The Fremont Area Community Foundation hopes that, for 24 hours, the Fremont community can come together for a common mission: to give.

The Foundation’s Third Annual Big Give Event is set for May 7. From midnight to midnight that day, dozens of area non-profits will be collecting donations from the community, with many hosting events to highlight their work and encourage support.

Last year, the annual drive collected a total of $355,022 for area nonprofits, which had been an increase from the prior inaugural year. Surpassing that amount this would be great — but it’s not what the day is about, said Melissa Diers, executive director of the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

“For the Community Foundation it remains all about providing an opportunity for the whole Fremont community to come together to give together and to really showcase the work of the nonprofits,” Diers said.

The idea for the Big Give was spurred on by area nonprofits, who had seen similar days of giving in other communities like Omaha.

“(These days) create excitement around the idea of collective giving and lift up the work of our non profit community, which is so very vital to a healthy, strong and thriving community,” Diers said.

The number of non-profits involved is up this year — 63 different organizations will be participating, compared to 56 last year.

Much of the day’s festivities are based around the idea of “gamification,” Diers said, with the Fremont Area Big Give website providing live updates showing how much money different non-profits have raised. The website will also provide information on each nonprofit, and what causes their donations go to. Prizes will be available for non-profits based on, for instance, if they have the highest amount of donations or the most unique donors within a certain time frame.

“It’s really what makes the day fun, not only for the nonprofits who are participating, but also for the Fremont community, those who want to step in and be a part of the day,” Diers said.

This year, the Big Give is trying a new feature: “cheer pages.”

Donors, who are excited to participate in the event, can create these cheer pages from the Big Give website at www.fremontareabiggive.org. Donors can use them to highlight a particular nonprofit, and then share the page to help rally support. Donors can design the page however they’d like.

“They have an opportunity to maybe even share a personal perspective on why they love that nonprofit, and how that nonprofit has helped them,” Diers said.

The pages go live on April 29, though many have started to design their own, Diers said.

Also throughout the day, nonprofits will host various events and activities to both spur giving and to highlight their work.

“We encourage them to make the day their own and create events that really showcase the work that they do every day of the year,” Diers said.

The Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration, for instance, will be hosting an educational event with speaker Jolene Brackey, who will be talking with family caregivers and professionals about how to “create moments of joy” with individuals who have Alzheimer’s.

The Collaboration does educational events like this every spring, with 40 percent of its funding going toward Alzheimer’s education efforts in the Fremont community and the other 60 percent going toward Alzheimer’s research. But according to president Riley Faulkner, when the group realized the event had been unintentionally scheduled for the same day as the Big Give, they decided to keep it.

“We decided not to move the date, because we just felt strongly that it goes to show what we do with those donations we receive on the day of the Big Give,” Faulkner said. “It just kind of shows that the money that they donate gets put back out into the community to help others.”

There will also be a “Giving Station” set up at Delaney Hall in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for the Alzheimer’s Collaboration, where people can donate from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in addition to making donations online.

Once everything is set, the Big Give website will highlight the different events hosted by each participating organization.

This year’s event will feature a number of new faces as well. CASA of the Midlands, a newly reorganized organization that provides advocates for children involved in the court system, will be joining the Big Give for the first time this year as will the Fremont Area Swim Team, and the Scribner-based group Miles for Heroes, which raises “support and awareness” for U.S. military veterans.

Another first-time participant is the environmental conservation and education group Keep Fremont Beautiful. They decided to join to help spread the word about the group’s work, and potentially reach a larger, more diverse audience through social media, according to Executive Director Leila Hybl.

In the weeks leading up to the Big Give, Diers said, nonprofits have the opportunity to get training in how to effectively use social media to get their messages out.

“In attending the first training session, a lot of organizations mentioned that they reached a younger demographic than they previously had because doing this outreach had enhanced their social media presence,” Hybl said. “So we wanted to learn a bit more about that and gain some knowledge from some of the more experienced nonprofits.”

According to Diers, those opportunities for training and assistance help ensure that the Big Give has a lasting impact on nonprofits.

“What they’re learning will be of use to them on May 7 and beyond,” she said.

More information on participating nonprofits and how to get involved is on the Big Give website at www.fremontareabiggive.org.


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