Several area nonprofits are using social media to reach out to potential donors, using the annual Giving Tuesday drive to kick off their annual fundraising seasons.
The weeks around Christmas and Thanksgiving are often an key time for local nonprofits because residents are often looking for charitable ways to help local families this time of year, said Kerry Pedraza, executive director for the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties. The United Way kicked off its fund drive this past summer, but uses Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to reach out to potential donors and remind them of the organization’s benefits to local residents.
“All of us are in a state of mind of being thankful for what we’ve been blessed with,” Pedraza said.
The United Way serves more than 37,000 people in the three counties, she said. The organization raises money for nonprofit organizations that provide services in the community, addressing health, income and education issues. It also offers programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails one free book per month to children from birth until they begin school, regardless of a family’s income.
Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of promoting shopping, the event started in 2012 as a way to encourage philanthropy.
Pedraza said the agency mostly relies on social media to remind residents about the United Way’s local impact.
“We use Giving Tuesday as another way to reach people through social media and to get in front of people,” Pedraza said.
The Abilities Connection, which provides training and employment opportunities for area residents with disabilities, uses Giving Tuesday to kick off its annual fundraising efforts for the next year, said Tracey Hanlin, a spokeswoman for the agency.
In the past, the agency has used funds collected to save for a new vehicle to provide transportation for clients. This year, Hanlin said dollars raised as part of Giving Tuesday will likely go into a general fund to ensure the agency remains sustainable into the future.
“Even if people give five dollars, its helpful and welcome in the long run,” Hanlin said.
Visit www.givingtuesday.org to find other local organizations participating in the day of giving.