Published by Peggy on 06 Jan 2011 at 03:30 pm
WE succeeded!! Thanks to everyone’s generous support, coupled with a foundation match, we raised $50,577 for the WiserEarth endowment — 102% of our goal! That’s 53 months of support for WiserEarth, close to 5 years of sustainable resources and networking! We now want to take some time below to reflect and learn.
If you’ve ever been in nonprofit development, you know how hard and time-consuming it can be to fundraise. At the end of the year, you “compete” with so many other organizations that are just as worthy.
On Monday, January 3rd, at 9:16 pm, we found out that we had succeeded in our fundraising goal. We raised a total of $50,577: $25,577 on Crowdrise with a matching grant of $25,000 from a generous foundation. This is the biggest fundraiser we have done to date, and we still can’t believe it happened!
Results of the campaign
We first started planning the campaign in mid-October when we were all together for our staff retreat. Our goal was to raise $25,000 as we had a matching grant offer from a foundation. The campaign was launched in the second week of November. Here are some interesting facts:
- We received 165 donations, of which 49% came from WiserEarth members
- 66% of the donors were new
- 7 donors donated more than once
- 32% of all the donations came on the last 4 days of the year (Dec 28th – 31st)
- The rate of receivers who opened our e-mails (we sent three of them) varied from 19% to 26%. The first announcement was read by the most people.
This morning, we had at conference call with the WiserEarth staff to celebrate but also to reflect on what happened, to share our learnings and to identify areas of improvements. We thought it would be valuable to share them!
What we did
When we first started talking about our campaign, we put a big white board in the office and just wrote lots of different ideas. There was no right or wrong answer. Our goal was to be creative and open-minded, and to have fun. From this process, we started a conversation about what we could realistically do. We then developed a specific project timeline with tasks for the 7 weeks we had.
- We took our goal of $25,000 and broke it down into concrete, reachable donation levels which made sense for our campaign – in this case, the cost of funding a day or more of WiserEarth infrastructure. We then determined specific fundraising goals for each staff member.
- We had a very specific work plan with dates and tasks for each week. We also had a weekly call to follow up on our timeline and ask questions.
- We had an endorsement letter signed by 25 leaders in the field of sustainability. This really enhanced the credibility of our work.
- We translated some communication materials into other languages to address active parts of our international community.
- We created a group on WiserEarth, so at any point, any staff member could track progress and engage with others
- It was a true team effort where everyone participated
- We felt prepared, had a clear plan and could easily track donations as they came
- The endorsement letter and the Crowdrise site were valuable in enhancing visibility and credibility, and streamlining donations
- We were one of the top three charity fundraisers on Crowdrise during the holidays (this was listed for the day as Natural Capital Institute on its homepage), and won a contest funded by Judd Apatow for a $3,000 prize!
There are always mistakes, and we often don’t take the time to reflect on those.
- We got excited about making a video, spent lots of hours gathering photos and doing in-house editing. At the end, we decided not to use it as we thought it would not contribute positively to the campaign
- Lack of tracking: we used a lot of different media channels and did not track which ones were the most efficient. Was our banner on our homepage efficient? We do not know
- We set up both a Global Giving site and a Crowdrise site, ending up mostly using Crowdrise, but the multiple platforms could be a little confusing. We also set up a French Paypal account to have a French-language donation page but sent out a broken link
- We spent too much time trying to reach out to people we do not know on WiserEarth
Our “To Dos” for the 2011 end-of-year campaign
- Have all the staff and community helping on the last 4 days of the year, as this is where 1/3 of the donations can come in (in the US, due to tax write-offs)
- Enhance our “Thank You” materials as this is as important as the ask
- Rethink our branding strategy and avoid brand confusion. We had called this campaign WiserTogether and hardly used the name
- Put more creative thinking and time into “one-on-one” personal ask
- Re-evaluate platform campaigns early on for international and English language donations, and investigate platforms that can be embedded within our own website
- Engage more people from WiserEarth to help in the campaign
- Establish a clear path to donate non-electronically from outside of US
We are thrilled to start off 2011 with such a successful campaign. Thank you all for your tremendous support!
WiserEarth Executive Director
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