In its eighth year, Give Local Midland raises funds for nonprofits with 24-hour online campaign

May 4 marks the eighth annual Give Local Midland, a 24-hour online fundraising campaign to benefit local nonprofit endowment funds. The one-day giving event began in 2014, and has brought in over $1.7 million to local organizations, securing long-term sustainability for many. 

Midland Area Community Foundation Director of Development Emily Schafer oversees the event.

“It’s always the first Tuesday in May, and it’s a one-day, 24-hour giving day,” says Schafer. “It’s primarily all online. It’s very social-driven. People share about it, there’s fun prizes for nonprofits to participate in, and those are listed on the website too. Organizations can participate in prize pools to get some extra dollars too, and it makes it fun. It's kind of like a friendly competition with nonprofits.”

Give Local Midland starts at 12:01 a.m. on May 4 and ends at 11:59 p.m. the same day. Over 50 nonprofit endowment funds participate in the program. Some of the prizes offered for nonprofit participation include cash awards for the most donations during the early bird hours, coffee break time, lunch break, happy hour, night owl, and more. There are also awards given to agencies for most creative campaigns, and the first-timer award for the most first-time donors.

Schafer says the fundraising campaign really helps nonprofits formed under IRS code 501(c)(3), city/county governments, and public schools focus on long-term sustainability by building their endowed funds. The Midland Area Community Foundation and Donor Advised Fundholders provide a matching pool of $71,500.

Last year's event was the most successful yet, raising over $322,000 in donations and $79,000 in matched dollars. On average, each agency received about $6,000 for their endowment funds. SOS Animal Rescue, pictured above, have participated.With endowment funds, agencies can add donations to their foundation-managed investment funds, withdrawing money from the spendable portion of their fund when needed. Endowment funds grow in perpetuity.

Schafer says last year was the most successful event yet, raising over $322,000 in donations and $79,000 in matched dollars. On average, each agency received about $6,000 for their endowment funds from over 1,000 donors, nearly 400 of which were new.

“We did a bit of a pivot last year; the previous six years, all of the donations and the match dollars went to the permanent portion of the endowed funds,” says Schafer. “Last year, we put it in the portion of the fund that’s called spendable, where the nonprofits can have immediate access to the funds if they needed it. Just knowing that so many nonprofits had to cancel their in-person events and fundraising campaigns, we wanted to make sure that we were nimble so they could be able to use the funds immediately.”

Some of the 50+ participating agencies include Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region, Midland Center for the Arts, Humane Society of Midland County, Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, Midland Business Alliance Foundation, and two new participants: Midland Northeast Little League and Washington Woods Senior Living.

Feedback from past participants has been positive, according to Schafer. 

“We’ve heard from nonprofits that they really appreciate that this is one day out of the year that they can focus on long-term sustainability,” she says. “So often, nonprofits are focused on having to fundraise for today, that it’s hard to focus on tomorrow. Having an endowed fund really allows them to focus more on the future.”

There is a minimum of $5 online donations via MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express credit cards on givelocalmidland.org, but donors can still give offline donations too. Cash/check donations will be accepted on May 4 or before from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Midland Area Community Foundation (76 Ashman Circle, Midland). 

Mailed donations must be postmarked by April 27 to count towards the match pool. Donors can give to multiple nonprofits during the campaign, utilizing the site’s multi-give donation form.

The Midland annual giving day also coincides with two other local areas launching their own similar fundraisers — Bay County and Isabella County. 

“The more we can regionally promote it, the better,” says Schafer. “The community has been incredibly resilient in this time, and we’re hopeful for another incredible year.”

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.
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