East Tennessee is home to many non-profits that serve the Knoxville community year round. As the holiday season begins, United Way once again brings back an opportunity to give making a difference in our communities.
The Big Give Knox , a digital platform presented by First Horizon, allows citizens to support non-profits in the Knoxville area on November 28. The local day coincides with what is known internationally as Giving Tuesday, a movement of generosity for nonprofit organizations all over the world.
“We all have different missions,” says Matt Ryerson, CEO of United Way, “but we all need donations to make those missions go. So for us all to be collectively in a shared voice saying to our community: Hey, if you haven’t done so, today is a great day to give to your favorite nonprofit.”
The local 24-hour online giving campaign allows users access to multiple nonprofit giving opportunities all on one platform.
“We all have different missions, but we all need donations to make those missions go. So for us all to be collectively in a shared voice saying to our community: Hey, if you haven’t done so, today is a great day to give to your favorite nonprofit.” Matt Ryerson
“One of the goals of United Way historically, now a 100 year old organization, was to really know how do we raise funds and inject resources into our non-profit community?” Ryerson says. “That’s one of the greatest ways to truly solve problems; to make our nonprofit community robust…”
United Way utilized the already existing National Day of Giving and grew it from there. It came, Ryerson tells us, with a realization that nonprofits often have limited capacity to uphold their work while also creating or purchasing a software that can further benefit them.
“United Way is often viewed as a convener of nonprofits,” he says. “We felt an additional role is how do we create a barrier free platform for nonprofits to raise money on a day of giving and so we explored different software packages, and there was a software program that really made that process smooth, competitive, made it exciting, interactive.” First Horizon Bank joined in to support the effort.
While the ideal scenario is for donors to give directly to organizations, Ryerson says the value of the Big Give Knox is to engage the community during a time of year geared toward serving. “I think it goes back to the spirit of gratitude and spirit of the season. There’s something about Thanksgiving. Many of us are very fortunate where we’re sitting with family and eating too much, watching TV in a non pressure situation that we reflect on and say, ‘I am blessed. I am so fortunate.’ And for most of us, it doesn’t take long to recognize when not everybody’s in that situation.”
Big Give Knox opens up a platform to embrace the season of giving with easy accessibility as well as certain prizes earmarked for the nonprofits. “So often in this world, we have a sense of hopelessness, a [feeling of] inability to make a difference,” Ryerson says. “These are the days where we truly do make a difference.”
To learn more about the local nonprofits participating and how to support via the Big Give Knox, visit www.biggiveknox.org.