Social media shows fundraising prowess for area nonprofits

By The Editorial Board

Dozens of nonprofits raised more than $400,000 through the social media and Lowcountry Giving Day 2016 and the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation of Pawleys Island added another $150,677 with incentive grants to 22 organizations.

The nonprofits which benefited include the American Red Cross, Lowcountry S.C. Chapter, which raised $42,550; South Carolina Environmental Law Project, $39,090, plus $7,500 from Bunnelle; Teach My People, $37,680 plus $7,500; these will collect the highest, still unofficial, amounts. Listed at 19 in the amounts raised is Black River United Way, with $9,390, plus $7,500 from Bunnelle and $5,000 from the Tamsberg Family Fund at Coastal Community Foundation of SC, in Charleston.

Black River United Way executive director Lucy Woodhouse says Lowcountry Giving Day money helped put her organization’s 2015-16 fundraising campaign over its $400,000 goal. “A whole lot of things came together, [but] LGD was part of it, that’s for sure.” The United Way also has a $100,000 grants goal it is close to achieving.

The LGD unofficial total is $419,066, not including incentives, and that is an impressive gain over the $275,902 for LGD 2015. “That’s pretty impressive for Georgetown County,” says Geales Sands, executive director of the Bunnelle Foundation. “The purpose was to awaken nonprofits to the power of online giving,” using texting. This was the third year for LCD, the second for Georgetown County participation. The Bunnelle Foundation in 2015 also put up $150,000, in up to $10,000 grants for 15 nonprofits.

This year, $7,500 will go to 17 nonprofits, and five grants matching amounts under $7,500 raised by organizations. Nearly 60 nonprofits participated in LGD 2016, and 38 raised more than $1,000. More than a dozen raised more than $11,000 and all but two of those organizations will receive $7,500 checks from Bunnelle. Monica Tanouye of Coastal Community Foundation noted that the financial platform Bidr is “deep in accounting mode right now, so the final funds are tentative.”

Children’s Recovery Center, headquartered in Myrtle Beach with a facility in Georgetown, raised an unofficial $11,050 from social media, will receive $7,500 from Bunnelle when checks are cut in coming weeks and $3,000 from the Tamsberg Family. Louise Carson, executive director, says the center helps about 300 children annually from infants to age 17, who have been abused. The center was started in 1996 by hospital emergency department physician Dr. Carol Rahter who continues to volunteer in both Myrtle Beach and Georgetown.

The Children’s Recovery Center is an example of several nonprofits that serve both Georgetown and Horry counties. Bunnelle criterion for incentive grants included an operating budget of under $1 million; at least three Bunnelle grants since 2011 and an active online presence.

Other nonprofits qualifying for the $7,500 Bunnelle incentive grants, and the unofficial LGD amount include: Family Justice Center of Georgetown County, $24,205; Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County, $23,926; Miss Ruby’s Kids, $17,955; Birthright of Georgetown, $16,903; The Village Group, $15,447; Winyah Rivers Foundation, $14,616; The Mitney Project, $12,983.