1.Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Lindsay West and my official title is “Communications and Development Coordinator” for the Foothill-De Anza Community Colleges Foundation. My role is to help promote the mission of the Foundation to our donors and public using social media strategies, website updates, newsletter articles.
2. What was your GivingTuesday campaign all about? What were you trying to fund specifically?
The goal of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation’s GivingTuesday campaign was to raise funds to support students and the educational excellence of both Foothill and De Anza Colleges. Since the Foundation provides all the private funding for the colleges, there are many things that money raised on GivingTuesday will impact such as scholarships, book vouchers, and tutoring, just to name a few.
Interestingly, last year we had the opportunity to use unrestricted funds to send anthropology students to Kenya to explore the Turkana basin and search for fossils. It was a truly life-changing journey and an amazing opportunity for community college students who would have never have had the means to have this kind of experience.
The funds raised during this campaign can go to supporting students involved in opportunities like these. Many of our students come from underserved communities, and the Foundation helps leverage what the campuses already offer to better serve our students.
Number of Fundraisers: 5
Number of Donors: 88
Length of Campaign: 30 days
3. What have you learned about the crowdfunding experience so far?
Crowdfunding is a great way to spread the word about your organization. With our campaign, we found that it increased engagement with our community and with our donors. Our board members were able to create personal fundraising pages and share why they are so passionate about Foothill-De Anza, and that it was really great to see.
4. What role did GivingTuesday play in your campaign?
It was our first GivingTuesday campaign, and while we had crowdfunded online before, we wanted a platform with more functionality, and we found that in CauseVox.
The timing of GivingTuesday was nice because it allowed us to easily tie it in with our year-end campaign. It falls at a time of the year when people want to feel more involved in doing good, so donors may be already be looking for a place to donate and GivingTuesday gives them that opportunity.
Over the last few years, we knew that GivingTuesday has been growing and we found that when we reached out to alumni and said, “Hey, we’re raising money for GivingTuesday,” they knew what that is, as opposed to a smaller day with less awareness. We felt that GivingTuesday brought an international platform for our campaign as well with the use of the hashtag.
Overall, GivingTuesday was a lot of fun, a lot of our donors were really excited about sharing their stories for our campaign.
Unfortunately, our GivingTuesday campaign didn’t tie in with our year-end campaign as well as we had hoped, and this mostly had to do with our year-end branding themes. This year, we want to integrate GivingTuesday as part of our year-end campaign and adapt our GivingTuesday appeal to fit into our year-end appeal.
As we move forward, we feel GivingTuesday is a really good way to get supporters involved and next time we want to launch earlier to leverage their networks for the campaign.
5. How did you promote the campaign?
To promote our campaign, we featured the campaign in one of our quarterly newsletters, in both the Foothill and De-Anza school’s newsletters, displayed graphics advertising the campaign on plasma screens around campus, and sent an email to our core list of donors promoting our GivingTuesday campaign.
We also promoted the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, and asked our Board Members to reach out to their networks to raise awareness and funds for the campaign.
6. Do you have any tips for other campaign organizers and fundraisers?
Crowdfunding works best when your core group of supporters accesses their networks and shares their passion for your organization. Reach out to your volunteers and even your staff and ask them to share why they are committed to your organization.
Our campaign would not have been successful without the participation of members of our Board of Directors as well as our staff and faculty who are equally passionate about supporting our students.
7. What drew you to CauseVox? What have you liked using the best so far?
We really liked that CauseVox matched the look and feel of our current website, to assure consistent branding, while giving us all the features needed for a good Crowdfunding campaign. It allowed for good integration with social media, and it was easy for our supporters to see how our campaign was progressing.
This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.