Local volunteer assists arts organizations across Mississippi as part of Giving Tuesday

Published 3:39 pm Friday, November 26, 2021

Caroline Parker is a recent graduate from the University of Mississippi in Integrated Marketing and Communications.  Her coursework included an internship with the United Way of Oxford. 

The experience of working with the Director and board offered her insight into what she would like to do with her skills. 

As she prepared for graduation she focused on securing a position with a non-profit.  She wanted to use her writing, social media, and community building skills to draw attention to organizations who are making an impact.

“I found that small nonprofits provided crucial resources in our community,” shared Parker.

While interviewing for a position with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council the team recognized her passion.

“Caroline interviewed for an event position but we realized with her social media, design and writing skills she could help us in our outreach and community development programs,” explained Wayne Andrews, Executive Director of the Arts Council. “We had a position available through the VISTA which focuses on building capacity of organizations to address education and economic development.” 

Since joining the team Parker has been creating blogs about how innovative creatives are starting business hoping the lessons and inspirations will help other creatives explore opportunities.  She has created needs surveys, promoted events, fostered partnerships between community organizations.

One of the items she discovered was that many of the small arts and cultural organizations in Mississippi did not have access to social media support. 

“The holiday season is often one of major times of the year that non-profits organizations receive donations,” said Parker. Many of the arts organizations did not have the resources or tech skills to organize fundraisers. Parker stepped in creating a partnership between arts groups across Mississippi. 

“I wanted to create a framework that once set up they could replicate each year,” added Parker.  Using free online tools for surveys, social media scheduling, design studios and for collecting donations Parker organized 70 Mississippi arts groups into a collaborative Giving Tuesday fundraiser scheduled for Nov 30th under the banner of the Mississippi Presenters Network.

“The Arts are such a large part of Mississippi,” added Parker. “I hoped by organizing all the tools, creating templates, and building a social media plan that included shared tags, posts, and highlights that the strength of 70 organizations encouraging support of the arts would reach beyond their local communities but to those who love Mississippi.” 

Parker based her strategy on research that documented Pre-Covid over 23 million tourist visit Mississippi taking in festivals, touring historic sites, and museums.  Parker’s goal was to assist the arts organizations in testing out ways to engage and build community support.

“I hope if I can organize and test ideas that help the arts group it will build broader bases of support,” she said.

Parker picked Giving Tuesday as the event around which to organize the groups as it is a national day of philanthropy.  Giving Tuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.

The holiday was first announced in September 2012, two months prior to the first Giving Tuesday occurring on November 27. The purpose of the day is to inspire people and companies to take action, just like Black Friday and Cyber Monday created a framework for retailers to sell merchandise.

Learn more about how you can donate to Mississippi Arts organizations as part of Giving Tuesday by visiting presentmississippi.org