I’ve lived in many places throughout my life – from Johannesburg to New York City to smaller towns in Vermont – all of these communities have unique identities but none as welcoming or as impressively generous as I’ve experienced in Sarasota. The 36-Hour Giving Challenge is evidence of this.
The Patterson Foundation recently had the privilege of supporting The Giving Partner’s 36-Hour Giving Challenge, and I was honored to be able to collaborate on the strategic communications. The results of the challenge were beyond expectation. More than $2.4 million was raised for more than 100 nonprofits in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties through the generosity of more than 10,000 individual donations.
This more than doubled The Giving Partner’s original goal of raising $1 million.
In fact, this region raised more money than similar giving challenges in larger metropolitan cities across the nation.
How did communications play a role in this exciting endeavor?
The success of the 36-Hour Giving Challenge is an example of The Patterson Foundation’s approach of collaborative philanthropy in action. Beyond issuing a match, The Patterson Foundation collaborated with the Community Foundation of Sarasota’s communications team communications strategy for the challenge, an element that was an important aspect to its overall success.
Throughout the planning process, as strategic communications partner, I met with the Giving Partner’s communications team and added insight to their strategy. I also helped facilitate using broadcast promotion, which included working with Clear Channel radio stations. This collaborative work created a media movement around the challenge and helped raise public awareness of not only the challenge itself but also the nonprofits involved.
The overall result was, in the words of Designation Committee Member Dan Bailey Jr., “an explosion of pent-up philanthropy,” making visible the massive generosity that exists in our community and pinning it up for all to see.
Communications played a key role in igniting this “explosion.”
The success of the 36-Hour Giving Challenge not only serves as a model of what can happen when multiple foundations collaborate together, but also the importance of communications in inspiring philanthropy in others.