How we did it: A GAgives success story from PAWS Humane

Sara Stephens, Marketing and Development Director, on the 2016 campaign that more than doubled the GAgives day goal for Columbus animal shelter PAWS Humane.

As two employees brand new to GAgives, Director of Marketing Casey Smith and I were initially overwhelmed by all of the ideas and options for leveraging this great day into a giant fundraiser. At first, we were limiting ourselves to what we already knew, but with a little research on the website, we quickly realized we could pull off a lot more than we thought.

With about two weeks to go – an ambitious timeline – we started our fundraising effort by sending a mailed appeal to all of our donors, touting a $10,000 match provided by local businesses. We hoped that, by the end of the day, we would get close to that $10,000, but we blew past that number in the first 10 days!

While our match was going strong, other businesses and donors offered to provide challenges between $1,000 and $2,000 to use the day of GAgives, which we used to create two different “Power Hours,” when we rallied our visitors to give as much as they could via social media, including Facebook Live videos and Instagram posts. We also made sure to register for the Max My Gift Challenge offered by GCN, which gave our Power Hours even more exposure. We also used radio, including PSAs, on-air mentions, and interviews; TV interviews on local channels; and our own promo videos, created with a GoPro camera.

We knew, however, that social media was the biggest tool we had at our disposal, and it turned out to be one of the most valuable. From the time we started our 2016 campaign up through the evening of GAgives day, we were focused non-stop on social media. We created a Facebook ad to give our fundraiser even more exposure within our region. By the day GAgives came around, I believe everyone in the Columbus region knew we had a big fundraiser going on – and it paid off. We had hoped to reach, with our matches included, a $20,000 goal. Instead, we more than doubled that number, raising over $40,000!

For this year’s GAgives, we plan on utilizing every option that made last year such a success, and expanding upon them – including an even bigger match. With that effort, and the added excitement and exposure of the new #GivingTuesday partnership, we’re hoping to beat our total from last year!


To register your organization for the 2017 GAgives on #GivingTuesday, to be held November 28, 2017, visit



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