Give Miami Day raises record $7.1 million for nonprofits by Rosemary D’Amour

Give Miami Day participants and volunteers document hitting $6 million fundraising milestone on Nov. 19.

The Miami Foundation raised more than $7.1 million for South Florida nonprofits in its fourth online giving campaign, which ran from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Give Miami Day started four years ago as a platform for “democratized” giving. For 24 hours, the Greater Miami area experiences a fundraising blitz, with local organizations seeking support for causes around the community. The Miami Foundation, which connects donors to the community, coordinates the fundraising, collects the donations and, along with the individual organizations, heavily promotes the event on social media, also awarding incentive prizes to nonprofits for meeting goals and milestones.

And each year, the annual giving event supported by Knight Foundation gets bigger. In 2014, nearly 20,000 donors raised a record $5.2 million for 520 local nonprofit organizations. This year, more than 24,000 contributed over $7.1 million for more than 600 organizations, making it the largest annual giving event in the Southeast U.S.

“This started as an experiment; nothing like this had ever been done before in Miami,” said Miami Foundation Communications Director Matthew Beatty. “The response has been overwhelming. It shows it’s starting to strike a nerve with this community.”

The focus is making the donation process as simple, accessible, and impactful as possible through the portal, which features leaderboards and details of milestones. The effort also features a bonus pool, where donations ranging from $25 to $10,000 are matched by The Miami Foundation and its partners, including Knight.

“It’s the ease with which Give Miami Day allows you to invest back in your community that’s helped it gain traction,” Beatty said. “It ignites what’s already in everyone here: We love this city.”

The total number of gifts this year was 24,739, with the majority of gifts going toward education and youth development. Participating organizations were split into different categories based on their operating budgets. Of large organizations, The Greater Miami Jewish Federation raised the most, with $537,571 and 343 gifts. Of medium-sized organizations, The Children’s Movement of Florida raised $158,453 with 616 gifts. Of small organizations, Gene Spotlight raised the most with $121,125, but DIBIA Dream, which provides local athletic programs to underprivileged kids, achieved the highest number of gifts with 235.

Like other online Giving Days, outreach for Give Miami Day relies heavily on social media. While The Miami Foundation gives organizations guidance and helps amplify their messages, the onus is really on the local organizations to drive their audiences to donate.

“This campaign is really carried by participating organizations; they’re the ones that mobilize their donor bases,” Beatty said. “It’s their opportunity to tell their stories on a communitywide platform, and they’ve really taken it and ran with it.”

Online Giving Days, which many organizations hold throughout the year, have grown in recent years as a way for organizations to reach new donors. The events culminate on Giving Tuesday, this year on Dec. 1, when organizations from around the world will hold 24-hour fundraising campaigns. Knight’s Giving Day Playbook, provides resources for local organizations and foundations looking to start and improve Giving Days.

Rosemary D’Amour is the digital communications associate for Knight Foundation. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @rosedamo.