Embracing Valley Gives Day

 In Blog

Last year on Valley Gives Day, I took time out of my day to make donations online to roughly 10 nonprofits in the region. It was incredibly fun and felt like Christmas.

I visited the Valley Gives sites of clients such as Springfield College and Holyoke Community College, Westfield State University, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and Glenmeadow Retirement, and I made instant donations that raised their giving tallies. My giving also boosted their numbers in the various Valley Gives competitions, as nonprofits can receive bonus prizes from Valley Gives in categories such as most dollars raised or most unique donors.

Almost as quickly as I made my gifts, I received thank you emails and letters, and while that was fun, knowing I was supporting organizations I believe in was far more rewarding.

Valley Gives is hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, which seeks to improve the quality of life for all in Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties by meeting the charitable needs of the Pioneer Valley for generations to come through smart, effective use of our region’s business and individual charitable resources.

This year, Valley Gives Day is Dec. 10. It is the third Valley Gives Day in the Pioneer Valley, and I understand while it was to have been a three-year pilot program, ending this year, the unique giving opportunity has been extended. The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ Board of Trustees has extended the program based on what has been learned since Valley Gives’ inception in 2012. In the summer of 2015, expect an announcement with specific plans to host a 24-hour Give Day in 2016.

In the past three years, Valley Gives has strengthened nonprofits in our community, and they look forward to what they can achieve in the future, with the input of the current participants.

Since 2012, Valley Gives has raised over $3 million for community nonprofits. Last year, I was one of 11,640 individuals and business sponsors who donated over $2 million through Valley Gives. This year I have 463 nonprofits to choose from.

When a donor comes to the Valley Gives website and makes a gift to his or her favorite nonprofits between midnight and 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 10, that gift will be added up along with all the thousands of other gifts being made to nonprofits in western Massachusetts throughout the day. At the end of 24 hours, the nonprofits that have the most unique donors will be rewarded with special grants from a prize pool that consists of up to $225,000.

Throughout the day, donors will be randomly chosen, and their gift will be amplified with a “Golden Ticket,” adding anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to support their favorite nonprofit. Over 100 different nonprofits will receive this bonus. There are several other bonus prizes that donors can help win for their favorite nonprofits: a complete list of potential prizes are on the Valley Gives website’s Prizes and Rules page.

I already started my Valley Gives giving this year. Along with Ruth Griggs of RC Communications and Dave Sweeney of viz-bang!, I helped organize a first-time video contest that Valley Gives held to help participating nonprofits raise more awareness about their work.

And you can be sure that, in two days, on Dec. 10, I will be busy at my computer, visiting nonprofits through the Valley Gives site and making donations.

This year, Valley Gives is challenging donors. It wants to encourage twice as many donors, helping twice as many nonprofits and raising more than $2 million.

I hope reading this blog inspires you to become a new donor, doubling my impact.

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