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BIG Day of Giving – a 24 hour online fundraising event held annually in the first week of May – is easily the largest fundraiser of the year for many nonprofit organizations in the region.

Beginning at midnight, 95 Placer County nonprofits excitedly tracked the early success as the region’s donation numbers steadily rose toward what looked like a record-breaking year. By early morning the combined fundraising total reached $1.5 million.

And then the Internet broke-or more accurately, the BIG Day of Giving website began failing intermittently. With the donations number on the website stuck at just over $1.5 million and the minutes ticking by, excitement turned to concern for hundreds of nonprofits throughout Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. Then something extraordinary happened. Just when it seemed that they were at the complete mercy of a failing third-party vendor’s website, the resiliency of our local nonprofits shown brightly as they quickly scrambled to communicate alternate methods of donating to their causes. More importantly, the residents in our community never faltered as they stepped up and took the extra effort to ensure their donations found their way to a charity of choice.

Using Placer Community Foundation as an example, their own website traffic increased by over 250% on Tuesday as people made donations directly through their site. A number of their donors also took it upon themselves to call in or drop in to the Foundation to make sure their donation was received as intended. Jim Doughty, owner of Auburn Roofing, Inc. walked into the Foundation on Tuesday afternoon and dropped off a check for $1,000. “We tried unsuccessfully to make a donation using the BIG Day of Giving site, so I asked my staff to give me a check and I’ll bring it there myself,” said Jim.

It was the human element-the kind of persistence exhibited by local people and businesses in our community like Jim Doughty-that made BIG Day of Giving a true local success.

The fundraising was extended until 3pm the next day and, despite the technical difficulties, BIG Day of Giving ended with an estimated $7,100,000 raised for 570 nonprofits in the Sacramento region ($848,519 for 95 nonprofits from Placer County)  thanks to the overwhelming generosity by donors throughout our area. The donors themselves proved that support for the good works done by nonprofits here is steadfast and strong.

The BIG Day of Giving was led by a partnership between Placer Community Foundation, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, and Yolo Community Foundation. Veronica Blake, CEO of Placer Community Foundation, stated, “It is wonderful to see such strong support of local nonprofits that are doing essential, diverse work to make our community healthy and connected.”

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