by Emily Winecke, Communications and Marketing Director
You’re invited to take part in a day of excitement, generosity, and inspiration as The Big Share® returns on Tuesday, March 6. Hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW), The big share announcementThe Big Share benefits local nonprofits working to advance social justice, defend civil rights, and protect the environment in Dane County and across Wisconsin—organizations Willy Street Co-op owners generously support each time they say “yes” to the Community CHIP® Program. Now in its fourth year, The Big Share is a single day of online giving hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin to raise funds and support for nearly 70 local grassroots nonprofits. Last year, The Big Share raised $322,028 from 2,800 donors, many of whom gave to participating organizations for the first time. Across its first three years, The Big Share has raised over $800,000 for Wisconsin-based causes. “The Big Share is a day to come together in support of the things we all care about—having clean water and air, building strong neighborhoods, protecting our civil rights, and making sure every child has a great future,” said CSW Executive Director Cheri Dubiel. “And The Big Share makes it easy to make a difference—whether that’s giving a small donation, attending events, or sharing about your favorite causes on social media.”
This year, The Big Share expands to highlight organizations featured through CSW’s Inspiring Voices program—Black and Brown-led organizations working to reduce racial disparities and advance racial equity.
“Community Shares of Wisconsin is committed to amplifying the visions and voices of local initiatives supporting people most impacted by structural racism through the Inspiring Voices program,” said Dubiel. “We’re pleased to deepen these partnerships as part of The Big Share.”
One of the organizations taking part in The Big Share for the first time is the all-volunteer-run Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County. For its leaders, The Big Share is an opportunity to be seen as much as it is about raising money.
“There aren’t a lot of fundraising opportunities that focus on smaller grassroots organizations,” said Baltazar De Anda Santana, one of the founders of Orgullo Lantinx. “This is a way for people to connect with important organizations that they may not otherwise know existed.”
And for Orgullo Lantinx, which aims to build an equitable and safe community for Latinx LGBT+ people, participating in The Big Share demonstrates that smaller organizations can play an important role in the local movement for social justice. “We want to be part of the conversation,” said De Anda Santana.
BUILDING EXCITEMENT AND COMMUNITY
What makes The Big Share unique is the sense of excitement created through events, matching incentives, and prizes that happen throughout the day on March 6. Nonprofits collaborate and compete to spread their messages through creative, and often humorous, campaigns on social media. Supporters are encouraged to learn more, help posts go viral, and give for the first time.
“It’s an unpredictable day, but it’s always a lot of fun,” said CSW Board President Wenona Wolf who, as Communications and Development Manager for CSW member group Kids Forward, has successfully run several Big Share campaigns. “It may seem hectic, but the end result is more people standing up to make a difference in our community. That’s what the day is all about.”
Other participating organizations agree.
“Each year we look forward to telling our important organizational story and joining with others in the creativity and excitement of The Big Share,” said Mark Redsten, President & CEO, Clean Wisconsin. “The Big Share is an amazing opportunity for Clean Wisconsin to raise online contributions for our program work by creating a fun buzz, elevating awareness, and providing a trusted platform for people to donate.”
One of the key reasons for the success of The Big Share has been ongoing support from committed community partners and sponsors, especially the Madison Community Foundation (MCF). MCF signed on to support The Big Share as its first sponsor when the day was just an idea, and MCF has continued to sponsor the event every year. With MCF’s support for The 2018 Big Share, Community Shares has been able to add more training sessions and assistance to participants to focus on organizational sustainability outside of The Big Share.
“As the Founding Sponsor of the Big Share, we’re thrilled to continue our support for the fourth year,” said Madison Community Foundation President Bob Sorge. “It’s exciting to see the momentum grow each year—and gratifying to see our community come together to support important nonprofits that are working on fundamental issues in our community. This year’s focus on participants’ sustainability is another step forward in ensuring the long-term success of area nonprofits and the people they serve throughout Dane County.”
In addition to raising funds and awareness for local nonprofits, The Big Share provides training and other support to participants. The training sessions focus on essential skills like communications, fundraising, video production, and other ways nonprofits can help to engage the community with their missions. These training programs are made possible in partnership with Madison Commons and the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and continue to evolve every year to keep up with new trends and technological developments
Further support is provided by long-standing media partners the Isthmus, 105.5 Triple M Radio, and WKOW 27 TV.
Individuals and area businesses wanting to learn about ways to support The Big Share are encouraged to visit www.thebigshare.org (link is external) or to call Community Shares of Wisconsin at 608-256-1066.
ABOUT MADISON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Madison Community Foundation’s mission is to enhance the common good through philanthropy. Established as a community trust in 1942, Madison Community Foundation, together with donors, awards some $10 million every year to strengthen causes and communities in Dane County and around the world. More at: www.madisongives.org (link is external)
ABOUT COMMUNITY SHARES OF WISCONSIN
Since 1971, Community Shares of Wisconsin and its members have worked together to advance social justice, protect the environment, and defend civil rights in Dane County and across Wisconsin. Together they envision a future where people come together to ensure every member of their community is safe, healthy, and able to thrive. More at: www.communityshares.com