Customer Story

Movers & Shakers: Heather Biscoe of Bayshore Christian Ministries

30 days / Goal $10,000 / Raised $14,230

Hailing from East Palo Alto, California Heather Biscoe, the development officer of Bayshore Christian Ministries, needed to raise $10,000. This year marked their 30th anniversary so they set out to ask for $30 from each person in their “$30 for 30 years” campaign. Not only did they exceed their goal, Heather says the campaign was a “boost of encouragement.” Read on to hear more from Heather.

What does Bayshore Christian Ministries do in East Palo Alto?

Bayshore Christian is a youth development organization. We strive to serve youth holistically by equipping youth to grow spiritually, gain life skills, and develop as leaders so they have hope in the future.

We have a Bible club program where youth meets in various sites across the community. This program is like an after-school program, except better. Once school is dismissed kids meet in somebody’s apartment and engage in a Bible lesson, play games, receive free tutoring, and a meal. We also provide opportunities to equip our youth with skills they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

One example of this is First Lego League. In ten to twelve weeks the youth learn basic engineering and design principles to create robots. Then they go to a competition to compete against their peers. Our kids don’t experience near as much access to technology as kids just on the other side of the river in West Palo Alto—but you wouldn’t think so because we’re in Silicon Valley.

In order to continue this work, we needed more funding for programs like these to keep Bayshore Christian Ministries thriving.

How did your fundraiser turnout?

Our fundraiser went very well. I was really astonished by the amount of support from our supporters. I can’t explain how fun it was to watch gifts come in and to read their comments about whole-hearted support. They would say something to the effect of, “We’re so proud of [so and so] for being there and being part of it.” This fundraiser wasn’t just a boost in capital; it was a boost in encouragement.

Bayshore Christian Ministries

Our target was to have eighteen or nineteen people as individual fundraisers, and we ended up having seventeen. I provided them with a social media toolkit to help them build their pages. It even had a Google calendar if they wanted to subscribe to it for updates about when to post to their pages. These tools were meant to help remind them without putting words in their mouth.

As you look back, what are your biggest takeaways?

The most successful pages were those that took off on Facebook. The fundraisers who sent a lot of emails and FB messages to their friends did the best. We did have a hard time trying to get people who aren’t millennials on board because they’re more comfortable inviting people to a banquet rather than inviting them to give online.

Since it was our 30th anniversary we wanted to make sure to be strategic in whom we chose to champion our cause via social media. We handpicked board members and staff who would appeal most to the millennial generation. Sure enough, we found that millennials and GenX’ers were most drawn to our campaign. Here’s a video telling about our 30th anniversary.

What was the most valuable asset you had for this campaign?

The fundraisers’ stories. I gave our fundraisers tools and a few stories, but mostly they had their own stories they could use. There are so many more stories 17 people have from personal experience than one Director of Communications would have! It would have taken me weeks to do what they did. Even more so, these stories are in their own voices and their friends see that and gave for that reason.

What kind of organizations do you think would benefit most from online fundraising?

I’d have to say an organization:

  • that is largely volunteer-driven;
  • with people who aren’t afraid to use social media or email; and
  • people who are passionate about the cause and have great stories.

Besides those things, I’d say it takes a good amount of administrative oversight to pursue fundraisers, follow-up with people who said they’d fundraise, log each gift, send thank you letters, and keep it all organized. Overall, it takes a lot less prep than our annual banquet which brings in $90,000 annually, but we found it refreshing to try online fundraising as opposed to a small event, big event, small event, big event, repeat, repeat.

Thank you, CauseVox! We were so pleased with all of the support we got from you!

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