Giving Tuesday a chance to help

Lisa Green, The Journal Gazette


The goal is modest, Karl LaPan says: Raise $3,000.

It’s not the first time his organization has tried to rally individual donors, though perhaps unusual for ones like his, the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center – which is designed to help entrepreneurs.

LaPan, the president and CEO, isn’t worried that foundation or government grants might decline, or even corporate funding.

“I think part of any good fund development plan for any nonprofit is to make sure you’re building relationships with all of the sources of money,” LaPan said.

And so the nonprofit he leads is participating in Giving Tuesday this week – along with dozens of other agencies.

The annual, global event can help organizations bridge the gap between their traditional funding and wish lists. It started in 2012 with a simple idea – encouraging people “to do good,” according to the givingtuesday.org website.

Giving Tuesday falls the week after Thanksgiving – a time when many people have started holiday shopping and are in a generous mood.

With this year’s global coronavirus pandemic, Giving Tuesday campaigns were also held in early May. Those GivingTuesdayNow initiatives helped some organizations meet basic community needs and stay connected virtually with the public when residents in most states – including Indiana – were under stay-at-home orders.

The Innovation Center participated in Giving Tuesday last December, setting a $2,870 goal and exceeding it with $2,930.

LaPan said his organization developed its target goal based on a “donor pyramid” projecting how many donors might give certain amounts, such as $20 or $50.

“Most entrepreneurial support organizations like ours don’t have a track record or established programs with individual donors,” LaPan said.

The Innovation Center also participated with more than 110 area organizations in GivingTuesdayNow during the early months of the pandemic. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne helped push those campaigns, which generated more than $725,000. Twenty-one of the organizations were fully funded, according to an announcement the foundation made in May.

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