Money & Business

Give Local America Raises $68 Million for Nonprofits in One Day

By / May 13, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

In just two years, Give Local America has become the premier springtime nonprofit fundraising campaign. More than 9,000 nonprofits in 180 communities raised $68 million in a 24-hour period last week.

For the second year in a row—and in just the second year of its existence—Give Local America (GLA) blew away expectations. The 24-hour fundraising event, held this year on May 5, saw 9,000 nonprofits around the country raise more than $68 million, up from the $53 million raised in year one.

We see this event becoming a yearly staple in communities across the country.

“Those numbers are pretty incredible for an event that we still sort of see as being in its infancy,” said Lori Finch, general manager of the campaign. “We’re really excited about it, the feedback we’ve received has all been really positive, and we see this event becoming a yearly staple in communities across the country.”

Here are some other significant highlights from this year’s campaign:

  • The $68 million raised was divided among nonprofits that work in causes that included human services (28 percent), education (19 percent), arts and culture (16 percent), and youth services (8 percent).
  • More than 375,000 gifts were received throughout the day.
  • Total donations increased 29 percent over 2014, and total gifts given increased 23 percent.
  • Of the gifts given, 35 percent came from first-time donors.

Community-wide giving days are not a new concept. However, GLA’s work to aggregate those events, provide resources and support, and offer one streamlined fundraising tool has contributed to the campaign’s almost-instant success, said Finch.

“For all the work we do though, it comes down to the nonprofits’ ability to engage local corporations and donors,” she said. “The groups that are most successful are designing creative campaigns around this. It’s not a direct-mail piece, it’s not one particular thing. It’s an opportunity for them to be creative and design something that’s fun and engaging through a variety of platforms.”

And despite the similarities that can be drawn between GLA and #GivingTuesday, which runs the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Finch sees the two events as distinct from one another.

“We’ve taken this out of a traditional time of giving,” she said. “We really focused on driving an event in the spring, which we think gives people the time to solicit new donors. Additionally, we’re all on the same platform, so we can see real-time dollars grow, which adds to the excitement of the day.”

With this year’s event already in the books, GLA has its sights set on growing even larger in 2016. Sustaining such impressive growth would seem like a difficult task to many, the group has a few ideas to help keep the momentum rolling.

“For next year, we’re looking at some national partnerships, particularly around national media that could help provide more coverage for the event,” she said. “We’re also exploring how we can replicate this event that’s so successful in some communities, in other communities.”

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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