Read the full interview with the organizer of The Big Payback, Kathryn Bennett!

What is the Big Payback?

The Big Payback is a 24 hour online giving day that is geared towards Middle Tennessee non-profits. It was started back in 2014 so, this will be the 5th year of the Big Payback. We got all the nonprofits together and educate them on how to do social media marketing and email marketing and really engage with their donors and supporters to have a big day of giving.


How did the Big Payback Get Started?

The Big Payback was started 5 years ago because we saw room for growth in terms of how non-profits were telling their story, how they were engaging with donors, and as a society, everything was moving online, but, not everyone came equipped with those skills. A lot of non-profits are one person running the organization so, we saw a need to educate folks on those trends and skills. Also, since Nashville is growing so rapidly to provide a way for non-profits to engage with new Nashvillians and the new generation of donors here in our community.


What’s the best way for people to get involved?

The best way to get involved with The Big Payback is to go to Learn about all the non-profits that are participating. Each year, we have between 750 and 800 non-profits that participate and they all have pages on so you can go and search by whatever issues you’re interested in, or, maybe by your county if you want to get engaged with the non-profits that are within your specific community. You can also follow the hashtag, #BigPayback, so then all the social media posts can be seen in one place. We encourage the non-profits, when they talk about their campaigns online, when they are sharing their videos and their photos, and all the fun stuff they have going on with The Big Payback, to use that hashtag so you can track everything.


What are some of the charities invovled? 

It is everything ranging from arts and zoology; we have small organizations with a budget of $50,000 and we have the big folks here in town with million dollar budgets. Any non-profit can participate and they non-profits you have heard of will be on the list and new non-profits that you may not have heard anything about are also participating so it’s a great way to support the non-profits that you already love but, also, learn about some new non-profits to support.


How can someone donate? 

It’s really easy to donate to The Big Payback. It’s a lot like online shopping. You go to the organization’s profile and you click on the donate button, enter how much you want your donation to be and add it to your cart. Then you can keep shopping, keep learning, and once you’re ready to check out, you do it all in one transaction. All of the gifts flow through The Community Foundation here and then we give that money back to the non-profits so it’s one, really easy transaction.


Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think my favorite part about the Big Payback is seeing how the non-profits have grown and really embraced the spirit of the day. Over the years, I think, especially the first few years or the first time an organization participates, they always say, “I’m only one person,” or “I’m a small team…. How can I pull off this big campaign or be successful on a giving day? I’ve never tried social media. I don’t want to get on Facebook… I don’t know how that world works.” But, then they try it and they see that they can do it. We have really tiny organizations that are run by all volunteers out in one of the rural counties and they learn that they can create really creative videos and win our creative campaign contest. Or, they can be an organization that maybe doesn’t have a sexy selling point, they don’t have cute puppies or elephants, but they are still able to put together an amazing campaign and reach new donors. They learn that it is possible and anyone can gain something from The Big Payback.

There was one non-profit last year, The Tullahoma Fine Arts Center, and they made this really fun Hamilton video. We were talking with the non-profit, we had the organizer of the campaign speak at one of our trainings and she was telling us that she has a grandson out in New Mexico who loves to rap and she loved Hamilton. So, she bought him a little costume on Amazon and got him to change the lyrics of one of the songs in Hamilton to be about the organization. She flew out to New Mexico to see him, they shot it in an alley, it cost her like $40 to make this video, shot it on her iPhone and they won our Creative Campaign Contest and got a $5,000 prize for that. So, you never know what a little creativity could turn into.

Read More in the Discover Home Series!

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