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Kentucky Nonprofits Raise $300,000 in Online Giving Campaign

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network staged its first Kentucky Gives Day this week, raising $330,000 for 380 nonprofit organizations in one 24-hour online campaign on April 24.The Network supplied each organization with digital campaign tools and a page on the Kentucky Gives Day Razoo site, the giving platform that received donations on behalf of the organizations. The agencies that raised the most money are the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, which raised $14,743 in the Large Organizations category, and the Thumbs Up for Lane Goodwin Childhood Cancer Foundation, which topped out the small charities with $12,701. The campaign had a competitive edge, too, with top five fundraisers in both categories receiving additional money from the network."Every organization had a different strategy," said Network spokesperson Whitney Wilgus. "We were hitting the refresh button repeatedly by the end of the night because there were a couple of organizations battling it out. I think they just got on the horn and started calling supporters and saying we need you right now in order to win this thing, and their donors came through." But the fun-spirited competition was only one part of the campaign’s appeal for the Network, which modeled the campaign on similar initiatives in other states.“You know, oftentimes nonprofits operate in their own little silos," said Wilgus. "You have your arts organizations, your animal welfare organizations, your education organizations. This was a great opportunity for all of them to come together, as well as all of Kentucky to come together and see how generous we can be and see what we can accomplish in just 24 hours.”The day revealed some surprises. Did you know there's a 30-acre monkey and chimpanzee sanctuary near Nicholasville? The Primate Rescue Center pulled in a close second to the Lane Goodwin foundation, raising $12,025.  Wilgus says the organizations that raised the most didn’t necessarily have the highest profiles in the state, but they did have one clear advantage.“One of the things we had stressed with our participating organizations is that you’re going to get out of it what you put into it," she said. "What we have seen is the organizations that did really well had a very large social network and really pushed the social media and viral nature of Kentucky Gives Day.”Louisville’s major arts organizations didn’t pull in big numbers — the Kentucky School of Art alone cracked the top 26. But that’s likely due to local organizations making year-round use of the Fund for the Arts' Power2Give online fundraising platform. "It certainly think it can work for arts nonprofits," said Wilgus. "We encouraged organizations to come up with a strategy and reach out to their  supporters in advance. I think art organizations might have to get a little creative in using their mission to pull supporters in, but it's certainly do-able."The network plans to stage another Kentucky Gives Day next year.