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How A Nonprofit Plans To Raise $100k Tomorrow

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A small nonprofit has turned one day of online giving into a way to raise one-fourth of its annual budget. How do they do it? (And now what're they going to do the other 364 days?)

How A Nonprofit Plans To Raise $100k Tomorrow

Four years ago, Casa Chirilagua, a small Latino-focused organization in Alexandria, VA, tried the city’s 24-hour online giving event for nonprofits on a whim. Since then, its efforts to raise money at the annual event have multiplied each year. By its third year, the educational organization raised the most dollars ($87,286) of all participating nonprofits and came in second for having the most donors (541). This year, the faith-based organization, which provides an after-school and mentoring program and a parent’s group with monthly dinners, plans to raise $100k. That’s one-fourth of the nonprofit’s total annual budget.

How A Nonprofit Plans To Raise $100k Tomorrow

April 22 marks the fifth anniversary of Spring2ACTion, a 24-hour online giving event hosted by ACT for Alexandria’s community foundation. Last year’s event raised over $1M for 120 nonprofits serving Alexandria through over 7,500 individuals. They represent a wide range of causes from legal services and animal rescue to arts and music and early care and education. ACT for Alexandria chief program officer Brandi Yee, second from left with colleagues John Porter, Heather Scott and Kerrin Epstein, says the goal is to raise another $1M for nonprofits and to encourage 10,000 people to give. 

How A Nonprofit Plans To Raise $100k Tomorrow

Casa Chirilagua executive director Dawnielle Miller (standing on the table) says many of its donors are younger and comfortable with online giving. The organization also creates buzz of its participation in the event through emails, Facebook and an event-day happy hour. Text messages are sent throughout the day. The organization also reaches potential donors in other time zones as evening hits the East Coast. Dawnielle says to other nonprofits: don’t be afraid to just ask—people want to be part of something making an impact. And no donation is too small. Casa had 435 gifts in the $10-$50 range last year and had 80 checks in the $10 range.