A major gift from an anonymous donor was announced this week by the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, providing a boost for the venerable society in this summer of need.

Ag Society executive director Kristina West said the unnamed donor will match up to $100,000 worth of donations during the upcoming weeks of programming, including the virtual fair and auction planned for the weekend of August 20-23.

The Agricultural Society needs to raise $250,000 this year to balance its budget following the cancellation of the in-person annual Agricultural Fair, which provides the majority of its annual revenues. Also this year the hall cannot be rented out for weddings, due to the pandemic.

A virtual version of the fair gets under way next weekend, along with an online auction.

According to terms stipulated by the anonymous donor, any money collected by the society through the online auction, virtual fair or through general donation will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling its value for the organization. By this calculation, the nonprofit stands to earn $200,000 on $100,000 in donations.

“I’ve been with the organization in some fashion for seven or eight years now and to my knowledge, we have never received a donation like this,” said Ms. West.

The donor, a longtime supporter of the society, was eager to lend backing in a time of need, said Ms. West. “We’re there when people need us. [The donor] wanted to be there for us, now that we need the community,” she said.

The donation, along with the online auction, marks a new chapter for the society, which has shied from traditional fundraising methods in the past. But this year that changed, and the organization has opened its doors to donations. Small gifts are coming in from veteran fair-goers, in addition to the recent matching incentive gift.

“It’s amazing that the community is stepping up and coming out to help us the way they have been. It’s really heartening,” said Ms. West.

Money collected from the matching campaign will go toward keeping the society up and running ­— funding its year-round support programs like 4H groups, farmer grants, and most recently its work establishing a local Vineyard chapter of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau.

Additional funding might also allow the society to begin moving ahead on a plan to hire a much-needed third office employee, Ms. West said.

She expressing her gratitude for the gift. But the success of the matching campaign will rely on participation and donations from members of the Island community, she also said.

“This is huge for us,” said Ms. West. “We have the potential to raise $200,000 if we can get the word out, get people visiting the site and bidding on items, or just get them making donations.”