As this year’s Big Give SA neared its end at midnight, nonprofits around San Antonio were pushing out their last fundraising asks via social media, email, and in person.

By the end of the Big Give SA, nonprofits collected $4,675,818 from 31,400 donors, according to the Big Give SA website. The Big Give’s goal was to raise $6 million by the end of the campaign.

John Burnam, principal and co-founder of Burnam|Gray, a consulting firm hired to coordinate the event, told the Rivard Report Friday that while achieving the ambitious $6 million goal did not happen, the Big Give broke its annual record for number of unique donors and donations. By 7:45 p.m. Thursday, it had already broken its record for number of donations made.

BASIS Charter Schools in Texas raised $178,943, the largest amount among the 650 participating nonprofits. Tracys Dogs, a national dog rescue and rehabilitation organization, drew the most donors with 1,571 donations. To see the complete leaderboard, click here.

Nonprofit organizations in Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, Uvalde, and Wilson counties were able to participate in the Big Give to gather donations.

The giving spirit was palpable throughout the day Thursday for the 24-hour, online fundraising campaign. Members of the various participating organizations shared their core missions in coffee shops, on the streets, and other locales in hopes of garnering monetary support for their causes.

The $236,000 available bonus prize money incentivized many groups to try to gather the most unique, or individual donations, and the most money raised from 12 a.m. Thursday to 12 a.m. Friday.

Burnam predicted that, like in years past, a surge in donations would occur in the last two to three hours of the online campaign. There are lulls in activity after work and during dinnertime, he said, but traffic typically picks back up around 10 p.m.

Organizations throughout the day worked to get the most donations during “power hours” in order to receive special prizes. The record peak in donations was $350,000 in one hour, Burnam said.

“Philanthropic giving in our community is not fantastic … So [Big Give SA] … allows for an opportunity to really celebrate giving back, and in small increments as well,” said Molly Cox, SA2020 executive director, at Alamo Beer Thursday afternoon. Her organization, which surpassed its fundraising goal, and several others had a Big Give-related fundraising event at Alamo Beer Company, where 100 or so people showed up throughout the night to show support and donate.

“It’s about this idea that incremental change in our community is taking time and incremental donations take space in our community,” Cox said.

Other organizations had similar events to boost the giving spirit around the city, such as a water gun fight hosted by the Animal Defense League of Texas, and food and live music hosted by the Autism Community Network.

“[The Big Give SA] is special, [with] just the camaraderie between organizations,” said Mary Flannigan, director of communications and partnerships with San Antonio Youth Literacy. “You have everyone gathering all for once cause, but at the same time I have friends saying, ‘Give to your favorite folks and if it’s not my organization that’s okay.’

“We’re all out there giving back to San Antonio, and making a difference big or small.”

Last year, technical difficulties put a brief halt on the Big Give SA website. In the end, nonprofits still raised $4.3 million. Burnam said that this year has gone much more smoothly, compared to not only last year but each of the previous years.

“I think the user experience has been incredibly improved,” he said. “I also think that it’s been a more enjoyable experience. We’ve had fewer issues and technical glitches [compared to past years] … it’s been a calmer day.”

The Rivard Report participated in the Big Give this year and raised $22,820, meeting 91% of its $25,000 goal. The nonprofit also got a $5,000 bonus for getting the most unique donors in the “international, politics, and social justice” category and won the the 10-11 a.m. hourly prize for most unique donors.

To check the list of prize winners, click here.

Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia

Camille, a San Antonio native, formerly worked at the Rivard Report as assistant editor and reporter. She is a freelance writer based in Austin, where she is getting her master's in Latin American Studies...