By: Susie Bowie, Director of The Giving Partner
When three community foundations and The Patterson Foundation intersect, unexpected things can happen.
Some say the 36-Hour Giving Challenge on March 27 and 28, 2012 provided another revenue source for participating nonprofits in Southwest Florida. It was the right time and the right approach for some agencies; for others, it was not. Fundraising is a strategic set of goals and opportunities. The challenge was tactical.
Others say the 36-Hour Giving Challenge provided donors with the possibility of having their contributions matched, dollar for dollar. Some met the crazy four minute 20 second deadline; others did not.
We’ve responded to a few of our own donors whose donations were not matched. Each shared his or her delight in being part of this exciting, fast-paced giving event and would never have let the opportunity pass by without being part of it.
That brings us to the two endeavors we set out to accomplish in the 36-Hour Giving Challenge:
- Inspiring philanthropy in our community.
- Whether or not an individual agency or donor achieved a personal goal, more than 10,700 gifts were made in 36 hours—from generous and caring individuals in our community and beyond.
- Encouraging informed philanthropy.
- During the 36-Hour Giving Challenge, The Giving Partner—our community’s new online tool sharing in-depth knowledge about local organizations—received nearly 60,000 unique page views. Each visitor was introduced to a platform making informed giving possible. We have no doubt they will come back.
We achieved these unexpected numbers largely because of The Patterson Foundation’s focus on adding value to its undertakings with strategic communications and its generous $334,000 in 1:1 matching funds, up to $1,000 per donor per organization. No similar online event has offered this type of gift to incentivize philanthropy.
Ninety-three of the 109 (85%) participating agencies will receive matching dollars. The most any one agency will receive of total matching dollars is 7%, and that 7% “winner” was not one of the top 3 organizations to raise the most in online donations overall.
Southwest Florida was buzzing with generous in-kind advertisements in the Herald-Tribune—full run. The Patterson Foundation’s encouragement to leverage radio and television as well proved to be incredible forces in further saturating the market with messages about personal philanthropy.
What’s next? We are following up with nonprofits and donors to get feedback on the next 36-Hour Challenge. We will share our responses and look to the community for ideas and inspiration for the future. We’re continuing to work with additional nonprofits to develop profiles in The Giving Partner to help individuals, small businesses, corporations, foundations and other funders make more informed decisions about their giving.
For now, we remain inspired by those who took the time to go online, learn more about the causes that matter to them and invest in their success—whether it was with a gift of $25 or $1,000.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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