Centre Gives, a two-time “Best Fundraiser” award recipient, will debut a new look this May, thanks to West Arete, a local software development company that was hired by Centre Foundation to customize its giving day platform.
 
Centre Gives is all about local people supporting Centre County – loving where they live and giving where they live,” explained Molly Kunkel, Executive Director of Centre Foundation. “West Arete is a local company that not only understands this, but is committed to being a community partner through the projects it takes on and the way the company is run, being B Corp certified.”
 
West Arete, located on South Allen Street, offers software that is rooted in robust technology architecture, which provides user confidence in the security and traffic that its platforms can handle. 
 
“Last year, the nationwide outage that affected many giving day events was something that galvanized our staff – who have been longtime supporters of Centre Gives and Centre Foundation,” noted Scott Woods, CEO of West Arete. “We were confident that we could build a strong product that would ensure giving days like Centre Gives would have the security donors deserve, the results the community depended on, and the gamification that makes these online events such a fun experience for all involved.”
 
The $25,000 in prizes is an integral part of Centre Gives.  Prizes create friendly competition that result in immediate gratification, which can sometimes even exceed the idea of competing for a larger share of the $100,000 stretch pool that Centre Foundation also provides.
 
“We knew that prizes and tracking the results were something that people really enjoyed,” said Kunkel.  “West Arete has done a great job in creating a spotlight for the prizes – the results are more visual, the prizes are front and center, and the power hours have unique pages that allow competing organizations to hone in on their goal.”
 
The story of the total community impact is also more prominently featured, along with the results of each organization’s efforts.
 
“Based on what we knew people were interested in watching, we’ve designed the organization pages with the user experience in mind,” explained Woods. “Users will now be able to simultaneously search and sort organizations – according to the interest area they want to support or according to the results they want to follow.”
 
By partnering with West Arete, Centre Foundation was able to find a local vendor to build a secure, custom product that will benefit Centre County for years to come. 
 
“We’re not only supporting a local company and local jobs, but we’re also investing in technology that is strengthening our community,” Kunkel said.
 
As Centre Gives launches on May 9, so does a new product.                            
 
“West Arete is excited for the future of this giving day platform,” Woods said. “We know first-hand the power that giving days can have in a community and we know the importance of making sure a giving day platform is built strongly, securely, and with an eye towards what will engage and inspire people.  As part of West Arete’s mission of designing custom software that can improve communities, we are happy to announce that this software will be available for other community foundations across the country to purchase as an investment in their own community’s future.”
 
As soon as Centre Gives 2016 wrapped up, Centre Foundation’s staff began exploring new vendor options before ultimately selecting West Arete to build the new platform for the online giving event.
 
“Centre Foundation’s board oversaw an exhaustive vetting of potential vendors and concluded that West Arete would be able to provide the product capacity, security, and usability that an event like Centre Gives must have to succeed,” noted Oscar “OJ” Johnston, Centre Foundation board member. “Centre Foundation’s staff worked side-by-side with West Arete to develop this customized product and our board oversaw the process.  We are confident that this product investment will pay dividends across Centre County.”
 
Since the Centre Gives launched in 2012, over $4,000,000 has been invested into Centre County’s local non-profit network.  There have been over 23,500 gifts made, which have benefited over 130 local organizations.
 
Centre Gives 2017 will have another record number of local organizations participating; nearly 150 organizations serving all types of interest areas including arts, animals, education, environment, and health & social services.  Centre Foundation will host Success Series trainings through-out the month of March for these organizations in order to build communication and fundraising skills that will be helpful beyond this 36-hour online giving event.
 
For information about attending a Success Series, sponsorships, and all other inquiries, please contact Centre Foundation’s office at 814-237-6229.