Nonprofits seeking donations during ‘Georgia Gives Day’

pramati@macon.comDecember 5, 2012 

Taking a cue from other states across the country, Georgia is hosting the first “Georgia Gives Day” on Thursday to try to raise money for nonprofit organizations around the state.

Julia Wood, director of donor services for the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, said 87 midstate nonprofits are participating in the 16 counties the foundation serves. By focusing charitable donations on a specific day, other states have raised millions of dollars spread across multiple agencies.

“This is the first time it’s ever been done in Georgia,” she said. “If you look at Minnesota on their ‘Give to the Max’ day, they raised $16 million this year.”

Wood said a website set up by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, www.GAGivesDay.org, is already up and running and has raised more than $413,000 going into Thursday’s event. The website will be up after Thursday so people can continue to make donations if they wish.

“People can go to the website and search for the nonprofits they are interested in by city or by organization,” she said. “The money goes directly into (the nonprofit’s) bank account.”

As part of its contributions to the event, Wood said the foundation has gotten funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and will award $1,000 to one nonprofit each in Macon and Milledgeville during random drawings at 9 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.

In addition, the Community Foundation also will award bonus prizes of $2,500 each to the nonprofit in Macon and Milledgeville that gets the most people to donate to it.

Macon’s Habitat For Humanity is one of the organizations that is taking part in Georgia Gives Day. Development Director Jim Mercer said he doesn’t know what to expect in terms of how much money will be raised.

“But I always say that one more than the day before is still a success,” he said.

Any funds raised on Georgia Gives Day will go to Habitat’s revitalization efforts in south Macon’s Lynmore Estates neighborhood, a program that began in 2005 to build or rehabilitate 46 homes.

Mercer said Habitat has already completed work on 29 of those homes, and it plans to build a new home within the next few months and refurbish three block duplex homes.

In addition, Habitat also hopes to update the weatherization on 21 homes in the neighborhood.

Mercer said Habitat’s capital campaign uses social media, online giving, grants and special events to solicit money. The Georgia Gives Day concept is another way for the organization to get needed funds.

“People think Habitat is a good investment,” he said. “They like what we’re doing for the community.”

Wood said because this is a new concept, organizers don’t have a target amount they hope to raise.

“We don’t really have an idea,” she said. “But other states have raised several million. ... We’re hoping everyone in (Middle Georgia) will support the nonprofit they love and help us raise even more money.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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