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Butler nonprofits to take part in Day of Giving

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 5:00 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Luca Merola, 5, (from left), Abigail Schnur, 4, Brianna Repas, 4, Lily Schnur, 6, Kalia Webb, 5, and Peter Demetter, 4, take part in storytime at the Cranberry Library last week.

Butler County nonprofits have been invited to participate this year for the first time in the Pittsburgh Foundation's Day of Giving, and many groups are taking full advantage to raise easy money.

“People don't have to leave the house. It's convenient for them, and it does keep us going, those kinds of donations,” said Pat Collins, executive director of the Butler County Historical Society. “I call it a painless fundraiser. You can sit at home and do it in your jammies.”

The Day of Giving will run from 6 a.m. to midnight on May 6 to line up with Give Local America, the national day for community foundations.

Participating organizations receive a share of the match pool based on donations given that day of between $25 and $1,000.

The Endowment for Butler County, a fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation, is providing a match pool of $10,000 to the 29 Butler County organizations participating, said foundation spokesman Christopher Whitlatch.

Previously, the Day of Giving was open only to organizations from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, but the Endowment for Butler County approached the foundation to provide matching funds and open it up to the county in 2014, Whitlatch said.

Donations are taken exclusively online so there's little legwork for participating groups other than to spread the word.

“It's worth it – you have to do it,” Collins said. “It's not like you're losing a week of your time, like for bigger fundraising events. It's just a couple hours of work.”

Collins said the historical society has mailed out about 500 letters to members and friends explaining the Day of Giving and posted the information on its website. Officials plan to mail another post card at the beginning of May as a reminder.

Pearl Fannin-Walker, associate executive of the Butler County Symphony Orchestra, said her organization has done similar marketing. Officials have sent out mailers to season ticket holders and patrons and extensively promoted Day of Giving on social media.

Fannin-Walker said orchestra officials will have laptop computers set up in the symphony office on May 6 to make it easier for people to stop in and make donations. Ticket prices cover about 30 percent of operating expenses for arts groups like the symphony, so quick-hit fundraisers such as Day of Giving are a blessing, she said.

“This will hopefully give us a higher return rate on donations,” Fannin-Walker said. “It allows us the opportunity to make a push to raise money.”

For other lesser-known organizations, the Day of Giving is an opportunity to get their name out and attract volunteers.

“We need help of all sorts, both financial and physical labor,” said Wesley Hamilton, executive director of the CHZ Composting and Education Center, whose main focus is rehabilitating a 30-acre brownfield site along the Connoquenessing Creek in Zelienople,

“There will be some contribution (financially) and perhaps just as critically, the more information that's out there about the program, the more volunteers we'll pick up,” he said.

For more information on Day of Giving or how to help, visit www.pittsburghgives.org.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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