by Emily Winecke, Community Shares 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 5. Hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW), The 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.
2019 marks the fifth year of The Big Share—a single day of online giving to benefit nonprofit members of Community Shares of Wisconsin, as well as organizations featured by CSW as Inspiring Voices groups—Black and Brown-led organizations outside of CSW’s membership that are working to reduce racial disparities and advance racial equity.
To date The Big Share has raised over $1.2 million for participating nonprofits and encouraged thousands of people across Wisconsin to give to local organizations, many for the first time. In 2018 alone, The Big Share raised over $430,000 from 3,248 donors—shattering previous fundraising expectations.
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of The Big Share, its organizers hope to push community giving even further by collectively raising $500,000 for participating organizations.
“We are blown away by the community’s continued support for The Big Share,” said CSW Executive Director Cheri Dubiel. “The Big Share has become an incredible platform to demonstrate that people across Wisconsin can come together to advocate for social justice and to protect our environment.”
Much of the excitement of The Big Share comes through matching donations, prizes, and events leading up to The Big Share and on the day. Participating organizations develop creative, and often funny, strategies to help potential donors understand their mission and its impact.
“It’s a unique way for donors to connect to local causes and make a difference—whether that’s by making a donation or sharing an organization’s message on social media,” said Dubiel.
Building Support, Building Community
In addition to attracting new donors, The Big Share has also helped participating nonprofits deepen support and engagement within their own communities.
“The Big Share has been a huge catalyst for our board of directors to get engaged and excited about fund development,” said Michele Erickson, Executive Director of Wisconsin Literacy, which has led several successful Big Share campaigns. “Not only are they involved with planning our campaign, but they are sharing our work via their social media networks.”
Hedi Rudd agrees. As Director of the Badger Rock Neighbor Center, which is part of CSW member group Center for Resilient Cities (CRC), she helped CRC grow its Big Share campaign in 2018.
“The Big Share is a valuable opportunity for smaller agencies to learn how to fundraise,” she said. “And to do so during a time when crowdfunding and appealing to a new generations of donors is very important to our future. It is also a lot of fun and helps us to see how important our work is to the community.”
Strengthening Community Partnerships
New for The 2019 Big Share, local businesses will be able to participate as fundraisers for participating nonprofits. Community members will also have the opportunity to support CSW’s seven newest member groups in this year’s Big Share. They include Mentoring Positives, MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity), Omega School, Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County, Positive Women for Change, Rebalanced Life Wellness Association, and Voces de la Frontera.
Key to the success of The Big Share is the ongoing support of longtime partners and sponsors—many of which have been involved with The Big Share from the very beginning. Most particularly, Madison Community Foundation, which has been a founding sponsor of The Big Share from its first year and has helped ensure The Big Share can continue to make an impact in the community. Recently Madison Community Foundation announced a new three-year grant to support The Big Share through 2021.
“Over the past five years, the Big Share has proven to be an integral addition to the giving landscape. It’s a wonderful opportunity to build awareness and capacity for Community Shares and its 70 member nonprofits,” said Bob Sorge, president of Madison Community Foundation. “We are proud to be the Founding Sponsor and pleased to extend our primary sponsorship support for the next three years as the Big Share expands its reach and impact in Dane County.”
Additional support comes from partners like the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which has offered training and support, with additional support from the Evjue Foundation. Longtime media partners 105.5 Triple M Radio, WKOW TV, and Isthmus will again be The Big Share’s media sponsors for a fifth straight year.
Individuals and area businesses wanting to learn more about ways to support The Big Share are encouraged to visit www.thebigshare.org 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 over $12 million every year to strengthen causes and communities in Dane County and around the world. Learn more at www.madisongives.org.
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