WyoGives – if it rings a bell it should. This 24- hour, online day of giving is an initiative of the Wyoming Nonprofit Network and is designed to bring the state together as one community to raise money and awareness for the state’s nonprofits.

Both Shields and Wallesch are passionate about this unique fundraiser. Shields, the original driving force behind the campaign and Wallesch, also the Executive Director of the nonprofit Black Dog Animal Rescue (BDAR), believe that all work in the nonprofit community is interconnected.  “While it is easy to stay focused on our individual missions” Wallesch says, “it is important for me to put myself in a position to have a broader perspective as a board member of the WNN. It is also important for me to know that our nonprofits are currently represented to the public and to our policymaker’s, so people understand it is not just about the underserved communities and those who need a little extra support, but it is also about helping diversify our nonprofits. I am so proud to be a part of the collective voice across our state.”

Expectations for this year’s WyoGives July 14? According to Shields, she is confident this year’s registration phase will surpass the number of participating nonprofits from last year. “In 2020, WyoGives had 130 participating nonprofits,” Shields said. “That was a great achievement and our nonprofits this year are really building off last year’s success. They are getting excited about all the different things they can do as part of this campaign. It is a fun event, but most of all, there is a lot of excitement that day. I never imagined how much fun it would be to watch the ticker throughout the day last year showing dollars just rolling in. That was so exciting!” Shields said this year’s giving day will feature extensive live streaming interviews on Facebook, in person events as well as, community events taking place statewide.

“WyoGives has really helped people understand how they can support the nonprofit sector and the broad range of services that are offered,” Wallesh says. “It also shows how we are there for our communities especially in times of crises. Having WyoGives as a new event and a new way to connect people to nonprofits safely, is a great platform. And WyoGives is unique because it puts the focus on donors and giving. So much of event fundraising can be focused on the event and that takes away a bit from the focus of genuine community connection and support for the work nonprofits are doing. So WyoGives puts the focus back on the donor and that means experiencing the joy of connecting resources and financial gifts to the values in our community.”

Equally as important as donors are sponsors. Shields says sponsors help bring awareness to the event. “We engage in statewide marketing efforts to ensure people know about this event. Sponsorships help us pay for the wonderful platform we use and makes the donor experience enriched and simplified. Donors on the WyoGives website can easily search for nonprofits by cause or by location. Sponsorship funding goes to support such things as our nonprofit trainings and toolkits, which is necessary to the organization’s success throughout the campaign. We also have media partners that help us get the word out. We can do all this work, but unless the people know about WyoGives, it is for not. So, the media partners role leading up to July 14 is critical.”

“There are a wide variety of causes and missions,” Shields says. “Whatever causes you are interested in, you will most likely find them here. There are also ways to get involved as a donor, a sponsor, a business, a nonprofit, or a volunteer peer-to-peer fundraiser. This is a chance for all of us to connect across the state and learn about new organizations. Whatever corner of the state you are from, WyoGives is bringing us together and that is truly unique and exciting!”

If you are new to Wyoming or the area and want to learn more about WyoGives visit wyogives.org.


Cathy Drzal for the Align Team