For the past 10 years, nonprofit organizations across the country and here in Rhode Island have relied on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving for a huge boost to their annual fundraising.
As Luisa Murillo, director of social programs at Progreso Latino, explains, “Giving Tuesday is critical in providing unrestricted support for our transformational work, allowing donors to contribute to programs providing basic services that support emergency food, childcare for working parents, and English as a second language classes for unemployed workers.”
Based in Central Falls, Progreso Latino’s mission is to build a socially and economically thriving Latino and immigrant community. Donations this year will support programs providing emergency formula and diapers to families, rental assistance, and household supplies for their Central Falls food pantry. In addition to raising funds, the annual day of giving also increases awareness of their work.
The original Giving Tuesday began in response to Black Friday and Cyber Tuesday, motivating people to spend their money making a difference in their communities rather than just making purchases. It has since sparked a global movement, inspiring a sense of community among nonprofit organizations, too. “Giving Tuesday is an exciting fundraising opportunity that unites Progreso Latino to nonprofits in RI and the US who are making a difference every day,” Murillo adds. On this day, everyone benefits.
Another nonprofit gearing up for this year’s campaign is House of Hope, a human services agency based in Warwick committed to ending homelessness in Rhode Island. The organization has increased Giving Tuesday donations from $5,000 in 2019 to $25,000 in 2021.
“This year we will be sharing stories from our staff and clients with a focus on the challenges being faced as winter approaches,” shares Melissa Behm, House of Hope fund development manager. “We will not just be focused on monetary donations this year, but also tents, sleeping bags, blankets, and winter coats for clients experiencing homelessness.”
Behm also appreciates that funds raised through Giving Tuesday are unrestricted. Unlike government and private grants, there are no strings attached, so they can use the funds to address their most critical and urgent needs.
We Share Hope, an organization that provides food assistance and other necessities to community members in need, takes a different approach to the day by giving thanks to people who have already donated.
Executive director Johanna Corcoran explains, “We started this last year and folks were surprised that we weren’t calling to ask them for additional donations. Once we explained that we were using Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to thank our supporters and update them on what their donations have enabled us to do, they were so happy to hear from us.”
Corcoran’s goal is to make 100 calls to donors at all levels of giving. Of course, some donors receiving their thank-you call often decide to give again. It’s a win-win.
The calls from We Share Hope this year will include an exciting announcement about their launch of two (and soon to be five) school-based pantries. That means less trips for families who will soon be able to access food assistance right at their children’s school. Corcoran stressed that none of this work would be possible without the generosity of their donors.
Progreso Latino will also have a unique angle to their fundraising campaign this year as the organization celebrates 45 years building community.
“We plan to showcase our work in the community over more than four decades,” says Murillo. “Our Giving Tuesday campaign will highlight three individuals who have succeeded because of the transformational programs and services that Progreso Latino delivers.”
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