Organizers of #GivingTuesday report that The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore raised the most money during the inaugural national day of giving, attracting $1-million in online donations. Last year, the organization raised $81,000 on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
The charity’s fundraising strategy wasn’t new or innovative; instead it relied on an old-fashioned tactic: the phone-athon.
After sending supporters messages about #GivingTuesday and advertising in local papers, The Associated gathered more than 100 volunteers, and from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, staff members and volunteers called donors, told them about that day’s national giving movement and how the charity is supporting cash-strapped local charities whose needs continue to grow.
Those who were uncomfortable calling donors made peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to feed the homeless.
The phone-athon session isn’t so unusual for The Associated; in fact, it does one every year called “Super Sunday,” around the time of the Super Bowl. Last year’s “Super Sunday” raised $865,000.
The biggest gift The Associated received on #GivingTuesday was $100,000 from a donor who last year had provided $50,000. One incentive that helped the donor: He found out another supporter would match his increased giving up to $50,000.
Twenty-seven of the 405 gifts were from new donors.
Marc Terrill, the charity’s president, had already left The Associated’s headquarters by 6:30 p.m. after making calls all day when he received seven “gleeful” e-mails from staff about reaching $1-million. “We hit it!” an e-mail said. “It was just a very upbeat, optimistic time, where people rallied together,” Mr. Terrill says. “It was great energy.”
Mr. Terrill says he’s not worried about potentially sapping support of the charity’s year-end push. “Not at all,” he says, “because these people have now said, ‘I’m here, I’m counted, I’m going to contribute.’”
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