Scheduling Gifts, Matches, 2014 Participant’s list and the Future of Valley Gives

Scheduled Gifts:

Starting Monday, Dec. 1 donors can start giving to your organization through the Valley Gives Program. What this means is that any gift given to your nonprofit from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10 at 11:59 p.m. counts towards prizes. Any gifts given via your Razoo page before this date is simply a donation given to your organization and does not count towards the prizes we are giving away on Valley Gives day. Use this information to inform your donors. A good section to share with your donors is FAQs for Donors on  We don’t recommend linking your page in electronic newsletters until Dec. 1.


Meet Your Match tips:

It’s easy, it’s effective and it can be fun. Here are some ideas

  • Find a loyal donor or a group of donors to put up an offline match of $2500 or more to be included in the Meet your Match Bonus
  • Engage your match donor(s) by including them in email notifications about their generous gift. You can enter their email when you set up the match. Ask them to call their friends and family and tell them how the match is going on until Dec. 10 and ask them to give towards the match.
  • When you set up your match, make sure to enter the start date of Monday, Dec. 1 and the end date Dec. 10 at 11:59 p.m. or the match cannot be included in drawing for organizations who have met their match.
  • Here is a helpful video on how to set up a match.


Valley Gives 2014 Participating Nonprofits:

Here is the list of 2014 Valley Gives Participating nonprofits by tier–small, medium and large. We spent more than a week filtering through your registration input information along with IRS records to make sure we placed all organizations in their most competitive groups.


The Future of Valley Gives:

A newsletter from The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts was sent to all to of the nonprofit organizations participating in Valley Gives on Friday, Nov. 21. Included in this was information about the Foundation’s new Mission Grants and the future of Valley Gives. We hope you will consider participating in our post event feedback sessions so you can help us design an even better Valley Gives. These feedback sessions will be held in early January 2015. Responding to our exit survey and coming to one of these sessions will help us immeasurably (and measurably) as we create the future of Valley Gives.

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Valley Gives news of the week: Video Contest and WGBY Digital Storytelling Workshop Winners

We are now at 405 registrants for Valley Gives 2014! This is going to be a great event! Eight days left to register and we have already reach our goal of 400.

Any organization that has registered before midnight tomorrow night (11/7) will be eligible for a new Laptop and 5 hours of tech support from Paragus Strategic IT. Drawing will be Monday Nov. 10th. Cross your fingers, your nonprofit may be the lucky one. 

Thank you to the 22 nonprofits who entered our Valley Gives Video Contest and the Judges who reviewed and selected our winners.

The top 3 videos listed here are the lucky recipients of air time on Mass Appeal and  the 4th, 5th and 6th place finishers will be on Thom Fox’s, The Engine . All 17 organizations listed here will be featured from Nov. 7th to Dec. 7th on our @Valleygives Twitter account and our Valley Gives Facebook page. Our generous sponsors Balise Auto and Big Y will also share our video posts on their social media sites.  Congratulations!

1st Arcadia
2nd Whole Children
3rd Rebuilding Together Springfield
4th Project 13-INC
5th Franklin Land Trust
6th NorthStar
8th Center for EcoTechnology
9th Out Now
10th Hilltown Families
11th Pioneer Valley Montessori School
12th Hitchcock Center
13th Northampton Parents Center
14th Community Action
15th The Academy at Charlemont
16th Mohawk Music Association
17th Brookfield Farm

WGBY Digital Story Telling Prizes have been awarded to:
Ballet Renverse
Boy Scouts of America: Western MA Council
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Starlight’s Youth Theatre
YMCA of Greater Springfield

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Contest Judges to Review Twenty-Two Videos from Nonprofits

We are so excited and grateful that 22 nonprofit organizations in the Valley have sent us videos to review and judge.  Now it’s time for the judges to go to work and decide which videos make them laugh, cry and feel inspired to give on Valley Gives Day.

Our panel of judges is quite esteemed with public relations, marketing and communications, digital media, social media and video professionals, and we want to introduce you to them.

First, the team of gurus who have done all the behind-the-scenes process and planning is Janice Beetle of Beetle Press, Ruth Griggs of RC Communications and Dave Sweeney of viz-bang!

We also have six other judges who – with Janice, Ruth and Dave – will be scoring your videos and determining our winners.

Meet all of our judges, starting with the planning team.

Janice Beetle

Janice has almost 30 years of journalistic and promotional writing experience in the Pioneer Valley. She is the principal of Beetle Press, a communications firm that develops content and messaging that allows for-profit and nonprofit organizations to grow, communicate effectively with their target audiences and keep their internal teams informed. A former writer and editor for both the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton and The Republican in Springfield, Janice has extensive knowledge in media relations. Her specialty is connecting clients to the media to raise awareness through storytelling in the wider community. Janice also writes for colleges, universities, hospitals, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Ruth Griggs

Ruth Griggs is the principal of RC Communications in Northampton, which provides online and offline marketing and communications services to nonprofits, small businesses and community development organizations. Located in Northampton and serving all of western Mass and beyond, the firm offers practical marketing solutions to help organizations facilitate communications, raise awareness, build business and enhance relationships through strategically designed, multi-faceted marketing programs. Whether you are a new nonprofit looking to establish your identity in the Pioneer Valley or a large organization seeking to leverage your existing assets across the United States, RC Communications is expert at crafting and managing strategic, custom-designed marketing plans that have proven success.

Dave Sweeney

Dave is the principal of viz-bang! of Agawam, which increases engagement and visibility through optimized online video and the successful strategic deployment of social network platforms. Dave’s experience and skill-set serve a client mix that includes Fortune 500 companies and regional market leaders. Dave helps organizations jump into the digital age, focusing primarily on effective and measurable video campaigns. He also works with these same organizations to improve their social networking activities, special events and marketing communications. Dave’s expertise lies in video production, corporate event management, social media consulting, marketing communications and project management. He has presented nationally on video production and social media strategy.

And the rest of our judges:

Crystal Childs-Gryszkiewicz

Crystal is the Social Media Specialist for Balise Motor Sales. She has been with the Balise marketing team for almost nine years and loves what she does. Before devoting all of her time to social media, Crystal spent 12 years as a graphic designer. Her favorite quote is, “Tweet responsibly. The world is watching.

Matthew Duranti

Matthew is the co-founder/CEO of Counterfeit Cow Productions in Amherst, a company dedicated to creating provocative films that highlight the most important social issues of our day. He began his entertainment career as an actor/writer, working with major Hollywood studios’ including, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Disney. Matt now leads a new division of Counterfeit Cow dedicated to creating digital content and social media strategy.

Christine Romanko

Christine is a digital media consultant with Masslive in Springfield. She is a 2002 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Isenberg School of Management, and has been in marketing and advertising for more than a decade. She has a wide array of knowledge in both traditional and digital media. Christine’s experience includes managing and maintaining websites and the development and execution of marketing campaigns for broadcast media. Christine is continuing to develop her career and further help clients reach their best potential customers with digital marketing strategies.

Alfonso Santaniello

Alfonso is the president/chief strategist at the Creative Strategy Agency, Inc. in Springfield, a digital marketing and communications agency that helps its clients effectively use social media websites, tools and applications to effectively communicate with customers and potential customers. He is also creator/host of Strictly Businews, a local business web show, also based in Springfield, covering business news and featuring local businesses.

Maureen Scanlon

As the principal of Murre Creative in Florence, Maureen produces effective, award-winning graphic design across all media, specializing in identity systems, advertising and print publications. Maureen works through a branding lens, bringing the clients’ images into alignment with their visions and services, always from the viewpoint of their audiences. Through her years of agency experience, Maureen has worked across many industry sectors, including culture and arts, human services, retail, industrial and business-to-business.

Garrett Yargeau

Garrett represents Big Y as the Head of Social Media. He grew up locally in Western Mass and holds a marketing degree from Western New England University. Garrett has been with Big Y for eight years, starting at the Ludlow location. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and running. He has a passion for cars and loves listening to electronic dance music.

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Valley Gives: News of the week.

Things are really hopping at the Valley Gives headquarters. With just a little more than 2 weeks left before registration closes for the 2014 campaign. Make sure to ask your favorite nonprofit organization if they are joining us. Here is who has registered so far:
2014 Participants as of 2:30 10/29/2014

If you have not reviewed last years results you can here: View 2013 results here

The Video contest entries have been submitted and are under the scrutiny of our judges. The deadline was Monday, October 27th at 11:59 PM. Twenty two organizations submitted their stories. Go to YouTube and search #valleygives to see the videos entered in the video contest. We hope they inspire you to make your own. Use #valleygives in the title and be in good company when donors go to look for their favorite nonprofits.

The 3 incentive prizes will drawn each week from October 27th to November 10th. Any organization that is fully registered at the time of the drawings is eligible for a chance to win:
1) A $500 grant (one winner); This drawing took place on October 27th and Emily Dickinson Museum won!
2) An intensive storytelling workshop with WGBY of Springfield (six winners); This drawing takes place on November 3rd.
3) AND… Thanks to Paragus IT, one lucky nonprofit will walk away with a laptop computer and five hours of tech support, valued at more than $2,500! This drawing takes place on November 10th.

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Video Storytelling Contest: Tips and Resources

Video Storytelling Contest: Tips and Resources

As we head ever closer to the Oct. 27 submission deadline for the video storytelling contest – only one week away – we want to repeat our invitation to participate so that you can increase your ability to raise awareness about your organization before Valley Gives Day!

Enter your video, and get a chance to have your nonprofit be featured on one of several news shows in the region!

If you plan to submit a video, email us at as soon as possible. We need to know who is taking part for planning purposes. There are other guidelines you also need to be aware of before submitting your video; read about them in our recent Oct 9 Valley Gives blog.

How to make a great video

We want you all to succeed!  For three simple tips on improving the production end of your video, watch this three-minute clip from viz-bang! productions:

How to set up a YouTube Channel

All videos must be submitted to us via YouTube (or other video sharing site, such as Vimeo). If your organization does not currently have a YouTube channel, visit this link to learn how to create a YouTube channel so you can submit your video.

What makes for a great video story?

In her training earlier this month, Debra Askanase offered great advice on planning the storyline for your video. Here are some of her tips:

  • Simplify a complex idea.
  • Tell a story.
  • Find a relatable main character.
  • Create sympathy and empathy.
  • Present a problem and solution: make it hopeful.

Remember you can keep it simple:

  • People don’t have to speak in the video.
  • You can use still images.
  • Inspire action to give on Valley Gives Day!

Other important reminders:

  • Upload the submission form which includes the link to your video no later than Oct. 27 at 11:59 p.m. Here’s a link to the submission form:
  • Send only one video submission per division of a nonprofit. (General guideline here: If you have your own Razoo page, you can enter a video.)
  • No recycled videos; your entry must be created specifically for this contest.
  • Don’t forget the Valley gives logo and include the Twitter hashtag (#valleygives) in the video and in the TITLE!

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Valley Gives Storytelling Video Contest…Get some airtime

We Want to Help Get You Noticed

VG-2014 Impact Filmstriplogo

We know you’re looking for more ways to get exposure and raise awareness about your organization, so we have come up with a great new way to help you: We’re holding a video storytelling contest.

Almost 100 of you were at the Oct. 6th training with Debra Askanase where we previewed the contest and offered ideas for telling your stories. And now we are inviting ALL Valley Gives participants to enter.

Get some airtime

We’re looking for videos that showcase your work and inspire donors and prospects to give to your organization on Valley Gives Day. We have assembled a panel of volunteer judges– who you will meet in a later post – to help us choose the best videos.

Three of the top six videos will win the chance to appear on Channel 22’s Mass Appeal; another three from the top six will be featured on The Engine radio show with host Thom Fox.

In addition to these prizes, the top 15 video stories will be posted on the Valley Gives blog, Facebook page and Twitter accounts as well as on the Big Y and Balise Facebook pages. That means over 80,000 friends will have a chance to hear your story and learn about the good work you do. How’s that for exposure?!

What you need to know (aka ‘The Rules”)

As in all contests, there are rules. For starters, we ask that you use the Valley Gives logo and Twitter hashtag (#valleygives) in your video and in the file name/title.
Sample title of your video file: “My Organization Is Great #valleygives”

Also you must:

  • Keep your video to one minute or less in total viewing time.
  • Upload your submission to your nonprofit’s YouTube channel no later than Oct. 27 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Send only one video submission per division of a nonprofit. (General guideline here: If you have your own Razoo page, you can enter a video.)

And, sorry, no recycled videos; your entry must be created specifically for this contest.

Don’t forget the Valley gives logo and Twitter hashtag (#valleygives)!

Getting started

Let us know you want to be part of this competition by emailing us at as soon as possible. We must receive an email of your intent in advance of receiving your video. Include in your email: the name of your organization, video contact name, phone, and email.

Once we’ve heard that you want to take part, we’ll send you a link to the Valley Gives Video Storytelling Contest Google Form. When it’s time to submit, simply click on the link to the Google Form and enter the data in the form. This information must include a link to your video from your organization’s YouTube (or other video application) channel.

What the judges are looking for

We’re hoping to see some compelling storytelling among all of your fabulous causes. In addition to ensuring that you follow the rules, our judges will also be looking to see that you’ve told your story well. They’ll be looking for videos that:

  • Are interesting and convey why the nonprofit is a worthy cause.
  • Clearly speak to donors and prospective donors.
  • Include volunteerism in the story.
  • Clearly communicate how, where, and when to donate.
  • Include engaging images.
  • Pay attention to features such as lighting and audio.

Tips and resources

For three simple tips to improve your video, watch this three minute video from viz-bang! productions:

Here are three local community television studios that are here to support your video storytelling projects. They provide studio space and equipment to nonprofits for video recording and editing. For advice and use of studios when time is available, call to schedule. You can also ask for public service announcements (PSA’s) to be aired.

Greenfield Community TV
Executive Director:
(413) 774-4288

Northampton Community Television
Executive Director

Focus Springfield Community Television
Executive Director

Good luck!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with, and we wish you well in choosing your stories and telling them through video. Stay tuned for blogs on our judges and suggestions for storytelling.

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325 nonprofit organizations have registered for Valley Gives 2014.

With training well under way, there is excitement in the air at the Community Foundation of Western MA. The 325 nonprofit organizations, who have registered so far, are in for some great development advice and new tools as they head towards the best Valley Gives day ever.

Not registered yet? What are you waiting for? Go to and make the first move towards a successful campaign.


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Announcing our Early Bird Registration Winners

Congratulations to our winners of an Early Bird Registration prize of $500! NESEA- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Cancer Connection, Inc. and Lupa Zoo!!!

Looking forward to seeing them – and all of you at the ValleyGives trainings that start on the 8th!

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Last chance to be in the running for winning 1 of 3, $500 early-bird registration prizes.

Register your nonprofit by September 1st, 11:59 PM and be eligible for 1 of 3 $500 awards to be drawn on Sept 2nd. Don’t miss out! Be one of the 1st prize winners of Valley Gives 2014.


Get your invitation to participate in our terrific free training sessions. The first one starts on September 8th. Once you register you will receive and invitation to sign-up.

Join us for one of the most generous days of the year VALLEY GIVES DAY, December 10, 2014!


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220 and counting! Register today!

We want you back!

Just 7 weeks of Valley Gives registration under our belt and we have 220 organizations registered! What are you waiting for?

Registration is open until November 14th, but training will start September 8th. The sooner you register the sooner we can invite you to join us for free training in:

Social Media
Valley Gives Day’s new features at our Open House Training Days

Nonprofits that register by September 1, 2014 will be eligible to win one of three randomly selected $500 awards donated by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

You can look here for help on registering: Registration FAQ’s

The Razoo team is waiting to provide guidance too:

In July we visited the Razoo Customer Service Center in Washington, DC and worked out every kink so you can have an easy registration experience. These friendly faces are here to help.


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