LB Gives 2019

Long Beach Gives campaign director Nicolassa Galvez, left, co-founder Julie Meenan, center, and Camille Johnson at the 2019 kickoff event.

Long Beach nonprofit organizations have stepped up with added, often unique, services during the coronavirus crisis.

But even while expenses go up, fundraising has gone down. Some foundations are trying to help by advancing grant payments, but individual donors have held back, waiting to see how the pandemic will end. And many groups have had to cancel fund-raising events.

Enter the second annual Long Beach Gives effort. Registration has opened for the 2020 version, and workshops about online fundraising will start soon.

But Long Beach Gives Day isn’t until Sept. 24. How is that supposed to help nonprofits in need now?

“We started in early April last year, too,” Michelle Byerly, director of The Nonprofit Partnership, said. “This is a great time for training. The earlier we get people on board, the earlier they can put the online fundraising skills to use.”

Julie Meenan, executive director of the Josephine Gumbiner Foundation and founder of Long Beach Gives, said the September date helps brighten what often seems to be a grim present.

“Arizona conducted its Giving Day Tuesday (April 7), and they were up 16%,” Meenan said. “Those who can give, will give, now and in September. This way, they have something to look forward to.”

Lessons were learned last year, Byerly and Meenan said, and some changes already have been made. Perhaps the biggest is hiring Nicolassa (Niko) Galvez as the full-time campaign director. Galvez assisted with social media last year.

“We don’t know what the community will be like in September,” Galvez said. “But we’re already making the community function more online. The earlier we can learn to make that work for us, the better.”

Long Beach Gives helped the 92 agencies participating last year raise more than $822,000. That could be surpassed this year because Long Beach Gives is using a new platform that is far less restrictive.

“About the only restriction this year is the nonprofit has to provide services in Long Beach,” Byerly said. “The number (of nonprofits) participating isn’t really limited.”

The program works with each nonprofit raising its own money, hopefully with a matching donor or two. Long Beach Gives assists with the training, marketing of the LB Gives Day and incentives for nonprofits throughout the day.

“There’s much more awareness of Giving Day this year,” Meenan said. “The city really stepped up last year, and they will do it again.”

To register or more information, go to longbeachgives.org. There is an online workshop scheduled at 10 a.m. next Thursday, April 23, and workshops are available after registration.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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