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Area nonprofits have been building buzz for weeks to raise a collective $6 million on Tuesday, May 3. The 24-hour, online fundraising campaign The Big Give SA is just one week away and dozens of participants showed up in force on the steps of City Hall today to demonstrate the wide range of nonprofit organizations that will be seeking support.
Through social media, email blasts, and various events around the city – many of which have already started – more than 1,050 nonprofits from 14 counties in south central Texas will campaign for donations starting next Tuesday from midnight through 11:59 p.m.
Anyone can donate a minimum of $10 to any of the participating organizations during the event on The Big Give website with a credit or debit card, all working toward raising $1.7 million more than last year’s total of $4.3 million.
“In this 24-hour period … we’re going to show cities across the country that south central Texas can partner with public and private sectors to make our community a better place to work, live and play,” said Scott McAninch, executive director of the San Antonio Nonprofit Council.
Staff and volunteers from the region’s various nonprofit organizations wore costumes, carried signs, held balloons, and even a few animals showed up including birds from the San Antonio Zoo and a horse from Oasis Acres Equine Assisted Therapy Center in La Vernia, Texas.
Mayor Ivy Taylor, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, state Rep. Diego Bernal (D-123), state Sen. Jose Menéndez (D-26), Councilman Alan Warrick (D2), and Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) were also present to show their support for the thousands of organizations who will participate in the day of giving.
“Events like this build camaraderie within the community, encourage participation and donation at all levels, and increase visibility of the nonprofit sector,” Taylor said.
Beyond raising awareness of the various charitable causes found in the region, she said, The Big Give “also builds capacity for all these organizations that are doing important work.”
Along with community donations, the element of friendly competition makes The Big Give more exciting. With the help of several sponsors, participating nonprofits have the opportunity to win extra prize money in a series of other small competitions throughout the day. Santikos Entertainment, this year’s title sponsor, has put $250,000 toward prize money and operations for The Big Give.
Taylor and Wolff also announced that the City and Bexar County will donate an additional $1,000 prize each to the San Antonio nonprofit with the largest number of unique donors on May 3. All proceeds from a Fiesta medal raffle hosted by Warrick on May 2 will give District 2 nonprofits in The Big Give another opportunity to win extra cash for their causes as well. Those interested can pick up tickets at the District 2 field office, 4458 E. Houston St.
“(The nonprofit sector) is a powerful economic driver in our community and one that’s producing as much wealth and as much goodness in the community as anybody is doing,” Wolff said, turning to the sea of nonprofit advocates. “We could not survive without you.”
To stay up to date with your favorite organization’s progress and competitions, check back on The Big Give website, which tracks donations throughout the day. Most nonprofits will also be on their respective social media accounts announcing which competitions they are participating in.
Now in its third year, The Big Give SA has already seen notable increases in community involvement, both in the number of participating nonprofits and in the amount of donors and donations received. In its first year, 467 nonprofits and 21,000 donors participated, followed by 882 nonprofits and just under 40,000 donors in year two.
This year, The Big Give organizers are striving for 45,000-50,000 donors.
“(The amount of) donors is always the bigger goal for us because we want to show that it doesn’t matter at what level you can give, it’s just that giving is important,” said nonprofit consultant John Burnam.
Many nonprofits rely on a small, select group of wealthy donors.
“We really want to break that mold,” he said. “San Antonio is not known to be a wealthy community, but it’s a generous community, so our goal is to show everybody that when you bring all of those resources together – even when you have 50,000, $10 gifts at a time – as a community we can move mountains.”
Disclosure: The Rivard Report became a nonprofit this year and it will campaigning for donations during The Big Give SA.
Top image: Dozens of local and regional nonprofits gather at City Hall to show their enthusiasm to take part in The Big Give. Photo by Scott Ball.