Blog: Time to join step with the Give! Campaign

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With our national day of Thanksgiving just hours away, it’s hard not to think of food, family and football. That’s always been the recipe for fun at our house on turkey day — with a big side dish of friends mixed in.

The holiday season hopefully brings out the best in all of us, as it’s also a time to think of our fellow man and extend a helping hand. That’s certainly the intent of the long-running Give! Campaign, which will benefit 75 local nonprofit organizations.

The Give! Campaign — which is the philanthropic arm of Colorado Publishing House, owner of the Colorado Springs Business Journal — has raised $8.1 million since it started in 2009 under the moniker of Indy Give!

This year’s goal is to beat last year’s total of $1.39 million in donations, which benefited 72 local nonprofits.

“Part of our mission is to raise awareness of some of the smaller or lesser-known nonprofits in our area,” said Give! Campaign Executive Director Barb Van Hoy. “We run the gamut from large nonprofit organizations to small ones and all of them can use the help.

“The Give! Campaign creates connections and support between people and businesses and our nonprofits and helps make our community better. Everyone wants to make a difference, and this is a way to do that.”

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Van Hoy said even a $10 donation can make a difference.

“Every little bit helps,” she said. “We raise some money in large gifts but we raise a lot of money in small gifts. You can give to several nonprofits or you can specify which particular nonprofit you want to donate to; it’s important to know that 100 percent of each donation goes to the nonprofits.”

Nonprofits have to apply to be part of the Give! Campaign, Van Hoy said, and there is about a 20 percent turnover in the organizations picked each year to be part of the program.

Van Hoy said an educational component is also part of the benefit.

“We do workshops that train them about fundraising and teach them how to ask for donations,” Van Hoy said. “We bring in local experts to help train their staff and their volunteers.”

There is also a matching program, where businesses or individuals may offer to match contributions up to a level of their choice. Each nonprofit is expected to recruit at least one matching grant.

“People are motivated by matches, knowing that their $50 is really $100 if it’s matched,” Van Hoy said.

There is also a Young Donor Challenge, where 12 groups will split a prize of $10,000, their takeaway determined by which groups attract the highest number of donors between the ages of 18 and 36. First prize is $4,000.

“The idea is to help build a foundation of future donors to nonprofits and get them in the habit of giving,” Van Hoy said.

And the more you give, the more you get. There is a rewards program, with free goods and services offered at local businesses, with the number of prizes based on the donor’s level of giving.

“The purpose is to make it fun and engaging,” Van Hoy said. “The rewards make it fun. The leaderboard [on the website] makes it fun, so you can watch your favorite nonprofit and see how the donations go up. The rewards are a bit of an incentive and a bit of a thank you.”

Sometime in the next 39 days, find a way to step up, dig deep and support at least one of the 75 local nonprofits in the Give! Campaign.

For more information, or to track donations for the nonprofits, go to indygive.com.