- Nancy Flores American-Statesman Staff
Amplify Austin, the city’s annual online day of giving, celebrated its fifth anniversary by raising more than $9.8 million after the 24-hour fundraising campaign wrapped up Friday night.
The amount exceeded the $9 million goal to become the event’s most successful campaign.
“At the end of the day, no matter what the ticker says, this goes beyond the numbers,” said Celeste Flores, executive director for I Live Here, I Give Here, which produces the online giving campaign. “It’s about the impact that’s going to happen with those dollars. That’s what fuels us.”
For the third year in a row, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area raised the most money in the event with a total of more than $443,000. Hospice Austin finished second with more than $288,000, and Central Texas Food Bank came in third with a preliminary total of $252,874.
Central Texans contributed more than 64,500 donations to about 700 organizations. The event ran from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday.
With an hour to go, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, which was at the top of the leaderboard for most of Friday, was scrambling to rally more donations to meet its $500,000 goal. The Amplify Austin champ said the secret to its consistent success was making the campaign a team effort.
“We have full support from our board and buy-in from everyone,” said Misti Potter, executive vice president for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. “Everyone does Amplify all day long.”
Earlier in the day, some of the smaller nonprofits were struggling to gain momentum. Austin Community Steelband, which teaches disadvantaged students how to play and perform on a steel drum, raised about 40 percent of its $6,000 goal.
“We want the community to know that these classes help boost self-esteem and help students stay out of trouble,” said Paula Beaird, the group’s executive director. During lunchtime Friday, the students showed off their music skills at a lively Amplify Calypso lunch workout at the Town Lake YMCA.
Every Amplify Austin campaign has been unique. This year, many companies increased their matches and many nonprofits exceeded their goals, Flores said. “I think this is part of the spirit of the day,” she said.
After running the campaign for five years, organizers said they are always looking for ways to improve, whether it’s serving donors better or improving the nonprofit training before the campaign.
“We built this for the benefit of the entire community,” Flores said. “When you put out a bold goal, then people rise to the challenge.”