

Questions to consider

  • What social media platforms will 
you use for Give Big Pittsburgh?
  • What are the key messages you will 
convey through these platforms?
  • Who will run your social media campaign?

Section II. Develop and Execute Your Plan

Now that you’ve answered some key questions let’s put it all together. Use the template below to create an 8-week work plan.

The first 4 weeks of your plan should be dedicated to planning and preparation, while the 2nd half of your plan should be implementing; starting with soft marketing and then transitioning into heavy marketing at the 2 week mark.

Give Big Pittsburgh Goals:

  • What is your dollar goal?
  • What is your donor goal?
  • What is your new donor goal?
  • What are your incentive prizes?
  • What are some other goals?

Eight Weeks Out - Meet, Plan, Discuss

  • Create your profile on www.givebigpittsburgh.com
  • Set weekly meetings with your staff/volunteers who will assist with your campaign
  • Meet and complete this work plan
  • If you are creating printed materials, decide what those will be and begin design
  • Decide on what and how many prize challenges you will attempt to win
  • Finalize donor email/contact lists and make sure all information is ready to use
  • Create outreach strategy for current donors

Seven Weeks Out - Teasers and Preparations

  • Download all items from the Nonprofit Toolkit
  • Add a Give Big Pittsburgh logo to your email signature
  • Add a teaser or save the date block to your website and outgoing e-newsletters
  • Provide Give Big Pittsburgh updates at your monthly or quarterly board meeting
  • Begin outreach to local businesses to form partnerships and support
  • Make sure you have completed all checklist items from the previous week!

Six Weeks Out - Preparing Your Soft Marketing Launch

  • Decide on communication tools
  • Determine who will run your social media campaign (staff, consultant, volunteer, etc.)
  • Decide if your organization will attend or host an event on Give Big Pittsburgh
  • Register for a Give Big Pittsburgh workshop or webinar
  • Create a staffing plan for Give Big Pittsburgh

Five Weeks Out - Soft Marketing Launch

  • If you are using printed materials, drop them in the mail no later than next week
  • Work on your “thank you” plan for donors for day-of and post-Give Big Pittsburgh
  • Boast about your Give Big Pittsburgh profile! Use it to help promote your participation!
  • Do a check and make sure you have completed all previous checklist steps
  • Implement current donor outreach plan

Four Weeks Out - Continue Soft Marketing

  • Create board task list and assign to members
  • Send invites to day-of events (if having one)
  • Schedule key meetings with donors (pre-commitments)
  • Begin talking about your involvement in Give Big Pittsburgh at meetings and events.
  • Bring postcards with you to leave in office lobbies, coffee shops, etc.
  • Continue to implement your communications plan (emails, social media posts, etc.)

Three Weeks Out - Prepare for Two-Week Marketing Blitz

  • Customize email templates from toolkit and schedule e-blasts to go out
  • Finalize social media schedule and content
  • Schedule key meetings with donors (pre-commitments)
  • Finalize partnerships with businesses
  • Contact local media (press release/events)

Two Weeks Out - Two-Week Heavy Marketing Begins

  • Amp up social media posts – add Give Big Pittsburgh graphics to Facebook and Twitter
  • Begin sending emails
  • Make targeted phone calls to donors
  • Have a kickoff event and talk to donors about Give Big Pittsburgh (suggested)
  • Distribute fliers to businesses in your area

One Week Out - Heavy Marketing Continues

  • Make sure you have your Give Big Pittsburgh page link (via your GiveGab Admin Dashboard)
  • Continue heavy social media presence
  • Remind board of roles (outreach, sending emails, etc.)
  • Utilize Give Big Pittsburgh PSAs and Instructional videos – share on social media
  • Finalize day-of event plans
  • Finalize day-of roles and staffing plan
  • Schedule social media posts before going to bed

Give Big Pittsburgh

  • Kick off with a bang! Have at least 10 donors give at midnight or during the first hour
  • Get out into the community and spread the word of Give Big Pittsburgh events
  • Check in with all board members to make sure they implement your plan.
  • Be active all day on social media
  • Check your GiveGab Admin Dashboard every hour and make sure you are thanking donors in real time either on social media or via email.

Day After and Beyond!

  • Get some rest!
  • Continue your plan of thanking all donors
  • Implement donor thank you plans. (i.e. who will receive calls, send personal letters, thank you cards, emails, etc. (check your staff role list)
  • Send thank you letters/cards to businesses and other nonprofits you partnered with
  • Send an update to your board, staff, volunteers, networks and donors on your results!
  • Decide if you will have a post-event thank you reception/event