This week marks the kickoff of the third annual Give Big CHQ campaign in Chautauqua County. This online fundraising event, hosted jointly by the Chautauqua Region and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundations, will offer a platform where our community members can graciously donate to nonprofit organizations of their choice.
Normally reserved for 24 hours, this year’s expanded campaign will run from June 1-11 in hopes of reaching new heights in fundraising for our community.
The online platform located at givebigchq.org allows community members to donate essential dollars that will make an incredible difference to the nonprofit of choice. With more than 95 participating nonprofit organizations this year you are bound to find your favorites and some new faces to support.
“Since this year’s event stretches 11 days instead of our normal 24-hours we have been working closely with our nonprofits and small business communities to find new and exciting ways to engage every member of our community,” noted Sarah Shelters, communications officer for the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
The results from the 2019 campaign were staggering. In just a 24-hour window there were 1,600 donors to 97 different nonprofit organizations resulting in a grand donation total of $184,193.10.
It is apparent when reading over those numbers that the people of Chautauqua County have big hearts. With eleven times the length of duration for this campaign it will be heartwarming to see the results of this year’s campaign. This campaign arrives at a very critical time for so many of our neighboring nonprofits among us.
“In addition to raising much needed dollars for our nonprofits, we hope that this year’s event is an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate our community,” remarked Ms. Shelters.
With a slew of organizations crossing over many facets of our community it is amazing to see how simple support for them can be. Whether the organizations are human service based; organizations that support children and young adults; libraries; arts and entertainment; the environment, and countless others, you will see them represented in this fundraising pursuit.
Ease of Accessibility
As this fundraising campaign occurs online it is a breeze for you to support and celebrate your favorite local nonprofits while social distancing. All you need is a computer, smart phone, or a tablet with access to the internet to make a donation.
You are able to click on links for a nonprofit of your choice and read through their mission along with the causes that they will put essential dollars towards.
In some instances, these represent the ability for entertainment to be brought to the county, education to be funded properly, animals to be fully equipped in shelters, and so much more, including none other than the ability to reopen post-pandemic.
Tory Irgang, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Executive Director stated that “COVID-19 has created ripples of negative impact in the nonprofit sector. First, organizations on the frontlines saw increased demand for their services among the most vulnerable residents of our community. Next, they experienced lost revenue from cancelled fundraising events or diminished program attendance. Now, they are experiencing increased costs to reopen safely with supplies and equipment to keep employees and clients safe.”
Also, she noted that “the next wave we anticipate is a reduction in government grants and contracts and greater competition for a reduced pool of philanthropic dollars.”
These challenges will be overcome with the compassion and strength of will in our communities.
Creativity in the Face of Challenges
With such unexpected challenges brought onto our nonprofit sector in Chautauqua County it is imperative to reach out and support our friends and neighbors in our communities. They are part of organizations that have helped make Chautauqua County a great place to live and raise our families, and now they are struggling to continue to exist.
“We have been blown away by how creative many of our organizations have been despite the many challenges facing our community right now,” Shelters said.
Each organization is tasked with creating a fundraising page in which they can teach potential donors about their mission and the causes that they are seeking to support through donations. These organizations will be running social media campaigns simultaneously to provide donors beneficial information about their ongoing causes.
As the pandemic is bearing down on our lives and devastating local economies across the nation, it is inspiring to see the drive of our local nonprofit leaders who never quit. Many have had to adapt their operations to successfully stay open through various restrictions, while others have been brainstorming tirelessly behind closed doors preparing to hit the ground running as soon as they are able to open.
“Now more than ever our nonprofits and small businesses need our support,” stated Shelters.
As we learn of more cancellations and of major events being rescheduled, it is important to take note of a reminder from Ms. Shelters. “Many of our community events are sponsored by local businesses and that business owners and employees generously support our nonprofits through volunteer efforts, monetary support and product donations.”
With this online platform campaign your donations will breathe life into many of our struggling organizations across the county.
Making Every Dollar Count
In a very gracious gesture to help make this year’s campaign get as many dollars to organizations as possible CRCF Executive Director Irgang outlined additional support from the two foundations. “To guarantee that every dollar that is given benefits the organizations directly, the Community Foundations will cover the usual 2% platform fee on the website for all donations during June 1-11,” she reported.
Many of these organizations and business owners have been staples in our community for decades and they have always welcomed you in as if you were family. We are a tight knit community and during normal times we just expect these organizations to be there for us and for those in need. The pandemic has changed things drastically. Perhaps some community members have not been able to find a good way to support the larger community during the pandemic. The GiveBigCHQ event is a great way to have even a small donation make a big difference.
A special spotlight will shine on local businesses as another part of this expanded campaign. A fantastic showcase has been announced in partnership with the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce where the foundations will be spotlighting locally owned small businesses from June 1-11.
“In order to remain a viable community, we need to all work together and support each other,” Ms. Shelters proclaimed.
Take a moment to browse over the vast list of organizations, read their missions, and learn something new about our community. Many of our friends, family, and colleagues work with nonprofit organizations and they would be happy to discuss how important their organizations are in supporting a flourishing community.
Reach out to them; ask how you can assist. Visit their social media pages and share their posts. Give back to your community during the next 11 days so that we can all have a brighter future together as we watch Chautauqua County recover and ascend to new levels of success.
You can make your donations today by visiting givebigchq.org and make sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram @GiveBigCHQ or #GiveBigCHQ.