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2017-05-05 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2017 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

May 5, 2017  RSS feed
Organizations

Text: T T T

Chabad of Clearwater outworks 500 charities to win Give Day Tampa Bay fund-raising contest

JAMIE SHAPRIO Jewish Press

Chabad of Clearwater beat out 500 other local nonprofit organizations to win $11,000 in prize money for its fund-raising prowess during the 4th annual Give Day Tampa Bay event.

For 24 hours on Tuesday, May 2, Bay area charities, both large and small, encouraged locals to donate to their cause via an online page. Give Day Tampa Bay is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Tamapa Bay.

With $11,169 raised from 769 donors, Chabad of Clearwater made their first year participating in the event, one to remember.

However, it wasn’t the amount that the Chabad raised, but the number of donors that won it the prize money.

“The purpose of the event is to encourage people to donate who wouldn’t otherwise,” said Wilma Norton, vice president of marketing and communications for the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

As an incentive to the nonprofits and their donors, the Community Foundation - with the support of various corporate sponsors - set up contests. The nonprofits were split into two groups: 299 small nonprofits with an annual budget of $500,000 or less, and 202 large nonprofits with an annual budget of more than $500,000.

Prize money was given out based on the quantity of contributors during the Give Day event and during what they called “power hours,” scattered throughout the 24-hour donation period.

Chabad of Clearwater won $7,500 for having the largest number of donors in the small nonprofit group. At the end of the day, the 769 donors was the most in either category of non-profits.

It also won the “power hour,” between midnight and 1 a.m., with Chabad of Clearwater garnering more donors than any of the small non-profits during that time period. As a result, they won an additional $1,000 for their organization.

As a bonus, Chabad of Clearwater also learned it had won a $2,500 prize for “community improvement,” bringing the grand total of prize money to $11,000, nearly the same amount that was raised during the fund-raising event.

The key to such a successful first year, according to Norton, was the organization’s director, Rabbi Levi Hodakov.

In order to succeed in an event such as this, organizations must come up with strategies to get more donors, Norton said.

For Rabbi Hodakov, this meant being adaptable.

At midnight - the first power hour competition - the rabbi noticed a lull in donations at that late hour, so he decided to capitalize on it. He contacted friends in the area he knew would still be awake, as well as people on the West Coast and beyond, reaching out as far as Seoul, South Korea, and Bangkok, Thailand.

Later in the day, when the organization was nipping at the heels of the then first-place, Suncoast Animal League, Rabbi Hodakov personally made calls to friends and associates.

“Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would have so many donors,” he said. “I am blown away by the generosity of our community as well as the hundreds who contributed from around the world.”

In all, seven different countries were represented among Chabad of Clearwater’s donors as well as people from 31 states and the District of Columbia. “I know that many gave up their Starbucks Latte to contribute and we really do appreciate their sacrifice” the rabbi joked.

The money raised during the 24-hour marathon as well as the additional prize money will be allocated to Chabad’s $1.5 million building campaign for expansion of its present facilities on Belleair Road.

Rabbi Hodokov noted that the Rebbe, the late Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, encouraged the use of technology to further study of the Torah and for doing mitzvot. “What can be a better use of the internet and social media than rallying nearly 800 to give charity?”

Other local Jewish organizations that participated in Give Day included Tampa JCCs & Federation, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, the Florida Holocaust Museum, Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater and Menorah Manor, all in the large nonprofit group. None were in the top 10 in either number of donors or dollars raised.


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