A 24-hour philanthropic sprint seemed on track to meet its goal of raising $4.5 million for local nonprofits as the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s fourth Give NOLA Day moved into its final stretch Tuesday evening with a downtown festival at Lee Circle.
More than $3.6 million had been raised by 6:30 p.m., with nearly 28,000 donors giving to 700 of the organizations participating in the event. That averaged out to about $130.45 per donation and about $5,082 per group.
“This is a super fun event,” GNOF President and CEO Andy Kopplin said at midafternoon. “The people of southeast Louisiana are so generous, and they’re rising to the occasion.”
Give NOLA Day, affiliated with the national Give Local America, is intended to raise money for hundreds of local nonprofits during a single day. This year’s event included 717 nonprofits from around the New Orleans region.
The event kicked off at midnight Tuesday morning, though donors could pre-schedule their gifts days earlier.
“This has become an important day in the fundraising life cycle for a lot of organizations in our region,” said Kopplin, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's former chief administrative officer.
This year’s event wasn’t marred by the technical glitches that shut down online donations for hours last year, forcing organizers to take them over the phone.
Kopplin said a new vendor had been hired to make sure the same issues didn’t crop up, and multiple redundant systems had been put in place to ensure there wouldn’t be problems.
Even despite those problems, last year’s event topped its $4 million goal.
“We managed to seize victory from the jaws of defeat,” Kopplin said.
The minimum donation during the event is $10, and Kopplin said many who gave Tuesday chose to give small amounts to multiple organizations through the foundation’s site, something that can help nonprofits build a base of donors who may give more in the future.
“It’s a great way to have grass-roots giving, which is our philosophy at the foundation,” Kopplin said.
Some groups saw a substantial haul. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art spent most of the day in the top spot on the leader board, with nearly $312,000 raised by the evening from 92 donors. That was more than twice the amount raised by the Louisiana Children’s Museum, which was in second place.
Team Gleason, the ALS charity founded by former Saints player Steve Gleason, easily topped the list of groups with the most individual donations, with nearly 920 donors giving $49,000 by the evening.
In addition to the direct donations, the GNOF also provided a variety of bonuses throughout the day, rewarding big and small organizations that had raised the most money during certain hours — known as Throw Me Something Mister prizes — and random drawings every hour to give bonuses to a charity that had gotten at least one donation.
The foundation also aided smaller nonprofits, such as the Silverback mentoring program, with getting a web presence and social marketing strategy before the event.
“I’m sure they’re finding folks who didn’t even know about them,” Kopplin said.