Despite the various events and challenges that have been brought to Louisiana this year, there’s still an opportunity to support about 200 Baton Rouge-area nonprofit organizations in the form of 225 Gives, a year-end opportunity for people to give online support and donations to local nonprofits, as detailed in an Advocate article earlier this month.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation recently teamed up with the Capital Area United Way to promote 225 Gives, a donation-based campaign that began with a week-long giving period, leading up to the 24-hour event known in nonprofit circles as ”Giving Tuesday.” This is an annual day for dedicated donating that takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, once the commercialized events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are out of the way.
The nonprofit community was hit particularly hard by the rescheduling of spring fundraisers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Most fundraisers rescheduled to the Fall were delayed once again, prolonging the support that many in the community have come to expect. Ethan Bush, the director of 225 Gives believes that this combined effort from BRAF and CAUW couldn’t have come at a better time.
“A lot of the nonprofits I’ve worked with or discussed are somewhere 40% to 60% down on their fundraising efforts. They’ve been heavily affected this year,” Bush told the Advocate.
The 225 Gives campaign seeks to raise approximately $4.225 million for the charities, a giving goal that was determined by analyzing how much was earned in the first year of other Giving Tuesday programs in cities with a similar size to Baton Rouge. That figure was estimated through thorough analysis and “marketing savvy” to be $4 million, and the decimal number is reflective of the region’s area code and the community needing the support, Baton Rouge’s 225.
With this effort, Baton Rouge becomes the fourth metro area in Louisiana to create an official “Giving Day.” The other nonprofit donation efforts heralded across the state are: the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s “GiveNOLA,” which raised approximately $7.2 million for 835 organizaitons from over 68,000 donations; the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s “Give For Good,” which raised roughly $2 million for 237 organizations from over $10,000 donations; and the Community Foundation of Acadiana’s “South Louisiana Giving Day,” which has raised $867,000 for 95 organizations from more than 2,500 donations.
Baton Rouge’s 225 Gives is a welcome addition to Louisiana’s statewide spectrum of Giving Tuesday efforts, and similar to its neighboring programs, it will provide financial incentives to those participating organizations and an online platform allowing them to see just how much is being raised by donors and other nonprofits.
The Nonprofit organizations earning the most in their “size category” on Giving Tuesday as well as nonprofits meeting special criteria in various other categories (such as most unique donors or most donations within a certain time period) will be rewarded with financial incentive from a dedicated “Challenge Fund,” estimated to be about $500,000. This fund is contributed to by 225 Gives sponsors such as BRAF, CAUW, the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, thePennington Foundation, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
Though it’s just beginning this year, Director Ethan Bush says that 225 Gives will become an annual event, and it won’t always be ties to a specific date like Giving Tuesday, saying, ““We should find every avenue and resource to help our nonprofits collaborate, create a spirit of giving, really energize together with our community with our donors and our supporters, and we don’t want to ever take away from each one’s individual fundraising goals. We just want to be an added resource within their plans, their struggles and the things they have going on year-in and year-out.”
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