In its first virtual offering, Advocates for Children’s Duck Derby exceeded expectations. The event generated about $20,000 more than the benefit averaged in the past couple of years.
“Because of the generosity of our supporters, sponsors and the Bartow community, we were able to raise over $110,000,” said Nathan Kongthum, Advocates’ development director. “We also increased the number of adoptions over last year by around 1,200 ducks. This was an excellent year for Advocates with the virtual Duck Derby helping us make up the difference in revenue from not hosting our annual Duck Dash, which usually brings in around $10,000.”
Presented by Greater Community Bank, the virtual Duck Derby livestreamed Saturday on Advocates’ social media accounts and still is posted on advochild.org/duck-derby-live and its Facebook page.
Selected by a random number generator, Elite Stone captured the Duck Derby’s $10,000 grand prize.
Other top finishers included Betsy Blalock, second place, Cartersville basket prize; Melissa Maddox, third place, grill and meat packet prize; Patricia Poe, fourth place, Table 20 and Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse gift cards; Brenda Finnemore, $1,000 V.I.D. (Very Important Duck) prize; Mallory Tyree, $5,000 first place Quacky Cash; Max Florence, $2,500 second place Quacky Cash; and Sophia Delmonico, $1,000 third Place Quacky Cash.
The yellow rubber ducks were “adopted” at sites across the community and online at www.duckrace.com/Cartersville. Adoption fees ranged from $5 for a lone duck to $250 for a VID package, consisting of 50 ducks and one entry into the VID race.
“We were able to reach over 1,300 people through our social media efforts, which allowed us to sell over 18,000 ducks,” Advocates President and CEO Rachel Castillo said. “This is the most ducks that we have sold since 2015. We did not know what to expect with taking this event virtual; usually we adopt out 70% or more of our ducks in person.
“We were a little bit anxious about reaching that 70% through virtual adoptions; however, not only were we able to surpass our duck adoptions goal, but we were very pleased with the process of engaging the community in the weeks leading up to the Duck Derby. We are thankful to our community for supporting us and helping us gain an online presence. We had several positive comments for this year’s virtual event and are looking for ways to incorporate some elements of this year’s Duck Derby to other events in the future.”
Established in the 1980s, Advocates for Children assisted 6,723 area youth and 2,118 adults in 2019. Along with Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, the Cartersville-based nonprofit provides numerous programs that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
“We are adapting daily to the impact of COVID-19, whether it is by adjusting our service delivery to the new challenges we are facing as an organization, or by changing the way in which we raise money to fund our programs,” Castillo said. “Unfortunately, several of our funders have informed us that their priorities have changed after the pandemic.
“A number of foundations did not award grants to Advocates in 2020 as they are focusing on relief efforts at a large scale to respond to COVID-19. We appreciate all our funders and understand their need to share funding where they feel best, but this does make our operations more difficult.”
Reaching out to the public for assistance, Castillo underscored the importance of the nonprofit’s Advocates360 program.
“We are anticipating an increase in child abuse cases as a result of COVID-19, but as the demand for our services increase and the funding decreases this will present a new set of challenges to us,” she said. “We are so thankful for the support of our community and everyone’s help is needed now more than ever. The public can support Advocates for Children by donating on our website, being a social media ambassador by liking and sharing our social media, donating a meal to the children’s shelter, becoming a CASA volunteer or purchasing something from our wish lists online.
“But the best way to support Advocates for Children is to become a member of the monthly giving program — Advocates360. The Advocates360 Monthly Giving Program allows you to easily help Advocates for Children year-round with regular monthly donations from credit card, debit card or PayPal.”