The inaugural Give OUT Day, an online opportunity for LGBTs to donate to their favorite LGBT nonprofit, was declared a success by organizers, who reported more than a half-million dollars was collected during the 24-hour event.
San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center took the top spot nationally in the May 9 fundraiser, garnering $17,555 from 294 unique donors. With prize grants for winning the top spot and matching grants, TLC’s total take for the day was $32,085.
Organization leaders were ecstatic and said that Give OUT Day was the “perfect storm for the transgender community and Transgender Law Center specifically.” Nathan Harris, TLC’s development director, said the agency has been boosting its social media presence. It showed on Give OUT Day.
“Transgender Law Center has been building a robust social media presence in the past few years resulting today in over 13,000 Facebook fans and over 6,000 Twitter followers,” Harris said in an email Friday. “That made a major difference.”
Nearly 400 nonprofits participated in Give OUT Day. TLC also took first place in the Bay Area, followed by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, which pulled in $4,066 from 96 unique donors. Finishing third was the New Conservatory Theatre Center with $4,091 raised from 64 unique donors.
All told, nationally Give OUT Day raised $556,400 from 5,474 unique donors. The idea for the coast-to-coast endeavor was implemented by New York-based Bolder Giving, which teamed up with crowdfunding site Razoo.com to create the online platform. The Horizons Foundation served as a sponsor.
Nationally, the Greater Twin Cities United Way took second place with $12,866 raised from 226 unique donors. Minnesota has a similar one-day, online giving event and it was a gay man, Charlie Rounds, who lives in Minneapolis, that suggested the idea for an LGBT-specific online donor drive to Bolder Giving Executive Director Jason Franklin, who is also gay. Rounds is a longtime trustee of the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation, which provided a three-year grant of $425,000 to Bolder Giving for Give OUT Day.
Rounding out the top three national groups was OutServe-SLDN, the merged group of LGBT military personnel and veterans. The organization raised $10,599 from 205 unique donors.
In TLC’s case, Harris said that volunteers, including board and development committee members and major supporters, made Give OUT Day a priority by leveraging their personal social media networks.
“Janet Mock, Cecilia Chung, Margaret Cho, and many others tweeted and retweeted our announcements,” Harris explained.
Additionally, an anonymous donor, Leonie Walker and Dr. Kate O’Hanlan, and Rose Hayes provided an incentive challenge and matching grants that “quadrupled our donor gifts up to $4,000,” Harris added.
There were also transgender issues in the news Thursday that helped bring attention to TLC and its programs, Harris said. The state Assembly approved AB 1266, a measure by gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) that ensures that transgender students in California have equal and full access to programs and facilities on the basis of their gender identity.
Another bill, AB 1121 by out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), also passed in the Assembly. It would help ensure transgender people have access to identity documents that accurately reflect their gender identity.
Both bills now advance to the state Senate.
“We’d like to thank everyone who participated – it was a huge victory nationally in the ongoing effort to increase philanthropy toward LGBT causes,” Harris said. “To those who placed the transgender movement prominently in the national spotlight as part of that historic moment, we are totally humbled.”