Located in the heart of Omaha, Big Muddy Urban Farm is a community improvement organization with a small but dedicated team staff and interns practicing and teaching sustainable farming.
And they use chickens to bring the excitement to Omaha Gives. “Schools visit the urban farm for hands-on farming experiences, and the chickens are always a hit,” Executive Director, Brent Lubbert, says. “Chickens have great personalities and everyone loves to interact with them.”
The giving day has come to be known as a time that organizations rally together around a strategic plan for the day. “Omaha Gives galvanizes us; it pulls our organization together – board members, local residents, staff, and interns – to get clear about what we want to accomplish on the day and be creative with our message. And it makes it fun.”
Big Muddy Urban Farm’s participation in Omaha Gives has brought not only new and repeat donors to the organization, but also volunteers. “One of last year’s donors will likely become a board member this year,” Brent says. And the giving day makes it easy to track the people who are most enthusiastically supportive of the work and invite them into deeper involvement. “Those donations turn into volunteers and then into board members,” says Brent.
The giving day makes it easy to track the people who are most enthusiastically supportive of the work and invite them into deeper involvement. “Those donations turn into volunteers and then into board members,”
Last year, the organization decided that with every gift of $25 or more to their nonprofit, a donor would get to name one of the 70 chickens that live on the farm.
The campaign was a hit! Brent noticed that they received tons of communication from donors during that time because people were writing in to name the chicken they sponsored. “The chickens create a personal connection to the work and an outlet to express it. It made it meaningful to donors.”
“The chickens create a personal connection to the work and an outlet to express it. It made it meaningful to donors.”
The names that came in were quite creative, Brent said, before rattling off a few: ‘Lana Eggin’, Merrill Cheap, Bock Brock Obama, Coco Puff, Sweet Pea, Lilac… “And someone named their chicken after themselves.”
Quite a few donors have come to see their chickens. And one donor even stops by about twice a month to say hello to Daphne – a Salmon Faverolle (who, you should know, have fluffy feet and five toes as opposed to the typical four).
About four to six months after Omaha Gives, the chickens have grown up. At that time, donors get a “Hey, your chicken just laid an egg!” email from the farm. “It’s a simple way to stay connected and say thank you again in a way that isn’t heavy on numbers,” Brent says.
Rallying people to invest in their own community is what Omaha Gives is all about – and it’s even more important this year, as the entire community has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Big Muddy Urban Farm has already started responding to the COVID-19 crisis with additional programming. “We’ve responded to the coronavirus pandemic by starting a tool lending program and increasing farm production through partnerships; we are also starting a plot sponsorship campaign that will be incorporated into our Omaha Gives participation,” Brent says.
“We’ve responded to the coronavirus pandemic by starting a tool lending program and increasing farm production through partnerships; we are also starting a plot sponsorship campaign that will be incorporated into our Omaha Gives participation.”
Brent hopes Big Muddy Urban Farms can show up for this year’s giving day with an awareness that this is a historical time for the community and the world. “Omaha Gives can help motivate us to capture stories that will be a lasting documentation of this moment for years to come,” Brent says. “We want to create something meaningful.”