Good Giving On-Line in the Bluegrass
A different kind of on-line fund raising campaign leading up to the holidays could generate more than financial gains for nearly 60 central Kentucky charities. Called the “Good Giving Guide Challenge,” It uses the internet to attract young people. When browsing the internet, if you click on good-giving-guide-dot-net you’ll find a list of non-profit organizations participating in the “Good Giving Guide Challenge.” Among them is the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center. Executive Director Marcey Ansley hopes the on-line campaign will help her reach former students and their families who no longer live in Lexington.
“It’s definitely an area that we would like to increase because as our families are moving away or have extended families outside the area we’re seeing more through on line giving but I think this whole initiative might help to transfer some of that over to our on line givers as well,” said Ansley.
Ansley says the hearing and speech center offers audiology services and speech therapy to pre-schoolers and on up. Ansley adds the Challenge fits right into their mission.
“It was another way to get out mission and our message out about who we are as an organization and if it can reach one other family or two other families to know that we’re here, that is critical,” said Ansley.
The “Good Giving Guide Challenge” is sponsored by the Bluegrass Community Foundation. It works with central Kentucky charities, providing them with expertise. Traditional fundraising campaigns work well with older donors, but Foundation C-E-O Lisa Adkins this campaign targets younger people.
“This is also an effort to reach out to younger donors…who may be looking more for information and charitable giving opportunities on line, and we think it’s working,” said Adkins.
A 2007 report by the Center on Philanthropy concluded nearly two-thirds of young people prefer the speed and convenience of on-line giving. The same study also reports young adults are less likely to contribute than middle-aged and elderly Americans.
Besides taking the donation process online, Adkins says the Challenge also provides donors with specific information on participating charities. Each agency must complete a questionnaire and is vetted before it joins the campaign.
“We want to make giving assessable, simple, effective and fun.. and we think activities like the Good Giving Guide Challenge that have great incentives for non profits but really fun incentives for donors..it’s easy….it’s quick…is a great way to do that,” added Adkins.
The campaign also stages competitions. For instance, agencies can earn a bonus by attracting more donors than other non-profits.
Through the website, donors and non-profits also track contributions. The Community Foundation President says security and privacy of on-line credit card donations is assured. Adkins adds donors may also contribute anonymously. Otherwise, donor information is shared only with the organization that benefits.
“When a large number of contributors contribute..when the whole community gets involved…a big impact can be made…from lots of small gifts…and I think ..that’s another thing that we’re really excited about.. and encouraging the community to participate in, for that reason,” explained Adkins.
The Challenge also has a more traditional component. Using old fashioned paper and ink, some 55 thousand pamphlets have been printed and distributed. They also contain information about the participating non-profits.
Among them is Natasha’s Bistro and Bar, which sponsors charity events and the Balagula Theater. By providing information to people before they donate, owner Natasha Williams contributors can feel better about how their money will be spent..
“Profiling of the non profits which makes them extremely transparent…and transparency in non profits is one thing that is very important to have…and the public doesn’t always know how to keep us accountable,” said Williams.
The Bluegrass Community Foundation reports donations have come in from some 26 different states. Organizers were well over half the way toward a goal of 100 thousand dollars. The minimum gift is ten dollars, but, one of the bigger donations was a thousand dollars. There are already plans to stage a second Good Giving Challenge in 2012.
“Profiling of the non profits which makes them extremely transparent…and transparency in non profits is one thing that is very important to have…and the public doesn’t always know how to keep us accountable.”