Alexander Clark describes the first-ever Give Local Yellowstone crowdfunding event set for May 3 as “a modern digital telethon.”
It’s being touted as a fun way for Yellowstone County nonprofit agencies to become better known and to raise money, especially among young adults.
Clark, the owner and account director for Stodgy, a Billings-based creative marketing firm, said the event has both social media and in-person outlets for people to participate. At midnight as May 2 becomes May 3, organizers, including Jack Nickels, a director of the Billings Community Foundation, which is sponsoring the event, will gather at Rock Creek Coffee Roasters, 124 N. Broadway, and remain there through 1 p.m.
Anyone can stop by, enjoy some planned events and whatever the sponsor of the hour has in mind — including prizes, which will be posted throughout the day — and make a donation to one’s favorite nonprofit on a provided tablet computer.
At 1 p.m., event headquarters will shift to the Thirsty Street Brewing Co., 3008 First Ave. N. Then at 8 p.m., Hooligan’s Sports Bar, 109 N. Broadway, will carry the giving event home through its final four hours. A DJ will help celebrate that leg of the celebration.
Nonprofit groups will pay $75 to participate, “but they can recover that with two or three donations,” Nickels said.
In advance of the event, they’re invited to talk up Give Local Yellowstone via social media and to offer their supporters specials, such as free admission on the day of the event.
At each venue, events will be live-streamed and available at billingscommunityfoundation.org and stodgycreative.com. Participants are invited to use Snapchat and Instagram to depict — and share — how their favorite nonprofit group is celebrating the day.
Local radio stations are invited to provide remote broadcasts from one of the three sites.
“The whole idea is keeping giving local. That’s the primary mission of the Billings Community Foundation,” Nickels said.
He said the foundation decided to host the program “to help bring attention to the great work that is being done by clients of (the foundation) and other nonprofit groups in our region.” Its primary service area includes Yellowstone, Carbon, Stillwater, Big Horn, Treasure and Musselshell counties.
Other Montana communities have used the Give Local model with great success, Nickels said. Last year, about $300,000 was raised in just a handful of cities, including Bozeman, Missoula and Glendive.
The event is part of a national Give Local America effort.
Organizers are putting on a pair of workshops Wednesday to help potential participants — and get the attention of potential sponsors. A noon brown bag event at the Billings Public Library will be focused on getting nonprofit organizations involved. A 4 p.m. meeting at the Petroleum Club in the Crowne Plaza Hotel will be oriented around helping organizations to make better use of social media.
While most nonprofits are already active on social media, Clark invited them to “promote the event as much as we are.”
Every day leading up to the event, a nonprofit will be featured on the Billings Community Foundation’s Facebook page.
“It’s a way to cross-promote — and it’s free,” Clark said.
Nickels said that young people he knows “are very philanthropic, but they need to have a passion for what they do.”
He said that organizers “have had organizations tell us, ‘This is a great new way of looking at fundraising.’”
Learn more by visiting www.givelocalyellowstone.org.