Warning: this blog entry comes with a challenge for all readers. Will you accept?
Very soon, for one twenty-four-hour period, every Delawarean will be called upon to answer the question: What kind of state do we want to live in? Don’t be nervous. While it is a test of who we are at our core, this one is fun, easy, and a cause for celebration. So, highlight your calendars and set the alarms on your smartphones. From March 5th at 6pm until March 6th at 6pm, Do More 24 is returning for its fifth year—and with it comes some new energy.
What is Do More 24? It’s Delaware’s Giving Day—a 24-hour period of intentionally opening our wallets and giving love to our favorite nonprofits. If you haven’t heard of Do More 24, you aren’t alone. (Blogwriter is sheepishly raising her hand now.) As Delawareans, we are notoriously oblivious about charities. When it comes to individual charitable giving, Delaware ranks poorly—48th out of 50 states according to a 2018 study. It isn’t our fault exactly. We are used to big corporations (names like DuPont, Longwood Foundation) doing the heavy lifting when it comes to funding our local charities. The problem with this way of thinking is that it depends on resources that may not be there a generation from now and deprives us of the sense of community pride that comes from banding together and giving of ourselves.
How do we get the word out and create a culture of philanthropy? For four years, Do More 24 was implemented by the United Way. This year, Spur Impact, the force behind the Millennial Summit, is joining the efforts and injecting fresh (dare I say, younger?) energy into the initiative. (Don’t bad mouth millennials in front of me; I am looking to their age bracket for all kinds of miracles in 2020, but first, let’s start with Do More 24.)
I reached out to twenty-something Sarah Fulton, Associate Director of Development at Spur Impact to find out more about how they are going to raise the profile of the event and cultivate the next (possibly greatest) generation of donors. Her energy is infectious. Fulton told me that the event has 300 Fundraising pages representing 200 unique organizations.
“Delaware is a proud and small community, so we are a friendly competition. We have goals of raising as much money as we can, but it is more than that. We are challenging organizations to attract as many unique donors as they can. We want to encourage the younger generation of give what they can. They are at the beginning of their careers. They aren’t going to be able to donate a wing of a hospital. But five or ten dollars from hundreds of people adds up. And if they start now, they will be tied into this idea of giving, so that, years from now, when they are making the big bucks, they will write larger checks,” Fulton explained.
Do More 24 has a corporate sponsored pot of $40,000 that organizations will be competing for. The pot will be divided up according to the percentage of the total haul that each organization collects.
“The great thing about this event is that it gives focus to smaller organizations, ones that don’t have a 40-50 person planning committee generating buzz for their cause.”
Spur Impact has more ideas to grow this day and create excitement in years to come. She invoked Lancaster’s Extra Ordinary Give as an example. Full disclosure: I lived in Lancaster County for much of my adult life, and I know about the Lancaster event; everybody who lives there does. It is a pretty raucous celebration that takes over restaurants and city blocks. In 2019 alone, the Lancaster event raised close to $11 million dollars with close to 30,000 unique donors for 521 charities. Fulton imagines that, like Lancaster, Delaware will partner with companies and restaurants who will have “giving” specials on their merchandise and menus, e.g. Buy hot wings appetizer and $1 will go to TeenSHARP. Giving can be easy and delicious!
The great thing about this year’s Do More 24 Delaware is that it ends at 6 PM on Friday March 6, just as Art Loop is beginning. Throughout Wilmington and other locations across the state, afterparties (happy hours, etc) will be a part of the scene as organizations announce and celebrate their total dollar amounts. You can be part of the celebration. Here is where the challenge comes in, and it is as simple as one word: Give. Visit the Do More 24 Website and peruse the fundraising pages to decide which organization you can help with your support. Challenge your friends to do the same. No dollar amount is too small, and you will be helping to grow our community of givers and the Delaware culture of philanthropy for future generations.
IN Wilmington is participating in Delaware’s Giving Day: Do More 24 Delaware. Year-round, we support a variety of arts, culture and community organizations through direct marketing and outreach, educating our public about the vibrant cultural scene of Wilmington, Delaware while simultaneously supporting economic development. Consider donating to IN Wilmington during this 24-hour giving period, and help us continue to share the story of our great city.
Other participating organizations are IN the Spotlight over on our blog! Get the full list here.