Giving is great — after you pay the rent. Everyone loves nonprofits and the work they do, but times are tough and many folks, particularly young people, have little or nothing left at the end of their paycheck to contribute to worthy causes. What’s more, tax laws are written for the wealthy, providing benefits for their charitable giving. But for those who can only afford to give a hundred or a thousand dollars in a year, tax laws generally don’t provide any benefits for their generosity.
Mountain Xpress plans to change that! While we can’t change the tax laws, we can find other incentives for those in the small-to-modest donation bracket. This fall, watch for a new way for Western North Carolinians to give back to their communities. Xpress is pleased to announce Give!Local, a new end-of-year giving campaign based on the idea that giving should be fun and rewarding — for all of us.
Based on an idea started in Portland, Ore., Give!Local is a two-month giving project that provides cool incentives for donors, even those making very small gifts. Give!Local will include an online platform that makes giving quick and easy, a print guide to the November-December campaign, weekly contests to build community excitement, and awards to exceptional nonprofit employees.
Richard Meeker, publisher of Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon’s alt weekly), and co-owner of the Independent Weekly in Durham, recently visited Asheville to help with the planning and development of Xpress’ project. According to Meeker, “In our first year, in 2004, Portland’s Give!Guide worked with a couple dozen nonprofits and helped raise about $24,000 for them. I considered that a huge success at the time. But now our Give!Guide has grown, so that in 2014, we raised over $3 million for 136 nonprofits.”
“I’m thrilled that Mountain Xpress has decided to create its own Give!Guide this year,” Meeker says. “This should prove to be of real benefit to Asheville’s nonprofit community — and as a result, to everyone here.”
Using the Give!Guide model, everyone, whether in Portland or Asheville, who donates money, even in small amounts, receives incentives, such as coffee, a cookie, a car wash or concert tickets. Local businesses that provide incentives benefit from new customers coming through their doors and exposure to targeted markets. Participating nonprofits get a needed financial boost and, of particular importance, new donors. And with a little luck, a couple hardworking nonprofit employees will receive a cash prize and recognition for their efforts.
Meeker has come to Asheville twice thus far to help shepherd the Xpress project. Due to his efforts around the country in past years, nine alternative papers have launched their own versions of Portland’s Give!Guide, including Durham’s Indy Weekly three years ago, which raised $151,000 last year.
“Willamette Week tries to help one new publisher establish a Give!Guide each year,” Meeker explains. “Mountain Xpress and its staff seem perfectly suited to this sort of enterprise, as they already have deep ties to the organizations that provide crucial support to this amazing community.”
So be on the lookout for Xpress’ Kickoff party in late October. Start saving your pennies to give to your favorite local nonprofits. And let’s show Portland that Asheville is more than Beer City, USA.
If you are a part of a nonprofit that would like to participate or if you and your business are interested being a sponsor, email us at GiveLocal@mountainx.com
And special thanks to The Thirsty Monk for providing extra support during our planning phase.