This week, we’re behind the scenes with Amy Jacobs. Amy is one of the faces behind #GivingTuesday in Charlotte, NC. Here’s what Amy had to say about her experience so far championing #GivingTuesdayCLT.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, and how did you get involved with the social good world?
Amy: I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to Charlotte in 2001 after graduating from College. I worked in corporate banking for 15 years, but my passion has always been nonprofit work. I eventually left financial services and after joining a women’s collective giving group I met Kelly Brooks who was the founder of SHARE Charlotte. Loving what SHARE did, I volunteered for a year before becoming a full-time employee in 2015.
Q: What inspired you to get involved in #GivingTuesday?
Amy: SHARE Charlotte created #GivingTuesdayCLT as Charlotte’s local response to the global movement. Believing the rising tide lifts all boats, our founder saw an opportunity to rally SHARE’s local nonprofit partners to come together through this campaign. My first role at SHARE was to project-manage #GivingTuesdayCLT!
Q: What has worked well for #GivingTuesday in Charlotte so far?
Amy: #GivingTuesdayCLT has provided an annual opportunity to unite our community through good, bringing businesses, nonprofits and individuals together by celebrating generosity and encouraging giving! Check out our 2017 campaign video for more.
Q: What challenges have you faced in getting #GivingTuesday in Charlotte off the ground, or in scaling it?
Amy: General awareness of #GivingTuesday grows each year, but there is still a lot of education we do annually about what the global movement is, why it’s revolutionary and how it ties with what we celebrate locally through #GivingTuesdayCLT. We take every opportunity we get for road shows and speaking engagements to talk about it.
Q: What’s the potential or impact of the movement in Charlotte?
Amy: Charlotte has celebrated #GivingTuesdayCLT for four years so far, and through it have rallied the community to give almost $20M in value to local nonprofits. That’s a significant impact, and we expect the momentum to continue.
Q: What is one of your favourite #GivingTuesday stories?
Amy: From a business-engagement perspective, last year was the first year that local businesses began proactively reaching out to us to see how to get involved. One of them was a local restaurant group of 16 restaurants called Bottlecap Group. For #GivingTuesdayCLT, they had each of their restaurants choose a local nonprofit they wanted to support by giving 10% of their sales to a nonprofit of their choice. They collectively raised over $5,000!
From a nonprofit partner perspective, we work with a small nonprofit called Running Works that serves the homeless population through a running program. They ran a campaign for #GivingTuesdayCLT to raise $30,000 for public bus fares for their clients and ended up beating their goal and raising $32,000 through effective storytelling and leveraging social media. And #GivingTuesdayCLT was only a month after their annual fundraiser!
Q: What are you most looking forward to for #GivingTuesday 2018?
Amy: We’re shortening our campaign this year to one week (from the two that it’s been in the past) so that we can very intentionally focus our marketing strategy on building up to #GivingTuesdayCLT. This will help us to tell some really targeted stories and have a shorter more impactful time frame to give us the opportunity to have more storytelling impact. We’re also working on expanding business partnerships.
Q: One of the reasons the #GivingTuesday movement has been so successful globally is because of the vision and leadership of country and community leaders like you, who step up in the name of social good. What does leadership mean to you?
Amy: Leadership, especially in the context of a #GivingTuesday community campaign, means being willing to take risks, and being willing to fail. Because this is largely a social media movement there’s a lot of opportunity to do some fun and crazy things and see what sticks. Building a great team is also critical.
Q: Do you have any advice for leaders thinking about starting a #GivingTuesday movement in their country or city?
Amy: Yes – take the leap of faith and do it! First, build relationships with local nonprofits who want to be a part of your community’s #GivingTuesday. If some are already leveraging the day, learn from them to see how they’re doing it and ask if they would be willing to share best practices with other local nonprofits. Second, find the right team of passionate people who want to help bring #GivingTuesday to your community. Find a strong project manager to organize the troops. Finally, build relationships with local companies who are generous in your community. If they can support your campaign financially, make them sponsors. If they can only help you promote it, make them marketing partners. Both partnerships are valuable resources that will help further amplify yours efforts.
Q: What is a quote by one of your favourite leaders? Or Who is someone you admire for their vision and leadership and why?
Amy: I love this quote by John Quincy Adams – it’s what SHARE Charlotte hopes to inspire in our nonprofit partners every day:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”