Non-profits benefit from Day of Giving

By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke 

Hundreds of non-profit organizations from the Allegheny and Westmoreland counties participated in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Day of Giving last Thursday.

The Day of Giving, an annual occurrence in Pittsburgh since 2009, is a “24-hour online giving initiative” encouraging individuals to donate to one or more of the city’s many non-profits, Pittsburgh Foundation manager of marketing and communications Christopher Whitlatch said.

In total, the foundation raised over $6.4 million during this year’s Day of Giving.

Whitlatch said several non-profits set up stations in many areas at which people could donate to the charity of their choice by Visa or MasterCard. Individuals could also donate online at www.pittsburghgives.org.

“There was a matching pool of $750,000 available for the event,” Whitlatch said. “Some percentage of every dollar donated by individuals to a specific charity will be matched by money from the pool.”

The $750,000 was provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Jack G. Buncher Charitable Fund, The Donald & Sylvia Robinson Family Foundation, The Robert Waters Fund and The Colcom Foundation.

To participate in the Day of Giving, non-profits created profiles on the Pittsburgh Gives website, according to Whitlatch. This year, 729 non-profits registered and 719 received donations.

According to Whitlatch, one of the best aspects of the Day of Giving is its broad appeal.

“This is something that people of different ages and walks of life can get involved in,” Whitlatch said.

Whitlatch also said the $25 minimum donation amount means “anyone could donate.”

Individuals were encouraged to give to more than one organization during the day. According to Whitlatch, statistics from the 2012 Day of Giving show that donors gave to an average of three non-profits and donated $150 each. He expects that the 2013 numbers will be very similar.

Some organizations decided to get creative in enticing donors. The Sprout Fund, a participant in the Day of Giving since 2009, set up remote giving locations for the first time, according to Sprout Fund development manager Kathleen Bradock.

Donation centers were set up in popular areas such as the Conflict Kitchen in Oakland, ToonSeum in the cultural district and the Double Wide grill in South Side.

At the Conflict Kitchen, potential Sprout donors could walk up to a tent outside, use one of several laptops to donate and then take a voucher into the restaurant for a free dessert.

The Sprout Fund financially supported the Conflict Kitchen when the restaurant was just getting started, then again when it moved to Oakland, so the restaurant was eager to help, according to Bradock.

“Our mission as a non-profit is to help other organizations achieve their goals,” Bradock said. “We wanted to show donors what their money would be used for.”

Bradock said that although the results have not been confirmed, she predicts it “was another successful year.”

“Although the total raised during the Day of Giving was slightly lower than 2012, I feel pretty confident that we raised more this year,” Bradock said. “I think that’s in a large part because we were more visible. We had those remote locations to get people involved.”

Whitlatch said he encourages people to keep an eye out for next year’s Day of Giving.

“It really has something for everyone,” Whitlatch said. “No matter where you’re coming from, there is a non-profit out there representing your interests. It’s a great way to get involved in your community.”

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