It’s getting close to that time of year when nonprofits and organizations inundate your mailbox and inbox with year-end letters, closing out the year with one last hopeful push for donations.
OROT is usually one of those organizations, but this year, the educational program, which provides students with learning differences a curriculum that fits their needs, decided to do things a little differently.
On Dec. 3, groups of volunteers, board members and parents will pull their contact lists together and start making calls to support OROT’s online giving campaign run by Charidy, a crowdfunding website.
They’re hoping to meet their goal of $100,000 — which includes a matching donation — to help support the program’s operating costs and technological needs for the students.
However, the campaign is only live for 24 hours.
“It creates awareness and urgency, because the money must be raised in 24 hours or you don’t get the money,” explained Marisa Cohen, OROT’s director of development. “So you have a number of benefactors that give money up front and then it becomes a matching campaign, and if we don’t get the matching funds then the benefactors’ money doesn’t get deposited.”
The campaign page, which can be found at charidy.com/orot, will open at 10 a.m. on Dec. 3 and close at 10 a.m. on Dec. 4. In the meantime, volunteers will gather at Premier Brokerage Services in Jenkintown and work together to meet their goal.
Cohen hopes the campaign will also attract a younger generation, as the link can be shared on every social media network in addition to texting groups or WhatsApp chats.
So if you know any teenagers whose eyes are permanently glued to their Facebook page, bring them along.
“We’ve always sent out a letter as well, like every other nonprofit, and we thought instead, let’s do this,” Cohen said. “It’s also a fun event … in and of itself.”
There will be food, games and prizes for those who raise the most money in each two-hour shift. A big screen will display how much money is raised.
“Having everybody together in the room, it really keeps you inspired and rallying to keep calling and getting in touch with your networks to ask to give,” she said. Her ultimate goal is to raise the targeted amount early on and use the rest of the day to continue calling and enter a bonus matching round.
If they can raise $150,000, that would be “amazing,” she enthused.
But if nothing else, she hopes the event will raise awareness about OROT and its role in the community.
“It enables children to stay in the Jewish day school system and rather than going to a school that might specialize in their special need or their learning difference, OROT can keep them in the day schools,” Cohen explained.
“We thought this would bring our face out a little more to the forefront and just remind people what we do, what schools we’re in, who we’re serving, and how we really can help a child and give them a Jewish day school education.”
The program currently serves students at four day schools in the area — Politz Hebrew Academy, Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia and both campuses of Perelman Jewish Day School — and Cohen hopes to continue to expand.
“We’d like to be in more schools,” she said, “and continue to serve the population that we serve now.”