Centre Gives online fundraising event set for next week

Looking to give to a local charity, but don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home? You’re in luck.

The fourth annual Centre Gives is right around the corner, slated to begin Tuesday. The annual 36-hour event, which has brought millions into the nonprofit organizations of the county, allows the ease of online giving to organizations that may not typically accept those kinds of donations.

More than 100 organizations are participating this year, Centre Foundation spokeswoman Irene Miller said. Along with being a donation event, Centre Gives allows for training for nonprofit volunteers who may not be web savvy.

During March and April, the foundation held four Centre Gives Success Series events for volunteers to attend, she said. About 100 people were trained in the finer points of social media, effective storytelling and donor appreciation, teaching volunteers how to take advantage of social media platforms to promote their organizations and thank donors in a timely way.

The event also allows nonprofits to reach out beyond their normal core of donors, she said, working through a community event to educate more donors about what the organization does and inviting them for support.

Launched in 2012, she said, the idea was not only to shine the spotlight on the good work nonprofits do in their communities, but also give an avenue to accept credit card donations. Between donations and assistance from the foundation, the event has raised about $2 million for nonprofits, and the number continues to rise.

Centre Gives also partners with the online giving event Give Local America, Miller said, which has helped raise more than $50 million across the country.

“It’s a great national and countywide time to put the spotlight on the good work that our local nonprofits are doing in our community,” she said.

The page automatically goes live starting 6 a.m. Tuesday, she said. From there, visitors will be able to select the nonprofit they want to donate to as if they were shopping, dropping their selected organizations into a cart. Minimum donation is $25.

Organizations can also earn $25,000 in prizes based on the number of unique donors in a given time period. This levels the playing field, she said, by not pitting large organizations against small organizations.

Prizes can also be earned by completing contests through the Centre Foundation Facebook page, she said, with an additional $1,000 to be given out.

“It’s really amazing what you can do when you get people excited through social media,” Miller said.