SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- In honor of Giving Tuesday and to draw attention to their year end fundraising effort, the staff from Gulf of Maine Research Institute held their second annual Sunrise Swim at Willard Beach in South Portland Tuesday morning.

Participants ran from the 19 degree air into the 48 degree seas water. GMRI is an independent nonprofit research lab dedicated to conservation, sustainability, and education of Maine's ocean wildlife and environment. President and CEO Don Perkins says money from individual donors gives the institutes the flexibility to take on new projects and mitigate sudden issues that arise.

Giving Tuesday is a nationwide social media driven platform, and Perkins says while the current political climate has brought environmental issues into the public eye, social media can be a challenge to navigate with so many other charitable organizations using it to reach donors. Perkins says the trick is to find your target audience.

"To be relevant, to be talking to people about what they care about, and not just making more noise," Perkins said. "That's the challenge with social media, you have to work with it every day, you have to pay attention to what people are concerned about, and you have to speak to what they're concerned about."

An anonymous donor has recently pledged to match any donation to GMRI up to $100,000 through the end of 2017.

If you're considering donating to any organization on Giving Tuesday, or any time during the holiday season, the Better Business Bureau has some tips on how to donate smart and safe.