New Haven Register (Sunday) (New Haven, CT)

The Great Give lives on in New Haven area

- By Jackie Downing Jackie Downing is senior director of grantmakin­g and nonprofit support and staff lead on The Great Give at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

While you might have read the news that Fairfield County’s Community Foundation has decided to stop holding their annual giving day after 10 successful years, we would like everyone in Greater New Haven to know that The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is continuing with The Great Give on May 3 and 4. As we prepare to host the 14th annual Great Give, we wanted to share what this event means to the local nonprofit organizati­ons and the community they serve.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Great Give has been an effective opportunit­y to support the marketing and fundraisin­g capacity of local nonprofits. Donors learn about new organizati­ons. Organizati­ons learn to tell their compelling stories. The Great Give brings them together. Since its inception in 2010, The Great Give has raised more than $21 million for hundreds of Greater New Haven nonprofits.

Particular­ly since the pandemic hit, we have reduced the competitiv­e nature of The Great Give and adopted a “together, we raise; together, we rise” approach. There are not prizes for the most this or the most that. Almost all our prizes are randomly drawn from among the organizati­ons that are participat­ing. With that, small, new and all-volunteer organizati­ons have as much chance to earn a prize as the larger, fully staffed organizati­ons.

In 2022, the top 10 donation earners included organizati­ons with budget sizes ranging from $180,000 to $29 million. Half of the top money earners had budgets under $1 million. The majority of the 2022 prize winners have operating budgets under $100,000. One had an annual budget of $4,000.

Our matches are awarded by the number of unique donors, not the size of the gift so a $10 gift earns as much in matching money as a $250 gift. That’s equity.

One of the enormous benefits to The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven for presenting The Great Give (without charging nonprofits) has been the opportunit­y to build authentic relationsh­ips with organizati­ons in our area. We have been intentiona­l about attracting new organizati­ons each year to The Great Give. It is a perfect introducti­on to organizati­ons that might not otherwise engage with the Foundation. We get to know them, support them with the giving event, and add them to the universe notified about our capacity building programs and our grant programs. They get to know us. With a trusted relationsh­ip establishe­d through the giving event, we can help an organizati­on learn about what it needs to be sustainabl­e and successful, and then offer the resources it needs to achieve its goals. Not all support is financial. Organizati­ons need more than money. We try to help fill that gap.

But money helps and the people of Greater New Haven have been steadily increasing support for our growing nonprofit community for the 14 years of The Great Give. Last year, 510 nonprofits in Greater New Haven raised nearly $3.5 million in 36 hours from nearly 14,000 people. The people of Greater New Haven are what have made this event so successful. Donations start at $5 and it is only by the grace of tens of thousands of donors that our nonprofits have thrived. The Great Give will continue as long as the people of Greater New Haven recognize the value of our nonprofits, and as long as our nonprofits find this a fun and inexpensiv­e way to connect with new and existing donors. The real winners? The people our nonprofits serve with the donated and matching funds.

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