Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Big Give?
A: The Big Give is South Central Texas’ 24-hour online day of online giving fueled by the power of generous donors, creative nonprofits, social media, collaboration, and you!
The goal of the Big Give is to support the nonprofits in our region that are committed to making South Central Texas a great place to live, work, and play.
Since 2014, 101,000 donors have given nearly $11 million dollars to over 1,600 nonprofits through the Big Give-making it one of the most successful giving days in the country.
Q. When is the Big Give?
A: This year's Big Give will take place from midnight to midnight on Thursday, May 4, 2017.
Q. Which organizations can participate in the Big Give?
A: IRS-approved and compliant 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations located in Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, Uvalde, and Wilson counties can sign up now through 5 p.m. on April 10 to participate and raise money on May 4, 2017.
Q. Why did the Big Give add a registration fee this year?
A: A $200 participation service charge was added in order to ensure sustainability of the Big Give for 2017 and years beyond. With the new, dynamic website that allows for year-round giving, peer to peer fundraising, robust training schedule, a text messaging system and much more... the participation fees enable us to offer all of the benefits that our nonprofits asked for while we can raise money to increase our prize pool. We are excited that the backend fees have been reduced from 8% to 6.2% this year (for most credit card providers). There is a lower backend fee but a participation fee this year.
Last year, 41% of donors chose to cover the full 8% fee, this totaled nearly $85,000 in savings passed back to our nonprofits! 25% of nonprofits received a distribution check of more than what they raised online thanks to the combination of donors covering fees, what they raised online and prize money.
An upfront service fee will enable the Big Give to fund higher quality training with facilitators from around the country. These trainings will not only help to prepare agencies for the 2017 Big Give but how to steward donors and fundraise year-round. If you were to send even one employee to each unduplicated training on this calendar at a cost equal to what you pay for other trainings in this city, you would spend $850. And given that many of our agencies take advantage of the opportunity to send multiple members of their staff to these classes, the 2017 trainings alone would be worth north of $1500. That’s $1500+ of free training for your staff . A service fee also allows us to offer an incredibly robust, secure, easy to navigate and beautiful new website, along with a customer service support feature that is integrated into the Big Give website. Now, if you have any technical related questions, you can just open up the text box on the new site and will have answers in minutes. We have also implemented a text messaging system that will allow us to push out important updates or contact our nonprofits, partners and sponsors in case of an emergency.
All of these new enhancements for 2017 will be supported through our upfront service fee for participation. We will continue to communicate to you and our donors the value of this event that brings training, new donors and true capacity building. We believe that the Big Give is more than 24 hours of giving. It is 365 days of resources, learning and COMMUNITY.
In order to be approved and participate, the participation service charge must be paid upfront by credit card. The Big Give does not offer a pay by check option or invoice system.
Q: Why do you require the last four digits of the nonprofit administrator's Social Security number and date of birth for a nonprofit's donation payouts?
A: Give Gab is an online platform that collects, processes, and distributes money in the form of donations from supporters to organizations, and they fall under certain regulations, in particular, for US based organizations, they are required to abide by the compliance laws that are part of the Patriot Act.
In short, Give Gab needs to verify that the individual who is signing up an organization to collect donations, is who they say they are and is authorized to do so. And, we need to verify that the organization is a legitimately registered corporation.
Collecting this information helps us streamline donation processing and payouts with our underlying payment processor (Stripe) and the financial institutions that they work with.
More importantly, we have a duty to our users that when they choose to support a cause with a monetary gift, that money is going where they expect it to go! You can read a full explanation here, including how this information is stored.
Q. Who can donate?
A: Anyone and everyone is encouraged to donate to the nonprofits of their choice through the Big Give! Gifts are not limited to your location. All donations made through the Big Give are eligible for a tax deduction. Contributions can be made via credit and debit card only. Donations will be processed and receipted by GiveGab.
Q. The Big Give looks different this year. What happened?
A: As many of you know, last year was an extraordinary year. After a series of technical failures, the national Give Local America site went down, and donors across the country had difficulty giving to the nonprofits of their choice. Our community still rallied to raise $4.3 million for 1,055 nonprofits in 2016! You are resilient and generous!
After a summer of focus groups and town hall meetings with participating nonprofits, the Big Give team assembled an expert technology advisory team that included representatives from the most respected technology companies in our community. These dedicated volunteers reviewed potential platforms to ensure that our next giving day partner met a strict set of standards and would exceed your expectations. After a rigorous process, GiveGab was selected. We are so excited to bring you a robust, secure, and easy-to-navigate website that offers so many benefits for our participating nonprofits and our donors.
Q. Who is GiveGab?
A: GiveGab is an online platform that helps nonprofits raise money, engage donors and manage volunteers quickly and efficiently. GiveGab offers a full portfolio of simple and easy to use products that allows organizations to function in a more streamlined manner.
Q. How will the change ensure that the Big Give doesn't crash again?
A: The Big Give team and our expert technology advisory committee went to great lengths this year to fully review, vet, and question every major giving day provider. At the end of the day, while nothing can ever be 100 percent guaranteed, we are confident in GiveGab's technology, preparedness and customer service. Their dedication and passion for nonprofits also shines in their work.
In addition to being the only platform on the market with 100 percent uptime, GiveGab offers multiple layers of fail-safes, backup servers, and spillovers should anything happen. For more information on the GiveGab technology, click here.
Q. How will donations be distributed?
A: Each donation made online through the Big Give website to a participating nonprofit will be disbursed directly from GiveGab via direct deposit to the nonprofit within 36-48 hours. Prize money earned on May 4 is disbursed separately by the San Antonio Area Foundation via a check to the nonprofits within 4 weeks.
Q. How much of my donation goes to the nonprofit?
A: This year, thanks to our partnership with GiveGab, we are excited to announce that total fee charges have been reduced by 1.8% (from 8% last year).
This means that of your donation, 6.2% + $0.30 while be retained by the credit card companies, GiveGab and the Big Give partner organizations. The complete breakdown is as follows:
- 2% GiveGab service charge for building and maintaining a highly secure hosting site. This covers the building and maintenance of the website, live event customer service, donation processing, and other resources,
- 2.2% credit card charges on all transactions made with Visa or Mastercard and 3.5% credit card charges by American Express. These are standard charges from each credit card company for donations made online.
- 1% service charge to the Nonprofit Council to cover the management costs, year-round event planning, free nonprofit trainings, and nonprofit support services.
- 1% service charge to the San Antonio Area Foundation for year-round event support services and financial services.
Q. Why should I give through the Big Give as opposed to giving directly to the agency?
A: Great question! The Big Give team always supports giving directly to the nonprofit of your choice, and that's why we've designed a platform that will allow you to do give throughout the year.
Here are the 5 top reasons to give through the Big Give:
- SPOTLIGHT ON NONPROFITS - Each year, 96% of Big Give participating agencies say the Big Give helps raise awareness for the nonprofit sector. By coming together as one community on one day, we are able to leverage our resources to promote all of the good work nonprofits are doing in our region!
- SUPPORT - The Big Give exists to support, equip, and serve the local nonprofit community through free workshops, opportunities for consultation, best practices, tools and templates that can be used to raise support year-round. Our goal is to equip every agency in our 14-county region with the tools they need to fulfill their important missions.
- YEAR-ROUND TOOLS - By providing access to year-round online fundraising pages, the Big Give provides nonprofits who might not have the resources for an online donation system with peer to peer fundraising and robust features, including a full donor platform. It also gives all nonprofits the opportunity to engage their Big Give donors all year long in a new and fun way while promoting social sharing!
- LEVERAGE - Last year, the Big Give provided over $300,000 in prize money to agencies that participated in the event. This money was spread among the different size participants and enabled agencies to maximize their efforts! Over half of the agencies that participate in the Big Give have an annual operating budget under $100,000. For smaller organizations like these, prize money can be a game changer. For example, last year, thanks to prize money, one of our small nonprofits was able to double their operating budget in 24-hours thanks to the money they brought in through the Big Give.
- COMMUNITY & FRIENDLY COMPETITION - Giving is contagious and by creating an entire event dedicated to supporting our nonprofits via social sharing, we can come together as a community and encourage our friends and family to give to the causes we love the most. Last year, 50% of donations made through the Big Give came from first-time donors to the organization to which the donation was made. With so many nonprofits to discover, there's something for everyone!
Q. Who will receive my contact information?
A: The organization(s) you choose to support will have access to your contact information. It is up to you to tell the nonprofit if you would like to remain anonymous to the public, should the nonprofit choose to publicly thank you. Your information would be used solely to send your email receipt via tax purposes and thank you messages, provide the option to receive future notifications, and to notify you of future activities.
Upon donating, you can choose to opt in to the Big Give emails. We send periodic email updates throughout the year on nonprofit spotlights and Big Give updates.
If you choose not to opt in to the Big Give emails, we will contact you only if there is a problem with your donation or if there is an extremely important issue or crisis notification.
Q. Can I make donations via a mobile device?
A: Yes! Simply visit www.thebiggivesa.org on your mobile device.
Q. Can I give early if I cannot give on May 4?
A: Yes! The Big Give website will open one week before (on April 27). For the first time this year, donors will be able to make gifts early to their nonprofits through the Big Give. By giving early, you won't have to worry about missing the big day. From April 27 and on, you can give early, but you cannot pre-schedule your gift for a particular time on May 4. As soon as you choose to give, your donation will go through.
All early gifts will count toward your nonprofits’ totals for the Big Give amount raised and for overall prize money (1st place, 2nd place…category prizes), but they will not count toward hourly prize awards, because you must give real-time in that particular hour on May 4 to win an hourly prize. For example, since many organizations choose a particular hour to rally their supporters, it is inequitable to allow organizations to rally their supporters pre-event to schedule gifts on May 4 for a particular hour. The giving is truly from midnight to midnight on May 4. The early gifts option is for those that may not be able to give on May 4, but still want their gifts to count for overall totals.
Q. Are there any other new features this year?
A: We thought you'd never ask! This year, in addition to scheduling gifts, donors will also be able to give recurring gifts, run their own fundraiser for the charity of their choice, and give throughout the year.
- Recurring donations: If you choose, you will now be able to use the Big Give platform to give to your favorite causes monthly, or schedule your preferred timing. By selecting this option, your initial gift during the 24 hours of the Big Give will count towards the event but your additional gifts throughout the year will not. Only the initial donation made through the Big Give will be subject to the Big Give service charges. Each additional gift after May 4, 2017 will only be subject to GiveGab and credit card fees.
- Campaigns: This year, donors will be able to create their own profiles and run their own fundraisers in support of their charity of choice. All of the funds raised through these campaigns will go directly to the agency the donor chooses and the dollars and donations will count toward Big Give prizes. This means that donors can now challenge their friends to see who can raise the most for the causes that matter to them. We like to think of it as the best kind of peer-to-peer fundraising!
- Give Again: Unlike previous years, giving doesn't have to stop after the Big Give ends! Nonprofit pages will be live year-round which means you can come back and support the causes you care about throughout the year!
Q. What if my preferred organization is not listed?
A: Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will contact the organization to let them know that some of their supporters have voiced an interest in donating to them through the Big Give! Please note that nonprofit registration closes at 5 p.m. on April 10 so your favorite charity might not have registered yet!