Helping Works

Idaho Gives: A guide to helping your favorite nonprofit on May 5

Idaho Gives is the annual day of online giving when donors can help support one or many of their favorite nonprofits in the Treasure Valley and throughout Idaho.

Most participating organizations are hosting cool events to help drive donations, including live performances, installations of community gardens, food truck rallies, volunteer efforts and more.

A couple example of events that popped up in our inbox: Arts organizations in the downtown Boise Cultural District will co-host an Arts Block Party on May 5 from 4-7 p.m. in the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy parking lot at the intersection of 9th and Myrtle. Participants include Ballet Idaho, Boise Art Museum, Boise Contemporary Theater, Boise Philharmonic, Boise Rock School, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Opera Idaho and the Morrison Center. Visitors can enjoy entertainment and performance samplings from the various organizations, not to mention a free bounce house for kids.

In coordination with Idaho Gives Day, Boise Parks & Recreation, Boise Urban Garden School and volunteers will work together to build a new school garden at Whittier Elementary, 301 N. 29th St. in Boise. The fun begins at 10 a.m.

And here’s something cool and creative: In honor of every donor who gives to The Cabin, the staff there will post a special poem or short story on The Cabin’s Facebook page.

Also, take note, a food truck rally for charity will take place in the parking lot of the Bogus Basin Sales office, 2600 Bogus Basin Road.

Find an online list of all the events on the Idaho Nonprofit Center website.

Get ready to donate for 24 hours straight on Thursday, May 5, or schedule your donation now at

Last year, the annual online day of giving raised $1.1 million for hundreds of charitable causes, including arts and culture, children and youth, humanitarian aid, education, animals, religious organizations and more. In addition to the donations they take in, participating organizations are eligible for cash bonuses provided by local supporters.

Amy Little, executive director of the Idaho Nonprofit Center, the host of Idaho Gives, said the event has grown consistently since it began. The number of donors has swelled from 6,192 in 2013 to 8,905 in 2015. The size of the average donation has grown from $57 in 2013 to $70 in 2015.

Little notes that there are fees attached to donations, which pay for things like bank costs and security measures for donors. Razoo, the nonprofit foundation that provides the online donation platform, charges a 6.9 percent fee, plus 30 cents for each donation. An additional 2 percent offsets the cost of organizing and running Idaho Gives. That includes staff time, printed promotional material and more.

Donors have the option to “boost” a donation by paying the roughly 8.9 percent in fees so that their chosen organization receives 100 percent of the donation. In any case, 100 percent of a donor’s gift is tax-deductible. The minimum donation is $10.

Online donation fees vary. Razoo fees fall into the mid-range.

“We do try to be transparent,” said Little. “Some online giving platforms will charge up to 10 percent.”’

Razoo’s focus on donor security made it an attractive option for the Idaho Nonprofit Center, said Little.

Similar donation drives take place in many states, including Oregon and Washington. The city of Seattle has its own online giving day, said Little.

The Idaho Statesman is among the Idaho Gives media sponsors.