In 17 hours, Give More 24! blew past its goal of raising $2 million for Southwest Washington charities in a single day. The event raised a total of $2.89 million.
More nonprofit groups than ever participated in the midnight-to-midnight giving marathon supported by the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. This was the seventh year of Give More 24!
“We’ve never hit our goal this early,” said Jennifer Rhoads, president of the Community Foundation.
Thursday’s aim was to raise $2 million online for charities in Clark, Skamania and Cowlitz counties, which was met by 5 p.m. It was double what was raised by that same time last year.
“Our community has a tendency to step up when it’s most needed, and that’s today,” Rhoads said. “The numbers are pretty astronomical.”
She noted giving was steady throughout the day rather than peaking at certain times.
To help reach fundraising goals, more than $800,000 in matching funds were up for grabs, as well as a dozen $1,500 prizes. The matching dollars contributed to the day’s success but so did the fact that many people are working remotely and used to technology by now, Rhoads said.
“I think people were able to be more engaged throughout the day,” she said. “We can do our laundry at lunch and also make a donation.”
The response to Give More 24! tells her that people are looking for positive ways to give back.
Donations could be as little as $5. While those donations have always taken place online, there are traditionally events and activities that play into the festiveness of Give More 24!. Instead, due to COVID-19 precautions, many nonprofits hosted virtual events to drum up support, and social media played a major role.
Thursday morning, Friends of Trees mascot Garry Oak and Jesse Batty, an urban forestry specialist with the city of Vancouver, led a tree tour through Esther Short Park, which was filmed live to Facebook. The nonprofit Friends of Trees aimed to raise $3,000 to plants trees in neighborhoods and natural areas.
Kathy Armstrong, development and communications director, is getting used to recording live events. She said the organization has been filming tree talks and tours since March, when COVID-19 precautions shut down group gatherings. It’s a way to bring nature to people.
“That was one thing we know everybody missed,” she said.
During the first tree planting event since the pandemic began, the Portland-based group will do a live video from the event site. Armstrong said they can only have 25 people on site. Street tree plantings in neighborhoods typically attract 250 people.
“It is a very different feel, a very different thing when you can’t come together to do things as a community,” Armstrong said. “What’s amazing is, the community is still responding and supportive.”
However, she noted that foundations and traditional funders may not have money right now for environmental groups, such as Friends of Trees, because they’re focusing on addressing emergencies: issues around coronavirus, wildfires and social justice. And, some of the small businesses that nonprofits rely on for support are struggling.
That means nonprofits have to be creative and pursue other avenues, Armstrong said.
“We’re always concerned about donor fatigue, and this has been a really tough year,” Rhoads said.
Organizations, including YWCA Clark County, Meals on Wheels People and Evergreen Habitat for Humanity, held their traditionally in-person fundraising events online Thursday, coinciding them with Give More 24!
Jim Mains, emceed the Habitat event from afar. He noted that normally this time of year the nonprofit is celebrating and raising money with 650 people at a breakfast.
The pandemic further stressed an existing housing crisis, he said.
“To say that 2020 has been a challenge would be an understatement,” Mains said in a video streamed to Facebook and Evergreen Habitat for Humanity’s website.
Using a news broadcast style of video, Habitat employees gave the Mang Shang family the keys to their new home, a celebration usually attended by dozens of volunteers and board members.
Other virtually or socially distanced events included a treasure hunt benefiting Community Home Health & Hospice, sex education trivia with Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, a cul-de-sac concert featuring Reprise Choir and a coloring contest at Final Draft Taphouse. iUrban Teen held a virtual watch party of the documentary “13th.”
Last year, in the last 20 minutes of the all-day, online fundraiser, Give More 24! passed its $1.6 million goal. Overall, 4,391 people donated to 169 different causes in 2019.
The Columbian is a media sponsor of Give More 24!