Get ready for Give More 24!

Annual fundraising event encourages residents to donate to local nonprofits that benefit area’s people, causes

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

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For more information about causes and events happening Sept. 21 for Give More 24!, visit give-more-24.org

In the handful of years that Give More 24! has been around, there hasn’t been a major disaster in the weeks leading up to it.

This summer’s wildfires in the Columbian River Gorge and hurricanes in the South changed that.

Amid all of the disaster relief efforts, one local nonprofit has asked Maury Harris of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington about the moral dilemma they’re having asking for money Sept. 21 during the annual 24-hour day of giving, Give More 24!

People have donated blood, sent money to the Red Cross, lent their boats to rescue people stranded in floodwaters and dropped off cases of bottled water for firefighters tackling the Eagle Creek and Archer Mountain fires. Washougal residents let horses displaced by the fires stay in their pastures. People opened their churches and buildings, and dropped off emergency supplies at the Washougal Community Center. Calls for assistance were responded to within a matter of minutes.

“People see the problem and they want to help and be part of the solution,” Harris said.

There is room for people to help disaster relief and also give to ongoing causes whose missions they support, he added.

“There are multiple drivers for people to give,” he said.

The goal of Give More 24! is to raise at least $1 million for local nonprofits and get at least 4,000 people to donate to causes Thursday on the Give More 24! website.

The Community Foundation, the host and marketing power behind the annual giving spree, advised participating nonprofits to use Give More 24! to raise money for specific, tangible needs.

“People like to know where their dollars are going. If you can tell a story as well, it helps with donations,” Harris said. “People connect with clear objectives.”

So, people may be more likely to give money if it’s going to a specific program or item rather than a general fund.

Here are just some of the objectives local organizations hope to achieve:

• Pomeroy Farm is trying to raise money to repair its historic barn.

• The Evergreen School District Foundation wants help covering students’ $85 Advanced Placement test fees.

• Washington State University Vancouver aims to raise $5,000 for the Cougar Food Pantry that supports financially struggling students.

• Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance looks to purchase a piece of outdoor art for the city.

• Partners in Careers wants to provide training wages for homeless veterans to gain work experience through its Roots to Road farming program.

• Lifeline Connections, which is opening a residential treatment facility for mothers and their children, is trying to raise $5,000 to cover the purchase of blankets, curtains, towels and crib sheets — items that will make the dormlike setting feel more homey.

To help giving grow

The aim of Give More 24!, which happens entirely online at give-more-24.org, is to connect people with nonprofits and promote online giving. This way of giving continues to grow, in part because it fits with people’s web-centric lives. People are encouraged to peruse the different causes and nonprofit profiles on the website.

There are 131 nonprofits participating. Anyone who publicly uses the hashtags #givemore24 and #whyigive will be featured in a live social media feed on the Give More 24! homepage. (Coinciding with Give More 24!, the Community Foundation launched the #whyigive campaign, which asks people why they give their money, time or talents.)

Nonprofits and their donors can strategize around specific prizes. They’ll get an extra $1,000 by raising the most money between midnight and 1 a.m. or during lunchtime, for instance. The “small, but mighty” prize is new this year, giving an extra $1,000 to a small nonprofit that garners the most individual donors between 1 and 2 p.m. Smaller, lesser-known nonprofits have a disadvantage when it comes to Give More 24!, but the Community Foundation is working to change that.

How much nonprofits lean on private donations depends on several variables. Typically, the smaller and more localized an organization, the more heavily they rely on local gifts. The nonprofit DOGPAW, which operates off-leash dog parks around Clark County, can’t stay open without donations and membership. Most people assume that the county pays for it, but as previously reported in The Columbian, that’s not the case.

During Give More 24!, there is a $30,000 stretch pool that boosts donations based on the percentage of the total raised; if an organization raises 2 percent of all the money donated on Sept. 21, then that organization will get 2 percent of the stretch pool. Individuals and businesses are offering more than $100,000 in matching gifts to specific nonprofits.

Last year, happy hour (between 5 and 7 p.m.) was the most popular time to give. Giving started out slow early in the day and then peaked in the afternoon and evening.

Just over half of last year’s donors were Vancouver residents; 84 percent were local to Southwest Washington. Other donations came in from around the country and even as far away as Melbourne, Australia.

With a minimum $10 donation, the community foundation is encouraging small gifts that can add up to a lot if a lot of other people give.

To get people engaged and excited about donating, some nonprofits and businesses are holding events. The Watershed Alliance of Southwest Washington is partnering with Couve Cycle to offer rides around Esther Short Park and the waterfront on its pedal-powered wagon. The Police Activities League of Vancouver will have a dunk tank at Luxe in downtown Vancouver. Heathen Brewing Feral Public House will have a tiki-themed giving lounge. Share, the nonprofit serving the homeless, will task teams of people with building structures out of canned food at the Share Fromhold Service Center.

It creates a party atmosphere around Southwest Washington’s unofficial giving holiday, Give More 24!

The party starts at midnight on Sept. 20.

The Columbian is the media sponsor for Give More 24!