Kids, elderly benefit from Pick. Click. Give. donations

As 2013 begins, Alaska residents gifted with timeliness will likely apply for their Alaska Permanent Fund dividends. During the PFD application period about 4 percent of eligible residents donate to charities through the Pick. Click. Give. program.

Many nonprofits operating on the Kenai Peninsula participate in the program. Donors cite ease of use as the main reason for participating in the program, said local nonprofit directors.

Three local nonprofits plan to fund educational programs with their received donations.

“The board feels that these (program) dollars are used best within our academic programs,” said Josselyn O’Connor, Kenai Watershed Forum development director.

The forum set a goal of $6,000 in donations, while other local nonprofits simply aim to continue a trend of increased donations each year. They have increased their marketing efforts for the program, which has helped during an increasingly tough economic climate.

The Alaska Legislature created the program in 2008. Alaskans who file for their PFDs online donate all or some money to community foundations and charitable and educational organizations. The total number of donors and the total number of pledges has risen each year. Donations increased from $545,000 to $2.2 million from 2009 to 2012, and the number of donors increased from 5,173 to 23,169, according to the program’s website.

The program became a permanent part of the PFD program after a three-year pilot period.

The three nonprofits have had an increase in donations every year, they said. O’Connor said the watershed forum’s donations have grown steadily, and $6,000 is an attainable goal. Last year, donations doubled, from about $2,000 in 2011 to $4,028 in 2012.

A few devoted supporters have told the watershed forum they like the program’s ease of use, O’Connor said. They switched from donating at random periods during the year to using the program while applying for their PFDs, she said. The watershed forum receives donations from across the state.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula doubled its donations, as well. The club did not set a monetary goal; it simply aims to maintain a trend of increased donations, said Executive Director Natasha Ala.

Hospice of Central Peninsula Inc. received $2,875 through the program in 2012.