'Day of Giving' offers big boost to nonprofits

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Charitable donors who want to support the region's social service agencies, cultural groups, educational organizations and other nonprofits have a 24-hour window today during which their individual monetary gifts will be matched by a pool of foundation dollars exceeding $800,000.

The Pittsburgh Foundation, sponsor of the fourth annual Day of Giving, projects the online event will raise $7 million for nonprofits in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, up from $6.4 million last year.

Instead of writing checks, donors are being asked to click on their computers, smartphones or tablets to access the PittsburghGives website, where they can contribute $25 or more by credit card to more than 700 nonprofits registered for the Day of Giving.

The event started at 12 a.m. today and runs until midnight.

The total match pool includes $750,000 from the Pittsburgh Foundation and $80,000 from the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County.

Though the event last year generated about $6.5 million, almost twice the amount raised in 2010, this year the foundation has targeted a more modest increase with its goal of $7 million.

That could be in keeping with a sluggish economy that has taken its toll on charitable donations.

A report this week stated overall giving for the period June through August dropped by 3.4 percent nationwide compared to the same months of 2011. For the year to date, donations have been sluggish, growing only in the single digits, according to Blackbaud, a South Carolina company that tracks fundraising trends among 2,878 nonprofits based in the United States.

But though overall donations were down from June through August, online giving rose 2.4 percent compared with last summer, Blackbaud said.

To generate donations for the Day of Giving, nonprofits have been soliciting support for weeks via e-mail reminders, Facebook and Twitter posts as well as traditional direct mail pieces.

Besides the hundreds of well-established organizations that have been fundraising for decades, newcomers to the list include the Friends of the Hollywood Theater a group that operates the single-screen movie house in Dormont; and the Steel Valley Trails Council, which funds maintenance of portions of the Great Allegheny Passage trails.

For details or to donate, go to www.pittsburghgives.org.

region - businessnews

Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.


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