Key Points

Within the last decade there has been an exponential growth of community foundation- led giving days, credited in general to the ease afforded by online giving, the social media presence of nonprofits, and the sense of community these events widely impart. However, current academic literature on these events remains sparse. This article addresses this gap with a longitudinal examination of the growth of community foundation-led giving days from 2009 to 2022.

The study found only two giving days led by community foundations in 2009, peaking at 78 in 2020, and plateauing to 71 giving days in 2022. In 2020, the first year of COVID-19, the total amount raised by all giving days rose substantially, a finding that suggests giving days experienced a “catastrophe compassion” phenomenon seen elsewhere in philanthropy during the pandemic.

While our study does find that community foundations located in small towns with smaller populations were able to raise more donations per capita in comparison to larger community foundations in metropolitan areas, future studies would be useful in shedding light on what types of nonprofits and community foundations are more successful in raising funds with giving-day events.

Open Access