Louisville’s Biggest Day of Giving

By Thomas Pack

Originally planned as a one-time event, the Community Foundation of Louisville’s day of online giving is now in its fourth year.

Ready to make a difference in our community?

From midnight to midnight on Thursday, September 14, Give For Good Louisville 2017 lets you donate to your favorite local charities — and discover new ones — at giveforgoodlouisville.org.

Hosted by the Community Foundation of Louisville, the event is “a great day to come together as a community and support all nonprofits,” said Nancy Parker, Director of Partner Relations at the Lighthouse Academy at Newburg, an organization that gives young people a safe place to learn through educational, spiritual and economic programs.

“There isn’t an easier or faster way to donate than on this one day — and to donate to a variety of organizations all in one place and at one time,” Parker said. “It makes everyone a philanthropist, including my own kids and their friends who are college students and wouldn’t normally be a donor. Basically, giving is in the air and spreads throughout the city. And the minimum $10 gift doesn’t hurt either, [especially] for the younger donors.”

Known for the past three years as Give Local Louisville, the event has raised significantly more money every time it’s been held. Last year, about 600 organizations raised $4.3 million in 24 hours.

This year, there are several enhancements to Give For Good Louisville beyond just a name change, including new behind-the-scenes technology that offers many benefits to both nonprofits and donors. But one thing hasn’t changed: It’s one of the best opportunities for our Compassionate City to demonstrate citywide compassion.

It’s a day for not only supporting charities but also “recognizing the important work that people do as volunteers and staff to help nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions,” said Cara Baribeau, the Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “I think Louisville pauses on this day and thinks about all the ways these nonprofits help enrich our community.”

In 2016, about 600 organizations raised $4.3 million in 24 hours.

A Unique Opportunity for Local Organizations

“Give For Good Louisville allows a very small nonprofit such as ours a unique opportunity to raise needed donations alongside much larger nonprofits,” said Belinda Jacobi, President of the Moving Forward Limb Loss Support Group, which has been involved with Louisville’s day of online giving since 2015.

Jacobi pointed out that the Community Foundation of Louisville provides “advertisement, training, promotional tools and the means for collecting these donations. A small organization such as ours would never have the capability to raise funds this way on our own. Give For Good Louisville allows us to receive more donations in a 24-hour period than we would be able to raise all year. Without the pressure of the need for constant fundraising, we can dedicate more time to our mission, which is to reach out to those with limb loss in our community, providing them with emotional support, information and the resources they need.”

“Another benefit,” she added, “is the opportunities Give For Good Louisville gives us to connect with other nonprofits. Many times we find that we can work together on projects to better serve our community.”

Baribeau said the Community Foundation of Louisville decided to host the first day of online giving in 2014 when the 30th anniversary of the organization coincided with the 100th anniversary of the formation of community foundations nationally.

“We thought we would do it as a one-time thing as a way to celebrate community foundations,” she said, “but in that first year, 180 organizations participated and we raised $1.9 million. So we were like, ‘Huh — there must be something to this.’”

The first Give Local Louisville was a success despite being held during the first week of May, which was a good week for the rest of the country but, of course, not an ideal time to hold the event in Derby-obsessed Louisville. So the second Give Local Louisville was held October 1, 2015. About 300 hundred organizations participated and raised $3 million, which proved the event was something that “our community and our community’s compassionate spirit really rallies behind,” Baribeau said. “I think people look at it as a way to show their love, to say thank you to the nonprofits that do so much for our community.”

You can show your love to more than 500 organizations this year, and, of course, the foundation hopes to raise more money than ever, but Baribeau said they don’t set a specific fundraising target.

“We always want to do better than the year before,” she said, “beyond that we don’t really set a goal, we just like to challenge the community to dig deep, be generous and recognize the work of the nonprofits.”

She explained that the foundation changed the name of the event this year because “we spent some time thinking about why the first three years were so successful — what was behind it — and we realized it’s really the spirit of people wanting to be a part of this force for good. Whether you’re giving ten dollars, a hundred dollars or ten thousand dollars, anybody can be that force, so that’s the spirit behind the name Give For Good Louisville.”

Making a Significant Difference

I think Louisville pauses on this day and thinks about all the ways these nonprofits help enrich our community.”
— Cara Baribeau
Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Jacobi said the Moving Forward Limb Loss Support Group used the money it received last year to provide 15 scholarships for amputees to attend the 2017 Amputee Coalition National Conference that was held in Louisville recently. “While there, they received gait and mobility training, attended informational sessions, met other amputees from around the world and danced the night away at the Grand Gala,” Jacobi said.

The Lighthouse Academy at Newburg used last year’s donations to fund Out of School Time Programs for kindergarten through eighth grade students, according to Parker. This year the organization “has the opportunity from funders who like to participate with us as matches for the one day of giving. We have two matches, both of them from anonymous donors — one for $10,000 [from someone] who has supported Lighthouse each year of participation, and a new match this year for $5,000. These are side-by-side matches, so for every $1 donated, we will raise $3. Clearly, this day means the opportunity to raise at least $30,000 for our center — in one day! How crazy is that?”

In one day last year, Twisted Pink, an organization that that funds metastatic breast cancer research, raised more than $11,500. This year, they hope to raise $50,000.

“We hope we can hire our first paid staff this year, allowing us to grow our fundraising efforts and increase the amount of funding to research,” said Twisted Pink founder Caroline Johnson. “One hundred percent of our net profits are directed to metastatic breast cancer research locally, and this year we funded our first National Research Grant.”

Johnson added that Give For Good Louisville “helps us showcase our mission and tell the stories of stage IV breast cancer patients. These are the stories that are often forgotten because everyone wants to see a survivor. The reality is that breast cancer takes 40,000 vibrant lives each year in the U.S. 155,000 people live with metastatic breast cancer and the median survival rate for a stage IV patient is two to three years. It is estimated that 10 percent of research funding is directed to metastatic breast cancer, and this is not enough.”

Another local nonprofit, Anchal Project, which fights the exploitation of women worldwide by creating employment op-portunities, services and products that support empowerment, used the funds it raised last year to sponsor an artisan in the organization’s holistic program for three months.

“This year we hope to double the funds raised in order to purchase supplies for and sponsor the part-time employment of women participating in our dyeScape program in Louisville,” said Natalie Hugon, Anchal’s Marketing and Public Relations Director. DyeScape is a network of small gardens supporting the cultivation of dye plants for natural textile production.

[Give For Good Louisville] helps us showcase our mission and tell the stories of stage IV breast cancer patients.”
— Caroline Johnson
Twisted Pink founder

“There is something special about knowing that your donation is making visible and significant difference in your community,” Hugon said. “We feel very fortunate to live in such a compassionate city as Louisville and be able to participate in this incredible day of giving. Not only does Give For Good Louisville help raise awareness of important issues and organizations in our city, but it helps build long-term support from local people and businesses that want to impact social change.”

What’s new this year?

All participating nonprofits will get a boost this year from a new technology platform called GiveGab. “We needed to build for the future of this program,” Baribeau said. “With the volume of nonprofits and the volume of donations, we really wanted to have a best-in-class platform to support our community’s generosity. With GiveGab there are lots of new features and benefits we’re able to offer to nonprofits and donors alike, including peer-to-peer fundraising. If you are an avid supporter of a particular organization on the giving day, you can run your own little campaign and say, ‘I’m trying to raise a certain amount of money for this particular organization.’ There are tools and functionality that let you publish on your own social media, and people who donate through you will help you reach your goal.

“We also have a new feature for organizations that secure their own match dollars. The organizations have the ability to promote those matches on the page and give recognition to generous donors who make the match possible. There are several other enhancements too, including really quick turnaround for online donations so they’re sent right to the bank accounts of participating nonprofits, and the overall user experience is just better this year.”

Baribeau noted that Give For Good Louisville is an all-hands-on-deck event for the Community Foundation. “We work for months to prepare to host this giving day,” she said. “We have a war room set up, and we’ve got staff working on social media throughout the day, both here on location and out and around the community. There are more than 20 different events that nonprofits are hosting in the community, and we’ve got a nonprofit rally at Fourth Street Live from 11:30 to 1:00, where we have more than 200 organizations with tables as well as on-stage performances from the performance-oriented nonprofits — so it really is a day full of energy and excitement.”

This year, Anchal hopes to use funding from Give for Give Louisville to purchase supplies and sponsor part-time employment for women participating in their dyeScape program, a network of small gardens that support the cultivation of dye plants for natural textile production.

The foundation also helps energize the event by using a Bonus and Prize Pool to provide extra awards to the nonprofits throughout the day.

The Lighthouse Academy at Newburg is an organization that gives young people a safe place to learn through educational, spiritual and economic programs.

“This year we have a Bonus and Prize Pool of more than $290,000 worth of cash prizes that they can strive for,” Baribeau said. “Some of the awards are based on reaching certain numbers of donors, and we also have 30 Golden Tickets courtesy of Delta Dental, which means that once an hour for 24 hours — and then six additional times during the nonprofit rally — random donations will be selected to get a $1,000 boost, so somebody could make a $10 donation that all of a sudden becomes $1,010.

Through their Making Smiles Happen campaign, Delta Dental sponsors 30 Golden Tickets, which means that random donations will be selected to get a $1,000 boost.

“This year we also are able to double the amount of strategic prizes we award. They’re based on defined criteria for certain challenges throughout the day, whether it’s a donation above a certain amount or having the most donors during a particular period. We have ten different criteria for the nonprofits, and they have fun strategizing. Maybe they’ll plan something like, ‘We’re going to have all of our donors give between two and four in the morning to try to win a particular prize.’ We also offer grand prizes for first through fifth places for Most Dollars Raised and Most Unique Donations, and we do those for small, medium and large nonprofits so the little guys aren’t competing against the big guys.”

Parker at the Lighthouse Academy said the prizes add to the excitement “as funding grows higher and higher. We are blessed by all the publicity the Community Foundation of Louisville is able to generate for this day and also blessed by the sponsors. I can’t explain the level of amazement as I look at the donor Excel sheet and watch the gifts come in as the day progresses.”

You can follow the progress by following the Community Foundation of Louisville on social media (@cflouisville on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat), and you can check out the leaderboard at giveforgoodlouisville.org. VT