May Giving Days Raised $25M for Northwest Nonprofits

May Giving Days Raised $25M for Northwest Nonprofits

Nicole Neroulias Gupte, Senior Communications Manager

It usually takes at least a week to report final numbers from Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG campaign and other 24-hour giving days across our region, as organizers confirm payments, matching funds, credit card fees and other complex calculations. This year has taken much longer, due to the national website crash that caused major delays and some duplicate donations, prompting some campaigns to extend their hours and include donations made directly to participating nonprofits into their pools of "stretch" dollars.

Despite the crash, our region's May 2016 giving days raised about $25.4 million for nonprofits in Idaho, Montana and Washington — a $6 million increase from last year.

Seattle Foundation exceeded its $20 million goal for 2016, raising $22 million on May 3 and 4 — a 30% increase from the $16 million raised in 2015. The results come from more than 89,000 donations and over $4 million in stretch and matching funds, including sponsorships from Philanthropy Northwest members The Boeing Company, Tom and Sonya Campion, Medina Foundation, Microsoft Alumni Network, Starbucks and Wells Fargo.

“The community did it. The 1,600 amazing nonprofits and the nearly 50,000 donors have rallied together, overcame challenges and persevered,” said Tony Mestres, Seattle Foundation president and CEO. “The generous spirit of our community prevailed and a large number of our nonprofit partners were able to achieve their fundraising goals, but certainly not all.”

Kimbia, the online fundraising platform that crashed on May 3, crippling the 24-hour Give Local America extravaganza for thousands of nonprofits participating in Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG, Montana Community Foundation's MTGives and dozens of affiliated campaigns nationwide, has issued "a multi-phase plan" to make things right. In the May 9 announcement,the company pledged to waive $370,000 in fees from the day and distribute three months of its CEO's salary out to the organizations that participated in Give Local America.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Giving Day Playbook has a section on crisis management, including a case study from Minnesota's 5-hour GiveMN website crash in 2013. The foundation will be talking with community foundations this year to share the next round of learnings from the Kimbia crash, said Lilly Weinberg, director for community foundations.

“You'll need to talk to Kimbia about the specifics, but these communities have clearly demonstrated their eagerness to support their local nonprofits through giving days, and the amounts that they're willing to contribute are substantial," she said. "With such proven demand, technology service providers should have every interest to improve their systems to connect communities and nonprofits on one of the biggest donation days of the year."

In light of this challenging experience, Philanthropy Northwest members may be considering different approaches for online fundraising campaigns. We look forward to discussing this in greater detail at our annual conference and other gatherings of community foundations and state nonprofit associations this year.

2016 Giving Day Totals

Final numbers from the May 2016 giving day campaigns in Philanthropy Northwest's region, compared to last year's results:

  • Idaho Nonprofit Center: Idaho Gives ran May 5, instead of May 3, and did not use Kimbia's platform. It raised $1.1 million from 13,052 gifts, about the same as in 2015.
  • Bozeman Community Foundation: Give Big Gallatin Valley raised $434,032 from 3,558 gifts, up from $237,000 in 2015.
  • Billings Community Foundation: Give LOCAL Yellowstone Valley Region raised $22,570 from 267 gifts, in its first year as a campaign.
  • Flathead Community Foundation: Give LOCAL Flathead extended its giving day to midnight May 10, including accepting checks by mail. Its preliminary total is $82,000; check its website in early July for the final tally.
  • Helena Area Community Foundation: Give LOCAL Helena raised $47,595 from 714 gifts, down from $55,400 in 2015.
  • Missoula Community Foundation: Give LOCAL Missoula County raised $234,584 from 2,343 gifts, down from $274,000 in 2015.
  • Montana Community Foundation: MTGives raised $73,664 from 995 gifts, in its first year as a campaign.
  • Kitsap Community Foundation: Kitsap Great Give raised $1.5 million from 5,907 gifts, up from $1 million in 2015.
  • Seattle Foundation: GiveBIG raised $22 million from 89,243 gifts, up from $16 million in 2015.

Nicole Neroulias Gupte can be reached at