Though divided by our vast geography, the perceived divide between urban and rural, and even our politics, there’s one thing we can count on to unite us: Idahoans love their nonprofits. And with good reason.
A recent Idaho Statesman report on nonprofits in the Treasure Valley concluded that nonprofits are doing a lot with a little money, prioritizing the delivery of services and being fiscally responsible with respect to overhead. None of this was surprising to people who work in the nonprofit sector or who are engaged with nonprofits as volunteers, board members and donors.
The article also pointed out that Idaho is one of the highest-ranking states for volunteerism; we’re also near the top of the pack in terms of giving, taking into consideration average income. We should be proud of the generous spirit that is inherent to Idaho. That generosity and pride will take center stage once again this year on Thursday — the fourth annual Idaho Gives day.
If you had told me four years ago that we could raise more than a million dollars for hundreds of nonprofits in 24 hours, I might have thought you were crazy. But in fact, raising just shy of $500,000 in 2013, and then almost $800,000 in 2014, followed by $1.1 million last year, Idaho Gives continues to surpass expectations and reaffirm that Idahoans want to make these investments in their communities.
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Why does Idaho Gives work and why do we continue to engage ever-larger numbers of donors and nonprofits around the state? I believe it’s the fact that Idaho Gives focuses attention on the amazing diversity of nonprofits in this state. You’d be hard pressed to review the list of nonprofits participating in Idaho Gives and conclude, “There’s nothing here that reflects my priorities.” Whether your interest is investing in schools, sustaining the arts, providing food and shelter to those in need, protecting rivers and lakes, addressing mental health issues, extending services to seniors or veterans, supporting those with chronic disease, or funding international development work, there’s truly something for everyone.
We give on this day because the organizations themselves create a heightened awareness of the many ways in which they fill the needs in our communities. It feels good to rally together around our nonprofits and show them some love.
Thursday, think about that organization that is doing the work that inspires you as it strives to make our world a better place. Check out idahogives.org to discover nonprofits that perhaps you’re not familiar with but that share your priorities. I also encourage businesses to get involved by using their communications platforms and customer reach to spread the word, or perhaps providing matching donations for employees.
Together we can do more. And we will on Thursday, May 5, when Idaho Gives.
Laura Smith is public relations manager at Idaho Central Credit Union and the vice president of the board of the Idaho Nonprofit Center.