Fundraising off to brisk start as Give More 24! returns for in-person events around Vancouver

The Give More 24! annual online giving marathon appeared to be on its way to reaching its goal of $3.5 million by late Thursday evening. As of 9:30 pm, 5,751 donors had given $3,194,533.

With over 200 participating nonprofits this year, Give More 24! returned to hosting in-person events after a two-year hiatus during the peak of COVID-19. Over a dozen of the participating nonprofits hosted in-person events — from breakfast at the Hilton Vancouver Washington with Evergreen Habitat for Humanity to a live game of Clue with Stageworks Northwest.

The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington launched the 24-hour online giving campaign in 2013 to get more people from the community involved in supporting local causes.

“The intention of this was really around, not just fundraising, but it was really about helping to build the capacity of organizations and get the word out,” said Matt Morton, president of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington.

Fosterful, a nonprofit that seeks to assist children as they transition into foster care, hosted an event at his office on Thursday morning, offering donuts and coffee to community members. Each donor of $25 or more received a tile to sign, which was then added to a mosaic of Fosterful’s logo. This is the fourth year the nonprofit has participated in Give More 24!

“Our participation in this event is important because it helps our neighbors become aware of what is happening right here in Vancouver,” said Sarah Desjarlais, executive director of Fosterful. “We used to be known as Vancouver’s best kept secret, which is never a good thing. In part due to our participating with this event, we’ve really been able to get the word out.”

Fosterful’s goal of the day was to raise $20,000, according to Desjarlais. By late afternoon, the organization was well on its way with over $15,000 raised from more than 55 donors.

During an afternoon update with KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill, Morton remained optimistic that Give More 24! was well on its way to reaching its goal of $3.5 million by Thursday afternoon, despite increased inflation.

“During moments when there’s another economic downturn or a pandemic or other big issues, folks sometimes have the tendency to be more generous and recognize that the issues are more prevalent,” Morton said. “I think that is a motivating factor for our donors.”

By noon Thursday, Give More 24! was behind in funds compared to where it had been at the same time last year. However, by 1 pm, $1.97 million had been raised, more than the $1.88 million reached at that same time last year.

Many activities

From coffee and donuts in the morning, to happy hour events in the late afternoon, Thursday was packed with events raising support and awareness for Give More 24!

The Columbia Play Project traveled around the community bringing exploratory play opportunities to children. The nonprofit launched its mobile van on Sept. 17 and was able to travel to a handful of different sites Thursday, such as Waterfront Park, to spread awareness and try to raise funds to help with its eventual goal of opening a brick-and-mortar Children’s Museum in Vancouver.

“We’re still trying to build out exhibits for this museum and so funds will go to that,” said Jeanne Bennett, the Columbia Play Project board chair. “And then there’s also just the infrastructure of running a nonprofit.”

The mobile van was financed in part by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Bennett said. The van allows volunteers to bring play to kids across the county. During Give More 24! fundraising, Bennett and Columbia Play Project Secretary Mary Sisson dressed up as “Doug the Slug” and “Ryder the Spider,” offering activities such as magnetic poetry and hula hooping to passersby.

Columbia Play Project’s goal was to raise $20,000, according to Bennett. As of late afternoon, over $6,500 had been raised from over 30 donors.

With hours left in the fundraising marathon, it is hard to tell which nonprofits will take the lead with the most donations. As of late afternoon, education as well as poverty and hunger seemed to be the top causes.

A full report on the amount raised, number of donations and prize winners will be made available Friday.