Seattle’s GiveBIG seeks collaboration amid the competitive chaos of our day of giving | 

Give-BIGToday is the annual GiveBIG event in Seattle, a massive online giving spree sponsored by the Seattle Foundation aimed at raising money for good causes and for fostering a broader “collective” identity and appreciation for this region’s many charitable and humanitarian endeavors.

“GiveBIG is an opportunity to focus on the collective work we are doing to build a healthy community,” said Mary Grace Roske, spokeswoman for the Seattle Foundation. “It’s a day to come together.”

It’s also a day that drives many people nuts due to all the competing demands for attention from the 1,400 non-profit organizations hoping to get you to donate during GiveBIG – thanks to the event’s promise to ‘stretch’ donations (not quite matching, but adding to donations, up to $25,000) and its random Golden Ticket award.

Joy Portella
Joy Portella

“I recently returned from a weeklong vacation to find my email inbox clogged with more than a dozen appeals from nonprofits pleading for donations on May 15. Feeling overwhelmed, I did what many people in my position might: I deleted everything,” wrote Joy Portella, in a guest column for the Seattle Times entitled Has Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG campaign gotten too big?

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Seattle’s charity event scores big — for causes & credit card firms | 

The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG “day-of-giving” campaign last week attracted about 18,800 donors and raised $4 million to support some 900 local philanthropic organizations.

The event, organizers say, turned out to be “The biggest single day in charitable giving in King County history.”

It was also, apparently, a big day for the banks and credit card companies which reportedly charged significant transaction fees (about $45,000 for every $1 million donated). And it was maybe not such a big day for Seattle’s globally oriented do-gooders as most of the donors appear to have focused on local needs.

Still, as former Seattle Mayor and president of the Seattle Foundation Norm Rice said: “This event represents the democratization of philanthropy, in which everyone can make a difference in the world around them.” Continue reading