Taking measured risks to strengthen our region’s nonprofit sector
By Priscilla Enriquez,
Chief Impact & Strategy Officer
The pace of change in philanthropy has never been so rapid. From the incessant need for post-disaster giving to the explosion of Facebook fundraisers, and from the diverse expectations of next generation donors to the innovative approaches of ultra-wealthy philanthropists, the forces that drive the national conversation around philanthropy are varied.
Molded by our region’s dynamic demographics and the capital area’s specific social and economic uncertainties, needs, and resources, these large-scale shifts in philanthropic giving take a decidedly-local shape in our community—and, as the capital region’s philanthropic experts, we attend to the realities of local donors and nonprofits as no one else can.
In 2013, propelled by the findings from our Generosity Study which showed that only 62 percent of our region’s households gave charitably—lagging the national average by five points—we took a measured risk and launched Big Day of Giving to empower area donors and nonprofits to address the rapid changes in philanthropy. Six years later, with more than $30 million generated for the community through the program, we know that listening to and learning from our donors and nonprofit partners helps us innovate and reap huge rewards for the region’s nonprofit sector.
Even as Big Day of Giving continues to thrive, we know that the capacity issues facing nonprofits in our region are more complex than a once-annual giving day can address. That’s why we rely on the data made available by GivingEdge, our region’s nonprofit database that powers Big Day of Giving, to inform our strategic leadership into the future.
Not only does GivingEdge make transparent to area donors the programs, governance, financials, and needs the more than 700 organizations listed in the database, it also provides our team a wealth of objective information about the capacities of local nonprofits, and the state of the sector as a whole.
We’re using this data to inform the future of Big Day of Giving and other Foundation programs that empower local philanthropy. Importantly, we are also using this data—coupled with learnings from focus groups, convenings, and surveys—to inform our own grantmaking, ensuring that we use our resources to equip nonprofit leaders with the skills, tools, and resources to fulfill their missions and respond to our community’s needs effectively.
This sort of leadership is beyond the traditional role of community foundations. It’s innovative. It’s catalytic. It’s a measured risk—and we’re proud to be on the leading edge.
We invite you to learn more about Big Day of Giving, GivingEdge, and our evolving effort to strengthen the Sacramento region by building nonprofit capacity as part of our Strategic Initiative to Expand Philanthropy and the Social Economy.
Only through strategic, collaborative efforts can we elevate philanthropy to advance equity in our community. Join us with a donation to the Building Equitable Communities Fund.