The Painted Turtle, a year-round medical specialty camp based in Lake Hughes, CA, provides life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illness. Campers and their families are invited to camp free of charge, meaning that the organization must raise anywhere from $4.5 to $5 million each year!
Thankfully, this nonprofit organization has a solid team of fundraisers and supporters to help make their mission and vision a reality. They use a variety of fundraising techniques, including online giving, annual giving, and direct mail campaigns to meet their financial needs.
Like other similar nonprofits, The Painted Turtle has begun to focus some major attention on giving days such as #GivingTuesday. According to Pamela Kuhr, Annual Giving Manager at The Painted Turtle, the idea of setting a $25,000 goal for 2017’s #GivingTuesday was intimidating but exciting.
But Pamela and her team had no reason to worry. In fact, they blew their goal out of the water!
Here’s what we learned from speaking with Pamela about The Painted Turtle’s #GivingTuesday successes.
Total Raised: $38,330
Length of Campaign: 7 Days (including #GivingTuesday)
Fundraising Staff Size: 9
# of Personal Fundraisers: 3
Overcoming Fundraising Challenges + Choosing CauseVox
Fundraising has changed dramatically over the past decade. Tried and true outreach methods such as direct mail and email blasts aren’t nearly as impactful as they once were. And like other nonprofits, The Painted Turtle felt the impact of these inevitable shifts.
According to Pamela, “Some of the challenges we face are declining revenue from direct mail, a hard time attracting new donors, and not having email addresses for all of our donors.”
To help combat some of these common problems, The Painted Turtle began using online fundraising, particularly on #GivingTuesday. “Prior to coming to The Painted Turtle, I had been involved with #GivingTuesday,” Pamela explained. But the goals she was used to were in the $5k to $10k range– nowhere near the lofty goal that the organization set when she joined the team back in 2017.
Pamela and her team chose to power their 2017 #GivingTuesday campaign with CauseVox, particularly because the organization had used our platform successfully in years past. They believed that CauseVox’s built-in features, including the impact meter and media capabilities, along with the platform’s focus on building a community of new donors with the help of current ones, would help them meet their #GivingTuesday goal.
During the weeks and months prior to the big day, Pamela’s 9-member team came together for strategy sessions and planning meetings. They used a detailed task list that outlined everything the team needed to accomplish and the person responsible. The result was a well-planned, expertly executed campaign.
What elevated this particular campaign from standard to exceptional? Per Pamela, many different elements combined to help The Painted Turtle reach and exceed their $25k goal.
Social Sharing & Personal Fundraising
Although they ran out of time recruiting number of personal fundraisers they hoped to get before #GivingTuesday, Pamela notes that “being able to have donors become fundraisers for us is extremely helpful.”
Getting donors to spread the word to their own friends and family helped spread the word about the campaign to friends and family, and ultimately brought new donors onboard.
As in years past, The Painted Turtle was able to secure a $25,000 match, which dictated their goal. Pamela told us that “having a match really increases the likelihood of a donor contributing to a campaign.”
Pamela often fundraises through direct mail, but for #GivingTuesday, she focused on electronic communications.
“It was all electronic and there was no direct mail component,” she explained. She set the standard by sending out a prep email the week before #GivingTuesday to help get donors ready for the day with the help of a storytelling video.” The prep email “contained a video of our matching donors describing what they love about The Painted Turtle and why they wanted to match every donation.”
On #GivingTuesday, the organization sent out three additional emails: one each in the morning, afternoon, and evening. These emails updated donors on the campaign’s progress. This email outreach supplemented posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
A Temporary Redirect
Many donors arrived at The Painted Turtle’s CauseVox-powered online fundraising site organically due to social shares from friends and family. However, some donors wound up reaching the organization’s main website instead.
In an effort to streamline donations, Pamela decided to change the “Donate” link to go straight to the CauseVox site, as opposed to their own donation processing system.
A Progress Meter
Pamela was a big fan of the progress meter/”thermometer” on the CauseVox website, which she credits for showing everyone how close they were to meet the goal. Also, being able to embed a video instead of a still image next to the thermometer helped The Painted Turtle convey the spirit of the camp more effectively, drawing in more donations.
Lessons Learned + Gearing Up For 2018
Moving forward, Pamela hopes to use her knowledge from 2017’s successful giving day event to elevate the next one. She told us that her team already began gearing up for 2018 #GivingTuesday in August to ensure they’re not stressed out at the end.
She also anticipates spending more time recruiting “Camp Champions,” The Painted Turtle’s take on personal fundraisers. After all, it is these individuals who will help this nonprofit meet a $30,000 goal come November 2018!
We asked Pamela if she had any final advice for others looking to start or increase their #GivingTuesday efforts, and this is what she had to say: “Always have a match, and always have a goal. People like seeing how their donation contributes to the overall goal. And for finding a match, try approaching one of your donors that has already given during the year, and ask if you can use that donation as a match.”
Download your #GivingTuesday planning guide below:
All in all, it’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm coming from this fundraising team. Pamela told us that #GivingTuesday is her favorite day of the year, even when she’s staring down a big goal. And we believe it’s this attitude that helps propel The Painted Turtle’s development efforts!
If you’re looking to power your #GivingTuesday campaign like The Painted Turtle, give CauseVox a try.
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.
To see a demo of how CauseVox can help you meet your #GivingTuesday goals, start here.