Photo: 2020 Giving Challenge — We Are One

Applauding Nonprofit Innovation During 2020 Giving Challenge

Posted on June 18, 2020 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation
For more than a year, nonprofit organizations and donors throughout Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties eagerly anticipated the excitement and possibilities surrounding the 2020 Giving Challenge. With the additional gift of time to plan and prepare relative to previous years, the 2020 Giving Challenge was always poised to generate inspiring stories of regional nonprofit efforts and acts of generosity in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the 24-hour event.

Yet, no one could anticipate the ongoing pandemic that would serve as the backdrop for the 2020 Giving Challenge. COVID-19 revealed itself at a time when many nonprofit organizations traditionally began outreach and engagement efforts planned months in advance. Faced with the hardships brought on by the pandemic, our nonprofit community found itself coping with the very real concern for the safety and well-being of their teams, beneficiaries, and supporters while reconfiguring their operations to continue their missions. Organizations were forced to adapt to working and serving the community virtually — which included altering their mature, robust Giving Challenge engagement plans and events to fit within the new normal.

While “sheltering in place,” organizations discovered creative ways to reframe and deliver their Giving Challenge plans — going beyond adapting to outreach in the age of social distancing to innovating and optimizing new pathways to reach current and would-be donors before, during, and even beyond the 24 hours. More than merely overcoming the challenges of COVID-19, these innovations gave these nonprofits the power to flourish and connect with donors eager to strengthen their missions.

The record-breaking $19.1 million total of the 2020 Giving Challenge emphatically affirmed the strength and effectiveness of these innovations to connect with donors in our caring community. Not surprisingly, this year’s leaderboard reflected donors’ strong desire to ensure that those most vulnerable to pandemic-related hardship were cared for — while the diversity in mission-focus of the organizations represented there affirmed that, no matter the circumstances, “the givers must give.” Many unique donors gave to multiple organizations during the 2020 Giving Challenge (with one particularly inspired individual giving to 99 different organizations over 24 hours!), illustrating the inherent power of our generosity gene.

With its digital focus and immense potential, the 2020 Giving Challenge truly could not have come at a better time for our region’s nonprofits and those eager to strengthen people, organizations, and communities following COVID-19. The Patterson Foundation’s nearly $7.5 million contribution through its no-cap match opportunity affirmed its faith in donors to be generous and organizations like yours to be thoughtful stewards of the unrestricted funding earned during the 2020 Giving Challenge. Now, as we each have a hand in creating our next normal, The Patterson Foundation looks forward to the good this support will help your organization create for our region.

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