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Weekend edition December 03, 2021 | Kailyn Lamb

Big Give Knox sees $100K increase in annual event donations

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

For the past two years, Anna Moseley, a Senior Marketing Specialist at United Way of Greater Knoxville, said the organization was holding its breath for donations during the annual Big Give Knox event.

The event is organized by United Way but helps nonprofits throughout the Knoxville area fundraise through the Big Give Knox website. In its first year – 2019, the event drew in more than $150,000 in donations. The second year landed during the pandemic, and Moseley said the staff at United Way weren’t sure what to expect. The event managed to increase the donations, hitting around $194,000. In 2021, with uncertainty still looming, Moseley said she just wanted to beat the number from 2020. Big Give Knox donors surprised United Way again with $334,605 in donations by 1,358 people to 100 nonprofit organizations in the Knoxville area.

“I think now folks know it’s going to happen, they have time to plan, and a lot of agencies are counting on this to kick off the end-of-year giving season for them,” Moseley said.

As noted, the event started in 2019, and Moseley said it was a path for United Way to help other nonprofits in the region take advantage of the popularity of the national Giving Tuesday event without those organizations having to spend a lot of time or money on marketing.

“A few years ago, we were talking with our nonprofit partners in the community, and we were hearing a lot of folks saying they were not taking advantage of Giving Tuesday because it was so hard to cut through the noise,” Moseley said. “They were not seeing a return on investment for how much time and energy they were putting into the day.”

The Big Give Knox website is free for nonprofits to register with. A sponsorship from First Horizon Bank means the event only has standard card processing fees. There are no fees for the nonprofits, so the money goes directly to them. Organizations also don’t have to take time to set up special donation webpages since Big Give will link directly to the nonprofits. It’s a one-stop-shop for giving. Moseley said it takes “a lot of lift off the nonprofits shoulders.”

She added that since organizations know anyone who visits the Big Give site is someone who cares about the community, registering a nonprofit with the event is a good way to attract new donors and spread the word about a particular cause.

Young-Williams Animal Center has been participating in the Big Give Knox event since it started. More than 150 people donated to the nonprofit in the event this year.

“We appreciate Big Give Knox for galvanizing the community and providing a platform to uplift local nonprofits, allowing us to inspire even more change in East Tennessee,” the organization said in an email statement. “Our community came through once again and generously donated $20,290 to Young-Williams Animal Center on Giving Tuesday. We are grateful to every donor for making our programs possible and saving thousands of pets’ lives each year.”

The Big Give website shows leaderboards and prizes, such as the “Early Brid” and “Almost Lunch” categories. Companies can also set up matching funds with specific nonprofits on the Big Give site. There is also an option for businesses and individuals that want to set up fundraisers for a nonprofit on the site.

The site is hosted by GiveGab, which helps nonprofits with video resources on donation campaigns.

Registration for the 2022 Big Give Knox event will open in June. Moseley said United Way likes to give organizations lots of notice and time to plan for the annual event.

“The last thing we want is for someone to not be able to participate because they didn’t know about it,” she said.

For 2022, Moseley said she hopes they can hit the $500,000 mark in donations. But she also said she would be satisfied if the dollar amount didn’t change, but more donors participated in the event.

“I would like to see instead of five people giving $10,000, there are 10,000 people giving $5,” she said. “I think that would be more of a win in my book.”

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