By Jennifer K. Bauer
While many small businesses are being stifled by COVID-19 restrictions, the nonprofit community also is suffering.
Spring calendars, usually full of in-person events and fundraisers, were erased this year. An online giving campaign starting Thursday will provide one way nonprofits can unite and raise money in the coming weeks.
Idaho Gives is an online giving platform run by the Idaho Nonprofit Center which serves registered charitable organizations throughout the state. The center coordinates an annual, weeklong giving campaign every spring to help nonprofits raise funding. Idaho Gives 2020 is being extended to two weeks, through May 7, to provide additional support.
“Both Moscow and Lewiston have pretty robust nonprofit communities. Both are supportive of local businesses. There’s lot of folks helping neighbors,” said Dulce Kersting-Lark, executive director of the Latah County Historical Society, which has successfully used Idaho Gives to raise money in past years.
The society is one of several area nonprofits enrolled in Idaho Gives. To sign up, an organization must be a registered nonprofit and pay a fee of $50, which helps cover administrative costs. In return, they receive a landing page that they can customize and use to educate people about their organization and accept money.
During Idaho Gives weeks, nonprofits use their social media accounts and mailing lists to share the campaign with their supporters and others. Last year the historical society raised more than $3,000 in one day, Kersting-Lark said. “It’s driven by how much effort an organization puts into the advertising of it.”
This year, Idaho Gives will offer bonus prizes and random rewards to groups around the state. For example, the group with a donor that lives farthest away from it geographically could get an extra $500.
“It can bring in donor dollars we might not otherwise see in our region,” she said.
People interested in giving can go to the Idaho Gives website and search for groups by name, cause or city.
“One of the advantages to Idaho Gives is that it makes it a fun way to get involved in philanthropy. People can add to a shopping cart of gifts and check out one time.”
During this time, many nonprofits continue to serve the community, albeit in a diminished or different capacity, she said.
“We don’t know when it’s going to be reasonable to have events again. We’re all missing our people right now.”