Give Big Kern, “One Day to Celebrate the Giving Spirit of Kern County!” is observed on the first Tuesday in May — which falls on May 7 this year. But for early birds whose desire to give to local charities is already burning a hole in their pockets, Give Big Kern organizer Kern Community Foundation opened the givebigkern.org donation portal a whole month in advance, beginning April 7.
And for procrastinators, givebigkern.org will remain open until midnight on May 8, to allow for an extra 24 hours of giving.
But why have a giving “day” campaign last for more than a month?
According to research from Ithaca, N.Y.-based GiveGab, KCF’s technology partner that designed and powers the givebigkern.org site, as well as some 200 other giving day efforts across the nation, while the majority of dollars raised (71 percent on average) come in on giving day, 13 percent are donated pre-giving day, and 16 percent post-giving day. Keeping a giving day campaign open longer is a way to capture as many donations as possible, GiveGab CEO and Co-Founder Charlie Mulligan told a group of about 50 nonprofit leaders during a visit to Bakersfield in early March.
In 2018, Give Big Kern helped 119 participating nonprofits raise more than $231,000 and receive close to 52,000 pledged volunteer hours.
This year, some 130 charities throughout Kern County are poised to fundraise through the site, which KCF makes available free of charge to 501(c)(3) nonprofits that register and attend trainings on social media marketing, online fundraising, donor and board member development, and more.
Some Tehachapi/Caliente area organizations that are participating this year include Heritage Oak School, Have A Heart Humane Society, Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue, and Equine Rescue Outakuntrol.
“More than a giving day, Give Big Kern is a donor engagement tool,” said KCF President and CEO Kristen Beall. “At its core it’s a nonprofit strengthening initiative, as it helps community-based organizations increase their visibility, capacity and sustainability through a highly publicized online fundraising effort that provides much training and allows them to raise unrestricted funds while growing their donor and volunteer support bases.”
How can the community give to nonprofits through Give Big Kern?
Donors can visit givebigkern.org and search for an organization they would like to give to. “Find your passion and donate,” Beall said. All major credit cards are accepted and the minimum donation is $5. All donations go straight to the designated nonprofit.
“And for those who can’t afford to make a monetary gift but can offer their time and talents to an organization,” she continued, “the volunteering page on the drop-down menu has an online form where they can pledge volunteer hours to the agency of their choice, or to the Volunteer Center of Kern County if they are unsure about which agency to volunteer with.”
How can the business community give back?
KCF is still accepting monetary sponsorships ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 until April 16. Sponsorship dollars pay for the production of free marketing materials distributed to participating nonprofits, the development and hosting of the Give Big Kern platform, and, very importantly, cash prizes that are awarded to participating nonprofits that excel in fundraising, volunteer recruitment and board engagement.
Companies can also match employee giving. Bank of America, for example, will match employee donations made through givebigkern.org to any participating nonprofit or 501(c)(3) charity of their employees’ choice. Other companies are encouraged to also match their employee’s gifts.
Interested corporations may contact KCF’s Director of Community Impact Louis Medina at Louis@kernfoundation.org or 616-2603.
How else can one get involved with the Give Big Kern effort?
The Events page on givebigkern.org has a calendar listing of fun events and promotions put on in partnership with local retailers to help Give Big Kern. Please visit www.givebigkern.org/info/events for details.
Louis Medina is director of community impact at Kern Community Foundation.