Who says the Sacramento region isn’t generous?
It didn’t even take halfway through the first Big Day of Giving for area nonprofits to blow past the goals of 5,000 donors and $1 million raised online.
When the 24 hours were up, the totals hit 18,915 gifts and $2.7 million in individual donations, exceeding organizers’ wildest expectations. Those astounding numbers don’t count $320,000 in matching donations and prizes from major sponsors.
All that money will enable nearly 400 nonprofits to do a lot of good in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties. The donations are unrestricted, so it’s up to the nonprofits to decide how to spend them. They would be wise to fund services and programs that help real people – not administration or staff salaries. Donors didn’t just give their hard-earned money; they gave their trust.
The five groups receiving the most gifts represented a broad range of causes: the Sacramento Ballet, Placer Land Trust, Sacramento Country Day School, Sierra Forever Families and KVIE.
Officials at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation hope the event is a watershed moment for area philanthropy – drawing thousands of first-time donors who will make it a habit, and putting dozens of teetering nonprofits on a solid foundation.
A 2011 study commissioned by the foundation found that 62 percent of households in the four counties donated to charity – less than the 66 percent national average – and that the average amount given was $365 less a year. The foundation launched a three-year campaign to close the “giving gap.”
A big step forward was last April’s Arts Day of Giving, which also far exceeded its goal, raising more than $500,000 for 78 groups. Tuesday’s success proved anew the power of social media and networking by nonprofits. Sacramento was among the leaders of nearly 150 similar online fundraising blitzes around the nation.
The challenge is to keep the momentum going. If Tuesday is any indication, that’s another goal that will be reached.