Number Of Fundraisers: 5
Funds Raised: $13,378 Of A $12,000 goal
Size Of Marketing And Development Team: 6
As a Customer Service Advocate at CauseVox, I have the opportunity to work alongside nonprofit fundraisers who are working in the trenches to make their campaign a success. Hearing their stories about not only how, but why they’re fundraising, makes being a resource to fundraisers all the more meaningful.
I had the pleasure of hopping on a call with Jennifer Johnson from Advocates for a second time, about 6 months after their Summeroffun campaign. Continuing to walk alongside Advocates has been one of my favorite things over the last year for two reasons:
- I got to see their growth between their first and second campaign and
- I had the privilege of hearing more about their organization’s work.
Call me sappy, but it truly brings happy tears to my eyes when I think about how they do all they can to bring joy to an underserved community.
Using CauseVox’s crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising platform, Advocates was able to raise more than enough to fund their Holiday Drive. Let’s hear straight from Jennifer about how they were able to exceed their goal and raise over $13k.
Who are you and what do you do?
Advocates is a nonprofit social services agency in Massachusetts serving individuals and families who face significant life challenges – from developmental disabilities to brain injury and psychiatric conditions. We partner with the people we serve to shape creative solutions so that they can lead better lives.
What is your fundraising campaign you ran with CauseVox all about? What are you trying to fund specifically?
Many of the people we support have extremely limited income and lack material and financial resources. The holidays can be a difficult time, especially for those who do not have family members or close friends with whom to celebrate.
Each year we hold a holiday gift drive to raise funds to purchase gift cards for those at Advocates who otherwise would go without during the holidays. We also solicit in-kind donations so that each person has a gift to unwrap.
This year we asked for donations of new, warm throw blankets (especially welcome during our cold New England winters). We received gift requests for 1000 adults and children in need. Our goal was to be able to give each person a new warm blanket and a $10 gift card to purchase something on their wish list.
What were the challenges you faced going into this campaign, and how were they overcome?
We’re kind of in a sticky situation at the end of the year—we want to raise funds for our general operations but we have this need to try and provide holiday gifts to our partners here at Advocates.
This past year, we had a larger number of gift requests than ever before, so we had to set a more ambitious fundraising goal, increasing our goal by 20%.
We found with our #Summeroffun campaign that having it online helped engage people on social media and we were able to attract new donors, so we wanted to see what happened if we put the Holiday Gift Drive online.
In past years, we just sent out an email and didn’t see much happen. This year, it was important for us to make donating online really easy, and have donors be acknowledged right away.
We were missing out on donors who weren’t going to write a check, but would be more comfortable donating through an online campaign, so that’s why we ramped it up this year with CauseVox.
We actually lost one of our major donors for the holiday gift drive this past year, but we were more than able to make up for it with a series of smaller donations from our online community.
About 1000 individuals received a blanket and a gift card.
For people to be able to see the goal progress, be acknowledged for their donation, and understand the impact of their donation, they get all they need to feel they’ve made an impact, and that made all the difference.
We raised a total of $13,378 of our $12,000 goal from 200 donors this year, with 74 of them being new.
What have you learned about the crowdfunding or the fundraising experience so far?
We’ve learned that persistence is really important. In the past we were wary of asking too much, but we realized that it’s ok to ask as the need continues, particularly when that need is clearly expressed and when potential donors understand the real impact and value of their support. That’s why we really like the fundraising metrics features on the CauseVox platform.
We also learned that even a few individual fundraisers joining the campaign can make a huge difference in engaging new supporters.
One of our fundraisers has been fundraising for the holiday gift drive for years, but with her own personal fundraising page she was able to have her own voice and have all the donations collected in one place. She raised more than ever before! We also saw an increase in new donors through the personal fundraising pages.
Overall, leveraging personal connections and the personal asks was really effective this time.
What role did the time of the year play in driving your holiday campaign?
For this campaign were really thoughtful about the timing. We knew we wanted to save our big push for GivingTuesday to benefit from the momentum of that campaign and to the spirit of giving that really captures social media users on that day.
We made sure to use all our online platforms (website, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to reach and direct supporters to our CauseVox campaign.
We had by far our most successful GivingTuesday and Holiday Gift Drive to date, raising $2,400 on GivingTuesday from 55 total donors, with 17 of them new donors. We significantly increased the number of donors from the previous year, almost all of whom came online through CauseVox.
What differences in your tactics did you use between your #Summeroffun campaign and your Holiday Drive?
We also had more success generating donations from our social media asks than ever before. Using engaging photos and graphics on social media was key, as was our judicious use of paid boosts on Facebook.
We definitely saw an uptick in likes on Facebook posts as well as an increase in donations alongside the boosts. An added bonus was a nice bump in followers, especially on Facebook.
Any tips for other campaign organizers/fundraisers?
Take advantage of GivingTuesday. We definitely got more exposure because of GivingTuesday; we launched our GivingTuesday ask the afternoon before, and we saw the greatest amount of donations come in at that time.
Another tip is to be persistent – don’t give up. As long as the asks are impactful, authentic, and engaging, you will reach your supporters and they will respond. Balance your content with direct asks, demonstrations of impact, and celebrating and thanking supporters for successes.
What drew you to CauseVox? What have you liked using the best so far?
First and foremost, the simplicity and ease of use are great – both for campaign staff and for supporters. Being able to share progress towards our goal via the Causevox page created momentum, urgency, and a sense of shared success that drove donations.
The immediate acknowledgement of donors on the campaign page, along with the ability to leave comments, is a great way for donors to feel recognized, appreciated, and truly a part of the campaign.
We also like how giving levels are tied to direct, tangible impact so supporters really can see how their dollars will be put to use. Lastly, the Causevox platform gives individuals donors all they need to reach out to their own networks and engage and celebrate them for their support.
Advocates was ultimately able to exceed their goal because they had an easy-to-use fundraising platform, a group of engaged supporters, a great marketing plan, and most of all, dedicated donors that deeply care about the great impact they were making.
Advocates’ tips can help you get started planning and executing a holiday campaign that rallies your community around your cause. Ready to take a first step? You can begin setting up your holiday campaign quickly and easily on CauseVox and share your own nonprofit story.