NH Gives Sets Giving Record

More than $3.7 Million Raised for Nonprofits

By: Hailey Morgan for NHPBS

After a long year of planning and preparation for the NH Gives 24 hour fundraising event, the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits is celebrating a new milestone of beating its previous record. More than $3.7 million dollars was raised for 584 Granite State nonprofit organizations during on June 8th and 9th.

Kathleen Reardon is the Chief Executive Officer for the Center for Nonprofits. She says there is much to be done before their 24 hour day of giving. “We almost begin planning as soon as we conclude our most recent event,” Reardon explains. The Center begins with sending out the applications to nonprofits at the beginning of January. Reardon explains that for many non profits, including the Center, sending out applications early helps organizations fit the online event into their development plans for the year. 

Reardon says a big part of making this day successful is making sure nonprofits know about the Center's training programs. “We offer several trainings for people to learn both the technical aspects of our giving day, and also some strategies.” This year the center had a number of sessions called “coffee hours” for organizations to bounce ideas off each other on how to spread the word and raise the most money. “We tipped it off with different guest speakers who would talk about different elements on how to engage their boards, and champions in this effort,” Reardon said. 

Those “champions” are people who help spread the word on behalf of the organizations.  This may be through social media, giving circles, community partners, and other communication channels. Reardon shares that sitewide matches also attract more donors to give. “Last year the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation stepped up and provided this sitewide match of $250,000 dollars, and that got a lot of people excited about giving.” 

Reardon says that live streaming the event really helped this year. But this day would not be possible without those 584 non-profit organizations. Their participation is what pulls this whole day together. “One of the real powerful things about NH Gives is the collaboration of all 584 nonprofits. Having more nonprofits participating reaches more networks,” Reardon explains. 

Three Granite State nonprofits came out on top this year for NH Gives. Manchester Moves, raised $54,160 dollars, with just 34 donors. Canterbury Shaker Village raised $50,468 dollars, with 171 donors. And Friends of Mascoma raised $43,951 dollars, with 177 donors. 

Manchester Moves Secretary, Jason Soukup says this was the organization’s first year participating in NH Gives. “Even though we have been around since 2008, this has never been a source of funding for us,” Soukup explains. Manchester Moves’ main focus is to advocate for bike and pedestrian infrastructure. In other words, they build rail trails in the state of New Hampshire. Their mission is to connect all of Manchester to New Hampshire's trails and greenways. 

Their biggest goal for the Granite State is to reduce poverty. Even though the organization has a main focus of creating trails, poverty in Manchester is a big issue. “People who live in Manchester and elsewhere no longer depend on the automobile. Cars are expensive, but because of the infrastructure people are forced to purchase a car,” Soukup explains. The organization's goal is to build more rail trials in the state so more people can get around easily using a bike, without having to pay a huge car payment to travel. Thus, more people can save money for a house, or an apartment. 

Manchester Moves normally receives its donations through private grants. This year they spread the word about being involved in NH Gives by sending emails to many of its donors. “We have a very broad reach of supporters that we’ve built throughout the years. To give them a way to help us in a very specific way was awesome,” Soukup shares. He explains that this day was great because it dedicated one whole day to giving. 

In the end, Manchester Moves was able to attract $1650 dollars of additional money through matches and prizes. The nonprofit earned the number one prize from NH Gives that came out to $1000 dollars, the matches came through with $650 dollars. The money that was raised for Manchester Moves will be dedicated to engineering, special events where they donate bikes to families and kids, marketing, and sponsorship for clean up days. 

Soukup says with the outcome from this year, they will most definitely participate again next year. “No one wants to fundraise, no matter what business you’re in, but this is a day where everyone is doing it. Organizations need funds to survive. To build momentum across the state for lots of organizations to fundraise on the same day to do the good work, Yes, the more the merrier.” 

Canterbury Shaker Village’s Executive Director Leslie Nolan, and Marketing Developer Rae Easter say this is Shaker Village’s second year coming in second to raise the most money in NH Gives. The nonprofit was originally founded in 1969 and is dedicated to honoring the original founders legacy of the Shakers as well as to preserve one of the Granite State’s oldest historical sites. “The Shaker’s values were really modern for their time. They believed in gender equality, communal living and racial equality. We try to bring out those values. We try to make this be a space of peace and education for anyone who wants to come,” Easter explained. 

The nonprofit offers guided tours, educational workshops, and summer programs. Self guided tours of the grounds are free.  Funds come from a variety of channels including membership, an on-site gift shop, grants and events.

Shaker Village has been involved in NH Gives for many years and they are a member of The NH Center for Nonprofits. Much of the work behind NH Gives is done leading up to the day. They put messages out on social media and also sent out a newsletter. “It was exciting reaching out to people, and seeing the numbers, but Rae did a lot of legwork ahead of time,” Nolan said. The two shared that they could not have reached their goal without their board of trustees. “So many of them reached out to their friends and families, and that's what really made the difference,” explained Nolan. 

The village was beyond grateful to have all the donations they received from NH Gives, and they plan on putting the money toward their trail systems. The trails have always been a part of the village, but visitors don't know how to navigate through them. “We want to get trail maps, so that was the big thrust. It's also supporting the building restoration,” Nolan said. Besides donations, matches went very well this year. The nonprofit received two very generous matches from board members. “We got some sitewide matches, having the chance to triple your match is a huge incentive for NH Gives,” Easter said. With incentive prizes and sitewide matches, the organization was able to raise $2500 in additional funds. 

Shaker Village is planning on participating in next year's 24 hour event. Moving forward the nonprofit will be focusing on trail maps, building restoration and educational outreach. Both Nolan and Easter say that seeing their communities come together to raise funds for NH nonprofits was an amazing experience for everyone involved. 

One organization in particular that has been successful in NH Gives since the beginning came out on top once again. The Friends of Mascoma Foundations success just proves that any nonprofit in the state of New Hampshire can always count on this day for funds. Being involved in the 24 hour online event since its inception in 2016, Executive Director Eula Kozma says this day makes quite an impact on the organization. “We learned of NH Gives and it’s kind of a slam dunk way to get the word out about the work. Also, it encourages people to give, really at any level, so it's obviously exciting,” Kozma explains. 

Friends of Mascoma focuses on student scholarship programs, teacher mini grants, and friends feeding friends program. NH Gives is just one of the many ways they receive donations every year. When it comes to spreading the word about the foundation being involved in the day, many people already know about their involvement since they have participated before. “For some folks, now that it's been on their radar, this is when they give, they get excited about it. They also keep an ear out for those match opportunities,” Kozma said. 

The foundation did things a little differently this year leading up to the day. The foundation sent out a postcard, with some other organizations to spread the word about giving. They also reached out to young alums who received scholarships in the past to make videos on the impact Friends of Mascoma made on their lives. Each student gave a quick update on their lives and made a point to mention NH Gives. The majority of the funds usually goes to their student scholarship programs. “I think people liked seeing what those young folks were up to, and it kind of connected the dots for what we do with the money,” she explained. 

Last year during 2020 donations really amped up for Friends of Mascoma, so they took the opportunity to set a larger goal for NH Gives this year. Once they reached their goal, they decided to put all the extra money into their general operations. “We are a small and young organization but we are growing and trying to think ahead for the future,” Kozma says. Moving forward, the foundation wants to put more money into staffing, its food truck, and putting some money away for the future. 

Kozma explains that this year was such a big success that the organization’s goal was adjusted twice as the numbers climbed. The amount that was given was not expected this year, due to so many generous donations given during the pandemic. “I never know if folks are going to come out in a big way again at NH Gives. I think we have a few big donors that get excited about it, and want to make sure a lot of their dollars are matched.” The foundation wants everyone to know that any gift given is appreciated at any time no matter the amount. The Friends of Mascoma Foundation will continue to participate in the NH Gives online event, and look forward to the future. 

Kathleen Reardon says this day is just another example to show that Granite Staters really care about New Hampshire's success. The New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits is already sending out feedback forms to participants to learn what they can improve upon next year. Reardon personally thanks everyone involved for their efforts, and looks forward to next year’s NH Gives event.














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