Around the country, communities are coming together on #GivingTuesday. Our community leaders range from volunteer leaders to community foundations to large nonprofit organizations. What they have in common is a belief that bringing the community together around the spirit of collective generosity on #GivingTuesday has ripple effects far beyond the day. In this series, we’re sharing some of the highlights of #GivingTuesday community campaigns.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Q&A with Kelly Brooks, Founder of Share Charlotte
Q. Why did you launch Share Charlotte?
A. I founded SHARE Charlotte in 2012 after struggling to navigate the local nonprofit scene. SHARE launched as a website to become a local one-stop shop for members of the Charlotte community to find ways to plug in and have an impact in our City. We’ve really let the community guide us in our initiatives. When SHARE Charlotte began, we could not have predicted a movement like #GivingTuesdayCLT. It has been an indication that the people of our community really care and want to be part of a collective action to make this city better for everyone.
Q. Tell us about your organization and why you decided to lead a #GivingTuesday community campaign.
A. SHARE Charlotte makes it fun and easy to invest in our local community by offering simple ways for neighbors, more than 400 nonprofits and local businesses, to come together through good. Through its signature campaigns #GivingTuesdayCLT and SummerSHARE, SHARE Charlotte raises awareness about local nonprofits and increases the level of community engagement. SHARE Charlotte believes that by doing good, we will create a stronger, happier Charlotte. #GivingTuesdayCLT is a unique opportunity for the city to come together to give how and what they can to the causes that mean the most to them. SHARE rallies the community together to do give back in creative, fun and inspiring ways. Many people don’t know what #GivingTuesday is and we’ve made it relevant in a hyperlocal way that people can engage.
#GivingTuesday is a natural fit with our mission.
Q. What's your goal? How are you building awareness and excitement?
A. #GivingTuesdayCLT’s goal is $10 million dollars. We get nonprofits engaged by inspiring and encouraging them to collaborate, buff up their marketing skills, get creative and create micro-campaigns with specific goals. #GivingTuesdayCLT is a fresh way/conversation to ask for funds, especially at the end of the year. There is a campaign website where all giving traffic is directed (GivingTuesdayCLT.org) where Charlotteans can search causes, constituencies, organizations, etc. to get plugged in and connected and to then also allow them to donate money, pledge volunteer time or buy the goods nonprofits need to keep their offices and programs running. SHARE leverages local businesses for marketing support and manages robust media pitching and pr strategies as well as intensive and in-depth content and social media programming.
Q. How do you build engagement and excitement for the #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign?
A. We kick off our campaign with a community-wide event called the Celebration of Local GOODs. Visitors can sample local beers, shop local merchants all while supporting #GivingTuesdayCLT and Charlotte's nonprofits. On Nov. 28 Google Fiber hosts our campaign Headquarters and we will have on-site volunteer activities, live performances and nonprofits setting up shop.
Q. Is there a campaign that pulls on your heartstrings?
A. There are so many, but here are a few examples.
- This year two nonprofit partners, American Red Cross - Western Carolina Chapter and YMCA of Greater Charlotte are hosting a community-wide blood drive in hopes of collecting 500 pints of blood! This will be the largest blood drive in Charlotte ever.
- Two of our #GivingTuedayCLT partners, Elon Homes & Schools for Children and MyCamera Charlotte have collaborated in a very unique way to help other partner nonprofits during the campaign. MyCamera is an organization founded by Nathan Villaume which provides photography services for nonprofits while working to provide opportunity through photography for at-risk kids.
- One of MyCamera's fall interns, Josh, is a 20-year-old resident of Elon Homes. He aged out of the foster care system at 18 and came to Nathan wanting to learn more about photography. Nathan provided him with a camera and opportunities for shooting events and nonprofit clients. (As an aside, he will be helping Nathan with some requests for GTCLT!) He's since told Nathan that he "doesn't feel right without a camera in my hands." Elon Homes has been serving at-risk children in the area for over 100 years. Josh routinely goes on photoshoots for MyCamera. This would be a great story on Elon Homes, the service they provide to at-risk kids, who are without families to care for them and MyCamera, who helps organizations like Elon Homes through photography, an also provides opportunities and exposure to a new skill like photography for people like Josh.
- This year we've organized 18 crowdfunders, individuals and influencers, to champion and lead their own crowdfunding campaigns in support of a nonprofit that touches them. They will set up a website connected to the nonprofit, and share the link with their audience (email, social, network, etc.) in order to come together to raise funds with a common goal.