Organizations Aim to Raise Funds, Awareness Giving Tuesday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Leaders of Mahoning Valley nonprofit entities say they hope to raise awareness of their organizations, as well as raise funds, during Giving Tuesday.

Established in 2012 to follow the commerce-focused Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is intended to encourage people to “do good” and “has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity,” according to a website dedicated to the event.

“We’re celebrating a decade of Giving Tuesday this year, and with every passing year, we’re still inspired to see generosity blanket the globe on this day dedicated to good – a day that sparks continued generosity throughout the rest of the year,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO. “Though we’re living in an increasingly fractured world, the GivingTuesday leadership community and the countless organizations and people participating remind us of what becomes possible when people act together, united by a mission to help each other and improve our world for each other, for ourselves, and for generations ahead.”

Area not-for-profit organizations are taking to social media, email and other modes to promote the event as a vehicle to encouraging giving as well as put the spotlight on what they do.

“It helps to keep the needs here of the homeless in the Valley top of mind this entire season,” said John Muckridge, CEO of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley.

According to an email soliciting donations, a $2.47 gift provides “a filling meal.”  

Collections from November through February represent about half of the organization’s donations for the year, he reported. So the money raised during that period helps “to carry us through the entire year.” Numbers on the men’s side increase as the weather gets colder but the women and children’s side has operated at full capacity since the mission’s new building opened.

Throughout the year, people often don’t think about organizations they can donate to but with the holidays coming up it’s a way to shine a light on what nonprofits are doing now, said Roxann Sebest, vice president of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. Food insecurity remains a major issue locally and the United Way chapter recently launched “care closets” in local schools to help fill students’ needs such as clothes, hygiene products and even bedding.

“This is a reminder that we still need to help our neighbors in need,” she said. “It really helps to remind people that end-of-year giving is coming up. It’s a good way to kind of kick that off to jumpstart those people who usually give toward the end of the year.”

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, which this summer unveiled its renovated and expanded Main Library, is inviting donors to choose from among several options to direct their gifts, including supplies for the culinary literacy kitchen, adult and teen programming, and advancing and expanding the library’s technology capabilities.

“We hope that Giving Tuesday introduces people to the library in perhaps a way they haven’t experienced the library before,” said Maggie Henderson, strategic communications officer.

Most people are aware that the library receives support from its tax levy but the organization also is a 501 (c) 3 that accepts donations to help cover “those extra things” to provide services and resources to patrons, she said.

“We’re hoping that this event will showcase the different things that the library provides for residents all across the Valley and free of cost,” she said. “If someone would like to give a donation to the library, it helps to put on these events. It helps to expand our programing and make it so that the library can continue doing these types of events and programming free of cost for anyone in the Mahoning Valley.”  

For years, United Way relied on workplace campaigns, but the workplace has changed in recent years, Sebest said.

“People are working from home” and “more likely to give online,” leading to a shift to social media campaigns in addition to the traditional workplace pitches, she said.  “Sometimes you have to meet people where they’re at and right now where they’re at is on social media or online.”

Sebest and Henderson did not specify any kinds of monetary goals for their Giving Tuesday initiatives. Muckridge said the mission has a $20,000 goal for its campaign, with 19 early gifts accounting for $1,188 already.

“We’re just casting it out and trusting the Lord will continue to supply what’s needed to operate the building,” Muckridge said. “We’ll be good stewards of it and stretch it as far as we can.”

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.