March Madness, Nonprofit Style
An Indiana foundation is encouraging local residents to vote for their favorite area nonprofit organizations in a challenge that echoes the NCAA’s March Madness tournament. In addition to bragging rights, the winners will receive grant money.
Are you all caught up in NCAA March Madness? One Indiana nonprofit organization is capitalizing on the annual excitement and fanfare around the tournament and launching its own bracket-style challenge to raise awareness for local nonprofits.
The Madison County Community Foundation this week launched the 2014 Grant Madness Challenge, which allows county residents to vote for their favorite nonprofits. Four winners will receive grants from MCCF, which works to make local philanthropic giving as effective as possible.
“Primarily the goal is awareness,” said MCCF’s marketing intern, Kevin Sheward, who conceived of the idea for the challenge. “We have a lot of great nonprofit organizations here in Madison County. We hope that through this event people will become more aware of the causes and organizations that work every day for our community and that oftentimes don’t get the recognition they deserve.”
Voting began Wednesday and will continue through Sunday. During that time, participants can vote for their favorite of 25 area nonprofits on MCCF’s website and Facebook page. The top 16 vote-getters will advance to the “Super Sixteen” and be matched for voting March 17-23. Those organizations will be pared down to the “Excellent Eight” and then the “Fabulous Four,” and eventually the final two will be go head-to-head in the last week of voting April 4 -7.
The winning organization will receive a $2,500 grant, while the runner-up will receive a $1,500 grant. The two semifinalists will each receive grants of $1,000.
The foundation’s board of directors nominated the 25 organizations—ranging from community shelters and libraries to YMCAs and arts organizations—out of a pool of dozens of area nonprofits, Sheward said. “We asked for a representative sample from around the county—organizations that show excellence in how they manage their resources and also their commitment to their missions.”
The competition will also provide exposure for the competing organizations on MCCF’s website and through coverage in local media outlets.
Every organization has a story to tell, Sheward said, and sometimes the best way to tell it is by trying something new.
“Be proud of who you are and find ways to be creative,” Sheward said. “That doesn’t mean you have to have 12 different social media outlets. That doesn’t mean you have to do 12 different fundraisers a year, but be intentional about what you do do.”