The Center for an Ecology Based Economy on Main Street in Norway is gearing up Giving Tuesday, a national fundraiser for nonprofits.

NORWAY — We have gotten past Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, we move onto Giving Tuesday, when nonprofits nationwide ask for support and donations.

Jennifer Hutchins, executive director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits, said there are 6,875 charitable nonprofit organizations registered in Maine, and one in six workers in the state is employed by a nonprofit.

The average Mainer gives about $756 each year to charity, and more than 425,000 Maine residents volunteer annually.

But those numbers can make it harder for smaller, local organizations to compete.

Scott Vlaun, director of the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy, a nonprofit based in Norway, said Giving Tuesday gives smaller nonprofits a chance to show the public why they deserve funding in the face of competition from large national and international nonprofits.

“This is an opportunity to step back and take the time to make our case as to why we’re a worthy cause among the hundreds of causes that are asking people for support right now,” Vlaun said.

“I think people aren’t aware of how much their donation dollar can make a difference with local nonprofits compared to the larger national and international . . . I think the local nonprofits work within the community and make a huge difference.”

Vlaun said it is hard to put a number on how many donations CEBE will receive, however, reach is nearly as important as financial support.

“What means a lot to us is having more people respond. It means a lot to our grant funders to see that we have a lot of support,” he said. “Some of it is about the money, but it is as much about having that community support. Ten $55 donations mean a lot more than one $150 donation.”

Lee Dassler, exectuive director of the Western Foothills Land Trust based in Norway, said those who do not donate might be inspired to learn more about the organization.

“Things like this can let people know we have 30 miles of trail, we have a really active warming hut and we’re a nonprofit that depends on donations,” she said.

Vlaun agreed. Even when people do not or cannot donate, some are inspired to become involved, he said.

“Even people that don’t donate, some will be inspired to volunteer or share our work with someone else that they know is highly concerned about climate change,” Vlaun said.

“It’s an opportunity to focus on what really matters this holiday season,” Hutchins said. “The more we give back to the organizations that support Maine’s quality of life, the more we are helping ensure that Maine will be a great place for years to come.”


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