The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) is one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region. Its mission is to create a thriving community for all. Every day, GNOF joins other foundations, nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and government officials to address the needs of the community and build consensus for solutions. In 2014, GNOF decided to host its first 24-hour, online giving day in New Orleans in conjunction with Give Local America where hundreds of community foundations across America ask their communities to give back. Since this was the inaugural year of GiveNOLA Day, GNOF engaged Gambel Communications to create a strategic media and community outreach campaign to maximize exposure and garner community attention, ultimately attracting nonprofit participants and donors.
GNOF turned to Gambel Communications again to raise awareness for the second GiveNOLA Day in 2015, the third annual GiveNOLA Day in 2016 and the fourth and most recent GiveNOLA Day on May 2, 2017. Working hand-in-hand with GNOF every year, Gambel Communications developed a strategic plan complete with recommendations on how to make each year more successful to continue to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits in the New Orleans community.
Both large and small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the Greater New Orleans area were encouraged to sign up for GiveNOLA Day. All money raised would be amplified on this one day of giving through a local pool of incentive dollars for participating organizations. Every dollar donated on GiveNOLA Day was also stretched with additional “lagniappe” dollars provided by GNOF and its generous GiveNOLA Day sponsors.
To get the word out about GiveNOLA Day, Gambel Communications arranged a press conference every year to announce the date and goals, which featured representatives from the City of New Orleans, the GNOF team, and local nonprofits interested in participating. Leading up to each GiveNOLA Day, Gambel Communications handled media relations and earned extensive press coverage in print media, online media, television and radio. Gambel met with targeted local media and worked with the Mayor’s office to generate public support, as well as disseminated e-blasts to community leaders and worked with business and professional organizations to encourage sponsorships and participation. The team continually secured spots on all four local morning shows; coordinated multiple live remotes each GiveNOLA Day; and managed updating all media throughout the day on dollars raised and donor participation. As a result, there was extensive and consistent local coverage across all platforms leading up to, during and after GiveNOLA Day in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
A local philanthropic movement was ignited with the launch of GiveNOLA Day, culminating in 19,623 gifts and $2,264,436 raised for 309 regional nonprofit organizations, which far surpassed GNOF’s initial goals of 250 nonprofits, 5,000 gifts and $1,000,000 raised.
Compared to the inaugural GiveNOLA Day, giving on the second GiveNOLA Day was up 78 percent, resulting in $4,000,000 raised and 34,000 gifts given to 571 regional nonprofits (surpassing GNOF’s goal of $3,000,000 raised, 25,000 gifts and 500 nonprofits). Despite a technology failure that affected the shut-down of dozens of giving websites, the third annual giving day raised another $4,000,000 from 28,000 donations for the 713 participating nonprofit organizations.
Finally, initial returns indicate that the fourth annual GiveNOLA Day generated an astounding $4.9 million for 717 nonprofits, exceeding its 2016 total of $4.5 million. The total number of online contributions exceeded 38,000 at the close of the 24-hour period. Gambel Communications continues to work closely with GNOF on various PR efforts. Plans are already underway for the fifth GiveNOLA Day, which will be held on May 1, 2018.