The SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County is looking for donations on "Giving Tuesday."

An anonymous donor has pledged to match all monetary gifts made to the SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County this Tuesday, which is known as “Giving Tuesday,” a day nonprofit organizations try to tap into the holiday spirit and generate donations to meet year-end goals.

At least 10 nonprofits in the area, including the United Way, Salvation Army and Grace Network, to name three, will participate and promote the concept on their web sites. You can find a full list at GivingTuesday.org or by looking on social media.

One of those nonprofits is the SPCA, which relies heavily on contributions that go beyond purchasing daily necessities, such as bags of dog and cat food, to providing facilities and amenities to keep animals healthy and strong in a clean, warm, safe environment.

“Donations help cover the cost of vaccines, the cost of unexpected vet trips,” said Catherine Gupton, SPCA facility manager. “They also help to cover several things, like the cost of the water to clean shelter, the cost of the lights in the shelter.

“We need to raise $175,000 by the end of this year to stay on target with our budgetary goals. The money raised on Giving Tuesday will go toward that ultimate budget goal.”

The anonymous donor who pledged to match the money given on the first Tuesday in December could play a major role in the shelter’s year-end fundraising effort.

It all started when this mystery person contacted a member of the shelter’s board and made the offer a couple of weeks ago.

“She said she wanted to help the shelter out and she’s also a big proponent of Giving Tuesday,” Gupton said. “She said she wanted to help the shelter out by doing this big matching program on Giving Tuesday.”

With every donation essentially doubled on Giving Tuesday, even smaller amounts become large amounts when grouped together.

“They add up pretty quickly. I mean, if you have 100 people that walk up and hand you a dollar in the course of a day, you’ve reached $100 just from people making those small donations,” Gupton said. “Small donations can be just as much of a lifeblood.”

The donations made on Giving Tuesday will go to several different needs the shelter faces and will not be earmarked toward one specific cause.

“They’ll be used for whatever is most needed,” Gupton said.

The Giving Tuesday tradition began in 2012, the creation of the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and has become a staple as Americans kick off the annual holiday season.

According to GivingTuesday.org, in 2018 more than $400 million in online donations rolled in out of 3.2 million online gifts. The day also produced 14.2 billion online impressions, and people in more than 150 countries participated.

Also, to help raise awareness of charitable causes and amplify donors’ generosity, Facebook will match up to $7 million in eligible donations made on the social media platform during Giving Tuesday.

More than $5,000 of those donations have gone to the local SPCA. Out of the four or five years the shelter has participated in Giving Tuesday, 2018 saw the largest amount of donations.

“Giving Tuesday was created to embody caring and supporting the charities in your area, so participating in Giving Tuesday, specifically, is a way to give back to your local community,” Gupton said.

For those who can’t donate money but still want to help the animals, the shelter also accepts donations of physical items. You can take such items as a can of tuna for picky eaters or a bag of non-clumping cat litter to the shelter, which is at 132 Joseph Martin Highway in Martinsville.

“We always need bleach, paper towels, dish soap, regular bath towels and things like that,” Gupton said.

Amie Knowles can be reached at amierknowles@gmail.com

Amie Knowles can be reached at amierknowles@gmail.com

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