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New Community Giving Hub Created Using Digital Platform

“Central Oregon Gives” raises stunning $580,000 for local nonprofits in holiday campaign!

BY: Hubbel Communications

BEND, OR, Jan.7, 2020—When the Source Weekly and What if We Could got together last fall to raise $50,000 for local nonprofits, the plan was simple. Use What if We Could’s new digital technology to let Central Oregonians browse a website-based catalog of nonprofits and make microdonations to the nonprofits of their choice. With each donation, the giver would receive a little perk. A pint from Worthy, a coffee from BackPorch. The nonprofit that earned the most donations would win an additional $25,000 from an anonymous donor.

What actually happened blew everyone away. Over the course of seven weeks at the end of 2019, the Central Oregon Gives campaign—in its first year—raised $580,000 across 72 nonprofits, or more than 10 times original expectations for the project.

“It’s as though there was an untapped market of givers out there, just waiting to be invited to contribute in a way that makes sense in today’s digital world,” said Aaron Switzer, publisher of the Source. “We wanted to go further than our annual Give Guide and offer something new and valuable to support the incredible work of Central Oregon’s nonprofits. We had no idea how overwhelming the response would be.”

In total, more than 650 people gave in amounts ranging from $5 to $5,000. Several nonprofits involved realized the potential to offer that little extra perk to their frequent donors and engaged their networks to make contributions. A few companies with matching employee giving programs, such as Hayden Homes, encouraged staff to give through the campaign, driving tens of thousands of additional dollars to the project.

The results have been staggering, especially for three nonprofits that most successfully harnessed the opportunity, including Boys & Girls Clubs of BendFirst Story and Saving Grace. Together these organizations secured more than $380,000 through the campaign, but it was Boys & Girls Club that netted the greatest amount, receiving $134,992 in funding through the project and earning that $25,000 additional award. Learn more about what this means for the Club in their press release.

“This campaign was so aptly named—Central Oregon Gives,” said Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Juliana Williams. “As we kick off our 25th anniversary of building great futures for Bend’s youth, we are deeply grateful to each donor who gave generously to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend. The future is bright!”

What if We Could’s founder, Rys Fairbrother, and Switzer are already looking ahead to the 2020 holiday season, when they hope to top $1 million in contributions to area organizations. Fairbrother is also aiming to build on What if We Could’s success in Bend by taking this new digital tool to other cities.

“When you offer a meaningful opportunity to help, communities respond,” said Fairbrother. “Central Oregonians are deeply generous. I look forward to partnering with them in the future to keep the amazing work of our nonprofit community flowing.”

ABOUT OUR SPONSORS: Central Oregon Gives is supported by the Better Communities Initiative of Hubbell Communications, Oregon’s premier public affairs and public relations firm. Local contributors also include Avid Cider, Backporch Coffee Roasters, Fjall Raven, Immersion Brewing, Laughing Planet, mbphotography, Riff, Rockin’ Dave’s, Swell Social and Worthy Brewing.

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