It’s that time again – Kentucky Gives Day 2014! Beginning at midnight, Kentuckians from near and far will come together online to see how much money we can raise in just 24 hours for the causes we care about – causes that make us proud to call Kentucky our home and causes working to ensure we live in a Kentucky we are proud to call home for years to come.
Last year, we referred to our inaugural KY Gives Day as a “nonprofit prom.” This year, I’d like to think of this as our “senior prom.” We haven’t quite graduated with our giving day yet, but we’re getting there and we’re still having a great time!
I’m excited to report that over 400 nonprofits from across Kentucky have again partnered with KNN to participate in tomorrow’s second annual Kentucky Gives Day. Even if your nonprofit isn’t one of them, I hope you will log on to www.kygives.org to donate and use social media to encourage others to do so as well. Why?
- To see just how generous Kentucky can be. Imagine the amazing things that could happen if every Kentuckian logged on to www.kygives.org and made a donation to causes they care about. Encouraging philanthropy in Kentucky is a good thing – for all nonprofits.
- To help your favorite nonprofits win prize money. Thanks to our generous KY Gives Day sponsors, KNN, Inc. will be offering overall prizes for the top fundraising nonprofits, as well as “golden tickets” throughout the day to help participating nonprofits raise needed dollars for their mission.
- To help participating charities take advantage of matching dollars. Many of the participating nonprofits have secured matching grants, so donations have twice the impact on Wednesday and that’s a very cool thing.
You know how important nonprofits are to Kentucky and our future. The needs of our communities are great, and Kentucky Gives Day is an opportunity for every nonprofit and every Kentuckian to make a difference. It’s big. It’s special. We’re making history.
I sincerely hope you will join me in logging on to give and give and give again. The Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Inc., Kentucky’s resource for the nonprofits serving you, your neighbors and your communities, would be honored to accept your donation to support our mission and over 400 nonprofits would too. It’s going to be a great day for our Commonwealth and you’ll want to be part of it!
So, please join me in getting your give on at this year’s “nonprofit senior prom!” It’s going to be even more fun than last year. See you online at www.kygives.org!
Lots of us are frustrated. I know I am.
For some, the weather is frustrating for certain. School closures, potholes from salted roads and being teased on Tuesday with abundant sunshine and a warm breeze only to find ourselves bundling up for a brisk wind and snow flurries yesterday is driving us all to say – enough with winter already! If the weather doesn’t have you frustrated, basketball just might. While what lies ahead for the Kentucky Wildcats is a big unknown, the good news is that a number of other colleges and universities in the Commonwealth are celebrating conference wins and looking forward to tournament play. Add these frustrations to the ups and downs of the legislative session and the general roller coaster often associated with being a nonprofit executive and you’re likely looking for relief – anywhere you can get it.
One way I try to manage stress and frustration is by making lists. And the more I am procrastinating or overwhelmed, the more elaborate my lists tend to become – categories, color coding and more.
For most nonprofit leaders, one of the major causes of frustration is the fact that there’s just too much going on (or maybe I’m simply not doing so well at managing it all?). Those who know me know that in addition to lists, I try to practice “cautious optimism” and to that end, I try to remember that Spring will eventually arrive; there is a glimmer hope for a strong finish to the basketball season; KY Gives Day is coming up; and I am slowly but surely marking things off the color-coded and categorized list. Now if only to stop adding new items to it!
How about you – how are you handling your frustration with this never-ending winter and the hundreds of other things on your desk, in your inbox and on your to-do list? I’d love to hear from you with your suggestions – maybe we can all learn some new strategies!
On a recent webinar for KY Gives Day participants, Lori L. Jacobwith, master storyteller, trainer and fundraising coach, talked about the amplification effect and the power of personal messages from influencers we value. It’s human nature to get caught up in stories bigger than ourselves, to join together for a common goal and a common good. When that happens, we click “forward” or “share” - we’re moved by the content and want to be part of the effort, and it means more to others coming from a friend. As nonprofits, we likely think we’re sharing our story in a compelling way and effectively conveying the importance of our mission. But it’s one thing to tell a story that inspires and it’s another to tell a story that motivates your supporters to act on your behalf.
Kentucky Gives Day is one great way to amplify your message. When thousands of donors flock to www.kygives.org on April 9, they’ll be looking to make donations to those organizations with stories that inspire action. We hope that your charity is one of hundreds participating in the 24-hour online giving event; it’s a great way to mobilize your army of supporters to spread the word about your mission and find new friends of your cause. But to receive gifts, your organization MUST be proactive and sign up now or your charity won’t be listed on www.kygives.org.
If you haven’t already, now is the time for nonprofits to join together for a common goal and a common good - to raise as much money for our missions as possible in just 24 hours!
Now we know – for sure! After years of trying to persuade folks that nonprofits are “more than charity,” we now have the data to prove it. A new study, reported by our friends at CEDIK at the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, confirms the employment and economic importance of our sector. The study found that one in nine Kentuckians is employed by a nonprofit and that our sector is the third largest workforce in the state – behind only government and manufacturing. The sector’s $22.6 billion in expenditures last year contributed significantly to Kentucky’s economy.
But with this good news also comes some caution as the report shows these nearly $23 billion of expenditures in 2012 were relatively flat as the demand for services is increasing and many sources of funding is decreasing. What we are hearing from many of you is a fragile effort to continue meeting community needs with fewer resources.
This new data and our upcoming Kentucky Gives Day on April 9 provide our nonprofit community with important opportunities to educate Kentuckians and engage them in our work. I hope you will join KNN in sharing this new data and our challenges with your board, donors, local paper and more – let’s shout it from the roof tops. We’ll be posting infographics via social media (like the one below) and encourage you to help us spread the word about the sector’s importance and the support we need to best serve Kentucky communities.
I hope your organization will also choose to participate in KY Gives Day to raise dollars and awareness of the important work of your organization. While the deadline to participate is a few weeks away, KNN is providing support and information for participating charities NOW. We want to provide you with as many tools as possible to make April 9 a successful day for everyone!
These are two easy opportunities that will advance our sector – and your organization. It’s an exciting time to serve as your state association and we are grateful for each of you - especially our KNN members. As always, please contact us with your ideas or questions.
You’re busy and if you’re like me, weather delays and school closures have you behind – so I’m going to get right to the point. Here are a few important things I want to be sure you know about:
- With feedback from the Nonprofit Sector Advocacy Council and the KNN Public Policy Committee, the KNN board of directors approved the 2014 Public Policy Priorities in preparation for our KY Nonprofit Day at the Capitol this coming Thursday, January 30. Included in these priorities is close monitoring of proposed legislation that would overhaul the laws for running and incorporating a Kentucky nonprofit. The current Kentucky Revised Statutes have not kept up with technology and certainly some updates would be welcome. I’ve seen a draft of this 155 plus page legislation and I understand the task force is still working on it. As your state association, I assure you we will keep you updated on the content and status of this proposed legislation once a bill is filed and begins its journey through the Kentucky General Assembly.
- At Thursday’s KY Nonprofit Day at the Capitol, we have several announcements planned. I hope you will join us in the Capitol Rotunda at 9:30 am EST to show your commitment to a strong and vibrant nonprofit community in Kentucky. There is also still time to register for the full day, which includes breakfast with legislators at 7:00am and lunch. I am grateful for the nonprofits who are partnering with us to make this a successful day of visibility for our nonprofit community in Frankfort. Here’s who’s attending so far.
- We are off and running with Kentucky Gives Day 2014 – set for April 9. Our site went live a few weeks ago and over 100 nonprofits from across Kentucky have already signed up. While the deadline to participate is still over a month away, I strongly encourage you to go ahead and claim administrative access to your page so you can take advantage of the educational tools we are providing to help you have a wonderful day of raising funds for your mission – including our February 6 webinar with the awesome Lori Jacobwith. This and other webinars are available to KY Gives Day participating charities only and I want to be sure you take advantage of all of these opportunities and are in the loop – so please register today!
- Lots has been happening since the SOAR conference in Pikeville in late 2013. A letter today from Governor Beshear summarizes recent announcements. KNN plans to host a webinar to keep you updated on how you can engage in this important work to strengthen our Commonwealth – stay tuned.
Finally, on Wednesday, KNN, Inc. celebrated the one year anniversary of receipt of 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status from the IRS. For those of you who’ve worked as a board or staff member of an organization applying for tax exemption, you know how exciting that milestone can be. Given our twelve year history of serving as your state association, this formal incorporation was especially meaningful for me. I share this with you because if you are receiving this email, you’ve expressed an interest in the work of KNN and are part of this journey. Whether you are a KNN member or have yet to join your state association of charities, you are important to our work to advance Kentucky’s nonprofit community. So, to all of us – happy anniversary!
Happy 2014! Though my fingers are freezing as I type, I’m looking forward to the weeks and months ahead – I just hope they are a little warmer. Like you, Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Inc. is kicking off 2014 with a full agenda.
For the short-term, we are working to get as many of you nonprofit leaders as possible to join us on January 30 for KY Nonprofit Day at the Capitol. Every year, I say, “This is the most important year!” to let our nonprofit voices be heard. And every year, we see little action from our General Assembly on important issues.
So I say it again and urge you to consider: if not you and me in Frankfort advocating for the work of nonprofits and those we serve – who will do it? I’m not sure how many more years Kentucky can continue to kick various cans down the road. And I’m not sure what it will take for folks to get active and engaged in these issues. But what I am sure of is that KNN can’t do it alone. We need nonprofit leaders – we need you – to join us on January 30 as a first step.
For the medium-term, we are working excitedly toward our second annual KY Gives Day – to be held Wednesday, April 9! If you participated last year or are new in 2014, we’ve got several webinars scheduled to bring you up to speed. During our 2013 event, over 300 charities from across Kentucky came together to collectively raise over $330,000 in just 24 hours. We can’t wait to see what we can do in 2014. The 24-hour online giving bonanza is only 91 days away!
For the long-term, KNN is planning for a sustainable future – working to ensure a strong state association exists to serve you for years to come. We’re tweaking membership plans, implementing fundraising plans and strategically thinking through how we can best serve Kentucky’s nonprofit community with an increased emphasis on public policy. Please let me hear from you if you have ideas, suggestions, praise or complaints. You matter to us – as a KNN member, a donor, a fan of nonprofits.
May you personally be blessed with health and happiness in this new year and may your nonprofit be successful and effective in meeting your mission. Now, let’s get to work!
Last week, I traveled to Pikeville to participate in the SOAR Summit. It was a long trip (made even longer by the doe that jumped out in front of our car on the return trip home), but absolutely worth it. The Summit was filled with discussion of the many overwhelming challenges facing the region, as well as optimism and excitement about the prosperous future that’s possible. Nonprofit leaders were there in full force – demonstrating their incredible commitment to and passion for meeting the needs of their communities. And as they have done for years, nonprofits were there taking the lead in proposing and implementing solutions.
You and I both know how easy it can be to say, those are Eastern Kentucky problems – they don’t impact me here in Lexington or Owensboro or Campbellsville. Or to say, my nonprofit focuses on the arts – we can’t worry about these housing issues. But I believe for our state to prosper, all regions must prosper. And when one sub-sector of our nonprofit community is in trouble, I believe we are all at risk. While I know each of us and our organizations have limited time and resources, we have to try to devote some attention to the bigger picture.
On our most recent Nonprofit Sector Advocacy Council virtual meeting, Dianna Ross of Sarah’s Place Women’s Resource Center in Sandy Hook said:
“As nonprofits, we’re all busy – but we have to make time to create a powerful voice for our sector. The issues are just too important. The future of our communities is too important.”
This space is not big enough for me to outline all of the local, state and federal public policy issues that could impact our neighbors and communities, as well as the threats facing our sector. That fact is why it can be so easy for us to let “someone else” worry about it. But if not you and me, then who is that someone else? I urge you to get in the game – even just a bit . Register for Kentucky Nonprofit Day at the Capitol on January 30, get more informed on the issues and/or sign up to participate in the Nonprofit Sector Advocacy Council.
There is much work to be done and much is at stake. Is our Commonwealth up to the task? I think so and KNN is anxious to do our part to assist where we can. We know you are too and we are grateful to have you on our team!
Happy holidays to you,