By Eric Banford
From midnight to midnight on Wednesday, May 4, Tompkins County will hold its second annual “Giving Is Gorges” event, a countywide day of philanthropy. The 24-hour online challenge celebrates local nonprofits and affirms our community’s culture of giving. More than 80 area nonprofits have signed up for the event, with time for more to join.
“This year we have some new not-for-profits participating, as well as different partners putting it together,” says George Ferrari, a Giving Is Gorges committee member and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County. “Organizations can sign up until the day before the event,” he says.
Any local nonprofits that wish to participate can visit the GiveGab website (givegab.com) to register. Community partners organizing and promoting the event include the Community Foundation of Tompkins County (CFTC), the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, Well Said Media, Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) and the Society for Human Resource Management of Tompkins County.
“This event really does reflect how organizations work together in our community in a collaborative way,” Ferrari says. “It’s a way for people in our community who are charitably oriented to learn more about the variety of organizations. Participants might want to make a gift to an organization they know, and then look at that long list and pick an organization for which they are making a first time gift.”
During the day of giving, the Giving Is Gorges website can be monitored to see how the donation amounts rise and the number of donors contributing, according to Ferrari. “There’ll be prizes along the way, some of them will be surprises as well, that support the organizations,” he says.
The event will again be hosted by GiveGab, a local organization that does volunteering and donation management for not-for-profits.
“We’re really fortunate to have a local provider of the donation platform, all of the software, all of the logistics,” says Ferrari.
GiveGab’s founder Charlie Mulligan has been working with CFTC since his company started in 2013. “Last year went great, people had fun and non-profits were really excited,” he says. “We actually had people from local non-profits coming in and hugging us and crying because they had never raised money online before.
“There’s so many great things about Ithaca that I don’t think people realize, and one is that there is a disproportionate amount of non-profits that do great work and are really well run,” Mulligan adds. “We’ve been around the country and it’s unusual to have so many in one place.”
The more nonprofits that get involved, the better each one does, since it creates a sense of excitement for everyone, continues Mulligan. “I would challenge local organizations to go to givingisgorges.org and sign up to take part in the day. This gets all of the nonprofits to work together on one day, which is a pretty neat thing. It’s a helpful thing even past the Day of Giving where hopefully synergies can be formed and people can find ways to work together,” he says.
GiveGab is upping the ante this year by donating an extra $100 to each organization that raises over $1000. “Not everyone can win the leader boards, and anyone who’s going to put that kind of effort in should win something, so that’s one way that we’re trying to give back,” says Mulligan.
“Last year we were very excited to see how engaged the community got, the number of organizations involved and the diversity of causes that were able to use the Giving Is Gorges Day as a platform to seek more support and community involvement in their cause,” says Jennifer Tavares, President and CEO of Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to step up this year to be a supporting partner in the event.”
Tavares watched the leader board last year as she directed donations to various organizations, and was impressed to see so many groups meeting or exceeding their goals. “It was fantastic seeing that level of participation, and it was really fun. People are asked for money and for support all year long, the interesting thing about a day like this is getting everyone’s attention all at once and for them to be able to look through the menu of options that are important to them and spread their donations around to causes that speak to them,” she says.
For organizations that would like to sign up, there is a workshop on Thursday, April 28, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at CFTC, 200 E. Buffalo St. Suite 202. You can also register on the website.
Visit www.givingisgorges.org for more information, or visit facebook.com/GivingIsGorges. You can also follow the event on Twitter at @GivingIsGorges.
By Eric Banford