Campaign Raises $235K for CFMV Agency Funds

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – More than 1,000 people donated over the final month of 2023 as part of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley’s Giving Tuesday and Beyond campaign, helping raise more than $235,000 for local nonprofits.

During the campaign, which ran from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, all donations to agency funds at the Community Foundation were matched up to $2,000 per fund, as well as a $100 bonus for each unique donor to a fund during the opening week of Giving Tuesday and Beyond. In total, community members donated $90,606 to 30 nonprofits, earning the organizations an extra $144,779 in matching funds, the foundation said in a news release Tuesday.

“The response to the Giving Tuesday and Beyond campaign went above and beyond anything we could’ve expected,” said Josh Medore, community impact coordinator at the foundation. “The entire Community Foundation team – and the nonprofits who take part in the campaign – is so proud of how the community stepped up. This is our third year holding the Giving Tuesday and Beyond campaign, and it’s by far the most successful.”

The 31 funds that received a donation during the 2023 campaign are double the number from 2022, while the amount donated by the community tripled, the release states.

By giving to agency funds, donors support the long-term sustainability of nonprofits, the foundation said. Separate from typical financial reserves, nonprofits use these funds to sustain ongoing programs, build for their organization’s future and support special capital projects and initiatives. The latter is how the Trumbull County Historical Society will use the donations to its fund, said Meghan Reed, executive director of the historical society. In March, it will break ground on a 2,000-square-foot expansion at the Morgan History Center in downtown Warren.

“That’s where the bulk of money from Giving Tuesday will go,” Reed said, with some funds likely directed to the historical society’s next big project: the National Science Fiction and Fantasy Museum. 

“It’s really a unique opportunity to be able to ask so many people, many of whom can give $10 or $20 at a time, all at once,” Reed said. “It’s something that we want to be able to continue, certainly this year and hopefully into the future as well.”

The historical society was among the organizations that saw the biggest jump in donations between 2022 and 2023, the release states. Two years ago, there was one donation for $10 – from Reed herself. Last year, there were 54 donors giving $1,838.

“As an organization, we’ve streamlined our social media a lot more. We hired a social media coordinator to be more regular and more engaging, so for 2023 we were much better equipped to handle this kind of campaign,” Reed said. “That’s probably a big part of our results this year. But something I think that made a huge difference also was engaging our board in more tangible ways, like offering a gift card to whoever referred the most donors.”

Also drawing in its board to help with the Giving Tuesday and Beyond campaign was Youngstown CityScape, said Executive Director Sharon Letson. The organization had already been considering the idea of a crowdfunding campaign when the announcement of the 2023 Giving Tuesday campaign was made, she said.

“This was a year when the operating budget was in the red. Fundraising was down, and I was preparing for a board meeting to have an honest conversation about what help we needed. And they were that help,” she said. “The stars aligned, with these smaller fundraising efforts, with the board being brought in to tap into their networks and resources, and the Community Foundation’s Giving Tuesday campaign.”

CityScape had the highest number of donors in the campaign, with 329 people making gifts to its agency fund. Between its donations and matching funds from the Community Foundation, CityScape raised $34,900 during Giving Tuesday and Beyond – an average of $38.46 per donation.

Since starting its Giving Tuesday campaign, the Community Foundation has emphasized the importance of small donations. The minimum gift amount required to be matched and receive the bonus match during boost week is $10, allowing that gift to then be turned into $120 during the opening week of Giving Tuesday and Beyond.

To continue supporting local nonprofits, the Community Foundation will present a free webinar at 10 a.m. March 7 in collaboration with Giving Tuesday on how organizations can engage with supporters, build relationships in the community and tap into various forms of generosity. Register HERE.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.