October 23, 2018
 
Pioneer Valley Nonprofits Raise Nearly $1.7 in One-Day Effort

May 4, 2018 — More than 400 nonprofits in the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts joined forces on Tuesday to raise $1,697,604 in an annual one-day effort called Valley Gives, 12% more than the total raised last year.

Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM), which organizes the event, said, "The day felt like a holiday for the region. Such an extraordinary outpouring of generosity is compelling evidence of the deep devotion people have for this place ---- and for each other.

"Generosity is clearly part of this Valley's DNA, and we're committed to continuing to develop and expand community philanthropy in our region."

Valley Gives, which relies on online giving, aims to continue to build awareness of nonprofits in the area, as well as encourage philanthropy.

The sizeable increase in funds raised this year was attributed to nonprofits becoming more adept in the digital age, according to Sara Talcott, CFWM's communications and marketing director. In addition the foundation made a conscious to promote and raise awareness of Valley Gives through digital and social media.

"We upgraded our giving platform to GiveGab, which streamlined many processes and delivered an improved user experience for donors on Valley Gives Day," said Talcott. "Pre-event, we also highlighted more VG nonprofits and their missions through our social media channels."

The $1,697,604 raised, which included $1,345,298 in individual donations and $352,305 in matching gifts, will support 408 organizations. Last year, Valley Gives generated $1,509,168.

This year, more people donated and they also gave more. A total of 18,139 individual donations were made, up 4.2% from last year, and the average gift this year was $74.17, up 11% from last year's $66.79.

A total of 3,541 donors this were classified as new donors this year, meaning this was the first time that they’d donated to the specific nonprofit they gave to on Tuesday.

CFWM also awarded $97,360 in prize money to organizations throughout the day.

The Hitchcock Center in Amherst, which seeks to foster greater awareness and understanding of the environment, has participated in every Valley Gives days since it launched in 2012. Marcus Simon, development coordinator for the nonprofit, said, "It's been an important part of our annual fundraising ---- about 10% of our Valley Gives donors each year are brand new to us, helping us to expand our visibility to our philanthropically-minded community members."

"Participating in Valley Gives has legitimized our organization-which is vital when we are listed next to more established nonprofits," said Mollie Hartford, program director at It Takes a Village in Williamsburg, which offers free postpartum support to families with infants and young children living in western Massachusetts.

A complete list of participating organizations can be found at Valley Gives.

The Pioneer Valley spans Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties, from Holland and Brimfield in the east to Tolland in the west, to Granby and Chester in the north.

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