“Idaho Gives is important to the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen for several reasons”, says past organizer, Kaaren Parsons. “Obviously the financial benefit is huge, but it’s more than that. Idaho Gives provides awareness about the soup kitchen, and people who may not even realize Idaho Falls had a soup kitchen were able to learn about our organization.”
The Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen started in 1985, with two members providing a noon time meal to the needy on weekends. They now serve meals seven days a week, providing over 55,000 meals annually. Instead of hosting an onsite event for Idaho Gives, Parsons hosted everything online. “It was exciting to check my phone or computer every hour to see how things were going.”
A month prior to Idaho gives, the group started advertising for the event. “We changed our profile picture to the Idaho Gives logo and let our board and team leaders know the event was coming,” says Parsons. Then they proceeded to ask their board members and team leaders to contact everyone in their professional and personal circles to promote their Idaho Gives page.
The Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen also collaborated with PacificSource Health Plans as their matching grant sponsor. “They provided a $2,500 matching grant, which was crucial for a successful Idaho Gives campaign, as this allowed donors to feel like their donation went twice as far.”
Pearsons’ advice to first time participants in Idaho Gives? “Make your giving page compelling, keep the story simple and relatable. People have to feel like their donation really does make a difference. Focus on creating an air of excitement throughout the day.”
Every dollar counts. “The soup kitchen received many $25 contributions. Get as many matching grant sponsors as possible and give them credit – both on your own social media outlets as well as your Idaho Gives page.”
Lastly, Pearsons recommends to just simply ask “If you don’t ask, people won’t donate.”
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