When it comes to volunteering on a national level, Alaska consistently ranks near the top of the list. While the Last Frontier doesn't rank as highly in individual giving, there is one charitable activity where we shine like the midnight sun.
"Giving Days" have blossomed around the country as communities look to cultivate home-grown philanthropy and boost civic pride. Normally 24-hours in length, Giving Days unite citizens, nonprofits, and businesses within a geographically-defined area around a common goal. Sometimes the area is a city, such as Seattle's Give Big campaign, and sometimes a state, like GiveMN in Minnesota. In some cases, even colleges host their own private giving day events.
In Alaska, we have the state-wide Pick.Click. Give. (PCG) campaign. Many factors make this program unique, including the high rate at which we participate in PCG compared to other states and regions.
For the past several years, roughly 5 percent of Alaskans who filed online for their Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) made a donation through PCG. This year didn't surpass the records set in 2015 and 2016, but the 4.8 percent participation in 2017 shows a solid commitment to philanthropy despite an uncertain economic climate.
This means Alaskans participate in statewide giving campaigns at significantly higher rates than residents of other states. About 0.5 percent of Utah residents gave during the 2015 Love Utah, Give Utah campaign. The North Texas Giving Day saw participation rates of about 2 percent of their community. And 3 percent of Colorado residents made a donation during the Colorado Gives Day.
There are a couple of notable differences between PCG and other Giving Days:
The PFD creates an opportunity to give using a truly unique vehicle. Connected to the PFD application, donors can use PCG to seamlessly divert donations in increments of $25 to a variety of causes around the state. There is no easier way to make a donation. No other Giving Day has the advantage of a PFD.
Additionally, no other Giving Day lasts for ninety days. That's a long time to run a statewide campaign as Alaskans...