Marathon fundraiser this week: Nonprofits seek donation push in Do More 24 Delaware

Jim Martin, director of The Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown, gives a “thumbs up” to the upcoming Do More 24 Delaware online give-a-thon supporting nonprofits in Delaware. The 24-hour event is set for Thursday and Friday. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

DOVER — The coffeemaker at The Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown will likely be brewing at overtime mode during a marathon fundraising effort later this week.

From 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday, the race will be on for upward of several hundred First State nonprofits in quest of online donations and bonus incentives in the United Way’s Do More 24 Delaware initiative — a 24-hour statewide day and night of giving aimed at helping nonprofits generate unrestricted operating funds.

Jim Martin, director of The Shepherd’s Office, a North Bedford Street drop-in hub for the homeless, hungry and lonely, plans to burn the midnight oil in hopes of matching or surpassing last year’s runner-up showing behind fellow Georgetown nonprofit Barbara K Brooks Transition House Inc., which topped the $20,000 mark in the 2019 Do More 24 campaign.

“This is an amazing equalizing thing,” said Mr. Martin. “In the nonprofit world, usually the big nonprofits have huge advantages. But in a 24-hour period — I call it the ‘great equalizer’ for all nonprofits — we only get 24 hours to raise as many online donations as possible.”

Among the participating nonprofits in Kent County is NCALL Research (National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor Research Fund Inc.), whose embodied mission is to promote affordable housing, improved communities, and sustainable development.

NCALL did not participate in 2019 but is back this year.

“I have been posting stuff on social media and I sent out an email blast about it,” said NCALL marketing/communications specialist Nora Hertel.

In 2019, The Shepherd’s Office Inc. raised $12,148 during the online give-a-thon. That ranked second between Barbara K. Brooks Transition House ($20,825) and the third place YMCA of Delaware ($10,576).

“You can be the smallest nonprofit in Delaware and still make an impact. It is an amazing incentive,” said Mr. Martin.

According to the United Way of Delaware, the First State is home to hundreds of unique, integral and even lifesaving nonprofits. And yet, when it comes to individual charitable giving, a 2018 study found Delaware ranks poorly, 48 out of 50.

So this year’s give-a-thon is packing a 1-2 punch as Spur Impact Association is partnering with United Way of Delaware to further broaden the impact.

“We believe this new approach to Do More 24 Delaware will grow our audience, our response rate and our results,” United Way of Delaware President and Chief Executive Officer Michelle A. Taylor said. “The nature of philanthropy has changed significantly over the last several years. While workplace campaigns remain an important part of United Way’s strategy, this new partnership improves our capacity to connect directly with donors and potential donors outside the workplace. We have significantly improved our access to a wider audience, especially millennials and young professionals, which is an audience that can be difficult to reach at the workplace level.”

Charlie Vincent, Executive Director of Spur Impact, said he is excited about partnering with UWDE to rally Delawareans around a large-scale philanthropic event.

“Thousands of professionals live and work in Delaware and are looking for ways to get involved and make an impact in their community, often through nonprofit service,” he said. “We see Do More 24 Delaware as a great opportunity to activate philanthropy among the next generation of donors and to provide the nonprofits serving Delaware with an easy and meaningful way to showcase their mission and raise real dollars in the process.”

All participating nonprofits will be matched on a prorated basis from a stretch pool, which could be tens of thousands of dollars. There will also be many prizes and other incentives for participating organizations, including a “How To Do More” toolkit and robust marketing support.

Ms. Taylor pointed out that many corporate donors place restrictions on the use of their gifts to nonprofits and that Do More 24 Delaware is one way for nonprofits to generate support that can be used for general operating purposes.

For NCALL, philanthropic support will help to:

• Educate and empower customers to achieve their housing goals and improve their finances;

• Develop affordable housing and strengthen the capacity of other nonprofit housing organizations;

• Provide innovative lending and services targeted to affordable housing and community development; and

• Increase public awareness about housing needs and resources and advocate for improved public policy.

NCALL stated that “with foundations making smaller grants, the threat of cutbacks in government support, and local investments leaving the state, the generosity of people is more important than ever to ensure that our vital work continues.”

Among NCALL’s projects is Restoring Central Dover, which is an initiative cleaning up the downtown Dover area, Ms. Hertel said.
The Shepherd’s Office in Georgetown offers a free resource center in a faith-based setting for recovering addicts, alcoholic and even prostitutes, as well as the homeless, unemployed and those who are hungry or just lonely.

Mr. Martin said the $12,148 from last year’s Do More 24 give-a-thon helped The Shepherd’s Office “keep our doors open in 2019 for the homeless, hungry or lonely. We were able to pay five months’ worth of our monthly bills.”

“We also received a few donations from individuals in the community to make our ends meet,” he said.

The Shepherd’s Office provides 300 to 400 free meals weekly, Mr. Martin said.

He believes this year’s Do More 24 Delaware will surpass 2019.

“I am assuming we’ll (state) raise about $100,000, but maybe $200,000 because there is a lot of buzz,” said Mr. Martin. “My goal is 300 donations. We got 176 (online donations) last year.”

Do More 24 campaign

Participating nonprofits create customized pages on SI’s “Delaware Gives” online platform, making it easy for nonprofits to engage potential donors in all age groups and demographics, including millennials and young professionals, and to solicit and collect donations.

There is zero cost for nonprofits to participate — nonprofits can set a fundraising page up in just a few minutes. Visit website for more information and FAQs: https://www.DoMore24Delaware.org.

Nonprofits looking to participate in Do More 24 Delaware are encouraged to contact Schlonn Hawkins at shawkins@uwde.org or Sarah Fulton at sarah@spurimpact.org.