Although Give NOLA Day, the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s 24-hour giving spree to benefit hundreds of local nonprofit groups, got off to a strong start early Tuesday, a mid-morning technical glitch at the website forced hundreds of online donors to the phone lines.

The fundraising affair had netted more than $1 million before 9 a.m., only to have the website crash a short time later. Rather than giving online, as is typical, donors were asked to call the foundation directly.

“Due to the high volume of generosity for giving days across the country, we are experiencing some technical issues on the Give NOLA Day website,” event organizers said in a statement. “Please know that our team is actively working with Give Local America on a quick resolution, and we apologize for any inconvenience this is causing.”

Give Local America is the national crowdfunding event with which Give NOLA is affiliated.

Despite the glitches, hundreds of nonprofits had netted more than $1.6 million by 1 p.m., according to the foundation’s running tally.

The foundation has hosted the event for three years. This year, more than 700 nonprofit organizations signed up to participate.

During the midnight-to-midnight event, donors may contribute $10 or more to the nonprofit of their choice.

Each nonprofit also receives a share from a “lagniappe fund” provided by the foundation, based on each group’s percentage of the total dollars raised. Separately, private organizations may elect to match a portion of the donations that nonprofits receive.

More than 34,000 donations totaling about $4 million were received on Give NOLA Day last year, $1 million above the foundation’s expectations. This year’s goal was $4.5 million, with about $327,000 available through the lagniappe fund.

An online “leaderboard,” a list of top organizations and donations, is updated throughout the day.

As of early afternoon, the top fundraiser was the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which had netted $129,485. That organization also was the top fundraiser for large organizations last year.

Following the museum was the St. Bernard Project, which rebuilds homes for families devastated by natural disasters. It had collected $51,600. Then came Metairie Park Country Day School, a Metairie private school that had netted $39,228.

Groups that had raised less remained optimistic at a Give NOLA celebration held Tuesday morning at the foundation’s offices.

The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had raised $7,000 by 11 a.m., development team member Jeffrey Elizardi said, though its tally was missing from the leaderboard. Last year, the SPCA raised close to $30,000.

“It’s a great opportunity to get donations from people who don’t normally give to us and a great opportunity for outreach,” Elizardi said.

This was the United Negro College Fund’s first year participating in Give NOLA Day, said regional development director LaJuana Chenier. The organization provides scholarships for minorities to attend college.

“This time of year is a critically important one for us, because we are in commencement time,” she said. “So we are very excited to be part of this.”

Those interested in giving may call the Greater New Orleans Foundation at (504) 598-4663. When the website is working again, donors may visit givenola.org.

Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.