In 2020, Toronto’s iconic Glad Day Bookshop successfully turned adversity into opportunity by using the tools already in place from Progressive Nation.


No one saw it coming.

But when the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly forced lockdowns across the globe, Toronto’s iconic Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest 2SLGBTQ+ book store in the world, was uniquely positioned to rapidly pivot and begin a new chapter.

Their “secret” ingredient: the standard off-the-shelf tools already in place when your NationBuilder is powered by Progressive Nation.

It enabled Glad Day to literally be that agile.


Their initial NationBuilder setup

Flexible and quickly reconfigurable tools come standard with any Progressive Nation setup.

Not only does Progressive Nation implement their leading webpage theme, featuring its impactful presentation, easily-accessed subpages, and integrated donations functions, but their unique turbocharging of NationBuilder elevates it into the heart of an agile, integrated, accessible, and scalable digital platform.

When Glad Day first contacted Progressive Nation, their pre-2020 business plan had called for digital tools and a flexible platform that would enable them to fundraise and provide digital programming, and a website that would highlight their 50th anniversary, celebrate their past, and look to the future. They had already drawn up plans and begun to implement a strategy to diversify their offerings, evolve beyond being for-profit bricks-and-mortar book shop, and transform their website from a book sales portal into a fundraising and literary not-for-profit hub.

Glad Day had wanted a digital platform that would be adaptable and future-proof, but they hadn’t had an inkling of just how savvy their foresight had been.

While countless organizations throughout the world suddenly found themselves in a bind, Glad Day already had the tools in place to rapidly turn the page and begin a new chapter.

Rapid, flexible adaptation: Beginning a new chapter

Because social media interconnectivity was already baked into their NationBuilder engine, Glad Day began a social media marketing campaign using graphics to tell their story: that they were now pivoting to supporting artists in need from the community, launching a new Emergency Fund.

The integration enabled Glad Day to simultaneously communicate the same story on their website, outlining the problem, their position, how funds would be used, the team involved, timelines, and responsibilities.

Their message harnessed the power of transparency.

As donations began to come in, Glad Day conveyed their gratitude and the impact of those donations on social media as well as a new Making a Difference page on their website.

The photo gallery page provided by Progressive Nation as part of their standard package became a gallery documenting the impact of the campaign.

A donors page was created to highlight the generosity of those giving in that time of need. And as part of Glad Day’s pivot, Glad Day TV and Zoom Backgrounds were created to further engage their community.

Epilogue: in for a dollar, pivoting on a dime

The results are impressive -- especially considering just how quickly and thoroughly Glad Day pivoted.

More than $330,000 was raised in the twelve-month period during the worst of the global pandemic, including more than $3,000 in monthly recurring donations from a donor base that grew from scratch to approximately 150 regular contributors. Approximately 70% of the money raised has gone directly to 2SLGBTQ+ artists via grants, no-interest loans, and paid work. $13,000 was raised in one month alone for the creation of a special arts fund for transgender artists.

In comparison, before the pandemic, Glad Day had raised $18,700 during the 18 month period from August 2018 - March 2020. Thanks to the tools available and their successful pivot, Glad Day’s original goal of raising $100,000 was rapidly exceeded, resulting in their progression to a new goal of $500,000 for artists and performers in need.

So far, Glad Day’s rapid pivot has resulted in 900 grant payments to people in need, ensuring that a vibrant community retains its thriving arts scene -- who are now in for many dollars after pivoting on a dime.

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