Thanks to generous local donors, Good Times’ holiday fundraising campaign Santa Cruz Gives far surpassed its goal of raising $140,000 in its second year. Using the first crowdsourcing website for countywide fundraising, Gives donors contributed $178,469 to 33 local nonprofit organizations, nearly double the first-year total of $92,688.
Throughout the campaign, funds raised were tracked in real time on a leaderboard at santacruzgives.org, allowing donors to follow the progress of their favorite nonprofits. Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Santa Cruz County (CASA) topped the list for total donations, Warming Center Program had the most donors, and Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries attracted the most young donors (under 35 years of age).
Two key goals of Santa Cruz Gives are to feature nonprofits whose work collectively benefits all areas of the county geographically, and organizations whose work addresses needs among diverse categories: youth, education, animals, seniors, food and nutrition, health and wellness, arts, the environment, housing and homelessness, and the disabled.
“In the past, only large national organizations had a tool like this at their disposal. Santa Cruz Gives puts this tool into the hands of local people,” says Karen Delaney, executive director of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, the founding partner of Santa Cruz Gives along with Good Times.
Donors gave to a broad spectrum of categories this year, and the top two-thirds of donors gave to an average of five organizations each, using the website to peruse the individual pages for each group and learn about an organization’s mission and “Big Idea” for 2017 before selecting one or more projects to fund. One donor gave to all 33 organizations.
“The power of Santa Cruz Gives is that it works spectacularly well for the first-time giver as well as for power philanthropists who want to make a big impact. Gives is attracting the full range of donors,” says Delaney. “There is massive growth across every metric compared to last year: number of donors, donation amounts per donor, and challenge grant totals.”
In addition to Good Times and the Volunteer Center, Santa Cruz Gives was supported this year by Santa Cruz County Bank and Wynn Capital Management.