With more than five hours to spare, GiveNOLA Day exceeded its goal of raising $3 million for New Orleans area nonprofits Tuesday.
By 6:15 p.m., more than 24,000 donors had opened their wallets and poured money into dozens of nonprofits during the 24-hour online fundraising drive, now in its second year.
The event, organized by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, is part of a national, one-day donation drive known as Give Local America.
More than 570 nonprofits, up from 309 last year, participated in this year’s local campaign.
The goal for the local day of giving was $3 million. Donations totaled more than half of that figure by midday and passed last year’s $2.2 million total before 2:30 p.m.
The total stood at $3.17 million just after 6 p.m. Donations were being accepted until midnight.
Tuesday’s fundraising campaign — which coincided with the anniversary of the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, marked in the United States with lively Cinco de Mayo parties featuring Mexican food and drinks — included a “GiveNOLA Day Fiesta” at Lafayette Square. The outdoor festival featured an on-site “donation station.”
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which received the most donations last year, was again at the top of the leader board Tuesday evening, with 123 donors giving a total of nearly $180,000.
Louise S. McGehee School was second, with more than $106,000 raised. The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, with about $78,000 in donations, was in third place.
Also mirroring last year’s fundraising event, Team Gleason led in the race for the most individual donors, with more than 675 people contributing more than $35,000 to the nonprofit with more than five hours left on the clock.
The nonprofits’ rankings were updated in real time on the GiveNOLA website at www.givenola.org to put a competitive spin on the acts of fundraising and giving and, hopefully, to draw more people to contribute.
More than $96,000 in prizes also were awarded.
“Of course, giving is a meaningful experience for a lot of people,” GNOF President and CEO Albert Ruesga said. “But there’s no reason why it also can’t be a fun experience.”
Ruesga said he has been impressed with the level of creativity employed by some nonprofits to bring attention — and money — to their causes. Last year, an organization offered free tango lessons as a perk of donating. This year, members of another nonprofit said they would rappel off a building if they reach their funding goal, Ruesga said.
Donations of $10 or more counted toward the competition.
The event included participants from the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s 13-parish area, which comprises Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Washington parishes.
The nonprofits spanned a wide range of interests including housing, education, health care and public safety.
Before the giving period was over, donations had arrived from all 50 states and 19 countries.
New Orleanian Linda Lewis made her donation to Cafe Reconcile, the Central City nonprofit restaurant that provides life-skills and job training, including in the culinary arts, to at-risk young people ages 16 to 22.
“I’ve never eaten there, but I’ve heard so many good things about it,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, one day I’ll get over there to taste it for myself.”