Several months ago, leaders of local nonprofits came together in an effort to improve the culture of giving in Riverside and develop a way to build capacity in organizations whose mission relies heavily on the financial support of the community.
Although charitable giving is a battle that the Inland Southern California region has struggled with for several years, the severity of the situation was brought to the forefront upon the release of the first-ever community-wide Quality of Life Index. It showed that while the region has many dedicated and compassionate residents and business owners, some of the community’s lowest quality-of-life scores were in areas of volunteerism and philanthropy.
The recent national economic recession certainly did not help the situation, but nonprofit leaders Pam Hogan, Kid’s Rock Free, and Bobbie Neff, Community Connect, believed the problem was not in the community’s willingness or ability to donate, but that the greater issue was simply lack of awareness.
As Neff explained, “We wanted to help all of us in the non-profit sector realize that the way to raise funds has changed dramatically; the Internet and social media must be a major component in a nonprofit organization’s business plan in order to effectively build relationships and increase engagement and support.”
Several other nonprofits and The Community Foundation rallied around this notion and the concept of a one-day event in which Riverside supporters could donate funds on-line to one or several organizations of their choice was born.
A potential donor learns more about the
Family Services Association
at the 11.13.12 Give BIG Riverside event.
(photo courtesy GBR)
In the months leading up to the Give BIG Riverside event, groups received educational trainings and were given “toolkits” for their own individual campaigns. Resources such as email and flyer templates and how-to guides for setting up Give BIG landing pages helped participants refine their marketing messages.
This pre-campaign work was eye-opening to many of the nearly 100 non-profits participating in the event. According to executive director Gail Egenes, “Prepping for Give BIG Riverside had an added benefit for Riverside Land Conservancy. We had to re-shape our messages to be succinct yet inspiring for online and social media promotion. We learned a lot and feel better prepared to connect with younger generations who love our natural environment.”
The day following the event, Veronica Dover of Family Services Association (FSA) explained “I just got to spend an hour and half listening to our behind the scenes staff (administrative, HR and Accounting) share about how the Give BIG campaign gave them an opportunity to tell the FSA story and about the work we do and how much impact it has on the region. Regardless of the dollars raised, that connection to mission and passion for our services is invaluable.”
Volunteers worked around the clock to raise
money & awareness for their nonprofits.
(photo courtesy GBR)
Dover’s reaction seemed to be a common experience by the participating nonprofits. Drew Oberjuerge of the Riverside Art Museum also reported that they had met and exceeded their Give BIG Riverside goal, and that although they had been talking for some time about the need to do a social media campaign, the day of giving caused them to execute an online giving event and that the organization looks forward to building on its 2012 success.
The event itself raised $207,0450 from 1,953 unique donors who made 2,701 gifts. Aaron Norris, the social media and marketing wizard behind the inaugural day of giving and Vice President of The Norris Group (a presenting sponsor of the event), attributed this accomplishment to the unprecedented team effort.
“Riverside has spirit and pride – give us the opportunity to make a difference and we will. People were excited to participate and surprised by how much was happening in their community.”
In a Facebook post on the Give BIG Riverside fan page, Samantha Lynn Wilson of the Child Leader Project eloquently summarized the success:
“The goal was to empower, connect and inspire Riverside to give and care for each other– and, therefore, far surpassed the goal into an embodied vision.”
For more information on Give BIG Riverside and the sponsors that made the event possible and participating nonprofit organizations, visit www.GiveBIGRiverside.com or follow the efforts on Facebook or Twitter.