Ready For Giving

Guest Correspondence

BY ROXIE JERDE SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY SEP 3, 2016

In just over two weeks, our community will once again rally to support one of the biggest days of giving in the entire Southeastern United States. Over the last few months, more than 550 local nonprofit organizations have been ramping up their fundraising efforts for the 2016 24-Hour Giving Challenge, happening on September 20 and 21, noon to noon.

Since 2012, donors from throughout our region and beyond have shown their love and generosity for local nonprofit organizations by providing more than $15 million in unrestricted funding to support their missions. Last year’s event set a new standard for generosity in our community, when more than $7 million was raised in just 24 hours to benefit 449 nonprofits in our region.

I am often asked what the story is behind the Giving Challenge, and there are a number of answers.

The Importance of Nonprofit Transparency

Primarily, the Giving Challenge is all about raising awareness about the importance of informed giving and transparency, as well as promoting the great organizations that are doing impactful work right in our own back yard. In 2011, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County sought to raise every person’s power of choice in philanthropy. Through a collaboration of local foundation partners, The Giving Partner (www.TheGivingPartner.org) was created as a free, local source for in-depth information on local nonprofits’ programs and impact, leadership, needs and financial history available to everyone in the community, 365 days of the year. A commitment to transparency by having an up-to-date profile in The Giving Partner is the only qualification for participating in the Giving Challenge.

Unrestricted Funding is Hard to Come By

One of the best aspects of the Giving Challenge is that all the donations are invested back into our community. It offers an avenue for local nonprofits to raise unrestricted funds. Ask any fundraising professional and they’ll tell you that unrestricted funds are hard to come by, but vital for nonprofits to operate. Often, grants from government entities and foundations are tied into specific programs and large donors also tend to fund specific projects or outcomes over operational costs. The Giving Challenge allows organizations to unashamedly appeal for these unrestricted funds to cover their operations, and perhaps open up possibilities for them to expand an existing program or test a project they’ve had in the planning books.

Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist

We believe everyone has the potential to impact another person, a cause, a community, and Giving Days have become a big driving force in democratizing philanthropy.  With a minimum donation amount of $25, anyone can be the one to make a difference during the Giving Challenge. Even more exciting, The Patterson Foundation is offering a 2:1 match for new donors and a 1:1 match for returning donors, each up to $100 per organization, so you know your gift is going even further. The incentive also helps nonprofits develop relationships with a demographic of donors they may not have necessarily gotten in front of without the Challenge.

By investing dollars back into our community through local nonprofits, those who contribute during the 2016 Giving Challenge add another vote of confidence for the impact that our local organizations are achieving, as well as reinforce our region’s reputation as the philanthropic capital of the Southeast.  We hope you take a moment or two out of those 24-hours to be the one to make a difference. You can learn more at www.GivingPartnerChallenge.org.

The 2016 Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. 

Roxie Jerde is president of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

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