182 nonprofits participate in first annual area give-a-thon
The Western New York community once again demonstrated its generosity as 1,307 donors contributed $72,549 to a diverse group of non-profit organizations that participated in "Spring It On," the area's first 24-hour fundraising event held March 1. Arts and cultural, health and human services, environmental, religious and animal protection organizations were among the beneficiaries of the contributions collected until midnight Friday evening.
The event was organized and presented by the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County with support from the United Way of Greater Niagara.
The event was open to all 501(c)3 organizations in Erie and Niagara counties, and attracted a wide variety of groups. Each participating organization set its own fundraising goal and promoted the event to its supporters. Secure, online donations were made through a specially designed website, Fundraise.SpringItOn.org, directly to participating organizations between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Friday
Michael Weiner, United Way president and CEO, said that the organization was thrilled with both the amount raised and the sheer number of participating organizations.
" 'Spring It On' provided a focal point for our community to be part of something that can have a tremendous impact on a variety of organizations and the citizens they serve within a very short timeframe," he said. "In addition to financial support, we believe 'Spring It On' helped to educate local citizens about the tremendous contributions made by the nonprofit community every day. Ultimately it worked - the Buffalo Niagara region truly demonstrated its generous spirit."
Participating agencies set up fundraising pages that included photos, videos and messaging, and promoted their pages through online communications and social media - new territory for many. One of the agencies using social media for fundraising for the first time was Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County, which exceeded its $1,500 goal by 11 a.m., much to the delight of president Marlene Schillinger.
"Hitting our goal so early was both exciting and humbling," she said. "We had no way to know there would be so much support right out of the gate, and seeing the contributions come in gave us a renewed appreciation for the generosity of our supporters."
The funds raised by JFS will support grocery cards for clients needing assistance with Passover and Easter meals.
While new to Buffalo-Niagara, "Spring It On" is modeled on similar events held in other cities across the country, including Rochester's successful "ROC The Day" event.
The United Way plans to continue the event on an annual basis.