People have the chance to give to the nonprofits of their choice, and learn about new ones, Thursday during Give DeKalb County. The one-day campaign is like a one-stop shop for donors.
Donna Larson has led or worked for several nonprofits. As a past president of the DeKalb County Community Foundation, she also helped distribute funds to local agencies. She said Give DeKalb County makes it easy to give to organizations a person already knows are in line with their interests. It also makes it easy to discover ones they didn’t know existed.
“And those smaller organizations just don’t have the resources to do those large fundraising campaigns,”she said. “So this is really a nice vehicle for them, and it’s a great opportunity as a donor to point your philanthropic dollars in the direction that you choose.”
Nancy Proesel also works with and gives to several DeKalb nonprofits, including WNIJ. She said for those who want to know where their money is going, the Give DeKalb County website provides a convenient way to research those nonprofits.
“The agencies are required to come up with a page,”she said. “And that provides information about the individual agencies: what their services are, what they’re looking to gain from donations. And then you can find out if these agencies are in your interest – if you have a reason or desire to help them.”
Larson said the online aspect means that agencies can connect with givers both in the community and beyond the county line.
“Who maybe grew up in DeKalb,” she said. “Or grandma and grandpa who live on the other side of the country, or just friends and family that aren’t local and want the opportunity to participate and support a local service.”
Dan Schewe has participated in Give DeKalb County, as a nonprofit board member and donor, since he and his wife moved here four years ago. He thinks the buzz about the event is really growing. And, he said, many people like the idea of the bonus pool put together by partners of the event. Participating organizations will receive a percentage of roughly $53,000 on a prorated basis, based on their contributions.
“The idea that your individual donations will be amplified, I think, really is attractive to people,” he said. “I’ve talked to many people who say this is a time of year that they look forward to, and make their major donations.”
Jessica Sandlund, a graduate student at Northern Illinois University, has donated to, and worked for, a nonprofit. She gives credit to the DeKalb County Community Foundation and the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, or DCNP, for the event's success.
“So much of the legwork gets done by the DCNP and the community foundation,” she said. “They provide us with countless marketing opportunities. They are continually spreading the word. So our job getting the word out to our supporters is a lot easier because of the fact that we’re working together as a team.”
Maalik Phipps, another NIU student, donor and nonprofit volunteer, agreed. He said the day also is a good way to introduce people to the area’s needs and ways they can help. He likened it to NIU’s Involvement Fair that brings together university and community organizations.
“You learn about what they do and how you can get involved,” he said. “And so, with Give DeKalb County, it’s the same concept, where a new member of the community can come and meet different people from different fields of work, as well as give back.”
Retired NIU professor Lynne Waldeland, like the others, donates to and works with a number of DeKalb County nonprofits. She said, although the money is important, at the end of the day the event means more than that to those on the receiving end.
“Obviously, when people give, they’re thinking about the mission,” she said, “and wanting those things to be accomplished; but an extra benefit is that the volunteers who put time into those organizations feel a kind of encouragement when they know that there are other people who respond to the mission."
So whichever way you look at it, to big organizations and small, Give DeKalb County is a good deal. For them, for those they serve and, they would say, for the entire community.