“In order to have a vibrant community you must we just don’t slow down enough to think about have a vibrant nonprofit community. Texoma Gives is a way that we can all come together and it puts a focus on it for 16 hours and says this is really important,” says Leslie Schaffner, President and CEO of the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation. Their mission is to promote philanthropy in our community, and this is the fourth year of the Texoma Gives event. Texoma Gives is a 16 hour online giving event, in which folks can give using software designed and made available by the foundation. This year it will take place on September 12th. “It is really designed to be an opportunity for nonprofits all around our region to utilize the infrastructure that the Community Foundation has set up as a way for nonprofits to reach their donors and tell their stories and hopefully gain a lot of donations,” she said. The Texoma Gives totals for the 2018 event were $1,224,445.
“It is an excellent way for nonprofits to raise money, and it is also getting to a younger group of people. A lot of donors don’t do it online. They write a check or meet face to face to donate to the organization they believe in, but as society begins to change, we have younger donors that want to make an impact. So, you can do it on your phone or do it on your computer and it is quick and easy,” Schaffner explained.
“Prizes! Prizes! Prizes are a big part of this,” Leslie said with a smile, “There have been many generous people that make the prizes possible. We start at 6 am and go to 10 pm, and there are various prizes all day with various criteria. One prize may be for the most unique donors for a time period or for the most money raised in a time period. Those are cash prizes that go to the various organizations.” There has been a change this year with the prizes based on the individual organization’s budget size. This way the nonprofits will be in competition with other nonprofits their size, so there won’t be a really small group competing with a multimillion- dollar organization which keeps things fair. There will be 4 different categories based on the size of the organizations. Each one of those categories will have 4 recipients of the prizes and that will be added to their total that will show up at the end of the day. However; there are some prizes that won’t be announced until the final celebration on September 24th at the wrap-up party. The bulk of the prize money will be awarded on the 12th and there is approximately 75 to 80 thousand dollars in prizes. The Fain Foundation, the Bridwell Foundation, and the Edwards Foundation put the money together for the prizes.
“People should get involved in this because nonprofits do so much for the community. I think a lot of people would be surprised to know how much of what happens in the community is because of not for profit organizations. A lot of time it, but we know it happens, and we know it gets done,” Leslie said. “So many nonprofits operate on strictly volunteers or are very short-staffed. With no staff or a small staff, it is hard to get the things that need to be done including raising money to keep the organization running. Texoma Gives is an opportunity for that fundraising piece to perhaps be a little bit easier,” she continued. “One thing we have done differently this year is that we lowered the minimum donation to $10. Previously it was $25, and that can be a stretch for some people, but hopefully that lowered minimum donation will help with those organizations that struggle to get bigger donations.” Donors can go on the Texoma Gives website and read about these organizations. If you know you have an interest in pets, education, or the arts, you can see all the nonprofits in your community that revolve around the cause that you support, and you may find a whole new organization that fits your passion. The deadline for organizations has passed to be a part of this year’s Texoma Gives, but next year is always a possibility. The organizations that take part in the event are from 6 counties in Oklahoma and 18 counties in Texas, so almost everyone can find a nonprofit they would like to support and help further the causes of these organizations. You can go to texomagives.org to see all the organizations that have signed up. There are over 200 this year, and you can search for your favorite organization by town or by subject and use your debit/credit card to donate.
– Cindy Kahler Thomas