Reflections on Sacramento’s Giving Day

The Big Day of Giving (BDOG) raised $7.1m on Thursday 4th March – I was there, it was fun.

And yet, and yet, they were the teensiest bit disappointed that they only raised the same as last year.

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s Giving Day BDOG has supported 599 organisations to engage with 39,720 donors in one day, lets have a think about that.

  • That’s an average of $11,442 raised per organisation
  • That’s an average of 66 donors per organisation
  • That’s an average donation of $172

However the money isn’t really the most interesting thing about BDOG.

The most interesting thing about BDOG is the sense of leadership, community and collaboration that the event inspires in the NFP community.

Starting in January BDOG held one orientation session and then 4 x 2hr training sessions for all those groups. On top of that there are weekly webinars and a newsletter. On top of that there are expert NFPs who each provide mentoring to other new or developing NFPs. On top of that there is a Facebook learning community.

Again and again the people from the NFPs that I met told me that BDOG had provided them with training, had given them the chance to network and enabled them to collaborate in a way that they hadn’t before. Groups like 915 Ink and the Sacramento Mandarins told me that BDOG had been “transformational” for them in terms of their income, profile and reputation. New NFPs were grateful for the training and individuals saw BDOG as a route for profile, reputation and career progression.

How have Sacramento Region CF done it? I think they’ve won through careful collaboration and investment in NFP development. They’ve worked with NFPs who have then led training, mentored each other and organised their own events. “Isn’t that rather an imposition?” I asked. “Oh no” they said, “It’s allowed us to grow, network and collaborate. We’ve grown our skills and capacity.”

There is so much more to Giving Days then the headline number.   I think there is the opportunity to properly quantify the social return on investment from these days to better understand the full impact that they have.


Cost of helping Sacramento NFPs raise $7.1 million = considerable

Value of leading, engaging and inspiring the Sacramento NFP community = priceless


Ann Lansberry


Note: I travelled to the States as the David Clarke Social Innovation Fellow through the Macquarie Group Foundation – I am very grateful for their support to undertake this research.