Use the hashtag #GiveLocalBay2021 and you could earn prize money for your favorite local non-profit

Post a social media selfie on May 4 and you could earn money for your favorite charity.

May 4 is the annual 24-hour online giving campaign sponsored by the Bay Area Community Foundation. Last year, the Give Local Bay event raised a record-setting $144,00 for Bay and Arenac county non-profit organizations.

During the annual giving campaign, the Foundation offers contests that let organizations compete to win prize money. The Foundation also offers additional incentive money for organizations, depending upon how much each raises.

One of the most popular contests is for the best selfie.

“It’s a way that people can participate if they don’t have a lot to give, or even if they don’t have anything to give,” says Kirsten Wild, communications officer for the Foundation.

Posting on social media also helps spread the word about the event.

To participate in the selfie contest, sometime between midnight and 9 p.m. May 4 simply post your selfie with the hashtag #GiveLocalBay2021 and you’ll be entered into a drawing. The winner of the drawing gets to decide which fund gets the $250 prize.

The selfie contest is one of the most popular events of the 24-hour fundraiser, Wild says. “People get creative with it. If they’re donating to the Humane Society (of Bay County), so they grab their cat or dog for the photo. Then they post the reason why they’re giving to Give Local Bay.”

Visit the Prizes Page on the website for details about all the contests.

In a typical year, money raised during Give Local Bay is earmarked for the endowment

In 2020, due to the fundraising difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation allowed the beneficiaries to immediately use the money.

Since many agencies continue to face financial struggles in 2021, Wild says the Foundation is funneling all direct donations immediately to the organizations. Any money that comes from the matching fund or is earned through the contests will go into the agency’s endowment funds.

“We know they’re still affected and we want to support them during this time, but also encourage them to look ahead to the future,” Wild says.

Also new this year is an event at the Drydock Beer Garden, 113 Center Ave. Gates open at 4 p.m. and all money raised that night goes to an incentive pool that is split between the participating organizations. Visit the website to learn more about the Drydock event. 

Wild says the Foundation isn’t sure what to expect from the community this year.

“We were just blown away by the generosity last year,” Wild says. “We almost tripled the amount that we had raised in previous years. I don’t anticipate donations to be quite that high this year, but I’m hoping that we can still increase from previous years and really show these nonprofits some support.”