Sharing the Good
May 23, 2019 11:59AM
By Tara Spencer
Marjorie Maas enjoys sharing the good news about SHARE Omaha.
“We’re an organization that works through a website to connect nonprofits and missions that change the community with people who want to make an impact. We’re the conduit, the meeting ground, the clearinghouse for all of that to happen,” says Maas, executive director at SHARE Omaha. “We also list a running timeline of nonprofit events for friend-raising or fundraising.”
Maas says SHARE Omaha began after David Scott, treasurer of the Scott Foundation and current SHARE Omaha board member, discovered SHARE Charlotte (North Carolina), now Omaha’s sister city and the founding city of the software that so capably connects talent, volunteers, and resources with nonprofits. Maas notes that Omaha is the first expansion site outside of Charlotte with full functionality of that software.
“When [Scott] saw that in action in Charlotte, he said, ‘Omaha needs to have this type of energy in the nonprofit community,’” Maas says.
SHARE Omaha launched in January 2019 with 150 nonprofits live on its website. By late March, they had already grown that number to nearly 300 and counting.
“Our bench is even deeper than that, because we have other nonprofits that’ve started profiles but haven’t yet maximized them and gone live. So, as far as our total universe, we’re at about 400 nonprofits. Our goal by the end of 2019 is to be at 450 live nonprofits,” Maas says, adding that SHARE Omaha vets its nonprofits to ensure they are legit and viable. To Maas and company, this means they have working websites and have been in service for at least a year.
While the name is SHARE Omaha, Maas says the organization serves the region beyond the city’s borders.
“As far as membership on the website, we’re eligible to serve people within an eight-county footprint. In Nebraska, it’s Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington counties. In Iowa, it’s Harrison, Pottawattamie, and Mills counties,” Maas says.
But that didn’t stop SHARE Omaha from pitching in to help neighboring Fremont County in Iowa, which was in dire need after widespread floods ravaged much of Nebraska and Iowa in early 2019. In fact, while their website provides many ongoing opportunities for companies and individuals to connect with nonprofits year-round, the SHARE Omaha team was pleased to be an important resource connecting help to need in the acute adversity following the floods. The team created a landing page dedicated to flood relief and saw their website’s week-over-week traffic double in the two weeks following.
“The epicenter of the nonprofit community between Omaha and Council Bluffs has been our primary outreach area since our founding, but we are slowly getting that concentric circle larger around the metro area,” Maas says. “We’re already seeing people look to us as a resource to find out how to get involved in something that matters to them. And, that’s the kind of thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. If we can be a positive, organizing voice in the chaos of a crisis, then we’ve done our job.”
SHARE Omaha is also a unique conduit between businesses and nonprofits, offering to connect the two for team-building days, skills-based volunteer opportunities that employees can add to their portfolios/resumes, matching leaders and executives with board placements, and more.
“We definitely pay attention to national trends in corporate social responsibility and are trying our best to figure out how we can be of service to corporations that really have that as a core value,” Maas says. “We want to work even closer with the corporate community to figure out how we can best be of service to corporate social responsibility efforts—to really prove ROI for companies and how we can report that efficiency back to nonprofits, so they know the impact that the corporate community has on their missions.”
Maas notes that other local nonprofit resource organizations, such as Omaha Community Foundation, United Way of the Midlands, and Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, have been incredibly welcoming to SHARE Omaha.
“We could not feel more welcomed by that family of local nonprofit leaders,” she says. “Every organization has its own strengths and unique abilities, but we feel we really offer a unique proposition to the marketplace and we’re not trying to overstep anybody else’s expertise, but rather collaborate.”
The public, nonprofits, and businesses have also warmly welcomed SHARE Omaha. Local radio/TV personality Matt Tompkins thinks the concept works because it offers a convenient, efficient online experience.
“I’ve been in that position before, where I want to help but don’t even know where to start. This format makes it super-easy and convenient for people to help, and I think that’s how you can get more people involved,” says Tompkins, who currently co-hosts Mornings with Nikki and Matt on Sweet 98.5, through which he and co-host Nikki Oswald have used their platform to promote SHARE Omaha. “It’s really exciting what they’re doing and I think they’ve executed it very well. I’m just blown away and impressed by their early success and the response they’ve gotten from the community has been really encouraging.”
To learn more, visit SHAREOmaha.org.This article was printed in the June 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.