Giving Hearts Day is coming

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Local organizations and individuals will be participating in a Giving Hearts Day Open House on Feb. 11 planned to take place in the City Plaza Mall. Local non-profits included this year are CHI Mercy Hospital Foundation, Devils Lake Area Foundation, Devils Lake Public Schools Development fund, The Hope Center, Lake Region State College Foundation, North Dakota Hands & Voices and St. Joseph Catholic School. Representatives of these organizations will be on hand Thursday to talk about what they plan to use their funds for and to help you make a donation.

With 330 charities participating in Giving Hearts Day, donors will easily find causes that speak to their hearts. The event is the most powerful single giving day for nonprofits in the region. In its ninth year, this 24-hour give-a-thon for charity will take place Thursday, February 11.

A record $6.9 million and 30,528 individual donations to nonprofits were made last year.

Giving Hearts Day was organized in 2008 by Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation as the first one-day “virtual” charity fundraising event of its kind in the region. The Alex Stern Family Foundation joined as an event host in 2014. Additional sponsors are Bush Foundation, Gate City Bank and Scheels. Giving Hearts Day is a systematic ‘practice event’ for charities to use principles taught at the foundations’ fundraising training – which virtually all participants attend.

“We teach a donor-centered approach for fundraising at our Impact Institute,” says Pat Traynor, president of Dakota Medical and Impact foundations. “For more than a decade, we’ve been teaching a framework that can be easily adapted to make charities successful at funding their missions year-round. Donors find the day deeply rewarding too, as they see the impact of their gifts multiplied and know they are equipping charities to perform important work in our communities.”

Gifts totaling $6,967,612 for 287 charities and charitable giving funds were received through Giving Hearts Day 2015.

Dakota Medical Foundation or other generous community donors match donations of $10 or more at impactgiveback.org up to at least $4,000 for each nonprofit. (Exceptions to the online requirement are made for gifts $1,000 or greater, allowing donors to provide these sizeable donations by check directly to the charity by noon on Giving Hearts Day.)

The number of charities in Giving Hearts Day has greatly expanded, building by 20 to 30 percent annually in recent years. This day has become paramount in raising community awareness about charity missions and instilling donor confidence in giving online. The event expanded westward to Bismarck in 2012, followed by Dickinson and Williston in subsequent years. It now spans all of North Dakota.

Gifts to local charities come from donors across the United States and many foreign nations. Giving Hearts Day delivered $4,645 per minute to charities last year.

Looking back on its history, Giving Hearts Day raised $479,000 for local charities in its pilot year. Donations grew to $983,000 in 2009 and topped the million-dollar mark in 2010.

Contributions are made at impactgiveback.org, a one-stop comprehensive guide to nonprofit organizations developed by DMF and Impact so that donors can easily learn about charities, make donations and find volunteer opportunities online. The site profiles hundreds of charities and has been used to raise $22.7 million for Giving Hearts Day since 2008.

Additional background

Giving Hearts Day provides an efficient platform, compared to events that involve extensive planning time and expenses for a venue, food, speakers and entertainment – consuming a considerable portion of donations that would otherwise fund the good work of charities.

•Donors can easily give any time during the day with just a few minutes of time, without regard to the weather. They have the freedom to direct their donations to causes reflecting their values and doing work personally important to them.

•Each contribution is tax-deductible.

•The 24-hour window creates excitement and urgency that spurs people to action.

•Each charity promotes the day of giving to donors and potential supporters.

•There is strong public awareness for the day. For any single organization, the cost is minimal, but the choir of voices for giving is powerful in the community.

•DMF provides matching funds as an incentive to give to health-related charities in the region, and stages a media campaign to promote Giving Hearts Day across North Dakota and western Minnesota.

•DMF and Impact train organizations in how to raise their own match dollars from private donors and businesses to add to their success.

•All organizations participating in Giving Hearts Day have met participation requirements, including Impact Foundation fundraising training and commitment to other performance and accountability standards. This ensures that the impact of Giving Hearts Day will last beyond this single event.

TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics raised the highest amount in 2015 among large nonprofits, with $315,225 through online donations, match funding and incentive awards. FirstChoice Clinic was second, raising $300,467. It also received an award for contributions from the most N.D. cities, 115. Oak Grove Lutheran School was the third highest fundraiser at $278,565, and also received an award for contributions from the most U.S. states, 31.

The Arts Partnership was awarded the top honor in the small nonprofit group for raising $110,855. Second place was awarded to Haley’s Hope, which raised $87,116. Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home was the third highest fundraiser at $69,687.