After Austinites came together last spring to contribute more than $2 million for our city’s nonprofit organizations, this year’s Amplify Austin, a 24-hour day of online giving hosted by I Live Here, I Give Here, is shaping up to be bigger and better.
The giving day kicks off on March 20, and once the clock strikes 6 pm, nonprofit friends and supporters will have 24 hours to collectively contribute at least $4 million to more than 400 Austin-based organizations. Last year’s fundraising goal was $1 million, and Austin completely outdid itself by collectively raising $2.7 million.
“The thing that I like most about Amplify is that it really taps into this pride we have in Austin,” said I Live Here, I Give Here executive director Tom Spencer. “We love our community, we want to see it succeed, and what we’re doing is offering a vehicle for people to come with the same spirit that we embrace big festivals and really take pride in the generosity of our neighbors and build a culture of giving back.”
“The thing that I like most about Amplify is that it really taps into this prize we have in Austin. We love our community, we want to see it succeed," says I Live Here, I Give Here executive director Tom Spencer.
In order to be eligible, nonprofits had to register with I Live Here, I Give Here by February 20, and set up a profile page sharing their story and work with potential donors. As March 20 approached, participating organizations were encouraged to come up with creative ways to engage online with board members, staff, existing donors and potential new supporters by encouraging them to help raise money during Amplify. Harnessing the beauty of the hashtag, nonprofits can communicate with Austin donors via social media throughout the 24 hours.
“The biggest thing we did last year was we took the risk and embraced it; with something new, it's not always the easiest things to do when you have a full schedule and limited resources,” said Grace Washington, development director at Hospice Austin. “People are generous by nature, with our youthful city and technology, Amplify was the perfect way to capture the giving energy that already exists here.”
Last year, Hospice Austin raised $113,000, and that total was boosted to $180,000 thanks to matching grants from the St. David’s Foundation and additional prizes. In the spirit of friendly competition, nonprofits can win one of two $1,000 prizes every hour during Amplify Austin — one for the most individual donors during that hour, and another for the highest amount raised during that hour. The two $5,000 prizes are awarded to the nonprofit that raises the most throughout the entire day and the nonprofit that receives gifts from the highest number of individual donors.
“What was exciting for us was that 40 percent of our donors were new — we actually had a lot of young donors and that kind of went against the misperception that hospice only serves older people,” Washington said.
This year, in addition to Amplify’s revamped website, donors can schedule contributions ahead of time and search for nonprofits based on areas of service. Businesses can also get involved by signing up as fundraisers for selected organizations or sponsoring prizes.
“Participate, participate, participate,” Washington says to her fellow nonprofits and supporters. “There’s so much great exposure to new people in the community and it’s a great way to engage your own support base in a fun and exciting way.”
Be sure to bookmark the website to make your gift to your favorite organizations and remember to watch the numbers tick up live on the leaderboard beginning today at 6 pm.