Communities Foundation of Texas hopes North Texas Giving Day will break national records — again
At least seven area AIDS agencies, three local choruses and a variety of other nonprofit organizations staffed by or benefiting the LGBT community are among the beneficiaries of North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 18.
During one 18-hour period, Communities Foundation of Texas hopes to break last year’s record of giving, when 75,369 donations totaling $25.2 million were donated to help 1,350 local agencies. The event broke national records for a single-day, community-wide giving event.
According to Carol Goglia, communications director for Communities Foundation of Texas, last year’s donations came from all 50 states and 35 countries.
When it started in 2009, the Dallas giving day was one of the first three such events in the country. Similar fundraising efforts are held in 60 cities now.
Goglia said reporters from other cities have called her to talk about the success Dallas has had in this cooperative fundraising effort. She said in Dallas, groups are good at working together.
Black Tie Dinner, which funds up to 20 local organizations and Human Rights Campaign in D.C. by working cooperatively to raise money, is a good example of that.
“A rising tide lifts all boats,” Goglia said. “We support each other.”
The majority of gifts are under $100, but some are over $50,000.
When the event began, 345 nonprofits from Dallas participated. This year, more than 1,600 agencies from a 16-county region across North Texas are registered.
Goglia said some are just listed so they can receive money in case anyone is looking for them. Others send emails to their donor base to let them know about the event.
Then there’s the Turtle Creek Chorale.
In its first year, the chorale held a pajama party at midnight when the donation page on the website opened. The next year, donation time was pushed up to dawn, so the chorale had a “Get Up and Give” party. In 2011, that party was upgraded to a “Bring Your Own Bed to Get Up and Give,” with themed bed vignettes.
Goglia called the chorale’s promotions very funny and very effective.
Last year, the chorale marketing and development coordinator, Caroline French, said she’d dance on stage at the holiday concert if they raised $25,000. Donors met the challenge and French made her dance debut.
“We’re always looking for innovative ways to participate,” French said.
She said there’s a new challenge on tap for this year, but wasn’t ready to reveal what that is.
Dave Chaos is station manager of 89.3 KNON-FM, which has aired LGBT talk show Lambda Weekly since the station went on the air in 1983. The station is mostly funded through on-air pledge drives.
Throughout Community Giving Day, Chaos said the station will air announcements about North Texas Giving Day and direct listeners to the community giving website.
Chaos said he thinks the donors on that day differ from pledge-drive donors.
“People take the fact we’re here for granted,” he said. “Some people tune out during pledge drive.”
He said the giving day donors who respond to the one-day event feel they’re part of a community-wide event and don’t necessarily respond to the station’s individual appeals. Some who donate, though, may include the station in multiple donations they’re making.
According to Goglia, half the donors that participated last year donated to more than one charity. One out of every four donors was giving to their nonprofit for the first time.
Goglia said Communities Foundation chose September for the event because it’s after the summer doldrums, kids are back in school and people are getting into the swing of things again.
She said the timing works well because it’s before most agencies make their end-of-year donor push.
But the timing doesn’t work for every agency. Although they’re listed as one of the beneficiaries, AIDS Arms has its largest annual fundraiser, LifeWalk, just two weeks later.
AIDS Arms Development Director Tori Hobbs said they welcome any way people are encouraged to give. The event is listed in their monthly newsletter and they’ll be sending out a link the night before, but most of their effort right now is concentrated on the Oct. 5 walk in Lee Park.
AIDS Outreach Center Development Director Mary Rusnak said they’re limiting their promotion this year as well.
“We just completed our Red Ribbon Circle major gifts initiative with the Meadows Foundation, so we’re keeping our ask low-key,” Rusnak said.
She said it would be nice if they receive a number of small donations from people they didn’t reach during the summer campaign or from those who’ve gotten to know the agency better and would like to give more. But next year they’ll do some more innovative marketing concept, she said.
On Sept. 18, go to the giving page on NorthTexasGivingDay.org. On that page, find the organization one of three ways — through a category search, a multi-organization search or a simple name search.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 12, 2014.