Casa Congo is a new organization that seeks to empower communities through conservation. Tourism can be a blessing and a curse to developing areas. It can improve local economies but often devastates local ecology. A sustainable approach to development protects both people and the planet.
This year Casa Congo will begin construction on their School of Conservation, however, need to raise an additional $20,000 to do so. They had a network of supporters around the world and used CauseVox to create and manage a nonprofit crowdfunding campaign to fill this funding gap.
The results? Let’s take a look.
- Amount raised (so far): $19,290
- Fundraising staff: Casa Congo’s team of 13 people all pitched in
- Duration: 3 months
About Casa Congo
El Astillero is only a few miles from Chacocente, one of the largest fragments of tropical dry forest left on earth. Casa Congo aims to conserve and protect Astillero’s natural areas and ecosystems. By empowering locals to create sustainable assets from the natural resources around them, Casa Congo promotes conservation and communities.
The School of Conservation will be a meeting point for the community, as well as home to Casa Congo’s programs. “Our vision is to create a knowledge center where different cultures from all over the world can come together to learn skills, share ideas, and have an active hand in sustainable development,” says Lily Keenan, Art and Media Director. The school will be Central America’s first-ever 100% sustainable bamboo structure.
As Casa Congo prepared for their first public fundraising campaign to raise $20,000 towards the project, the team knew they needed a fundraising platform that would allow them to tell their story, operate globally, and offered the flexibility they needed. They launched their campaign with CauseVox.
Nonprofit Crowdfunding: The Power is in Your Community
Casa Congo’s campaign demonstrates just how far the influence of your community can take you. Literally. Thanks to the power of the internet, donations came in from all over the world to help fund their nonprofit crowdfunding campaign.
The organization is registered in Canada, but the team has networks in Nicaragua, Canada, Australia, Rome, and England. “We really needed a platform that was flexible, and would allow us to tell our story creatively and with a maximum impact,” said Keenan.
One of the fundraising challenges the organization faced was logistical: processing payments. “Last year, our programs were funded by private donations from family and friends,“ said Keenan. “This required a lot of face-to-face conversations, and coordination via email and international money transfers!”
They knew a fundraising platform would streamline their campaign. “We decided that Causevox was the best service to go with as it allows us to keep whatever we raise, has flexible monthly plan options and allows the fundraising campaign to be managed by different funders at once,” said Keenan.
The Keys To Casa Congo’s Success
How did such a new organization have so much success with their very first public campaign? They concentrated on three important things:
- Compelling content
- Personal connections
- Social media
“Our mission involves showcasing the unique value that protected environments hold, and foregrounding the resilience of the communities we work with,” says Keenan. Casa Congo was joined by videographer and photographer Tim Nathan, who spent a month making videos and taking pictures in Astillero. “Videos are a powerful communication tool, Tim’s video content has been the spearhead of our fundraising campaign,” said Keenan.
A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign relies on your community’s networks, and the Casa Congo team went above and beyond to cultivate theirs. “Each of our team members compiled a list of potential and existing donors in their network and wrote a personal letter explaining our Conservation School campaign,” said Keenan. She credits this personal connection with helping the campaign stand out among causes and helping the fundraisers to convey their passion truly. “Some of our biggest donations were achieved through personal communication such as this,” she said.
Casa Congo has been very intentional about their social media presence. “Social media is absolutely key,” said Keenan. “This means not only having great visual content but also maintaining a consistent and engaging conversation online. Our Social Media Specialist Mattia does a great job at growing our social media community, engaging with people who align with our sustainability values.”
Casa Congo has been active on social media for less than a year but has already attracted almost 4,000 followers. They promoted the campaign with educational videos and visual content and shared milestones with their social media followers.
It’s Only The Beginning
These conservationists aren’t slowing down. In addition to building their school, future plans include cultivating and educating supporters around the world. “We are looking into holding more awesome events in our team countries all over the world, really highlighting the creative element of our organization and spreading the word in a fun way,” said Keenan.
They’ll keep their campaign conversations going by thanking their donors. Every donor will receive a t-shirt or an art print from one of the team’s artists, and a personal thank you note. All donors are invited to visit Nicaragua.
“It’s great to see the support pour in from all over the world,” said Keenan, “Our focus may be in Nicaragua, but we feel that conservation is a globally unifying goal.”
We can’t wait to see the School of Conservation in action, and to watch Casa Congo grow!