Giving Tuesday Inspires Development Push



Nonprofits along the Gulf Coast hope people will open their wallets for the kind of gifts that don’t go under a Christmas Tree. Giving Tuesday provides a moment to share the time and treasure in a collective way, and a number of local organizations hope to utilize the last—but most philanthropic—of the post-Thanksgiving spending days.

“It gives us a moment to reflect on how much our community can embrace and reflect the generosity we are known for,” says Murray Devine, communications manager for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “This day let’s our community truly give as good as it gets.”  The Community Foundation will mark the day by matching contributions to $100,000 worth of contributions made through the Season of Sharing campaign. 

Giving Tuesday launched in 2012 in New York as an effort of the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Fund, and has since grown into an international movement reminding consumers not to forget about charitable giving at the same time they direct cash at retail operations on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday. Blackbloud, a software company tracking online charitable transactions, estimated more than $47.7 million was donated through online giving on Giving Tuesday last year, benefitting more than 6,700 organizations worldwide. 

The event serves as a great way for foundations and charities everywhere to appeal to philanthropists. "At a time when Americans have been thinking about what they’re thankful for and our attention is being drawn toward the commercial elements of the season, this is a day to remember and act on a tradition of giving in our culture," notes Greg Luberecki, director of communications for the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. "Here at Gulf Coast, we work with donors all year round and encourage thoughtful giving when the time is right for the donor. But for a variety of reasons, many people make the bulk of their charitable donations in the month of December, and a lot of charities rely on those year-end gifts."

And, of course, organizations big and small will aim to raise funds today. Art Center Sarasota has a more modest $500 goal set up this year, the first time it has ever held a campaign on Giving Tuesday. Kara Morgan, development director for Art Center Sarasota, says the day gives a fun way of engaging donors, and it comes at the most vital time of year when it comes to fundraising. “As with many organizations, we receive about 75 percent of donations during the end-of-year giving period,” Morgan says. That’s partially because of tax preparation, but also just because “it’s a charitable time of year,” she says. The money raised by the center will help fund more exhibitions and programs at the Sarasota venue. 

And Michelle Williams, marketing director for The Haven, says the generosity on this day also helps reflect to the rest of the world how much this community cares for the causes it supports. “It’s important for seeing how importantly a community values children, especially children with disabilities,” she says. At Haven, money will be used for scholarships to go to the parents of children with disabilities, guaranteeing the youngsters' special needs will be addressed at Haven’s preschool facilities, and for job readiness training at the Sarasota area campus. Williams would love to see enough money raised so handicap ramps can also be installed and equipment refurbished or replaced at the playground sites.

Plenty of other organizations promoted drives. Selah Freedom announced that between today and the end of the year an anonymous donor will match donations to that group. Cat Depot promoted today as a chance to fund a program for rescuing homeless cats and kittens. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium appealed for direct donations in its Thanksgiving e-newsletter.

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