From Napa Valley Register: Napa nonprofits join Giving Tuesday charity campaign

November 30, 2016, Howard Yune

A variety of nonprofit and service groups in Napa County are taking part in Giving Tuesday, an online and social media drive to boost fundraising and publicize the work of some 40,000 community groups worldwide. Local groups including Mentis, OLE Health, and Napa branches of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Club are among those who have confirmed their partnership in the effort, in which charities will issue online appeals to the public using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

The program, which the New York-based 92nd Street Y group launched in 2012, takes place on the final Tuesday in November – directly after the first and busiest shopping weekend of the holiday season.

By teaming up Tuesday to seek contributions – of volunteering time as well as cash – in a full-court press on Facebook, Twitter and other sites, nonprofits can make their voices heard to an audience that increasingly is moving its charity to the Internet, according to Terence Mulligan, president of the Napa Valley Community Foundation, one of Napa County’s Giving Tuesday partners.

“Everybody is trying to take advantage of this giant cultural force that is social media, and figure out what it means in getting people to contribute to their good works,” said Mulligan, whose foundation issues grants to various area charities.

Last year’s 24-hour campaign raised $116.7 million in contributions, according to André Ory, spokesman for the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association. Participating charities, which do not pay a fee to the 92nd Street Y, will seek support for causes ranging from organ donation to expanded education access and alleviating poverty and child hunger.

The agency partners with other nonprofits to provide advice, support and toolkits for Giving Tuesday participants, and tracks the amount of donations, Ory wrote in an email.

Some local nonprofits hope to use Giving Tuesday not only to raise funds directly but to steer would-be donors to long-established charitable efforts.

For example, those visiting the Napa Valley Education Foundation on Facebook – or receiving the group’s special email Tuesday – will see encouragements to view the Give!Guide and support one of the charities listed in the annual Christmas-time handbook, said Jennifer Stewart, the foundation’s executive director. “We saw a (donations) bump on Giving Tuesday and again at the end of the week,” she said of the foundation’s part in the 2015 event.

A well-publicized day of giving also cracks the door open for people who can later be educated on the need for the foundation’s fundraising for physical fitness, wellness, music and other local public school programs, Stewart added.

“The last quarter of the year is when we are focused on first-time donors, and any amount makes a difference,” she said Monday. “That is one of the things we’re really hoping for, because then we can bring them in to learn more, attend events, tour the schools, show them where the funding is going, make them feel they’re making a difference.”

At Connolly Ranch, the nature education preserve in Browns Valley, the Giving Tuesday playbook will include missives on Facebook and Instagram, along with an email announcement and possibly radio airtime, according to Executive Director Jennifer Thacher Fotherby.

Those following the group online will learn about seasonal promotions such as a partnership with Amazon.com to steer a portion of purchase prices toward the charity, as well as vouchers for Model Bakery English muffins in exchange for a donation.

A major goal for Connolly Ranch on Tuesday will be to gather funds for its scholarships, which total about $100,000 a year and allow children to take courses at the reserve free or at reduced admission. But Fotherby also hoped to help Napans get into the spirit of giving – toward her cause or any other worthy ones.

“Our message is we want people to donate to us, but also join the movement and give to an organization that’s important to them,” she said.

Giving Tuesday in the Napa Valley

Local nonprofit groups taking part in Giving Tuesday include (but are not limited to):

– Napa Valley Community Foundation

– Napa Valley Youth Symphony

– Connolly Ranch Education Center

– Mentis

– Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay

– OLE Health

– Girls on the Run Napa & Solano

– UpValley Family Centers

– American Canyon Family Resource Center

– Napa Wildlife Rescue

– Community Resources for Children, Napa

– Community Health Initiative Napa County

– Napa Valley Education Foundation

– Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga

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