‘Valley Gives’ set to launch Tuesday

  • Andrew Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Conservancy takes a plunge into the river at Sportsman's Marina in Hadley for Valley Gives Day on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. The 24-hour day of giving for 2018 is set to take place Tuesday. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 4/27/2018 11:39:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON — For the sixth straight year, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts is set to kick off “Valley Gives,” the 24-hour marathon event that provides community members an opportunity to donate to local nonprofits.

The event will begin at midnight Tuesday morning and will last until 11:59 p.m. that same day. Those interested are encouraged to visit the Valley Gives website to choose from a list of 420 nonprofits and donate.

In the past five years, the event has raised $8.6 million, and this year the organization expects to see another $1 million donated, said Sara Talcott, spokeswoman for the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

“Valley Gives was started as a way to get nonprofits in the Valley into online giving. It’s been an incredibly effective model,” Talcott said. “It’s an easy way to give back to the organizations that you care about.”

Michael DeChiara, coordinator of Valley Gives, said that one of primary goals is to connect the larger community with one another.

“Everybody has an organization that they care about,” DeChiara said. “This is one day to act in unison with people in the Valley; it’s very powerful.”

Some of the major organizations involved in the day of giving range from nonprofits like the Holyoke Community College Foundation to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

“The event really runs together from the big guys all the way down to the small guys,” Talcott said.

She said that this is the last year of the current 24-hour donation format. Premiering in 2019, the organization will revamp Valley Gives to take the focus off of just one day a year of philanthropy and instead try to make it a yearlong effort.

“Essentially we are looking ahead at the next big thing, to encourage philanthropy 365 days a year,” Talcott said. “As of right now, we’re still at a nascent stage in that process.”

To fully give nonprofits the training they need in online fundraising, the focus of giving needs to be taken off of just one day a year, DeChiara said.

“We’re focusing on Valley Gives and the evolution of it,” DeChiara said. “That is the challenge: ‘How do we be more effective growing organizations than just keeping it the same for the entirety of the year?’”

DeChiara said that even if members of the community don’t have the money to give to a nonprofit during the event, they should still support the cause.

“What we have really been trying to do the last four years is to focus on the words, ‘it’s about the Valley giving,’” DeChiara said. “If people don’t have money to give, then they should volunteer at a nonprofit or spread the word about the event.”

Even if someone has only a few dollars to spare, the organization encourages people to donate anyway, since small donations add up.

“When we look at the numbers, sometimes it’s the 200 individual donations of $10 that really make the most impact,” Talcott said. “All of these small donations really add up to something big.”

Interested supporters can donate at valley-gives.org.


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