When it comes to giving, it seems Southwest Washington is tough to beat. Give More 24! broke its own record this year by bringing in more than $3.3 million in donations for nonprofits in Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties. Last year, the event raised $2.9 million.
The 24-hour online giving marathon, back for its eighth year, was held Thursday. The day saw over 6,600 donors give to 207 nonprofits throughout the region. Although many participating nonprofits decided to host virtual events because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, a few, including Family Promise Day Center and Stageworks Northwest, hosted in-person events.
“We were impressed by the level of generosity that comes out of this community,” said Community Foundation for Southwest Washington spokesperson Maury Harris. “That goes first and foremost for the donors, but also the folks contributing their time and talent.”
The annual event was founded by Community Foundation with the goal of connecting nonprofits of different sizes to new donors and to promote online giving.
Leading in donations this year was Share, a Vancouver-based nonprofit that provides food, shelter and other services to the homeless. The agency raised $109,426 in donations and had 251 donors.
Other leaders were Clark County Food Bank with $97,128 raised and 214 donors, and last year’s leader Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School with $91,060 raised and 211 donors. FISH of Vancouver and iUrban Teen rounded out the top five with $78,474 and $76,310 raised, respectively.
“We had six really generous matching donations this year that pushed us over our goal, as well as about 35 more donors,” said Sarah Martinez of Clark County Food Bank.
While the financial difficulties of the ongoing pandemic could have resulted in fewer donations, Martinez said that hasn’t been the food bank’s experience.
“It just goes to show that people not extremely impacted by the pandemic are even more willing to jump in and help,” Martinez added.
In addition to fundraising, Give More 24! awarded $26,000 in sponsor-provided prizes to participating nonprofits. Most of the prizes were for $1,500 and were awarded based on criteria such as most unique donors or most raised during a specified hour.
Columbia Riverkeeper won $1,500 after receiving a donation that pushed the event over the $3.2 million goal.
Prize sponsors included First Pacific Financial, the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Red Canoe Credit Union and Midwest Trust, among many others.
Despite a drop in the number of nonprofits participating, mostly due to capacity and financial strains related to the pandemic, Give More 24! attracted roughly the same number of donors and saw average donations increase by 15 percent.
“We tried to replicate what we did last year, but do it better,” Harris said.