Giving on your Birthday…

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Donating to charitable and nonprofit causes has never been easier—as I was reminded when my roommate’s birthday approach last month. Her Facebook page alerted her friends that, in lieu of birthday presents, she was soliciting donations for the Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/), which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

“It was easy to set up,” my roommate explained to me. “On my birthday, Facebook prompted me to donate the day to a good cause.” She chose the Trevor Project because her sibling had made her aware of the nonprofit and its work, and it had grown close to her heart. “The whole process required very little effort on my part,” she continued, “and Facebook even notified my friends of the fundraiser without my having to invite them.” Determining a goal amount depends on the breadth of your contacts—and the size of their bank accounts. My roomie aimed for the ambitious-but-achievable: “My original goal was $500, but then as the donations drew toward that goal, my boyfriend pointed out that people might stop donating when the goal was hit, so I raised it to $750. I wound up raising $682, well above my original goal.” You can learn more about using Facebook for philanthropy at https://donations.fb.com/, and if you operate your own nonprofit, additional tools are available at https://nonprofits.fb.com/topic/fundraising-tools/. Or you can just wait till your birthday rolls around.

The Trevor Project’s longevity and reputation have made it a popular cause for support among LGBTQ establishments as well as individuals. The Gym Sportsbar (http://www.gymsportsbar.com/), a gay sports bar that opened in Chelsea more than a decade ago, has for the past two years conducted a “Pay It Forward” campaign to inspire patrons to donate to worthy causes, setting a goal of $250 raised per week, says bartender Erich Courage. After an extended period of raising money for the Trevor Project, the Gym now passes it on to the Ali Forney Center (http://www.aliforneycenter.org/), which for the past 15 years has provided housing, medical and mental health services, and other assistance to homeless LGBTQ youth. Similarly, the New York Gay Football League (http://www.nygayfootball.org/) stages an annual bachelor auction, with proceeds going to Ali Forney.

Besides Ali Forney and the Trevor Project, there are numerous other LGBTQ-centric causes that can be supported with the press of a few buttons. Find one that speaks to you, that provides a service you consider invaluable and underfunded; set up a page and a means for donation, with a realistic target goal; and show off your social-media wizardry by spreading the word far and wide. You’ll be glad you did. And so will your favorite nonprofit.

By: Joseph McCombs

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