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Great Give 2014 Is Just Hours Away!

May 07, 2014 10:26AM ● By Cate Reynolds
The Great Give 2014—a 24-hour online giving event hosted by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC)—kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight, May 7th and continues through May 8th. In 2013, Anne Arundel County came together and raised over $606,000 for 118 local nonprofits through the Great Give. This year, the event aims to raise $1,000,000 for the 170 local participating nonprofits. We recently discussed the Great Give event with Community Foundation Executive Director Bess Langbein. Additional details about Great Give appear below the interview.

How did CF land on the concept of the Great Give as the annual campaign to pursue/organize?

The vision of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) is to achieve a lasting positive impact on our community by fostering philanthropy. We were looking for an opportunity to engage local residents at all income levels in philanthropy and build the capacity of our nonprofits. We saw the success of giving days hosted by our colleagues across the country, such as GiveMN and Give To The Max in Greater Washington, and thought this model could be replicated in our community. After much research and discussion, my board decided to take a risk and launch a similar day of online fundraising in Anne Arundel County.

How challenging was it to pull together this 24 hour fundraising campaign?

 The first Great Give in May 2013 was very challenging to pull together because the concept was new to all of us. We figured out early on that the key to success was training our local nonprofits to use social media and other online communication tools to promote themselves during the Great Give. Just like we are doing this year, we hosted a number of training sessions and assigned each nonprofit, who requested one, a social media “buddy”, a volunteer student from Anne Arundel Community College to train and help them use social media.  

What were some of the biggest surprises of the first GG?

I honestly didn’t think we would make it to our goal of $500,000—despite a lot of planning and publicity. I think the biggest surprise came at 9 a.m. on May 7th when we had already raised more than $300,000 with 10 hours remaining. The other big surprise was the incredible support we received from volunteers, donors and sponsors. As the inaugural event, we really had no idea what the response would be. To say we were overwhelmed is an understatement. The community support was simply incredible and heartwarming.

Have you followed the progress and intentions of specific orgs and how they’ve used their funds raised from last year’s GG? Is there a shining example?

We worked hard to collect success stories from the Great Give 2013 because we want the donors to understand the impact of their giving, whether they gave $10 or $1,000. I think Seeds 4 Success, a grassroots after-school program for children living in public and subsidized housing in Annapolis, is a shining example. A small, young nonprofit, the board of Seeds 4 Success decided early on that it was going to win the Small But Mighty Award for Most Donors worth $10,000. This organization attended all of the training sessions, created a video, and hosted an event during the Great Give at the Boatyard. There strategy was simple, ask everyone they know to give $10 and to ask ten of their friends to give $10. When the event closed at 7 p.m., Seeds 4 Success had received 352 donations and raised $16,540. As a result of their efforts, Seeds won three awards totaling $16,000. The $32,540 it brought in through donations and prizes supported its summer reading program and helped it hire their first full-time executive director. It was just this type of result my board and I wanted, giving us great satisfaction.

Did you manage to stay awake the entire 24-hours of the campaign?

No, but I didn’t get much sleep. It was so exhilarating to refresh your browser every few minutes and see the tally of total dollars raised jump higher and higher.  

Were donors contributing during the wee-hours of the campaign?

Almost 30 donors made contributions between 1 a.m. am and 8 a.m. The winner of the Night Owl Award was the Lighthouse with just a handful of donors during that time. This is an opportunity for someone this year--if they can stay awake!

Can you briefly describe the broad range of nonprofits that a donor could contribute to?

The range of nonprofits and the diversity of their missions are the things that make the Great Give so powerful. Last year, we had 117 participating nonprofits. This year, we have nearly 170 that represent every part of the nonprofit sector, including arts, environment, youth, health, domestic violence, hunger, veterans and animal welfare, to name a few. We believe everyone who wishes to give can find at least one participating nonprofit that fits a personal interest. We hope that donors find more than one.

For participating nonprofits, what tips would you advise for maximizing online donor turnout?

Target a specific constituency that you can easily reach via social media and eblasts. Ask for a specific gift amount and ask your donors to ask their friends, family and colleagues to give to your organization. Do something fun and creative that will help your organization stand out. The benefits are palatable

What will be some of the highlights at this year’s big event at Maryland Live! Casino?

One highlight will be honoring all of the volunteers, donors and sponsors who made the event possible, including Presenting Sponsor: Maryland Live! Casino, Premier Giver: Bob Pascal and Award Sponsor: Greenberg Gibbons/Reliable Foundation. The other will be reaching our goal of $1,000,000 raised from 5,000 donors for our local nonprofits. We are excited.

Additional Details

Participating Great Give 2014 Nonprofits
Have you selected the organizations to which you will donate during the Great Give 2014? Choose from organizations supporting:
  • Animals
  • Arts & Culture
  • Community Improvement
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • Seniors
  • Veterans
  • Youth Development
Check out the complete list of organizations at:

$90,000 To Be Granted Through Great Give Prizes
Participating Great Give nonprofits can win cash awards through the Great Give. Thanks to the support of our generous Great Give Sponsors, $90,000 in prizes will be granted. View the complete list of prize categories and award amounts here.

 Please visit between 6 PM on May 7 and 6 PM on May 8 and donate to your favorite participating charities. 

Questions about the Great Give? Contact Amy Francis at or 410-280-1102 or Great Give Event Coordinator Stacey Smith at or 443-844-0047.