Local charities harness power of Giving Tuesday

  • Shefali Trivedi

    Shefali Trivedi

 
 

Just a few years old, the concept of Giving Tuesday has generated millions of dollars for charitable organizations around the world.

Held five days after Thanksgiving, it's the day charities target to complement the post-holiday shopping bloc of Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday.

"It has definitely contributed to an uptick in fundraising," said Shefali Trivedi, executive director of Giving DuPage, which helps coordinate philanthropic work and volunteer efforts throughout the county. "It's become quite a thing."

While larger, global charities have been the biggest recipients, local organizations are trying to take advantage of the opportunity as well. The "Live Here, Give Here" theme attempts to capture local philanthropic dollars by matching donors with nearby charities.

Enter Forefront, a statewide membership association for nonprofits and grant makers, which has created the website called ILGive.com. Local can register their needs and donors can provide financial assistance to charities that match their philosophical goals with a few clicks of the mouse.

If, for example, someone from Libertyville wants to donate $100 to a local charity that provides educational assistance, Forefront's site will direct that person to the nearest match. The site features 19 charitable categories to choose from, including animals, youth, environmental, public safety, poverty and veterans.

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"We want to provide a boost to Illinois nonprofits," said Kathleen Murphy, Forefront's director of communications. "They are all dealing with the state budget crisis and funding uncertainties. There's no reason local philanthropic dollars and individual giving should leave the state."

Murphy expects more than 1,000 state charities to be registered on the site by Giving Tuesday through the #ILGive campaign. Last year, more than 25,000 donors generated nearly $6 million for 600 participating charities. The goal this year is to raise more than $9 million.

Cheri Richardson, vice president of strategic philanthropy at Lake County's Gorter Family Foundation, said her organization partnered with Forefront because the Giving Tuesday campaign pools resources most small nonprofits wouldn't otherwise be able to access.

"A lot of people don't have the background of who the nonprofits in their community are," Richardson said. "Besides the fundraising component, they're hopefully getting new donors because their profile is now out there to a larger audience."

Meanwhile, organizers note that donations don't all have to be monetary. Trivedi's group deals primarily with organizing and staffing volunteers. Most agencies could also use free manpower as much as money, she said.

"It's the great equalizer of generosity," Trivedi said. "Absolutely, financial donations allow people to do a lot of good, but everybody can give their time."

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