BERLIN – Support from more than 1,000 donors generated $164,879 in funding for 80 Lower Shore nonprofits during the third annual “Shore Gives More” campaign.
The online campaign, hosted by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES), was held on Giving Tuesday, the post-Thanksgiving online giving movement that has gained international attention. CFES provides an online donation portal, marketing materials and support to participating nonprofits as they encourage area residents to donate during the 24-hour campaign.
“We are excited to see this event growing rapidly each year, both in the amount of money raised, but also in the number of donors and participating nonprofits,” said Erica Joseph, president of CFES, in a news release. “Giving Tuesday shows us the power of people coming together to improve our communities and allows nonprofits to inspire impact.”
This year the campaign assisted 80 nonprofits in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties with fundraising. The more than $164,000 raised represents a significant increase over last year’s campaign, which generated $88,000 in donations.
Several of the participating nonprofits reported an increase in donations this year. The Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center topped the campaign leaderboard, receiving more than $26,000 in donations. Lisa Wilgus, executive director of the center, said that last year the campaign earned the center roughly $11,000.
“This year we attended more of the workshops the Community Foundation offered on how to make the most impact,” Wilgus said.
She said a team of eight women — the center’s intern, volunteers and a trio of staff members — used social media to promote Shore Gives More. They also made phone calls seeking support and shared information about the center, which provides free resources to pregnant women, throughout the community.
“We are as grassroots as grassroots gets,” she said, adding that she had a tight-knit team of volunteers who were willing to “pound the pavement.”
Wilgus said the campaign played a vital role in funding the center, as it was a small organization “not structured enough” to benefit from state and federal funding streams.
“We live or die on the success of drives like we had yesterday,” she said Wednesday. “I’m so proud of what we did.”
Another group that benefited from Tuesday’s campaign was Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore. Christina Williams, marketing and public relations director for the organization, said this was the second year Junior Achievement took part in the campaign.
“We went in this year with more knowledge and enthusiasm,” she said.
The organization used Facebook, Twitter and email to encourage supporters to donate on Giving Tuesday. The campaign resulted in $6,404 in donations to Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore.
The Shore Gives More drive generated $3,193 in donations for the Worcester County Developmental Center’s day program.
“Over the next few months, we will come together as a team to decide how all of our gracious donations will be used to prepare our clients for the future ahead,” reads a message to supporters on the center’s Facebook page.
The groups that participated in the campaign offered their gratitude to CFES for hosting it.
“We think it’s remarkable not just for us but all nonprofits,” Williams said.
Wilgus offered similar comments.
“The Community Foundation and the resources they give … having them in the community as a pillar is key,” she said. “We’re very grateful for them.”