Cadets 'Give!' back to local nonprofits

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Nearly 80 cadets brainstormed with 40 local nonprofit organizations as part of the Give! 2010 campaign Wednesday in Arnold Hall here.

Give! 2010 is a philanthropic campaign that helps local nonprofit organizations get some much needed money and publicity.

"We wanted to give back to the community and said, 'Well how can we do it without duplicating someone else's services?'" said John Weiss, the publisher of the Colorado Springs Independent and Give! Campaign chairman. "So we came up with a multimedia, multi-layered traditional and guerilla-style campaign to benefit mostly small nonprofits.

"We provide TV, radio, print, cyber and billboard support for the nonprofits," he added. "We create all sorts of interesting competitions to get the word out to encourage people to talk about giving back. Our main goal is to give money as well as volunteers in the community."

The cadets came together and got involved to give the nonprofits a fresh look at how they do business.

"We are acting as consultants today trying to tell the nonprofits how they can reach out to the younger generation," said Cadet 1st Class Amber Sells, the cadet volunteer coordinator. "A lot of the people who work at these nonprofits tend to be part an older generation with other jobs, and they don't necessarily understand how our generation works or how we prefer to get our information and the multimedia involved.

"We do things like looking at their web pages and logos," Cadet Sells said. "(We) really try to give them some ideas on how to get it to look good. We're also giving them information on how to use some of the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter."

"One of the things we're trying to do is get nonprofits to think outside the box," Mr. Weiss added. "The nonprofits talk a lot with one another but sometimes forget about the alternate forms of communication."

Besides the younger point of view, the cadets bring a smart, analytical thought process into the fray.

"We're thrilled because we want the cadets to use both their analytical and young adult minds," Mr. Weiss said. "The cadets do a lot for the local community, and this is a different form for them to give back."

The opportunity to do something so helpful from the comfort of home was something the cadets just couldn't pass up.

"The cadets love to volunteer, but it's hard for us to get involved with small nonprofits because we're unaware of all the opportunities," Cadet Sells said. "We usually get involved with the bigger ones like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, but we really wanted to start getting out to some of the smaller guys who really need some help."

Cadet Sells said she had to turn away cadets because she had too many volunteers.

This is the Give! campaign's second year. The first year was experimental and raised $198,000 for 29 groups. This year's goal is to raise over $333 million for 40 groups through a $140,000 media campaign. All the groups involved will get publicity time on TV or radio, Mr. Weiss said.

"And to be honest, the organizations desire the publicity more than they desire the money," Mr. Weiss insisted.

For more information on Give! 2010, go to http://www.csindy.com/inhouse/give2010.html.