Since 1969, Center for Community Solutions in San Diego, California, has provided free, confidential, empowering prevention and intervention services to survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This past year, the organization has helped to strengthen the community and provide support to over 22,000 adults and children in need. Wow, what an impact!
To ensure Center for Community Solutions is meeting the needs of their clients, staff work tirelessly to raise much-needed funds through direct-mail and online fundraising campaigns. They first introduced a #GivingTuesday fundraiser in 2016 and seamlessly met their goal of $5,000.
But things got even more exciting in 2017. The Development Team worked on a new strategy and Kimberly Jenks, Special Events and Marketing Manager, managed a successful #GivingTuesday campaign raising a whopping $26,190 over the course of 24 hours.
How did they do it? That’s what we wanted to know, so we chatted with Kimberly to get the inside scoop on CCS’ #GivingTuesday efforts.
Location: San Diego, CA
Total Funds Raised: $26,190
# of Fundraisers: 5
# of Donors: 68
Length of campaign: 24-hours
Leading Up To CauseVox: Challenges & Necessities
Small teams and low budgets are commonplace for nonprofits, and Center for Community Solutions is no different.
“With small teams, you often have to be able to strategize, create, and implement all aspects of a campaign on your own,” Kimberly told us.
Another hurdle she’s noticed in the past few years is the increase in paid advertising, particularly through social media. “It can be difficult as a nonprofit to grow your reach and access tools and platforms organically,” she noted.
CCS’ struggles, particularly with a small staff, financial limitations, and organic online exposure led them to online fundraising.
When they started #GivingTuesday 2016, they were looking for a platform to get their feet wet with the whole online fundraising process. In particular, Kimberly wanted to work with a company that offered flexible plan options and customization features, and CauseVox was the right fit.
The Beginning Of A Good Thing
During Center for Community Solutions’ first online fundraising campaign for #GivingTuesday 2016, they raised an impressive $6,000 against a goal of $5,000. It was the first time many of the organization’s supporters donated online, and Kimberly wasn’t sure what sort of response they were going to get. Thankfully, the results exceeded her expectations.
The energy and enthusiasm around 2016’s #GivingTuesday fundraiser paved the way for 2017. Armed with training, experience, knowledge of the crowdfunding process, and supporters who understood the process, the organization set a goal of $10,000– double the amount from the previous year.
Features, Preparations, & Action Items That Helped This Campaign
According to Kimberly, there are three main features of CauseVox that are essential to her organization. These include:
- Fast customer support
- Customizable templates and resources
- Tiered plans and monthly subscription options
These features, combined with Kimberly’s fundraising experience, helped elevate their efforts in 2017. Here are some of the ways The Center for Community Solutions prepared and implemented their day-long giving campaign.
Kimberly credits early preparations for helping them meet their fundraising goals. “We put together a comprehensive SMART plan identifying our need, goals, timeline, action items, etc. “ In addition, she prepared social media posts and eblasts well in advance using CauseVox templates and resources as guides.
“The earlier you prepare your message, the better,” Kimberly stated.
Soft Launch + Board Involvement
In order to make #GivingTuesday a team effort, Kimberly tried a soft launch of the campaign targeted to key staff, donors, and volunteers. This launch helped set the groundwork, gauge participation levels, and get everyone excited about the campaign.
They also asked the board to consider a donation match during this early stage to help them feel engaged in the campaign.
Use Email and Social Media
“Email was our best tool [to promote the campaign],” Kimberly explained. She added links to the CauseVox-powered campaign website in all email correspondence. In addition, Kimberly used Facebook to inspire and activate her social media community.
Donors and other supporters could also go straight to the campaign website and use CauseVox’s social sharing options to share the campaign through a variety of social platforms.
Kimberly found that the visibility that resulted from promoting the campaign online definitely paid off. In fact, a lapsed donor who happened to notice the #GivingTuesday updates through email made a surprisingly major gift of $10,000 at the last minute.
#GivingTuesday + Year-End Campaign Combo
In 2017, Kimberly used #GivingTuesday to boost other year-end fundraising efforts. “It was an integral component of a multi-channel, integrated year-end campaign,” she explained.
Takeaways For Your Campaign
After running two successful back-to-back #GivingTuesday campaigns, Kimberly has a wealth of knowledge about the process and potential outcomes. These are a few of her biggest takeaways that you can use as you shape your own #GivingTuesday campaign.
Use One Story Right
She advises other nonprofits to come up with one compelling nonprofit story, and then use that same story, told in different ways, through the #GivingTuesday campaign and also for any year-end fundraising.
Simple but compelling images and videos are also effective and should be used whenever possible.
Get Social Media Pros Onboard
“Reach out to key supporters [who have] a strong social media presence. Not only will you raise funds, but you are reaching an entirely new audience of potential donors,” she suggests.
Build A Strong Email Campaign
Email fundraising works, and Kimberly uses it a lot for her online fundraising campaigns. She believes it’s a great way to reintroduce lapsed donors to what’s new. “Email is still one of the strongest tools in your kit,” said Kimberly.
Secure A Match
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest factors in #GIvingTuesday 2017’s success was the board match. The board match was used to encourage donations throughout #GivingTuesday. It was a way to include the board in a concrete, impactful way.
Involve Those Closest To Home
It’s not just your donors, board members, and clients who are responsible for raising money on #GivingTuesday– everyone plays a role. That’s why Kimberly encourages nonprofits to ask staff and volunteers to particulate. “They may not be in a position to give, but they can help spread the message,” she told us. Plus, it transforms #GivingTuesday into an organization-wide event, and not just a resource development action item.
Recognize That Fundraising Isn’t For Everyone
Some folks take to the role of “fundraiser” naturally, while others shy away. Kimberly believes that the key is to involve those who aren’t comfortable by explaining and promoting sharing on social media and email. “I found that giving the option to share the link is a nice alternative for folks if you start to feel resistance.”
Kimberly also found that guiding other staff through the online fundraising process helped build their confidence in the process.
Bonus Tip: What To Do When Storytelling Is A Challenge
Storytelling is one of the most vital aspects of fundraising; it’s how we connect our donors to our causes on an emotional level. But due to the inherent risks of their client population, Center for Community Solutions must use creative storytelling techniques.
“A unique challenge our organization faces in fundraising is compelling storytelling,” Kimberly explained. Traditional methods of storytelling, including client testimonials, success stories, and client images, aren’t an option for them because they must maintain confidentiality and ensure each survivor’s safety.
To overcome the challenge, Kimberly works hard to tell impactful, compelling stories that are transparent, and she uses tools like stock images to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable. It’s these stories, shared with discretion in mind, that motivate others in the community to support this essential cause.
Kimberly and the team at Center for Community Solutions are already hard at work gearing up for #GivingTuesday 2018. They now have two years of experience, an understanding of the best practices, and the buy-in from the people who play an integral part in the campaign’s success: their supporters.
Moving forward, Kimberly plans to prepare early, involve her board, secure a match, and use social sharing to inspire people to get involved in future fundraising campaigns.
We can’t wait to see 2018’s results!
Are you gearing up for a #GivingTuesday campaign? If so, there’s no better time to give CauseVox a try. Our community-focused fundraising platform.
CauseVox makes it easy for you to manage relationships with your supporters and create personalized fundraising sites, peer-to-peer campaigns, and donation pages, all in one place, while also providing a remarkable giving experience your supporters will love.
With CauseVox you get more than a tool. We combine powerful fundraising tools with best practices and an experienced team to guide you to success.
Watch a demo of how CauseVox can help you meet your giving day goals here.