On Dec. 2, the national giving day movement now known as  #Giving Tuesday will pop up on digital screens hyper-locally, thanks to the Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation’s IGiveOP+RF#GivingTuesday online logo campaign.  In partnership with Wednesday Journal, the foundation is hoping the interactive URL will be embedded on local nonprofit’s websites, then, in the days leading up to Giving Tuesday,  go viral via social media.  

Now in its third year, #GivingTuesday began as an initiative to create a day of online philanthropy, one that followed the holiday buying frenzy that has become known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and then Cyber Monday.  From the start, it has been a designated day of giving back to a communities’ nonprofit organizations, says Kristin Carlson Vogen, CEO/president of the OP-RF Community Foundation.  

This year in Illinois, she says, the Donors Forum is pushing forward the “Giving Tuesday” concept to help impact all nonprofits in Illinois.  The initiative is called Illinois Gives Big.  

The aim is to “try and get all the nonprofits to get on the bus, if you will, and be able to generate giving for themselves.”  

To add more punch for nonprofits here, she says, they asked   Marc Stopeck, Wednesday Journal cartoonist, to design a logo that would become emblematic for Giving Tuesday, and a logo that could be embedded on a nonprofit’s website.

“On Giving Tuesday, we want people to use our logo on Facebook as their profile picture, and also use it in other social media to help us get the word out about this giving event,” Vogen says.  “So for us, this is a big push.”

Henry Kranz, the foundation’s marketing director, adds that what will give the logo legs is an attached QR (Quick Response) code that nonprofits can use on their website as an optical label that contains information that will direct donors to a page designated for gift giving directly to them, or through an endowment that is maintained by the foundation, he says.

“The idea is that you can use any online device to make a donation, whether it be your iPhone, computer, or a TV, if it is connected to the Internet,” says Kranz.

Their goal, says Kranz, is to create more definition around the national, state and local day designated for online giving, and to help provide extra funding for the 40 nonprofits that have endowments with the foundation.

A day to start giving

Vogen says that Giving Tuesday was created to remind people that at the beginning of the holiday season, there are other ways dollars can be spent.

“We believe that there will be a powerful impact on our community when we all come together on that particular day and give, as it is the beginning of the giving season, especially since so many people understand that Dec. 31 is the deadline for giving tax-exempt charitable donations,” Vogen says.

For the foundation, Kranz says that the online campaign is an intensified effort to promote the sustainability of a nonprofit’s endowment, which is the pool of money that will help fund the organization’s work in Oak Park and River Forest.  Another hope is that IGiveOP RF#GivingTuesday logo will become an annual beacon and kick-off for holiday giving on the first Tuesday in December for years to come.

For anyone who is uncomfortable putting their credit card information online, “writing a check is really the smart way to go,” Kranz says.  “Date it on Giving Tuesday, mail it in, or drop it off to us, and we will credit the donation to them.”

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Deb Quantock McCarey

Deb Quantock McCarey is an Illinois Press Association (IPA) award-winning freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all its publications....