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What Is Giving Hearts Day?

If you search “Giving Hearts Day” on YouTube, many videos with those words in their title will appear. The results feature a variety of local subjects. You’ll see names such as Gate City Bank, ND Center for Nursing, 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, the Fargo Police Department and Great Plains Food Bank all in the mix. All these videos revolve around Giving Hearts Day, but to an outsider, the variety of organizations involved makes it difficult to figure out exactly what they’re focused on.

What is Giving Hearts Day?

First held in 2008, Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour online fundraising charity event. This charitable giving day is hosted by Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF), Impact Foundation and the Alex Stern Family Foundation. Together, these organizations offer resources that equip nonprofits to accomplish their missions, specifically by teaching them how to perfect the art of fundraising. Throughout the year, charities involved are provided the necessary tools to learn how to raise funds with more impact. Each year, their skills then get put to use on Giving Hearts Day. Over the course of 11 years, more than 28,000 givers have donated on this day, raising more than $54 million for over 400 regional charities.

According to Impact Institute Director Scott Holdman, Giving Hearts Day was originally designed as an experiment to study an emerging trend. This trend saw people honoring their loved ones by supporting a charity instead of buying them presents. Jeana Peinovich, the Initiative Director of DMF‘s Lend A Hand Up program, came up with the idea to hold the event around Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is famously dedicated to spreading love, whether that be to a special romantic partner or even valuable friendships. And what better way to spread love than to donate to a worthy cause?

Giving Hearts Day

Though it began as a pilot for just a handful of medical-related charities, Giving Hearts Day has turned into a booming success for all sorts of charities, large and small. By nature, DMF is dedicated to building the fundraising successes of health-related nonprofits. When this pilot program exceeded expectations and gained momentum in the community, DMF began to receive interest from non-medical related charities who wanted to get involved as well. In the desire to help even more organizations, DMF partnered with the Alex Stern Family Foundation to form Impact Foundation. Together, these groups provide resources to any organization that is interested in taking part.

While the actual fundraiser takes place on February 14, Giving Hearts Day is much more than just a 24-hour donation drive. Holdman said, “It’s about way more than just getting contributions. This is about creating community and paving the path forward.” Every organization that participates in Giving Hearts Day goes through a set of trainings together, planting seeds beyond the day itself. Organizations benefit year round with one-on-one coaching provided by Impact, their team available to answer questions and facilitate connections with like-minded people and organizations. There’s even a private Facebook group where hundreds of organizations from across the region can join together to ask and answer questions. Those involved get an arsenal of training products and assets, all thanks to being part of the Giving Hearts Day network.

Giving Hearts Day

“There’s a lot of fun energy around this day that allows people to experiment and figure out what works for them,” said Holdman. He said this day provides a time for these organizations to try something new and branch out. If those techniques go well, they can implement them year-round. If an organization has never done a social media campaign, this is a great time to try one. Or if they’ve never raised a major gift, this is when they have a reason to ask for one. The day can kick off a mission of trying out a new tagline or campaign and really get creative with how to apply the tools they learned from DMF‘s training.

While the charities involved in Giving Hearts Day benefit from it the most, the act of donating is an incredibly powerful experience. Holdman shared, “Getting involved with your community, getting connected to a cause and making a contribution are things that we all need to thrive and to benefit our psychological well-being.” With Giving Hearts Day, there is an opportunity to do just that. We need a place to make a contribution to so we can know the feeling of making a difference. “There’s a reason why philanthropy exists: we all need a cause bigger than ourselves and a purpose,” said Holdman.

“We are built to join the community. But what you have to do in modern life is navigate the options,” said Holdman. For all donors, Holdman offers this piece of advice: use your “no” to empower your “yes.” You don’t need to fix the whole world, but you do need to embrace your “yes” by finding something to plug into and by finding a community.

Now that you’re in the know, the next time you’re browsing through YouTube, consider checking out anything related to “Giving Hearts Day.” You’ll find heartfelt thank-you’s in reaction to past successful Giving Hearts Days mixed in with excited promotional videos educating viewers on individual causes.

As part of their community engagement, Giving Hearts Day also uses the hashtag #CountMe across other social media platforms. See who is supporting what organization and join in on sharing about this special day. With potential for match donations, it’s a perfect day to get started on a path of generous giving and inspire others to do the same.

With Giving Hearts Day approaching, join the movement and find your own tribe. In preparation for the day, you can research organizations involved at or to see which causes resonate most with you. Join thousands of people in one of the most generous regions of the nation as they rally to support 450 organizations who will make a positive impact on the community throughout 2019.

Get involved on February 14 at!

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Written by Alexandra Martin

Alexandra Martin is the editor of Fargo Monthly. She hails from Huntsville, Alabama, but graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with a degree in Fashion Communications. When she's not in the office, she is busy taking care of her small zoo of pets, cooking up vegetables, or listening to true-crime podcasts.

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