The first-ever statewide “Day of Giving” to raise awareness and funds for South Dakota’s nonprofit organizations will be held Nov. 27.

The date coincides with National Giving Day, an event that seeks to bring attention to nonprofit organizations' work, impact, and perhaps just as importantly, their needs from the community in helping to achieve their goals.

Scheduled for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, organizers and nonprofits seek volunteers and donations at a time when people are typically beginning their Christmas shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Originally organized in 2012 as a nationwide event, the intent is to create a day centered on donations and volunteering instead of shopping and overeating. Since that first day, the results have exceeded expectations, with more than $300 million donated just on last year’s giving day alone.

One analysis conducted by an industry-leading marketing research firm catered toward nonprofits found that 22 percent of people who donate on a day of giving are new donors to the nonprofit.

But the day isn’t just about soliciting donations, said Kelly Gibson, director of projects for the Numad Group and an organizer of South Dakota’s inaugural “Day of Giving,” which has been in the works for two years.

“There are a lot of benefits to giving days from helping nonprofits raise money, to involving new volunteers in the work of the nonprofit and creating more awareness of the important nonprofit work happening across the state,” Gibson said in a Journal interview.

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She noted that another advantage are the build-up events preceding the day, including four regional training sessions that will be held by fundraising professionals and nonprofit leaders to help prepare and connect nonprofits across South Dakota. The hope is to get nonprofits thinking about their needs, whether it’s funding, volunteer work or increased public awareness of their presence and work.

Nonprofits will also have the chance to win prizes for signing up for the day, with South Dakota Gives expecting to award over $200,000 in prize money to nonprofits leading up to November 27.

Gibson hesitated to offer a dollar amount goal for South Dakota’s first foray into the event, but said North Dakota and Minnesota’s past successes with the day motivated organizers to pursue a day in South Dakota, too. North Dakota raised about $10 million last year while Minnesota solicited nearly $20 million, Gibson said.

Thus far, the early signs are bright. Over the past four days, 75 nonprofits had signed on to participate. Gibson said one lofty goal is to have at least one nonprofit from each of South Dakota’s 66 counties participate. To reach it, they're using their website, www.southdakotagives.org, and social media to promote and engage people.

"We really want everyone in South Dakota to be excited, to recognize the opportunity to contribute to important work that’s going on across our state, and to recognize the value that nonprofits bring to communities across South Dakota,” Gibson said. “We’re hoping this is really a celebration.”

All donations made on the “Day of Giving” will go directly to the nonprofits.

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Contact Samuel Blackstone at samuel.blackstone@rapidcityjournal.com and follow him on Twitter or Facebook @SDBlackstone.

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