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Running your First Giving Day with Cattaraugus Gives

Posted by Karin Edsall on Apr 13, 2020 10:22:00 AM

Giving & Gabbing is GiveGab’s official podcast, featuring interviews with our philanthropic partners that highlight their unique digital fundraising and engagement stories. By offering this podcast, we strive to educate and inspire fundraising professionals from across the country – and perhaps even provide [a small morsel of] entertainment.

In our April episode of Giving & Gabbing, we spoke with Kirk Windus, the Communications and Fund Development Manager for the Cattaraugus Community Foundation. His organization hosts Cattaraugus Gives, a Giving Day in western New York that raised $110,996 in its first year.

Have you been considering hosting your very first Giving Day? The thought can seem overwhelming and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, and the impact it will make on your community is limitless! We talked to Kirk about all that went into running the Community Foundation’s first Giving Day and the strategies put in place to make it a success.

Read the interview transcript. 

Here are some key points and tips from our discussion:

Take the Plunge 

It may seem daunting, and you may not have everything figured out, but jump in! You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish as well as the generosity of your community.

Recognize Your Year 1 Capacity 

It may take a couple of years to incorporate all the great ideas you have for your Giving Day. Keep that in mind for your first year. Do what your organization has the capacity to take on, and don’t stress about more intensive strategies that you can employ in the following years.

Have a Great Technology Partner 

You need a tech partner that has got your back and wants to do everything in their power to help you succeed. Kirk was very kind in giving a shoutout to our team here at GiveGab by saying, “GiveGab has been a fantastic partner for us. Without the support we get from our partner, there is no way we could be able to execute this.”

Be Adaptive

It’s impossible to predict all that comes up around your Giving Day. Go into this experience with a flexible, adaptive attitude so you can face any unforeseen challenges that arise. And remember, as your tech partner, we’ll be right there with you to help you handle it all!

Pursue Sponsorship Opportunities 

Having sponsorships is beneficial for multiple reasons. Financial contributions and provided services are incredibly helpful for your promotional efforts as well as whatever prize pool you are creating. A nice side benefit to this is that those sponsors can share your event on their social media and within their network.

A creative idea of partners at 401Gives had was to request video content from their sponsors where they shared why supporting their Giving Day was so important to them. Get creative!

Show Support Of Your Nonprofits

Kirk does a lot of 1:1 contacting. He says this opens the door to talk about strategy early on and lets the organizations know that you’re really there to support them. It also makes administrators realize how invested you are in their organization and their success, which in turn inspires them also to be more invested in their Giving Day campaign.

Be empowered to share tips and strategies around peer-to-peer fundraising, email engagement, etc. in weekly newsletters.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Prizes 

Prizes not only provide opportunities for nonprofits to drastically increase their fundraising efforts during the Giving Day. They also really encourage nonprofits to work harder and be more focused on fundraising throughout the day. Hourly prizes and minute matches help administrators reach out to their supporters for a very clear ask and increase hype around the event.

Be Transparent with Your Ask 

Right now, we’re all experiencing the hardship that COVID-19 presents. Nonprofits are having an especially hard time right now, and they need help financially to get through these unprecedented times. Encourage administrators to be direct with supporters about what their organization needs to survive and give them ways in which they can support their nonprofit. Recognize that everyone is in a rough financial situation right now, so provide other ways that individuals can help.

This could include sharing your posts and campaign on social media. Also, individuals could be peer-to-peer fundraisers so that they can call on their network to collectively give donations to support your organization. We’re all in this together, and transparency helps donors understand your needs and take action.

Create Video Content 

Getting good video content from your organizations equips your team with content to share on social media leading up to the day and during the Giving Day. Also, consider getting video content from your sponsors on why they support your Giving Day. Video content is super engaging and utilizing that can increase engagement online.

 

 

Kirk couldn’t emphasize one thing enough – to not be daunted by the process.

Don’t be too overwhelmed; you can really make it happen. It’s just a matter of investment and dedication. If I can do it, anyone can make it happen.”

With that, we encourage organizations out there who are considering running their first Giving Day to take the leap! It can do wonders for your community, and we’re here to help! Also, for any senior Giving Days out there, if you have suggestions or words of wisdom, please comment below.

Additional episodes include topics such as nonprofit communication and marketing strategies, as well as an interview with the Tompkins County SPCA. Giving & Gabbing is now available on popular podcast streaming sites such as Spotify and Google Podcasts. Start listening by clicking on the link below!

Giving & Gabbing Podcast


Interview Transcript

Karin: Today we’re joined by Kirk Windus who is the Communications and Fund Development Manager for the Cattaraugus Community Foundation. Kirk is actually our partner at the Community Foundation for Cattaraugus Gives which is a Giving Day in western New York. Kirk, would you like to introduce yourself?

Kirk: Yeah, that pretty much covers a lot of it but like you said, I’m Kirk Windus, I work for the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation in Communications and Marketing. Probably the most fun part of that job all year is getting to lead Cattaraugus Gives. We’re a small foundation based in western New York right along the PA state line. We have a unique community, a really generous community, and I’m really lucky to have this job and lead Cattaraugus Gives.

Jackie: Awesome, thank you so much! We’re so excited to have you here today and to talk a little bit about running your first Giving Day and what that experience was like. Um, so what kind of advice would you give to a community that’s organizing their very first Giving Day?

Kirk: Yeah, I mean I think the big thing would be, you know, just don’t be too daunted to take the plunge. It does seem like a lot of work, and it is a lot of work, and I’ll admit that when we started having these conversations I had actually just been hired, and to be honest with you, it took a couple of years, I think at least a year, for us to really jump into the idea of the Giving Day, just because it is kind of a daunting task. But don’t be afraid of it, I think you’ll be shocked, no matter what, by the generosity of your community if you just take the leap of faith. Um, and the other big thing is just finding the right Giving Day partner and having the support and the technology to lead a successful day. The one thing I like to say is you’re never gonna know what you don’t know going in and you’ll be shocked at some of the things that come up. So having that partner, and I can honestly say, I’m not just touting you because I’m on the podcast, GiveGab has been a fantastic partner for us and without the support that we get from our partner, there is no way that we would be able to execute this.

Jackie: Oh wow, thank you so much for those kind words! We’re glad to be able to work with you as well, and I think what you said about, ah, you’ll be shocked by the participation and the support of your community was really impactful because, like, I think of an example...a university Giving Day in 2019, I was on this project, it was their first year, um, and we were talking about, you know, what kind of monetary or donor count goals are you looking to achieve for your first year? And they really had no idea because it’s hard to...it’s hard to maybe think of that right straight out of the gate, so they said something like if we could get to $100k, that would be great. So we wrote that down as their goal. They raised $5 million dollars!

Kirk: Yeah, absolutely. I can kind of say the same thing, to be honest with you. In a little bit of background, we did execute a Giving Day on a smaller scale for two years before we decided to do...to really funnel our efforts into this in 2019. But when we started to sit down with our project managers, especially Sanchay -- shout out, Sanchay, who’s a great member of the GiveGab team -- you know, we started to have those conversations about what are your goals, what are you expecting. And, you know, to be honest with you, I put a dollar amount in the back of my head and I said, to be honest with you Sanchay, I have no idea what to expect. And that’s having done it two times before, because it really is, you never know what’s gonna come up, but again, the dollar amount and everything that I put in the back of my head, you know, we exceeded that.

Um, because it really...it went above and beyond our expectations. I think we over tripled what we had raised in the two years that we had done kind of a small-scale effort. So that was a huge deal. Like I said, I think you’ll be astonished by the capacity of your community to...to help. I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of our community, but even more so this year, it really was kind of overwhelming throughout the day.

Jackie: Yeah, that’s amazing!

Karin: That is amazing. Something I, um, am wondering since you were kinda talking about, you know, in the first two years, you kind of did it on a smaller scale and then in the third year you really ramped things up, and I’m just curious, was that more so around a number of organizations that participated or your sponsorships or promotions? Could you speak a little bit to what made the difference between the first two years to that third year?

Kirk: Mhm. Yeah, I mean, to be completely honest, like, I would say pretty much every aspect of it, we funneled a lot more time, energy, and resources into. So, to give you a little more background, in the first two years, we led the effort, again, on Giving Tuesday, just like we did this year, but we did it as part of a statewide program, so it wasn’t completely focused on our county. Just we used that as an opportunity to kind of get the same effect, but...while being part of the statewide effort. That being said, we didn’t put any money into a platform or anything, really. So it was kind of low stakes, you know what I mean? So we didn’t have to put a ton of risk into it and at the time I think we were still kind of getting our bearings as an organization in figuring out how to manage this the right way, so we didn’t take a ton of risk, whereas in 2019, you know, we paid for the platform, but I would say that the biggest step forward would be um...pursuing sponsorships. That’s not something that we had done in the past. In fact, I think our Community Foundation had never really made a sponsorship ask from the community partners at all. So it was kind of a daunting, scary task, but that, to be honest with you, I think is what really made a huge leap for us, because it enabled so many other things. It really increases your organization's buy-in, your prize pool, and all of that stuff, so I think if I had to pick one thing I would say that pursuing sponsorships would be our biggest area of growth for sure.

Um, but it definitely funneled into like, having more organizations involved and um, it also helps create community awareness, because when you start saying this person, this person, and you know, this organization is buying into this, you know, it naturally creates some more buy-in from the community, one, and then if they are sharing on their social media and posting it all over that they're supporting Cattaraugus Gives, you tap into their network as well. So, it definitely was a huge part of how we grew this year.

Karin: Yeah, that’s super helpful. And I think from our end too we see that buy-in at the organization level makes a huge impact as well, um, when we see Giving Days that maybe have a registration fee or things like that, that organizations since they’re maybe paying, even if it’s like a $20 registration fee then all of a sudden they’re investing into that experience and they put a lot more effort into it. So I can see that on a Giving Day level working just the same for you as a partner as it would for the organizations themselves, so thanks!

Kirk: Sure, yeah. If I can add just one thing to that, we actually don’t charge a fee of any kind to our organizations, um, but the way that we try to sell it is, yes, we’re not charging you anything but this is what you’re getting for your investment of time. And that’s what we try to talk about a lot more, with our organizations, but yes, I definitely see where having a monetary stake in it creates a much better buy-in.

Karin: Yeah, well, time too, time is a precious commodity for us, for everyone as well, especially nonprofit administrators so I can see that also being a really great way to advise people as well.

Kirk: Yeah, absolutely.

Karin: Um, and something else we were wondering, for those first time Giving Day organizers, when they’re kind of taking everything in and figuring out what they should be prioritizing or focusing on, is there anything that you think organizers may overlook the importance of that first time around?

Kirk: Yeah, um, I mean I think that one thing you...maybe not overlook, but that you may not expect, is just the sheer amount of hands-on work that it’s going to take. Um, and I say that just because, um, to be honest with you, I was in touch with our nonprofit participants from Point A to Point Z. And when I say in touch, I mean like almost constantly. Some of them probably couldn’t wait to get rid of me by the end of it. Because I was calling and emailing constantly, and it was a two-way street, you know, they would reach out to me for help. Um, and one thing that maybe I guess I didn’t expect at the very beginning is just the amount of involvement that, you know, the GiveGab team and I would have to have in helping out with some of the little things, you know, like uh, how do I...I uploaded this picture into my webpage and I can’t get it to format right, can you spare like five minutes to help with that? Um, and there’s a lot of that, and those five minutes can really add up over time. Um, but it really is that kind of involvement and that kind of communication and engagement with the nonprofits, that also leads to their success in the long run. And all of that work is really important to the final outcome. So that’s something that maybe, I wouldn’t say that I overlooked, but didn’t expect or didn’t quite grasp like, ah, the overall involvement that it was going to take to be successful.

Jackie: Yeah that makes sense.

Kirk: Right yeah, it’s like, you’ll never be, ah, I guess prepared, for that email at like 11:45pm or whatever from somebody who’s like, uh, you know, I’ve been working my day job all day and now it’s time to turn around and focus some time on this effort that I’ve been pulled into as a volunteer and I want this to be successful, you know, how can you help? Um, and it’s...it’s sometimes, like, difficult to accommodate that, but you have to make the effort, because that kind of thing is what’s going to take you from a moderately successful day to a very successful day, in my opinion.

Jackie: Yeah, absolutely. We see, um, really the...the investment and the effort that these nonprofits are putting in on our side for sure. I got an email from someone, in our Eastern time zone, it was written at 2 am. [Laughing]

Kirk: Oh, yeah.

Jackie: I responded to it, you know, at 8 or 9 am but, uh, the takeaway was like...I’m not sleeping because I’m working on this right now, like…

Kirk: Yeah, yeah, and I guess on some point it’s like, just matching the effort they’re putting in on their own, because they want to see that from you, too.

Jackie: Absolutely. Yeah, so what would you say, um, after the Giving Day, everything is kind of winding down from the Giving Day, what kind of positive impact or change did you see in the Cattaraugus community, in the nonprofits or the community as a whole as a result of the Giving Day?

Kirk: Yeah, I mean I think on the most basic level, the thing that you’ll notice immediately is, you know, your nonprofit participants and just people that you pass on the way to the store or whatever, you know, they’ll stop you and say hey, that was a lot of fun. Um, and it’s a small thing, but, seeing people start to equate charitable giving with fun and good feelings, you know, that’s a really big thing, even though it seems really small, or at least on a small scale, and that’s something that I notice, like, right away. But on a more...on a deeper level, the capacity building that happens is invaluable in my opinion. Um...you know, the first year that we did our Giving Day, um, we had an organization reach out to us and they were like hey, want to participate but we don’t really have time to work on fundraising, which, when you’re a nonprofit, it’s kind of hard to fathom that, you know what I mean? But we worked with them a little bit, just gave them some advice, and they’re such an incredible group, all-volunteer, but they have such dedicated people working for them, that even though they said hey, this is something that we don’t do, you know, we gave them some tools and they got themselves over the hump right away in the first year. And they were so happy to see a couple of thousand dollars in their bank account that they don’t have the time to fundraise any other time.

And now that we’ve done this a couple of years, you know, seeing their growth. This year I think they were the second-highest fundraiser that we had and did an incredible job. And seeing that growth is incredible.

Jackie: And that’s certainly a testament to the...their development and the way that they have learned about fundraising strategies through the Giving Day and also maybe, it could be a testament to maybe the visibility that they have, that extra visibility from participating.

Kirk: Yeah, oh, 100%. I mean, I think, a lot of the groups, what happens is, like yes, we’re posting on our Facebook and our Twitter and all this stuff and it’s...it’s like yes you are, but what is the pointed goal? And this kind of brings that to mind for them a little bit more, like it’s a lot more at the top of their mind consciousness, you know, like, okay, how do I create this Facebook post or whatever that’s going to help generate funds? And when they see those results, then that’s something that’s replicable all of a sudden.

Jackie: Definitely.

Karin: Yeah, I think that’s amazing that...I mean that example with the organization that is mostly or all volunteer-led, I had a very similar experience with an organization in our community here in Ithaca, who um, they’re all volunteer-based and the same kind of story happened, actually. They, um, you know, didn’t have very much time for fundraising, I sat down and helped them one on one, and then, this past year, they were number two as well in the leaderboards and it’s amazing what happens when, I feel like, you know, they might have known what to do all along, they needed some encouragement and they needed, like, someone to sit down and take the time to just help them work through things and then, you know, once they saw it happen, I agree with you, they now know how to replicate it and they’ve replicated it a few times which is really amazing to see, like, you’re empowering these people to do this on their own in the future and get better and stronger.

Kirk: Yeah, definitely and I think maybe just giving them, like, one day that they have to focus on that. I mean, obviously, it takes a lot more groundwork than 24 hours, um, but you know, just giving them like that...it’s like carving a time out on your schedule to do anything, right, you know, giving them that period of time to focus on...that’s outside of their normal activities. It, like, opens the door for them to all of a sudden focus on fundraising.

Karin: Right, yeah that’s a really great point. Something else we were curious about is how often you reach out to these organizations that are participating before Cattaraugus Gives. We know some of them are reaching out to you with a bunch of questions but how often do you typically reach out to them to touch base and send different content?

Kirk: Yeah, uh, quite a bit. [Laughing] We pretty much start out with a blanket email blast to as close to a comprehensive list of the nonprofits in the county that we can get. And from there, you know, like any email communication, you’ll see this percentage will respond, this percentage will put it off and wait, this percentage will wait until a week before to get going. So in order to try to flatten that curve, I do a lot of one-to-one contacting. Um...and there’s a ton of that. And what I’ve also found is when you do that, not only are you giving them a reminder like hey, you need to register, are there any questions that you have, but number two it really opens the door to start talking about strategy and what their plans would be earlier, you know, so you’re not waiting until like halfway through your registration process to start having those conversations because you’re so worried about getting people registered. So yeah, we do a lot of...I do a lot of, like, person to person contacts and phone calls and emails and follow-ups to the initial email and such, you know, just because I know how busy everybody is, and how easy it is to put things off. I’m guilty of it myself, so knowing that you know, I try to be as on top of that part as possible.

Jackie: Yeah, that’s awesome. We do see, um...there’s kind of that subsect of nonprofits that register, and then they really, um, they maybe aren’t as engaged after that point. They haven’t filled out their profile, they haven’t shared out the link to their profile on email and social media, you know, they really haven’t taken those steps to kind of build momentum leading up the Giving Day. Ah, those personal touchpoints, I would, um, I definitely agree with you are a great way to kind of encourage those people and make sure they know what’s going on. Is there anything else that you think is helpful for encouraging that active participation, um, I’m sure our listeners are very interested in that as well.

Kirk: Yeah, you know, you raise a good point. It’s maybe not even so much about like, getting them to register, it’s like trying to monitor what they’re doing and trying to encourage them, is a huge thing. You know, I definitely am constantly checking people’s pages and then flipping over to their social media and seeing what they’re doing, um...but as far as creating, you know, that level of engagement, another...again, to stress it, you know the sponsors and the prizes are a huge part of that. You know, the competition and the friendly competition that you see is just such a huge part of creating the excitement and engagement for them, you know in saying, hey, you could win $4,000 potentially from your hard work, on top of what you raise. It’s really hard to put a value, even though it’s monetary, to begin with, on what that’s going to do for them.

Jackie: Definitely.

Kirk: And that’s been a big thing. But also just having some workshops and stuff, even if they’re small, to just touch on, like, some individual takeaways, you know, like if you do this with your peer-to-peer fundraisers or whatnot, or you know, let’s sit down and talk about an email engagement strategy for your donor database or something like that. Those little touchpoints I think make a huge difference too.

Jackie: Yeah, and it sounds like you’re really making it as easy as possible for them, right, so they’re not left to kind of flounder and wonder what they should be doing, they know what they should be doing because they have that kind of constant feedback loop and communication with you.

Kirk: Right, yeah, I mean we definitely at least do our best to do that, and just like giving them some strategies that we’ve seen work and saying hey, you know, you just need to tailor this to your organization, your messaging, and this is something that should, hypothetically, in like a scientific world, work, you know what I mean? So yeah, definitely just trying to make things as simple as possible. And also, I mean, the GiveGab support is another huge part of that, you know, knowing that they can reach out and ask, you know, hey, what do I do with this, how do I share this, even, because that’s a question that I get a surprising amount, and ah, you know, the resources you guys provide help make it so easy.

Karin: Well I’m really glad to hear that, that’s what um, that’s what we’re supposed...that’s what we’re here for, that’s what we wanna do, so I’m glad it’s helping! Um...I really do love how you reach out so much one-to-one, um, with your organization administrators. I think that’s a great way to get people involved and to see how invested you are in their success. I’m just curious, do you send out any messages, like mass messages, to organizational administrators with maybe, like, strategic content or something of that nature as well? Or is that mostly just done on a one-to-one basis?

Kirk: Yeah, no, as you said, we definitely start off with that, those blanket messages. But what we are pretty much trying to get through their heads is, we give them like a basic informational sheet, pretty much, that says you know, this is what the fees would be, but this is what your overall cost of fundraising would be, which is technically $0 to participate, you know, and then you also get to take advantage of this super powerful online fundraising platform, you get to take advantage of all these resources that are provided to you, you know, and you get some marketing communications and fundraising support from the Community Foundation as well, which to some organizations is a really invaluable thing. So we definitely do start off with that, those mass messages, and then from there is where you start to narrow it down in your communications with them and find out what they really need and what kind of support they’re going to have to have going forward.

Karin: Gotcha, okay, thank you! That’s super helpful to hear.

Jackie: Yeah definitely! So I want to switch gears a little bit and talk a little bit about uh, the Covid-19 fundraising effort and of course, right now we’re all social distancing, which has definitely changed some of that community messaging and outreach and maybe event planning for this time of year. And one concern that we’ve been hearing from the nonprofits on our platform is really how to responsibly and respectfully address what’s going on in the world while still keeping that balance to still celebrate the organizations in their community and keep the Giving Day something that’s still more positive, and uh, so your Giving Day doesn’t take place until later in the year, and you can definitely speak from the perspective that you have with where you are in the planning process and uh, you know, whatever is salient for you around this right now but do you have any suggestions around striking that balance in your messaging?

Kirk: Yeah, definitely, um...so you like you said, our Giving Day isn’t until December so, you know, obviously we’re hoping that by then, this will at least start to have at least tapered off a little bit, but even just on a basic organizational level, we’re definitely already starting to ask that question, right, how do we communicate with our audience and the public during this difficult time? And one of the things that we’ve talked about on an organizational level is let’s not ignore the fact that this is a difficult time, and in the short time, we have started to back off of, like, our direct asks of people. Um...but while also saying, you know, these are the type of things that you can support that will help make a difference during this time, you know, and saying, yes, everybody’s struggling, but nonprofits are going to, number one, help the people who need the help right now, and number two, you know, they’re taking a hit, based on, you know, not being able to have their staff there full-time working in the office. Some are more equipped to work remotely than others, or they’re losing the money that they would normally get out of a fundraising effort. So those are definitely things that we’ve talked about, but you know, I would say, if I were in the shoes of somebody who needed to execute a Giving Day right now, um...it would be really difficult but I would say that you know, the big thing is, I really truly believe that philanthropy and charitable giving is the kind of vehicle that can help make this disaster a little less bad, you know, I think it’s going to be a huge part of getting through this. Obviously, the government is doing what it can, but that personal philanthropic work is what’s going to really make a difference during this time. And it’s important to communicate that as well, while still being sympathetic to the strife that everyone is facing.

Jackie: Absolutely, thank you.

Karin: Yeah, I completely agree and I think that makes a lot of sense, recognizing what’s happening, maybe not being so forward with your ask but presenting the information, and yeah, and letting people know what these organizations could do to help the populations that are affected. I think that’s a good...good suggestion of how to go. Kind of along these same lines, speaking about, you know, with Covid-19 and the current situation, do you have any suggestions or creative ways that you think could increase engagement remotely now that we’re all social distancing?

Kirk: Yeah, I mean, I think now more than ever, obviously, is going to be an important time to create engaging and, you know, helpful but also uplifting social content. And that’s gonna be a huge part of, I think everyone’s work going forward, is to get that message out but have it be a positive one in a time when people are facing difficult times, and I think social media already has been and is going to continue to be a huge part of this going forward. So things like, you know, uplifting pictures, but like good video content is gonna be a big thing. You know, and engaging on social media with things like that, it's going to be so important I think, going forward, especially because you’re not gonna be able to bring people in for those sit-down meetings and stuff, or you know, have your fundraising events, and finding something that meaningfully takes the place of that is going to be really important. But I’ve heard about people getting really creative with some of their fundraising events and turning...finding a way to host those online, which is a really difficult thing right now, too, right? But things like some walks and 5k’s, people are holding online saying, you can go out and run this loop on your own, record it, and, you know, send us some video, and that video also becomes good social content. So it’s kind of like a double engagement for them, right? But I mean, things like that, especially...finding a way to engage in the same way while still being mindful of the responsibility to be a part of encouraging the social distancing and the social isolation that’s going to help stop the spread of the disease, which is a really tough balance to strike, but I’ve seen it done in some really creative ways.

Jackie: Yeah definitely, and when you think about the donors and the supporters of these nonprofits, they’re also at home, right now, um, probably wondering how they can help, so still having some of these opportunities even if it is fully remote, fully online, I think that’s really, uh, you know, encouraging to the donors and helps them still feel that they’re involved and they can still make a difference.

Kirk: I definitely think so, I think people are really looking for a way to make a difference. And if you can provide them that vehicle in a way that’s respectful but engages with their desires at the same time, I think that's going to be something that's really meaningful going forward.

Jackie: Yeah absolutely, and you touched on this just a little bit earlier, can I ask if you can talk a little bit more in detail about you’re handling the situation in your own community and uh, in Cattaraugus County?

Kirk: Yeah, so we have decided at our organization to establish a Covid-19 response fund, which we’re doing as part of a collaborative effort with the United Way of Cattaraugus County and the Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation which is a small private foundation in our community that does fantastic work as well. Um, so we had some meetings and decided to move forward with this, so we’re coordinating the response on the local level, but also there are groups, funding groups, all throughout western New York, we’re really blessed, that is really really focused on making an impact right now and responding so, any needs that we don’t think that we’ll be able to meet in the short term, um, we are working, you know, very very closely to facilitate meeting those needs with some of those other foundations and funders, too. So, you know, it’s kind of a two-pronged effort in that we’re doing something with groups here on our own, but we’re also working closely and collaborating with the other funding groups and nonprofits throughout the region, in order to create like a multi-pronged approach to make a difference.

Jackie: Yeah, definitely, I think that’s great to hear that it’s a really collaborative effort in your area and that, uh, I think everyone’s going to feel the impact of that even more with how widespread it’s gonna be using that kind of a strategy.

Kirk: Yeah, and I mean I think it’s gonna take...it takes more than one group to make this sort of thing happen, you know, no matter how big your capacity is, there are always things that can slip through the cracks and I think that that’s a big part of why we decided to take this approach, to make sure that we are accurately assessing the needs of the community during this time and doing the best work that we possibly can to make a difference.

Jackie: Definitely. Thank you so much for talking through that with us. We’re getting close to time, but we do have a little bit of time if there’s anything else that you want our listeners to know or any other takeaways that you had from your Giving Day last year, anything that’s coming up in your head right now as you kind of think through all of that experience.

Kirk: Oh man, um...yeah, I think I’d just like to probably touch on what I said initially which is, I know that it might seem overwhelming at first to take on such a huge task, but it’s definitely something that you can manage. What I like to say is, we have an office of four, and they all have their own jobs, you know, so when it comes time to run the Giving Day, we’re all hands on deck, but it’s definitely a lot of, like, one person work, and if I can be kind of the main person doing this, anybody can be, you know, don’t be too overwhelmed, you really can make it happen, it’s a matter of investment and dedication. But if I can do it, anyone can make it happen.

Jackie: Well it sounds like you’ve done an amazing job, I mean, congratulations on the success of last year’s Giving Day, it’s really great to see.

Karin: Yeah really, I heard that you all exceeded your goal and that’s amazing! Thanks for being so encouraging and inspiring to everyone.

Kirk: Oh, thank you very much for having me. Hopefully, this, as you said, does inspire some people to move forward, because the Giving Days really are a hugely impactful thing for your community.

Karin: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, um, and best of luck with your Cattaraugus Gives 2020!

Kirk: Yes, thank you guys, and thanks for everything!

Topics: Interviews, Nonprofit Causes, Nonprofit Champions, Nonprofit fundraising, Online fundraising platform, Day of Giving, Donor Engagement, Fundraising, Fundraising Ideas, Giving day platforms, Giving Days, Giving & Gabbing Podcast, Giving & Gabbing

Karin Edsall

Written by Karin Edsall

Karin Edsall is the Marketing Coordinator at GiveGab

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