Seattle Foundation Blog

GiveBIG 2017 Approach

Vice President of Marketing and Communications Mary Grace Roske shares how we're approaching GiveBIG this year and how your feedback informed the strategies we put in place.

February 24, 2017

Dear Community Partner:

Seattle Foundation opened registration for GiveBIG 2017, launching the seventh year of this important fundraising event for our region’s nonprofits.  GiveBIG is on May 10 and I’m sharing with you how we’re approaching GiveBIG this year and how your feedback informed the strategies we put in place.   

Nonprofit participation, donor volume and total donations have grown tremendously since we launched GiveBIG.  Together, we have raised more than $75 million and fueled significant growth in nonprofits’ online fundraising capabilities.  Last year’s technology challenges focused everyone’s attention on the economic significance of GiveBIG to the nonprofit sector, an accountability we take very seriously.  SeaFdn’s team took time last summer and fall to talk with GiveBIG stakeholders, analyze the giving data and learn about other giving days, in an effort to gain a better understanding of how GiveBIG can bring the most value to Greater Seattle’s nonprofits. 

We received rich and robust feedback through our online survey, focus groups and three town hall meetings. Our goal is to have a giving day grounded on our shared principles of simplicity, stability and sustainability.  We welcomed CiviCore as our new technology partner following a thorough vetting of its capabilities, supporting infrastructure, customer service and contingency planning.  We’re also rolling out two major changes in 2017, which together create a new financial framework for GiveBIG. 

1)    GiveBIG 2017 elevates high-impact matching funds and retires the low-impact “stretch pool.” 
As you know, the monetary value of the “stretch pool” has declined as GiveBIG has grown.  At the current pace of donation growth, the pro-rated distribution of the $1 million “stretch pool” would have declined to 5 percent or less this year, close to the cost of the credit card and processing fees. While the stretch incentive was helpful in the early days of GiveBIG, many found the “stretch pool” concept difficult to communicate to donors and of limited marketing value, for delivering a relatively small financial impact.

Our data shows that the nonprofits that are the most successful in GiveBIG are those that use matching funds from a donor(s) and use it to fuel online giving to secure the match.  With a technology platform to promote and track a $1-to-$1 match, this strategy has the power to be much more valuable than a 5-cent stretch.  We will support nonprofits to secure matching funds in two ways.  The first is trainings, in partnership with Washington Nonprofits and others, to better enable organizations to secure matches and capitalize on this opportunity.  The second is Seattle Foundation’s proactive outreach to philanthropists (individuals and businesses) to market GiveBIG and the matching fund opportunities available.

2)    We are introducing Dollars for Change, a donor-driven effort that will distribute more than $250,000 in additional funds to nonprofits.  
Our Golden Tickets – random drawings of $1,000 given during GiveBIG – incentivize nonprofits and donors alike.  Many giving days use drawings and prizes based on donations, rather than a stretch pool, to motivate giving.  This year, we are expanding our random drawings through Dollars For Change, a new donor-driven effort.  Dollars for Change will award more than $250,000 to nonprofits, using a model based on the seven elements of our Healthy Community Framework and placing greater emphasis on benefitting small- and mid-sized organizations.  We are securing our GiveBIG sponsors now and the total amount available through Dollars for Change will be announced shortly before May 10.

These important changes are informed by the input of our nonprofit partners and changing economics of the giving day model.  The magic of GiveBIG is the generosity of our community and donors’ desires to invest in the critical work performed by your organizations. It’s our intention that this new financial framework supports your continued participation and success in GiveBIG as well as providing greater clarity for donors.  Note that Seattle Foundation does not charge nonprofits to participate in GiveBIG or take any portion of the fees of donations generated through GiveBIG.

Registration instructions were sent to the individual listed in our records as your GiveBIG contact. Your organization’s profile needs to be completed by April 12 in order to participate.  If you have questions about registration, please email  We encourage you to subscribe to our blog and check our Facebook page often to stay informed on GiveBIG developments.

GiveBIG 2017’s theme is “Now. More Than Ever,” reflecting the urgent need to support nonprofits working to create greater equity and opportunity for all.  I hope your organization will join us again in this day of community generosity.  I welcome your questions and comments and you can contact me at 206.515.2104 or  

Thank you for your participation!

Mary Grace Roske
Vice President/Marketing & Communications





healthy community frameworkGiveBIGcollective giving

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