Valley Gives Day helps organizations reach their potential in engagement & fundraising

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – From community libraries to after school programs and workplace development services, 407 organizations competed for your money for 24 hours on Valley Gives Day.

“Every donation really does matter,” said Michael Dechiara, coordinator of Valley Gives. He works for Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, which has organized Valley Gives since it began in 2012. Dechiara told 22News, “There’s people across the valley who live in different communities who care about different things and we want them to be able to support whatever they care about.” He said in the past five years, the number of participating organizations has stayed about the same, but they’re learning better ways to engage with the public, getting smaller donations from more people.

One participating organization is New England Business Associates, or NEBA, which helps people with disabilities enter the workforce. “A lot of money that we raise for fundraiser is to help support the people that come to our organization to help reach their employment goal,” said Kahntapaht Wilson, marketing coordinator of NEBA.

Valley Gives has become as much about raising money as it is about raising awareness of the many services organizations in your community offer. For example, Christina’s House held an open house in Springfield. Other organizations offered performances, events or even cupcakes to interested community members.

Christina’s House relies completely on donations to provide a transitional home for mothers and children at risk of homelessness. “Professional skills of all types are also of great need and provided on a volunteer basis, so we can use volunteers of professional services, from legal to nutritional to healthcare,” said David Willoughby, a board member of Christina’s House.

The overall goal was for organizations to engage with the community so that this 24 hours of giving wouldn’t end at midnight: It would turn into a whole year of support.