At a time when nonprofits throughout Kern County are hurting financially from lost revenues due to the cancellation of event-based spring fundraisers and the scaling back of fee-for-service programs, even as struggling community members turn to many of them in greater numbers for support, the online fundraising website GiveBigKern.org will go LIVE this Sunday, April 5, to provide much-needed relief beginning one whole month before the official Give Big Kern Day of Giving, which is May 5.

Because it is online, Give Big Kern is social-distancing-compliant, and provides a fun and effective way to connect donors with more than 130 participating nonprofits that are appealing to the community for unrestricted dollars and volunteer hour pledges—as there are nonprofits that can use volunteers now, and those that can’t will need people power to get operations back up and running once shelter-in-place directives are rescinded later in the year.    

“Give Big Kern began as a nonprofit strengthening initiative, to help community-based organizations increase their visibility, capacity and sustainability through a highly publicized online fundraising effort,” said Kristen Beall Watson, President and CEO of host agency Kern Community Foundation. “This year, however, Give Big Kern takes on a much bigger dimension as a critical lifeline for organizations that are dedicated to making our community a better place. While we all find ourselves connected in a gravely serious way by the evolving crisis, Give Big Kern offers us a chance to come together in a positive, hopeful celebration of all that is good in Kern County.”

Why have a giving “day” campaign that lasts for a whole month?

Give Big Kern, “One day to celebrate the giving spirit of Kern County!” was launched in 2016 as a crowd funding opportunity to engage the entire community in giving to and connecting with nonprofits they feel passionate about. Since then, it has raised close to $1 million in unrestricted funding for hundreds of participating agencies. In 2019, Give Big Kern received a Beautiful Bakersfield Award from the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce for helping to create “A Better Bakersfield.”

While the official Give Big Kern Online Day of Giving is observed on the first Tuesday in May—which this year falls on May 5, Cinco de Mayo—the givebigkern.org website goes live to receive donations a month out—this coming Sunday—and remains open till one day after Give Big Kern Day, May 6 this year. That provides a month and a day for donors and volunteers to engage with nonprofits in a big way.

According to research conducted by GiveGab, the company that designed and powers Give Big Kern along with some 200 other giving days across the country, while more than 70% of dollars raised through a giving day platform on average are received on the giving day itself, the other 30% come in before and after the giving day. Keeping a giving day campaign open longer, therefore, is a way to capture as many donations as possible from early-bird donors as well as procrastinators. This should serve participating nonprofits’ purposes well especially during this trying time.

How does Give Big Kern work?

Monetary Donations
Giving through Giving Big Kern is easy: Starting at 12 a.m. on April 5, just go to the website GiveBigKern.org, search for a nonprofit by name or cause, find your passion and give to that agency right on their page on the Give Big Kern site using the “Donate” button. You can pay with a major credit card, and—new this year to make the Give Big Kern platform even more mobile-friendly—through mobile pay options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or Microsoft Pay, and, if making a gift of $100 or more, through your bank account using Automated Clearing House (ACH).

You can also set yourself up as a “Fundraising Champion” for an agency using the “Fundraise” button on their page. This allows you to appeal to friends and family members via e-mail and social media to also give to that agency because you gave to it. Called “Peer-to-Peer Fundraising,” this is a best practice proven to multiply giving by more than three times for agencies that implement it, according to GiveGab.

Volunteer Hour Pledges
If you don’t have money to give now, use the “Volunteering” page on the drop-down menu of the website to make a pledge of volunteer hours to one of the participating nonprofits. They are surely going to need a lot of people power to get their operations back up and running when social-distancing restrictions have been lifted.

Supporting Give Big Kern and local businesses at the same time
While some public events associated with Give Big Kern have been canceled to comply with social distancing/public health mandates, there are promotions that local retailers Sequoia Sandwich Company and Cornerstone Bakery are holding through Give Big Kern Day, with a portion of the proceeds from sales of certain items benefiting Give Big Kern. These can be found on the “Events” page on the website’s drop-down menu. It is a great way to help out local businesses that are giving back even as they struggle through the crisis, and also help out Give Big Kern nonprofits at the same time.

This Year’s Theme
“Long before we even had an inkling of where our community—and our world, for that matter—would be when this year’s Give Big Kern campaign season kicked off, we chose the theme, ‘Give Like It’s a Fiesta!’ because this year’s Give Big Kern Day falls festively on Cinco de Mayo,” said Louis Medina, Director of Community Impact. “We decided not to change the theme despite the current crisis because we feel we can—and should—still have a ‘fiesta’ of giving in support of our hard-working local nonprofits. And we can have a fun, safe fiesta online, by sharing about our giving through givebigkern.org on social media. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social distancing. We can use technology to come together virtually and rally around charities at a time when they need our community’s support the most!”  

GiveBigKern.org, an Online, Social-Distancing-Compliant, Fun Fundraising Platform

Goes LIVE this Sunday, April 5, to Help Local Nonprofits!

About Kern Community Foundation
Kern Community Foundation is a vibrant nonprofit enterprise with the powerfully simple mission of “Growing Community. Growing Philanthropy.” The Foundation is in business to serve as a charitable resource for local donors and corporations, and to generate capital that provides philanthropic solutions to help make Kern County a better place to live, to work and to visit. Since its establishment in 1999, the Foundation has grown to hold more than 170 charitable funds with assets surpassing $27 million, and has awarded close to $25 million in grants and scholarships, ranking in the top two-thirds of the 100 most active grant makers, nationwide, since 2013.