Parkesburg Point is going for it this year for #GivingTuesday. Although it isn’t even Tuesday yet, they have already succeeded at reaching their goal. Now they are moving with confidence into their total year-end fundraising. “We were involved with GivingTuesday last year, but didn’t have an effective strategy in place,” says Debbie Shupp, development director for The POINT. “We really wanted a strategic approach this year and Sarah has successfully done that. Sarah created a full strategy and social media campaign.” Parkesburg Point offers extensive services to youth in the area with the help of volunteers, many drawn from local churches. They are FundRaiser Select users.
Sarah Daniels, the new grants and communications manager who joined The POINT in May, says that the most important aspects of this success were:
- planning ahead and having a strategy in place
- utilizing their network of volunteers, board members and staff to spread the campaign
Part of that strategy is a crowdfunding campaign. This is the first year that The POINT has ventured into crowdfunding. A matching donation of $5,000, secured before the campaign began, has contributed greatly to the success.
“One of the things that makes a crowdfunding campaign succeed is closing the gap between what has already been raised and the campaign goal. The closer that the campaign comes to meeting its goal, the more excited people are to give and see the gap close,” says Sarah. With a #GivingTuesday goal of $10,000 that gap was already half closed by the matching grant and this encouraged rapid donations.
“For planning ahead, decide what your financial goal is and when you are going to start your messaging,” says Sarah. “Planning ahead means that all the e-blasts and messaging have the same branding. I began soft messaging 6 weeks before GivingTuesday, and then have become more aggressive the closer we get.”
“We were also able to get a video done and find the matching grant. We needed to have time to ask the donor beforehand and then build the crowdfunding campaign around that,” says Sarah.
“We also needed time to create the video. We partnered with Shane at Vision 2 Visuals. Shane was instrumental in helping The POINT to communicate our impact in a way that effectively engages our donors,” says Sarah.
Another important aspect of their success has been using The POINT network to get word out on the crowdfunding campaign. “We have 400 volunteers, and we’ve reached out to them, asking them to share the campaign with their friends. We’ve used email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Probably Facebook and Instagram have been the most helpful. Facebook is more user friendly for video links,” says Sarah.
Spreading the word through their supporters has also helped to target outreach to exactly the people The POINT most wants to reach. “We are a local nonprofit. We don’t have a large national organization to get the word out on our project. It’s important for us to find ways to reach new people locally. When our volunteers share the campaign through their own social media network, their friends pay attention in a way that they wouldn’t to other kinds of outreach,” says Debbie.
FundRaiser has helped in the background by providing great support for questions when needed, says Debbie. “FundRaiser is the fourth database I’ve used. I like how easy it is to contact FundRaiser Technical Support for help, for instance on pulling a report.”
“We also just had another event, and our ticket sales were through Eventbrite. I had downloaded the data as a CSV file. I called FundRaiser Technical Support and they helped me import it into FundRaiser,” says Debbie.
“GivingTuesday is also allowing us to increase our visibility and broaden the range of our volunteer outreach,” says Debbie. To help with their large volunteer base, The POINT has just started using the FundRaiser Volunteer module. “We are now tagging volunteers in FundRaiser so we can see more easily what they are interested in. We have many different programs and we like to be able to tap people for exactly what they like to help with. Often their interests are quite specific. For instance, one volunteer is a retired teacher, and she likes to help out on our afterschool homework support.”
“We also are looking for more mentors for our Boys’ Program. Many of the people who use our services are single parents, often mothers. It’s great for their boys to be able to connect with a male mentor.”
One of the ways that #GivingTuesday is especially valuable is reaching new donors. “I like that FundRaiser allows us to easily follow-up in different ways with repeat donors and new donors. We have a different letter for each and FundRaiser makes it easy for me to connect the correct letter with each donor,” says Debbie.
“Giving Tuesday has been a good way for us to increase our donor base. We have an ambitious program and fundraising goals,” says Debbie. Their success is important to their community. At FundRaiser, we are grateful to be part of what supports The POINT to succeed in its important mission.
To learn more about how FundRaiser can help you manage your #GivingTuesday campaigns