Give to the Max Day Research: The Ultimate Case Study

For Love of Children Check Presentation
For Love of Children’s Andrea Messina and Tim Payne, a Give to the Max Day grand award winner and case study

Today, the Case Foundation in conjunction with the Razoo Foundation issued the research report, “How Giving Contests Can Strengthen Nonprofits and Communities: A case study of Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington.” I authored the report, and also served as the general manager for Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, which launched last November.

These contests are multichannel marketing and social media driven adventures that can be extremely exciting! Contests produce a ton of data, including hard numbers such as the number of donations, highest and lowest donation, etc. that can make the biggest stat geek and ROI analysts thrilled. They also produce fantastic survey data, case studies and media reports. The end result is an incredible jambalaya of data.

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In Gratitude, with Love

Us with Soleil in the Pumpkin Patch

It’s been an amazing year. It has had big ups and big downs. In short, life was in session.

In hindsight, there is so much to be grateful for as we roll into the holiday season. With Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to express my gratitude for many things over the past year.

First of all this was the magical year of Soleil, my one year old daughter who has blessed our lives. From watching her first open her eyes regularly to the first time she said “Dada” to her first steps, becoming a father has literally been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so very grateful that Caitlin and I are together with this wonderful addition to our now three person family.

Releasing my second book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate, was a good experience, in large part because of you. Thank you to all the friends and punks who helped make the book a success, whether it was allowing me to guest post, offering me an opportunity to speak, sharing your reviews, or simply being supportive. Book marketing is hard!

Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was an incredible experience. I am still processing it, but it certainly was profound, a pinnacle moment both professionally and spiritually. To be able to give back to my hometown for the past 20 years, and raise $2 million to help 1200 nonprofits all in one day (though it took six months of planning and work), well, it’s really humbling. Truly, something to be grateful about.

So many people worked to make this happen, but in particular I’d like to offer special thanks to all of my clients and friends at Razoo, Kathy Whelpley at the Community Foundation, and Kerry Morgan, Karyn Gruenberg, Stacia Klim and Elliot Gruber at the United Way. Thanks to all of our partners who helped get the word out. And thank you to the Washington nonprofit community — causes and donors alike — for coming together in a collective day of action.

Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse let me out of Zoetica early to attend to my house, a result of the above linked flood. Thank you.

In that same vein, Gini Dietrich carried my writing load over the past two months as I grappled with the flood and kept Give to the Max work moving forward. It’s so refreshing to work with an author who plays team ball and helped a partner that could not execute, literally putting the project on her back. Now it is my turn to write extensively, but Gini deserves a big thank you for helping me.

All of my friends (Dennis, Jimmy, David, Pernilla) and family in my personal life, people who don’t dig or just simply use social media in a normal fashion, deserve a special shout out. Whether it was direct help, friendly words, or an arm around the shoulder you helped me make it through a depressing time.

My online friends and readers, you, too reached out to me during the flood and ensuing recovery. I thank you so much for this. Every ounce of support helped me through a dark time.

Speaking of dark times, a year ago my friend George Giammittorio passed away due to depression. Earlier this year we as a community lost Trey Pennington. No matter how despairing the times may be — and for some the holidays are the darkest of times — there is always hope and love. If you are suffering and there is only darkness, please consider calling the National Hopeline.

2011 is not over. A trip to Austin is in order, there is a commencement speech for the Virginia Commonwealth University Mass Communications graduation to write and deliver, and the holiday giving season — a crucial time for causes — is upon us. And yes, it is time to catch up on book writing, and thus, I am taking the next week off from the social web and will return on the 28th for the final stretch.

Though we are not done with the year, one can never be too early in expressing gratitude. So thank you, and happy Thanksgiving.

Amped to Work on Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington

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Earlier today Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was announced. This is a giving day for the metropolitan DC region on November 9 that is expected to raise $3 million and encourage well over 10,000 civic actions. The event is organized by Zoetica client Razoo, Community Foundation of the National Capital Region and United Way of the National Capital Area.

As noted on the Inspiring Generosity blog, yours truly has been running point on the project, an effort that has been underway since June. So, given that most of you are working on the inside of a corporation or nonprofit, or are consultants, here’s some of the stuff that makes this particular event really, really exciting to work on:

1) Give to the Max Day bridges the traditional nonprofit community in DC with the booming 2.0 digital start-up world, all to help the city’s vital nonprofits who are under fire from Congressional cuts and economic hardship. This is certainly compelling work.

2) It’s multichannel with a diverse set of marketing approaches, including direct marketing, online marketing, media relations, social media, events and advertising. Really, it’s very nice to bring to bear a fuller suite of tools.

3) The effort seeks to empower nonprofits, not for just one day, but for the long haul with a significant training program so they can become better marketers, who cultivate stronger relationships with donors online.

4) Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington is a part of Digital Capital Week, the one week Internet festival created by Peter Corbett, Jen Consalvo and Frank Gruber.

5) The event represents a significant marketplace challenge. Can an idea that worked well for a state — Give to the Max: Minnesota raised $14 million and $10 million in two similar events for GiveMN — work well for a major metropolitan city? We believe so. Ironically, I worked on the Philanthropy 2.0 report with colleague Beth Kanter, which helped inspire GiveMN. Life comes full circle.

It’s hard not to be thrilled about this effort! Having lived in DC for 20 years, this is a great way to help out the community. If you are a metro DC-based nonprofit or citizen, please join us on November 9.