Online fundraiser helps two local nonprofits April 25

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East Texas Treatment Center’s latest fundraising bid is courting smartphone aficionados as East Texas Giving Day calls on digital donors to crowdfund area charities April 25.

Friends of the Kilgore Public Library is also on the online fundraiser’s roster along with ETTC and more than 140 other nonprofits crisscrossing the area. From Kilgore to Longview, Tyler, Lindale, Van, Athens, beyond and in-between, the initiative encompasses the 32-county service area of East Texas Community Foundation.

“I heard about it through nonprofit networking,” said Lauren Cammack, executive director at the Dudley Road treatment center. “There’s several of these across the country.”

One major appeal, Cammack said, was the event’s low overhead.

Eligible nonprofits – that applied by late-February and were approved for the list of charities – pay $100 to ETCF to cover expenses. Then, on Giving Day, the vast majority of each individual donation (contributors select one or multiple nonprofits) is directed toward the receiving charity: approximately 94 percent of a gift goes directly to the intended nonprofit; the remainder covers technology costs, credit card fees and echeck expenses, where applicable. Donors can also opt to boost their contribution by 5.09 percent in order to cover those expenses immediately.

Organizers are pushing for donations in an 18-hour window, 6 a.m. to midnight April 25, but donations are also being accepted in advance at EastTexasGivingDay.org.

According to East Texas Community Foundation, “The purpose of an area-wide Giving Day is to bring the region together on one day and as one community, raising money and awareness for East Texas nonprofits,” the group reported in the FAQs section of EastTexasGivingDay.org. “This initiative … provides citizens across ETCF’s 32 county service area an easy platform to support the mission of local nonprofits that serve that serve our communities.

“One of the pillars of ETCF’s mission is to provide simple ways for donors to achieve their charitable goals. By providing an 18-hour online fundraising event, ETCF will give the public an opportunity to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local nonprofits.”

Anyone with a credit card or debit card and access to the Internet can make a tax-deductible donation of $20 or more, and ETCF will also accept donations via check or cash (contact the organizers at 903-533-0208 or 866-533-3823). Those contributions can also be made anonymously – checking a specific online option will send a donor’s money to the selected nonprofit but not contact information.

“Donations can be made to single or multiple organizations with the ability to donate in a single transaction,” ETCF reports.

The charity recipients aren’t just sitting back and waiting for donations.

For example, ETTC has been spreading the word about the nonprofit push on social media and “We have partnered with Gregg County nonprofits,” Cammack said, “and we are doing a kickoff event in downtown Longview on April 20 to bring about awareness of the event.

“On the actual Giving Day we will be at the Back Porch also to hand-out flyers, bring awareness. We will also be having an open house at the center on Giving Day from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.”

On its profile page at EastTexasGivingDay.org, Friends of the Kilgore Public Library notes its mission “is to contribute to community enrichment in and for the City of Kilgore, Texas through enhancement of quality public library collections, programs, and services.”

Likewise, ETTC underscores its purpose to provide quality therapy to restore patients to the highest-possible level of independence within the limit of their disabilities.

Another fundraiser on top of each spring’s dance, the summer golf tournament and the year-end East Texas Oilmen’s Chili Cook-off, the online initiative will, Cammack hopes, introduce an all new crowd of supporters to the facility’s mission.

“Since it is online, since it is social media, it’s really aimed toward new donors, younger donors. We’re not targeting established donors,” she said, seeking instead relatively-small donations of $20-plus but in bulk: “I’d love 200 donors each giving $20 or $30. You choose.

“It’s so easy you can give in your pajamas.”

Learn more about the online fundraiser at EastTexasGivingDay.org and log-on before midnight Tuesday to make a contribution to Friends of the Kilgore Public Library, East Texas Treatment Center or any of the initiative’s other beneficiaries throughout the area.

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