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Giving Challenge Q & A From the Community

February 20, 2013

When you speak to different audiences, the perspectives and questions you hear are invaluable.

We enjoyed visiting with nonprofit friends from G.WIZ, the South Florida Museum, Manatee Players and Community Haven at the BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton meeting last week.

It was also nice to meet some well-connected people who were not familiar with The Giving Partner or the 36-Hour Giving Challenge.

What were their questions? Here are three thoughts especially relevant to all of us as we prepare for March 5 & 6:

  1. Q.With some donors and funders offering “big” dollars to match online gifts made during the Challenge, how do I know my $25 donation means something?
    A.  One of the most common reasons people do not give is because they believe their gift will not make a difference. It’s the job of each nonprofit to convey how important every dollar is to its mission. Through GuideStar, we provided a platform for this, The Giving Partner. Hopefully, your favorite nonprofits have written statements in their Giving Partner profiles to reflect how meaningful every gift is to their overall mission.
  2. Q. Is the Challenge “ fair” for all of the participating nonprofits?
    A. The Giving Challenge is…well, a Challenge.  We are offering a platform through technology partner Kimbia where each participating organization can encourage its supporters to get up early, give, and share with others.  Nonprofits can mobilize based on their own resources and strategies. Our goal isn’t to cut equal checks for each participating organization, but to encourage giving on all levels, to whatever organizations donors are most passionate about. It’s up to the nonprofit organizations to make the most of it.
  3. Q. Have we thought about offering donors something—like free passes to museums or attractions—if they give during the Challenge?
    Although this sounds like a great idea, IRS regulations do not permit donors to receive goods, services, discounts, etc. in exchange for tax-deductible donations.

All of these questions were excellent, demonstrating how important it is for us to be resolute and consistent in our communications.

If I was a board or staff member at a local organization, I would hold fast to Question 1 and tackle it with all my might.

Whether your donors are giving $25 or $2,500, start communicating with your donors as soon as you know they contributed.  Make them feel amazing about their choice to give to you. Encourage them to share it with others. And tell them how much their gift will do to advance your mission.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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