May 6, 2014 was truly an unusual day. For some of us, it began at 12:01 am as we tested credit card transactions on a website, fingers crossed that everything would work. For others, it began with early morning calls and emails, questions from curious donors and excited nonprofit leaders. For all of us, it became a chaotic, exhilarating and exhausting day. It was the first-ever Lowcountry Giving Day and it ended with more than $4 million donated to worthy causes in Charleston and Beaufort.
The story of Lowcountry Giving Day actually begins several years ago, when George Stevens started asking donors and community leaders if such an event would be possible. Having seen the success of giving days in other regions, he wondered if we could replicate that success here in the Lowcountry.
What if we can’t find incentivizing donors? What if the public doesn’t respond to the concept? What if the event is a failure?
By the fall of 2013, George and the Coastal Community Foundation board felt they had the pieces in place to give it a try. Through the incredible generosity of Anita Zucker, a million dollar match was in place and more were on the way. The technology was available through Kimbia, a national software provider and helpful partnerships were forged through the Council on Foundations. The time was right.
Enter 93 eager, excited and somewhat confused nonprofits. Pleased at the potential and patient with a process that was new and untested, they participated in trainings, worked together, shared information and took the initiative. The nonprofits created a logo for the day, scheduled collaborative events, trained each other on social media tools and made Lowcountry Giving Day a reality.
Which brings us back to the day itself. And what a day it was. Despite the surprises, a glitch here or there, the long hours and late nights, it was all worth it. So we’re doing it again.
Lowcountry Giving Day will be back and better than ever on May 5, 2015!