The 36-Hour Giving Challenge on March 27 & 28 introduced The Giving Partner to the community as a new online tool helping donors, funders and citizen philanthropists make more informed decisions about philanthropy. Building the connection between the online match site set up for the giving event and The Giving Partner took a bit of human engineering and lots of clever messaging from nonprofits.

The two agencies to receive the most unique page views of their profile in The Giving Partner during the 36-Hour Giving Challenge were rewarded with a $5,000 grant prize.  Strategy, social media, and good, clear outreach from agencies formed the backbone of success for this particular challenge.  Let’s hear from Karen Bogues, executive director of Community Youth Development, about her strategy to drive traffic to CYD’s profile on www.thegivingpartner.org:

Organization:  Community Youth Development
The Giving Partner Profile: Visit here
Amount contributed from donors online: $8,425
Matching funds received from The Patterson Foundation:  $1,650
Grant for the most unique page views on profile:  $5,000
Other prizes: $500


The Giving Partner Challenge was an exciting opportunity for Community Youth Development (CYD) – we were concluding an 18 month marketing campaign and had identified alumni giving as a priority for the 2012 strategic development plan.  How could we capitalize on this opportunity?  After reviewing the challenge and the “incentives”, our board identified 2 main targets – alumni giving and the prize for the most views of our profile page.

For the profile views – we are fortunate to have Jim Martin of Captivation Media on our board.  Jim is a long time volunteer and supporter of CYD and a talented leader in the world of interactive advertising and social media services.

  • He met with his team at Captivation and decided to leverage one of CYD’s greatest strengths – developing a “community of leaders”.
  • Building on the old adage that “many hands make for light work”, they set out to find individuals of influence – both within Sarasota County and across the country that would support our efforts and encourage others to participate as well.
  • These individuals were blog writers, forum operators, fan page admins, and even stay-at-home moms!
  •  Utilizing the power of these supports and their groups, as well as the concentric circles realized by leveraging “friends of friends” Jim and Captivation Media were able to mobilize a “crowd-sourced” campaign that delivered far more eyes to our content than we ever imagined!

In addition to the work of Jim and his Captivation team, the CYD staff worked our connections as well…

  • We sent a postcard with a clever “CYD Superhero” theme developed by graphic artist wiz Falyn Ernst of Playground941 to our core supporters and
  • Developed a timeline for Facebook posts, specifically to our CYD Leaders group of current and former participants.  The timeline was a simple but effective way to make sure the target audience saw the posts – for teens, right after school, and Sunday evenings are key times when they are on Facebook.

Many thanks to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Patterson Foundation for the Giving Partner Challenge – CYD got a real boost from this event, and we look forward to using these strategies in future projects!

Karen Bogues
Executive Director
Community Youth Development


Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting the ways in which various organizations leveraged the 36-Hour Giving Challenge on March 27 & 28, 2012.  With the support of so many generous donors, funders and creative nonprofits, our community raised $2.4 million with over 10,700 gifts made in this short, exciting period of time.

Let’s take a look at the strategies and implementation behind the consistent top-of-the-leaderboard organization, The Manatee Players. Thanks to executive director Janene Witham for being so open in sharing her campaign.

Organization:  The Manatee Players

The Giving Partner Profile: Visit here

Amount contributed from donors online: $188,091

Matching funds received from The Patterson Foundation:  $10,300

Unique donors grant:  $20,000 (707 unique donors)

Other prizes: $500

Progress on new buildingManatee Players saw the 36-Hour Giving Challenge as a golden opportunity to excite and motivate the community into an organized effort geared toward opening the new Manatee Performing Arts Center and building a foundation of new donors.

Here is a bit of our strategy and how we implemented it:

Starting with a comprehensive marketing strategy which included website positioning on various platforms, e-newsletters, facebook posts and emails, we sought to inform everyone in our database who has seen a performance at the theatre during the past 5 years of the possibility of doubling or even quadrupling their contribution.

I personally met with each staff member individually to give an overview of the fundraising activity and their personal responsibilities during the event.  The staff, in turn, explained the effort to their department volunteers and the enthusiasm grew.  The board of directors, through Tool Kit meetings, was also informed of all aspects of the project and the many financial benefits of participation.

For the entire month of performances prior to the Challenge, a curtain speech provided by a member of the board educated the audience each night of the tremendous prospect this fundraiser offered.  They were informed that even a small gift could make a huge impact.

With the excitement mounting, wives of board members tapped into their own residential communities and electronic phone books, ringing bells and making calls to let friends and neighbors know how important the 36 hours was to everyone in Bradenton.  The persons contacted could not refuse their own friend or neighbor.

Finally, on the day and time that the Challenge began, everyone (staff and volunteers) was in place at phones and computers to process donations.

  • There was also a table set up in the lobby of the theatre to handle those who walked in with a contribution.
  • Volunteers baked and brought in treats to accompany the coffeepot that was always full on our concessions stand.
  • Each hour the amount raised was written on poster board in the lobby, creating an on-going tally and elevating the excitement level.
  • The leader board was also kept up on a computer to track the number of donors.  Every time a call came into the theatre, the caller was informed of our position.
  • On the evening of Tuesday, March 27, during the 36 hours, our preview audience was given an update during the curtain speech and the table remained up to take additional donations at intermission.

It is to the credit of Manatee Players’ team that this Challenge was well received.  However, Manatee Players owes a debt of gratitude also to Realize Bradenton, our downtown cultural partner.  Although they, too, were participating in the same Challenge, every time we posted an update on Facebook, they were posting congratulations to Manatee Players and encouraging their “friends” to give to our cause.

-Janene Whitham
Executive Director
The Manatee Players