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Cumberland Community Foundation

Gifts, match put GivingTuesday's tally at $2.5 million

'There's a lot of economic uncertainty, and people were still very generous,' says Holmes


A week ago, near the of "GivingTuesday," Mary Holmes — the president and CEO of the Cumberland Community Foundation — spoke about the 10-day campaign and what it meant to the nonprofits it supports in the community.

“Giving Tuesday is a very intense effort to raise general support for local charities,” Holmes said then. “And so it's good that we have that many gifts because that means that these charities — we're helping 79 charities this year — are doing a really good job reaching out to their donors. We've helped them raise money that they would not have raised otherwise.” 

The campaign has ended, and Holmes spoke to CityView to share the results.

CITYVIEW: A drumroll: for the Foundation’s GivingTuesday campaign, what was the final tally? How much was given?

MARY HOLMES: $1,963,000.

What’s your satisfaction level with that number? 

I'm thrilled with that! Plus, you add our match ($550,000). So we'll be distributing $2.5 million to 79 local charities.

Over the course of the 10 days of GivingTuesday, was the giving pretty consistent? Where there any really big days?

The biggest day was the actual Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, which was the global day of giving. It gets lots of national publicity. The second biggest day was the first day we opened the giving catalog, which was on Nov. 20.

There was some giving on Thanksgiving Day and the day after, but I would say over half the money came in on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — the last three days of the campaign. 

How many donors gave this year? And do you have a sense for the split between first-time donors and giving from prior donors? 

Anecdotally I can tell you there were a lot of first-time donors. If I had to guess, I would say we had a thousand first-time donors. 

I can tell you the number of gifts we received this year: 3,673. So that is an incredible increase. (The prior year, just over 2,700 gifts were received.) We were just amazed at the growth in total gifts. And the number of gifts was just astounding — a 33% increase in the number of gifts over last year.

To what do you attribute that increase? 

I think the nonprofits that participated did a really good job this year of reaching out to their groups.

We got $131,000 more than last year in total dollars, which is great. There's a lot of economic uncertainty, and people were still very generous. And here’s something I'm really proud of: if you look at the number of gifts that we received that were $100 or less, that number was 1,909. So that means that this is a very welcoming, accessible giving program that people of any means can make a gift: over half the gifts were $100 or less. 

Do you have a sense of what type of organization givers were most interested in supporting?

We saw an increase, a big increase, in the human service category. A lot of the human service agencies did really well, but in the top 10, there were also three arts organizations.

What's next now that this is over? What's the foundation's focus next? 

So what's next is we go back to the regular work of the Community Foundation, which is raising endowments, growing new endowments, and then managing the endowments that we already have make grants to support according to the charitable purpose of the fund. 

We raise endowment money; we do a really good job investing it, and then we grant the income from the investment to whatever the donor wanted to support. That's what we do all year long. 

Find out more about the Cumberland Community Foundation on its website.