“When we create the framework for people to thrive, they will,” explained Floyd Jones, Development and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Volo City Kids Foundation. It’s this perspective that helped elevate this Baltimore, MD’s year-end peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and mobilize their personal fundraisers into action.
By engaging their eager supporters in sharing their passion for Volo City Kids Foundation’s mission, Floyd and his fundraising coworker at this small 501(c)3 are closer than ever to their goal of funding sports programs for 10,000 kids by 2020.
In speaking with Floyd about his experience running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, we learned more about the great work his organization is doing to support children throughout the United States in sports activities. Additionally, we gained a better understanding of the best practices he used to inspire, mobilize, and rally supporters around the campaign.
Here’s a quick snapshot of their year-end fundraising campaign:
- Nonprofit Location: Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, with satellite programs in New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Denver, and San Francisco.
- Campaign Goal: $15,000
- Actual Amount Raised: $20,884
- Length of Campaign: 5 weeks
- # of Donors: 183
- # of Fundraising Staff: 2
Now, let’s dive into everything Volo City Kids Foundation did to run a highly successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Background on Volo City Kids Foundation
The Volo City Kids Foundation is an arm of the for-profit sports league Volo City. “The mission of The Volo City Kids Foundation is to provide free sports leagues to all kids across America,” said Floyd.
The Volo City Kids Foundation is funded, in part, from the membership fees of the 200,000+ adult league members in eight cities throughout the United States. The money raised through fees and additional fundraising efforts is then used to support sports programming and meals for the participating children.
There are many barriers to sports participation in communities throughout the country, including “gender, skill, and limited financial resources.” Ultimately, The Volo City Kids Foundation is out to help remove these barriers
Fundraising Then and Now
Floyd works on a 2-person team at the Foundation to raise enough money to fund these worthwhile sports programs, but that takes work. Before he decided to power his fundraising efforts through CauseVox, Floyd relied heavily on fundraising events and simple online donations. While these techniques worked, the lack of a formal donor tracking system made the job difficult.
“We knew we needed a stronger fundraising and development operation, but we didn’t quite know how to go about it,” Floyd explained.
Towards the end of 2017, Floyd knew they needed to do something different for their year-end fundraiser. Through research, he learned about CauseVox and our built-in, innovative program features. Since he works on a very small fundraising team, Floyd wanted to use a platform that made his job easier—something that could improve his efficiency. He says he found this in CauseVox.
Now, “we can easily know who donated, what amount, when, and what things they responded to in particular due to the Google Analytics integration capabilities,” he told us. He also appreciates CauseVox’s CRM and data-tracking features, the ability to send automatic thank you messages.
Choosing Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising made sense to Floyd. After all, his organization has thousands of supporters. He simply needed to find a way to mobilize them into collective action.
“We used the peer-to-peer platform function for our ‘End of Year’ campaign,” he explained. Floyd appreciated how peer-to-peer fundraising gave power back to the people, which is vastly different than most department-lead fundraising campaigns.
In allowing people to take ownership of their campaigns, Volo City’s team of 24 personal fundraisers tapped into their own networks “efficiently and wonderfully.”
Following P2P Best Practices
Even though he had 20+ personal fundraisers reaching out to their networks of friends and family, planning and implementing the campaign took time and effort. Thankfully, Floyd was eager to follow fundraising best practices, which helped streamline the process and ensure success.
These are The Volo City Kids Foundation’s major takeaways from their peer-to-peer campaign:
Floyd swears by planning ahead. “We started organizing our end of year campaign during the summer,” he stated. During the planning period, Floyd and his colleague built social media toolkits, engaged key stakeholders, developed marketing materials, and enhanced their existing marketing resources.
“Give yourself TIME,” said Floyd. We agree! It’s one of the most important things you can do.
Provide a Clear Message
All campaigns need a clear call-to-action; something that inspires and motivates people into collective action. Floyd believes that sharing a simple message with donors is key. From there, he recommends sending donors to one spot to give. “There are a bunch of moving pieces,” he explained. Therefore, it’s helpful to point people to one central location.
Give Options and Be Transparent
Giving donors options is always a good idea, and it’s something that attracted Volo City Kids Foundation donors. They appreciated how Volo City Kids Foundation broke down the “prices” of impact in the form of donation tiers. By showing their audience how they use the money, they made the intended impact completely evident and transparent.
Don’t Forget a Good Story
Here at CauseVox, we live and breath nonprofit stories. We truly believe they are what make or break a fundraising campaign. Thankfully, Floyd agrees with this sentiment.
“Ultimately, people need to CONNECT with your brand and mission in order to feel compelled to give,” he explained. Floyd took the time to collect many stories from the children and families they serve and share them across all of the organization’s marketing channels, from social media to email, the website, and through the CauseVox-powered peer-to-peer fundraising site.
He emphasized that “People want a reason to give back… they feel good when they give back.” By telling a great story and building up excitement, he found it was much easier for personal fundraisers to capture donations.
Try a Soft Launch
Instead of jumping into the campaign fast and furious, Volo City Kids Foundation decided to start their outreach with their closest supporters. This soft launch gave them a chance to iron out the campaign and assured Floyd he had the buy-in needed to hit the ground running when the campaign officially launched on Giving Tuesday.
“That soft launch brought in a few preliminary donations, and seeing that people already donated made it easy for other people to get involved,” he told us.
We are beyond thrilled with Volo City Kids Foundation’s immense success from their first peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. They prove that peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective way to raise money, mobilize supporters, and increase a donor base.
“Our end of year campaign was our first time utilizing peer to peer fundraising and we really saw the power that people can have when they come together and activate their networks for greater good,” said Floyd.
Moving forward, Volo City Kids Foundation plans to continue using CauseVox, but in a different capacity. According to Floyd, “ Once our current campaign is over, we plan on utilizing the Everyday Donation Feature for our entire online donation experience!”
We can’t wait to hear about their future successes!
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