Santa Cruz Gives, a countywide crowdfunding holiday campaign, will raise funds for 63 local nonprofits in its eighth season, which started on Nov. 16 and will run until midnight, Dec. 31.
On SantaCruzGives.org, donors may browse individual profile pages to learn about each nonprofit’s mission and “Big Idea” for 2023, a project that will be funded with donations, then use a shopping cart to easily give. The minimum donation is $5.
Total donations broke $1 million for the first time in last year’s campaign, for a total of $1,100,659.
This year’s participating nonprofits present the most diverse slate of projects yet, from a welcoming network for foreign refugees to support for pregnant women in the post-Roe era. The criteria for nonprofit organizations and their projects include covering the county geographically and representing a variety of needs (more criteria are listed below): youth, seniors, animals, the environment, education, health and wellness, food and nutrition, housing and homelessness, the arts, veterans, families, LGBTQIA+, and the disabled.
Selected nonprofits will receive individually donated funds, matching funds provided by sponsors, and be eligible for three special awards: Most Donors Overall, Most Creative Campaign, and Project of the Year. $1,000 will be awarded to each of three nonprofits in these categories ($3,000 total).
A committee with diverse nonprofit experience vetted the applications. The number of participants is limited each year so that each organzation has the potential to raise sufficient funds for the staff time spent on the campaign.
“If any of the local nonprofits tried to create a platform like this for fundraising, it would not be economically feasible,” said Karen Delaney, executive director of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. “Only large national organizations have had a tool like this at their disposal. Santa Cruz Gives puts this tool into the hands of local nonprofit community.”
New donors are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. Participants in Santa Cruz Gives reported that a majority of donors are new donors as well as younger donors.
Good Times and the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County are the presenting sponsors. Additional sponsors include Community Foundation Santa Cruz County; two funds at the Community Foundation SCC: The Applewood Fund, The Joe Collins Fund; and Driscoll’s, Inc. Other business sponsors are Santa Cruz County Bank, Wynn Capital Management, The Pajaronian and Press Banner.