Part of what makes life in Idaho special is a strong sense of community and a pervasive spirit of generosity.
Our rugged individualism is complemented by a commitment to looking out for one another. On Thursday, May 2, Idahoans have an opportunity to make history - and make a difference - for hundreds of nonprofit organizations and the critically important work they perform in communities throughout Idaho. That day will mark the inaugural Idaho Gives, a statewide, 24-hour charitable giving blitz sponsored by the Idaho Nonprofit Center.
Modeled after highly successful philanthropic giving days in states and cities across the country, Idaho Gives aims to attract thousands of donors to raise funds for hundreds of Idaho nonprofits. By tapping into Idahoans' civic pride and making charitable giving a highly publicized and fun event, we intend to raise awareness of nonprofit work and convince both long-time supporters and brand new donors to join their fellow citizens in raising much-needed funds across the state.
Several unique features make Idaho Gives an event you won't want to miss. Thanks to our numerous event sponsors, your donations will be multiplied with a pool of award money that will be available to all participating nonprofits. Contests will also be running throughout the day, giving nonprofits another opportunity to add to the donations coming in. Thus, your donation will go further and its impact will be amplified on May 2.
In addition, because Idaho Gives takes place primarily online, much of the buzz surrounding the day and the frequent calls to action will be conveyed through social media, making it easy to share the spirit of giving with friends.
And finally, this highly charged day of giving offers so many possible destinations for your charitable gifts: from health and human services organizations to conservation groups, from school foundations to senior centers, and from faith based groups to food pantries. Hundreds of nonprofits are eager to introduce themselves to you and share the good news about how they're making a difference in your community.
Of course, helping nonprofits to build capacity and expand their donor base isn't only about funding the diverse range of nonprofit programs and services they offer.
Nonprofits are a critical facet of our economy. Some might be surprised by the direct economic impact of nonprofits - as employers, as purchasers of our goods and services, and as stakeholders in projects and investments that strengthen our communities.
According to a 2012 study by the Idaho Nonprofit Center, charitable nonprofits employ more than 32,000 people in southwest Idaho, which is 9.7 percent of all (covered) jobs in the region. Nearly 1 in 10 people in Southwest Idaho work for a nonprofit. Nonprofits provide more than $1.34 billion in wages and pump more than $2.5 billion in revenue into the local economy.
The bottom line is that nonprofits are not only an essential partner in maintaining our famous quality of life, but also a vital sector of the Idaho's economy, giving you all the more reason to support one or more nonprofits.
On May 2, Idaho Gives. Will you?
Lynn Hoffmann is executive director of the Idaho Nonprofit Center. Idaho Gives can be found on Facebook, Twitter and at idahogives.org. It is underwritten by St. Luke's Health System and Idaho Central Credit Union.