The region-wide online giving campaign, Do More 24, is underway for local nonprofits to raise as much money as possible in 24 hours.
Donors can go online to DoMore24.org and give to their favorite local charities before the clock strikes midnight. The charities raising the most money and lining up the most donors are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in additional award money.
This is the second year for the fundraising event which is organized by the United Way of the National Capital Area. Last year, Do More 24 raised $1.3 million for 551 nonprofits.
This year, organizers say 568 nonprofits are participating, hoping to raise money for causes including healthcare, youth development, homelessness, animal rights, arts and other social services.
The campaign is especially important now, say organizers, after a year of government budget cuts that reduced grants to area charities.
“We were dealing with the throes of sequestration and then we had the federal shutdown,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, president and chief executive of the local United Way chapter. “So much of what we do revolves around our federal government. We believe this year more so than last year, the need is greater.”
Last year, For the Love of Children, a D.C. nonprofit that provides education services for low-income youth, received the most money from donors at $82,000. With the funds, the group hired a new staff person to help improve its case management and college readiness programs.
If the fundraising event plays out similar to last year, the average charity might only collect about $1,700 by the end of the night. But the real value for these nonprofit groups comes in the form of new donors and brand awareness.
“What we really love about it is it’s a way for us to engage our donors in a way that we’re not able to the rest of the year,” said Latoyia Allen, director of development of For the Love of Children. “We have board members that engage their family and friends and we engage our 300 volunteers to rally their family and friends.”
Many charity groups are taking advantage of the day by running special social media campaigns and hosting live events. Facets, a Fairfax group that provides services for homeless and low-income individuals, is throwing a party to celebrate its graduating class. About 50 restaurants are offering a portion of their proceeds to support the campaign, including Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, Chick-fil-A in Capitol Heights, and the Green Turtle in Sterling.
Other businesses are throwing events to support the cause. Best Buy in Columbia Heights is offering refreshments and a raffle, Pleasant Pops Market in Northwest Washington is handing out sweets and Athleta in Georgetown plans a raffle to win $100.
Online giving days have proven successful for cities in the Washington region and around the country. In 2012, Give to the Max Day raised $2 million for area charities. This year, Spring2ACTion Alexandria raised $1 million for Alexandria nonprofits. Last year, #GivingTuesday, a national online campaign that encourages donors to give to charity on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, raised $19.2 million.
United Way is using the online giving platform Kimbia to manage the effort. It has run 20 giving days including a North Texas giving day last year that raised $25 million.
Do More 24 corporate sponsors include Goldman Sachs, Pepco, Microsoft, the Wal-Mart Foundation and Comcast-NBCUniversal.