Courtesy the National #givingtuesday website

HELENA – Organizations across Helena ended Tuesday with thousands of extra dollars in their pockets to help continue to provide services for those in need.

As part of #givingtuesday, a social media campaign aimed at encouraging donations to nonprofits following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many groups received donations both online and in-person.

The Lewis and Clark Humane Society set its sights on raising $5,000. In the course of 24 hours, they exceeded that goal. According to Executive Director Gina Wiest, the Humane Society spread the word on social media. About 50 donations came in, and Wiest said some of them were matching donations.

“It costs about $3,000 to run the shelter everyday,” Wiest said. “So the $5,000 basically gave us a day and half…so we’re constantly trying to raise money.”

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The Humane Society participated in #givingtuesday last year also and used that money to keep the shelter heated during an especially cold winter.

For other organizations like the Helena Food Share, #givingtuesday allowed them to continue to put food on the table for local families.

“Giving Tuesday is a pretty big deal here in Helena and equally so for Helena Food Share,” Daneal Lightner, Helena Food Share development director, said.

According to Lightner, the Food Share raised $5,390 dollars – enough to keep the Food Share running a little under a week. Lightner said the Food Share feeds over 1,500 families a month and that $5,000 can make a big difference.

Even organizations that don’t usually rely on community fundraising had a hand in #givingtuesday. The Rocky Mountain Development Council, a federal and state funded organization, provides services like Head Start early childhood education and Meals on Wheels.

According to Executive Director Lori Ladas, uncertainty with Montana’s budget has led the organization to focus more on community fundraising. That’s why Ladas’ organization participated in #givingtuesday.

“We’ve really been working for the last couple of years to increase our fundraising efforts. With the news constantly telling us day after day that we’re about to lose funding, we know the dollars are tight,” Ladas said.

Overall, the organizations expressed gratitude for those who opened their wallets to make a difference in their local community.

“I just want to thank everybody for being so generous on #givingtuesday, not only for us but for everyone in our community,” Wiest said.