Northern Virginia – National Fund-raising Campaign

In June, we were notified of a multi-phased fund-raising campaign for all nonprofit organizations, titled A Community Thrives, sponsored jointly by A Mighty Cause and the Gannett Foundation.  The first phase required the submission of a grant application to the Foundation and, if accepted, the nonprofit would be eligible to participate in a 4-week fundraising campaign.  We applied for funding for our Weekend Food for Kids program, through which we deliver 1660 bags of nonperishable food each month during the school year to students at 6 elementary schools, and grocery gift cards to a seventh school.  All 7 schools receive grocery gift cards during the summer to reduce food insecurity for students and their families.  Our grant request was accepted in late June.

Having passed the first hurdle, we proceeded to the second phase, which required us to raise at least $3000 in a month.  The challenge had two groupings, one for small nonprofits, with budgets under $500,000, and one for large nonprofits, with budgets more than $500,000.  Having only about 50 members, AL-Northern Virginia is definitely in the small group.  In addition to the fund-raising effort, the campaign offered weekly prizes for both groups.  Incentive prizes were awarded to the 3 nonprofits in each group that raised the most money in weeks 1 and 3; and to the 3 that had the most unique donors in weeks 2 and 4.

We were ecstatic to receive a donation within the first hour after the campaign was launched, and we watched in delight as that amount steadily increased, with donations large and small and from long-time supporters and new friends, and of course from our dedicated members.  In the first week, we were halfway to the minimum goal, and in another week reached that goal, in part due to a donor-match offer.  We continued steadily toward our optimistic goal of raising $6000 and then exceeded it!  When the campaign closed, we had raised $7075 – our most successful on-line fund-raising campaign ever.  And more importantly, we were assured that the Gannett Foundation would evaluate our grant application for funding for our Weekend Food program.  Winners will be announced in early October.

Our success required the strong support of our members to publicize this campaign on social media, news platforms, and to all our friends, family, and business contacts.  Another first for us:  We used a QR code that took donors quickly to the Mighty Cause site where they could contribute.

When checking the leader board to see how AL-Northern Virginia was doing compared to other nonprofit organizations, we were surprised that ours was the only AL chapter participating in this campaign!?!   No doubt, we’ll have a lot more competition next year.