More than 8,000 participants helped raise nearly $850,000 during the 19th Annual AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run earlier this month, but the total fell short of the event’s fundraising goals.
AID Atlanta, which organizes the walk, announced the financial results Monday. The total raised fell about $100,000 short of the event’s goal, meaning the organization will continue its fundraising until the end of the year in the hopes of making up the shortfall.
“We feel confident that we will be able to get there,” says Tracy Elliott (photo), AID Atlanta’s executive director. “We have a very stong post walk fundraising plan. We need the community to be enagegd. The event is over but the cause is continuing.”
The annual walk benefits AID Atlanta and eight other organizations, but the fundraising shortfall could prompt reductions in AID Atlanta’s programs and outreach or its staff of 100 full- and part-time employees. The organization will make that determination at year’s end, Elliott says.
“As soon as we know where we are at the end of the year, we pull the trigger on which budget we will be using,” he says.
But increases in other areas of the organization’s budget, such as institutional philanthropy and grants, could help soften the blow from any shortfall experienced through the walk, Elliott says.
The walk drew 8,000 registered walkers, 700 teams and 400 people for a 5K run at Piedmont Park on Oct. 18. It was dedicated to Allen Thornell and Philip Rush, two longtime LGBT activists who died earlier this year.
Elliott says the walk did well in pre-event fundraising that was bolstered through technology, such as the event website accepting donations online. But efforts fell short the day of the event.
“The surprise is that we did so well with pre-walk fundraising. But the day of numbers were not what we expected. We are understanding that the walk is changing its character. It is a continuation of a multi-year trend. But I think we will have to acppet that is they way it will be,” he says.
The AIDS Walk benefited nine organizations: AID Atlanta, AID Gwinnett, AIDS Alliance for Faith & Health, AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, Aniz, Home But Not Alone, Jerusalem House, Open Hand and Positive Impact.