By Erich Wagner (Courtesy image)
In each of the three previous years that ACT for Alexandria has hosted a 24-hour online fundraiser for local nonprofits, the group surpassed its goals. So it’s easy to see why the people behind Spring2ACTion are aiming high this year.
“[Our] goal is to raise $1 million,” said Brandi Yee, chief program officer. “Yeah, it seems like a lot.”
Spring2ACTion, scheduled for Wednesday, lets donors pick from among 117 Alexandria nonprofits. Those same local groups compete against one another for bonus prizes — up to $5,000 — for winning in categories like most money raised or most individual donors.
“We have it every year,” Yee said. “Some organizations will definitely go after the prizes, but we really want to make it another chance for nonprofits to fundraise in general. And it’s an opportunity to teach [them] how to do online fundraising and create a campaign, so they win just because they’re engaging with their donors.”
Last year, ACT for Alexandria raised more than $650,000 during the daylong, Internet based giving event.
Marcus Downey, of the Alexandria Police Youth Camp, is learning first-hand the educational value of Spring2ACTion. Although his group, which provides underprivileged children with a rural summer camp experience, has been around since the 1940s, the nonprofit traditionally relied on word of mouth and its partnership with Alexandria City Public Schools to raise money.
“We’ve been reaching out to previous donors, previous campers and parents, and we’re reaching out to local civic associations, like the West End Business Association, to tell them about our fundraiser,” Downey said. “This is kind of new for us.”
Yee said that ACT has added a new partnership with the Old Town Boutique District this year. Shops and restaurants in the district will let customers set aside a percentage of their sales that day to benefit the nonprofit of their choice.
“We also really want people to support the community as a whole, and that’s the businesses too,” she said. “In addition to donating locally, we want people to shop and dine locally.”
Residents interested in participating in the April 9 campaign can go to http://spring2action.razoo.com to check out the event and the many nonprofits involved.
Downey hopes Spring2Action’s centralized giving platform will help him reach residents whose values align with the camp, but are unaware of the program.
“It’ll open up a new avenue, since most of the folks who donate to us now donate because we’ve asked them to and reached out to them,” he said. “But my guess is we’ll get donations from people who didn’t even know we existed.
“Just about everyone wants to give, whether it’s $20 or $20,000. Folks want to give back, but they just don’t know who to give to.”