PROVIDENCE – Some Rhode Island nonprofits are benefiting from #GivingTuesday, an online movement launched last year as a way to promote giving during the holiday season.
Both the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum in Newport and South County Hospital in the Wakefield section of South Kingstown have launched #GivingTuesday campaigns.
At the same time, two other nonprofits, the Providence Animal Rescue League and the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island in Warwick, are receiving $1,000 grants from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust as part of a nationwide initiative the trust put in place to recognize the movement.
“We think it’s a terrific answer to our culture of consumption,” said Claudia Swain, major gifts and planned giving officer for the South County Hospital system. “People feel good when they give. We have a saying here one of our board members, Russell Shippee, taught us: Don’t give until it hurts; give until it feels good.”
Last year, the hospital raised more than $700 through the movement, “but it was very new at that point, so we’re hoping for more,” Swain said.
The Rhode Island Foundation has been pushing out news about the giving opportunity through social media, Senior Public Affairs Officer Chris Barnett said.
Also among thousands of participants nationwide are such nonprofits as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation and MentalHealthFirstAid.org, a program that nurtures the everyday heroes who save lives and make a difference for those who battle addictions and mental illness.
According to the movement website, community.givingtuesday.org, the charitable nonprofit accounting management firm Blackbaud processed over $10 million in online donations on Nov. 27, 2012 – a 53 percent increase compared with the Tuesday after Thanksgiving the previous year. DonorPerfect recorded a 46 percent increase in online donations.
Today, Dec. 3, was set as the target date to get global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more to come together make charitable gifts.
New York’s 92nd Street Y nonprofit cultural and community center is the catalyst and incubator for the international campaign, while the United Nations Foundation has joined as a partner.
“It’s going great. We’ve seen it trending nationwide on Twitter at 27,000 tweets per hour or 450 tweets per minute,” said Anastasia Dellaccio, the foundation’s outreach and special initiatives officer. “It’s hard to say how much we’ve raised because we don’t process the donations, we just power the movement.”
The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum signed up in October to participate for the first time and is using the movement to supplement more conventional fund-raising tools such as direct mail and email marketing for its annual fund, said Christine Frost, chief development officer. The annual fundraising target – to raise $1.1 million by Dec. 31 – is at 75 percent, she said.
So far, the nonprofit has received two $100 and two $50 contributions as a result of its participation in #GivingTuesday, said Frost, with some gifts pending. The organization has 25,000 Twitter followers and 14,000 Facebook friends, she said.
“It’s a terrific way to reach out to that group who may or may not be included in our traditional outreach through direct mail, so it broadens our reach and that’s a good thing,” Frost said.
To support the movement, the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust decided to give 25 different $1,000 grants to nonprofits across the country. Company workers who also volunteer at those nonprofits nominated more than 200 organizations and the trust selected 25 randomly, said Joanne Dwyer, the trust’s director.
The firm also has been promoting the efforts of workers who volunteer at such nonprofits through social media and internal intranet channels, she said.
“It’s a great initiative,” said Dwyer, “and a nice reminder that the holiday season should go beyond shopping and be a special time of year when people can give back to their local communities.”
CVS Caremark colleague Laura Crowe nominated the Girl Scouts to receive funding, the nonprofit said in a press release.
“We are honored to receive this grant from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust,” said Neil M. Stamps, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island. “And we truly appreciate Laura Crowe for her commitment to supporting our mission and to making a positive impact in the lives of the people we serve.”