Rabble Mill (formerly Hear Nebraska) is an arts and culture organization that has participated in Omaha Gives since 2013—the very first time our community celebrated the giving day together. The organization’s executive director, Andrew Norman, says that every year, Omaha Gives has been one of the most significant days of the year for the organization. In the beginning, especially, the small organization relied heavily upon Omaha Gives donations to meet operational needs.
Without those early giving days, we wouldn’t have been able to hire our Operations Director or start paying interns. – Andrew Norman, Rabble Mill Executive Director
Andrew knew they couldn’t compete with larger organizations in terms of dollars raised. So the incentive structure of Omaha Gives was a great equalizer because prizes and drawings depend on unique donations rather than dollar amounts. “That’s really, really rad because it showed how a newer nonprofit like ours was engaged in its community.”
From co-hosting events with other participating nonprofits to social media onslaughts to recruiting volunteers to text and call their friends on behalf of the giving day, “we did everything we possibly could,” Andrew says. “We truly pulled out all the stops.”
Going all-in with the giving day paid off. “It engaged hundreds of individual donors who may not have heard about us but were invested in this fun competition with other nonprofits—that really increased our recognition in the community,” says Andrew.
It engaged hundreds of individual donors who may not have heard about us but were invested in this fun competition with other nonprofits—that really increased our recognition in the community. – Andrew Norman, Rabble Mill Executive Director
The engagement won them the most unique donors for their size category, and with it, some significant prize money! A $5,000 prize in 2013 and a $10,000 prize in 2014 made it possible for Rabble Mill to bring on its first staff person and pay its interns for the first time.
Eight years later, Omaha Gives is still a big deal for Rabble Mill and one of the most fun and important campaigns they do each year. But thankfully, their ability to pay their staff is no longer dependent on it. The percentage of their annual revenue from Omaha Gives is now much, much smaller than it used to be, and that’s a good thing. Because it shows how they’ve grown in capacity.
“That’s a testament to Omaha Gives,” Andrew says, “because without those early giving days we wouldn’t have been able to hire our Operations Director or start paying interns.” And those hires have made all the difference for Rabble Mill’s success.
Photo Credit: Mike Machian