Challenge Accepted! Gearing Up for Giving Challenge 2024

Categories: Stories of Impact, Giving Challenge,

It may seem challenging to find commonalities among diverse nonprofits like On the Spot Aid, Friends of the Myakka River, Prospect Riding Center, Harvest House and the Humane Society of Sarasota County.

While their missions are vastly different, each organization was a top campaigner for our area's last Giving Challenge in 2022. Although their purposes are distinct, what each represents is the wide and varied importance of our region's vital nonprofit community.

Last week, we announced the Community Foundation of Sarasota County will host the area’s ninth Giving Challenge event from noon to noon, April 9-10, 2024. Critically, The Patterson Foundation will join again with their irresistibly incentivizing matching fund opportunity.

Historically, the Giving Challenge is an event that unites people to champion the nonprofit community, which supports an array of causes, from helping the most vulnerable individuals to preserving our region’s natural resources to sustaining the strength of our cherished arts organizations. The Giving Challenge is an exhilarating, spirited event supporting this vital sector that is critical to the quality of life in our community.

Since the inception of our Giving Challenge in 2012, the one-day giving event has become a highly anticipated and much-needed resource for our nonprofit community. Over the last 12 years and eight previous Giving Challenges, the event raised more than $75 million in unrestricted funding to support the work of our nonprofit community. This means nonprofits can direct funds where they are most needed and use the money flexibly in a changing environment.

The funding that goes to participating organizations is substantial—last year alone, $16.2 million was raised among 667 participating nonprofits, with each organization raising an average of $14,500. Part of the success of fundraising lies in the excitement and democratic spirit of the Giving Challenge: all people who live in our community are invited to give to their preferred causes, and the short window for donating imbues the event with invigorating urgency. A major factor for success in the fundraising is the match provided by The Patterson Foundation, a 1:1 match on all dollars given, up to $100. This strengthens giving and amplifies impact—$6 million of the 2022 total came from The Patterson Foundation and more than $30 million since the online giving event’s inception.

The Giving Challenge endures as a vital event for other reasons as well. As a concept, it is anchored by a commitment to skill building and capacity strengthening. Fundraising as an end doesn’t sustain organizations; great organizational practices do. Throughout the year leading up to the Giving Challenge, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County offers numerous training opportunities that help organizations learn planning strategies, collaborative skills, best practices in marketing and more.

Some incentive for building skills also comes in the form of contests. In 2022, there were 22 prize categories, and nonprofits could enter to win money awards. The categories, such as “Best Social Media Marketing” and “Best Pop-Up Event,” gave nonprofits the chance to hone their skills in these areas, which can come in handy later. The competitive process indicates to nonprofits how their campaigns fare against their peers, offering the chance to evaluate and refine practical skills.

This skill-building pays off. The 2022 Giving Challenge participants who forged or strengthened new partnerships with businesses and other nonprofits report earning exponentially more dollars than those without partners, and the partnerships and skills live on to infuse a longer-term relationship that goes far beyond the final seconds of the official Giving Challenge window.

When it comes to philanthropy, planning is key. This finding from the 2022 Giving Challenge survey to nonprofits rises above all others. For donors, maximizing impact through leveraging matches makes a huge difference—one couple in 2022 gave $100 to each of the participating 667 organizations, a sizable $66,700 donation, which was doubled thanks to the matching opportunity. For nonprofits, coordinating collaborations and strategizing marketing activities reaps rewards in the final Giving Challenge tally and beyond. Takeaways from 2022 included nonprofits reporting extended reach in the community, obtaining new donors and increasing capacity to help more people. You can read more insights about the 2022 event on our website.

Our community’s culture of caring is emphasized through events like the Giving Challenge. In 2022, more than 46,000 donors showed up and offered incredible support through more than 83,000 individual gifts. But if the past few years illustrated anything, it’s that the future is uncertain. Planning ahead for the unplanned is a way for organizations—and people who want to support them—to sustain performance in a constantly changing world. The Giving Challenge may be just 24 hours, but it fuels timeless community strength.

About Author

Roxie Jerde

President and CEO