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March 4, 2013; Source: Buffalo Rising

From Alabama to Minnesota and Austin, Texas to Seattle, Wash., many states and cities are experimenting with time-condensed online giving events. One of the latest entrants in this field comes in the Buffalo, N.Y. area, where the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (with support from the United Way of Greater Niagara) organized a “Spring It On” online giving event to raise awareness of—and contributions for—Western New York nonprofits. On March 1st, the 24-hour give-a-thon raised $72,549 for the 182 nonprofits that participated throughout Erie and Niagara Counties. A total of 1,307 donors took part in the give-a-thon during this first stab at the Spring It On event.

You can view the statistics of total donations raised here. Although only nine nonprofits attained their fundraising goal during the event, several organizations raised thousands of dollars, including the International Institute of Buffalo ($4,830), the Elmwood Village Charter School ($2,535), the BISON Scholarship Fund ($2,260), Harvest House of South Buffalo ($2,235), Lockport CARES Homeless Shelter ($2,220), Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County ($2,197) and others.

Beyond fundraising, the event also focused on bringing a large base of nonprofit supporters from throughout the area together and generating some buzz for the work these nonprofits are doing. The event also encouraged nonprofits that may not normally use social networking to tap into social media to reach potential online donors. As United Way of Buffalo & Erie County CEO Michael Weiner put it, “In addition to financial support, we believe Spring It On helped to educate local citizens about the tremendous contributions made by the nonprofit community every day.” The local United Way saw enough promise in the inaugural event that it plans to make it an annual occurrence.

Is there such a time-condensed online giving initiative in your community? If so, we’d love to hear how it went. If not, should there be? –Aine Creedon