Nonprofits are gearing up for Georgia Gives Day on Wednesday -24 hours of coordinated online giving supporting the state’s charities. Organizers are looking for more donors and more money this year after an inaugural effort in 2012 raised $782,000.
“We live our lives in nonprofits. You may not realize that,” said Karen Beavor, CEO of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, which runs Georgia Gives Day. “You could literally be born in a nonprofit hospital, adopt your dog at a humane society...your kids could be in a soccer league supported by a nonprofit booster club.
“We want to celebrate the work and worth of nonprofits and bring more awareness to how they impact all of our daily lives,” she said.
One of the more than 1,700 organizations capitalizing on the statewide giving push is Heritage Academy in Augusta, an urban Christian school for low and moderate-income kids that fundraises 80 percent of its budget.
“We are always interested in reaching more people with the message about what we do for the students here in Heritage,” said Executive Director Linda Tucciarone. “You know, we’re one of the top 5 percent of schools like us in the nation. We’re not in Atlanta; we’re in Augusta, so that sometimes makes the message difficult to get out to the rest of the state. That’s why we love this opportunity through Georgia Gives Day.”
The school raised $15,000 during last year’s campaign, which was in December. Organizers moved it up this year, hoping to catch people earlier in the holiday season and boost giving to more than $1 million overall.
“The way the holiday giving period goes, [the earlier Georgia Gives Day] also provides a long tail for folks to do that end-of-the-year giving on [GAGivesDay.org], even after the day, if they desire,” Beavor said.
Similar giving days in other states have generated millions in donations. Beavor said Georgia Gives Day is still gaining traction with donors and has a lot of room to grow.
Beavor and her team will use contests and incentives to try to boost that growth. They will occasionally draw a “golden ticket” and add $1,000 to random gifts throughout the day. They will give bonuses to the organization with the most donations in a specific hour of the day.
Muscogee, Baldwin and Bibb counties, plus a group of coastal counties (Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn and McIntosh), also each have special incentives just for local organizations.
Augusta’s Heritage Academy will encourage donors to provide a day’s worth of education or buy a set of books for the language arts program.
“Georgia Gives Day is this really giant impact, on a single day, to recognize throughout the state how generous people are,” Tucciarone said. “I think particularly young people like to be part of things like that.”