Over the course of 40 days, CauseVox powered RestoreNYC’s (Restore) online fundraising campaign, which raised over $130,000. The funds enabled RestoreNYC to open a long-term safe-house for international survivors of sex trafficking. This case study discusses how Restore exceeded their campaign goal of $50,000 and key lessons learned.
Faith Huckel, co-founder and current Executive Director, started the organization in 2008 to fight sex trafficking. Restore seeks to bring holistic care to international sex trafficking survivors in NYC; their services range from counseling to teaching ESL to job training to legal advocacy.
Brick by Brick Campaign
Although Restore had strong community support and a growing mailing list, they traditionally relied on offline events as their main source of funding. Restore faced the urgent challenge to raise funds in order to open the doors of a long-term safehouse in NYC. In addition, an anonymous donor pledged to match donations to Restore up to $50,000 if Restore could obtain that amount from new donors.
With these pressing needs, Restore sought ways to leverage their support and engage them in fundraising; a supporter-driven model could enable Restore to reach new audiences through the personal networks of their supporters.
Restore launched Brick by Brick, a 40-day campaign to raise $50,000 through the CauseVox platform. The easy-to-use, customizable platform enabled Restore to create a campaign that was consistent with their branding and easy for supporters to create fundraising pages within the campaign. Brick by Brick would be Restore’s largest online fundraising undertaking.
During their campaign, Restore used several techniques to make Brick by Brick a success.
- Strategy – The staff used the CauseVox strategy framework as a guide in crafting their campaign and communications strategy with clear timelines and objectives.
- Social Media – Restore actively used Twitter and Facebook to give daily updates on the campaign. They recognized supporters through mentions and re-tweeted their fundraising pages.
- Content – Restore refreshed their campaign page content and uploaded new YouTube videos to speak to their audience. This made the campaign personal and helped supporters remain engaged throughout the campaign.
- Email – Emails were sent to Restore’s email list detailing how supporters could help by creating fundraising pages. This helped reach people that were not easily accessible via social media.
- Offline Events – Restore also used offline events to promote the campaign. They held a kick-off dinner with key volunteers. Restore also printed out flyers with the campaign site and handed them out at co-hosted events.
- Communities – Restore tapped into communities, such as churches, bloggers, and hackers, to get people to participate in the campaign. They were effective in turning communities into supporters of Brick by Brick.
By the end of Brick by Brick, Restore raised over $80,000 ($65,000 online), beating their original $50,000 goal. In turn, they received the matching donation to raise a total of $130,000. Because of this success, Restore was able to open the doors of their safe house.
Key metrics of the campaign include (rounded figures):
- Fundraising pages that have raised $10 or more: 95
- Highest amount raised per page: $4650
- Average funds raised per page: $490
- Average donation size: $75
- Total number of donations: 880
- Easy technology enabled Restore to spend more time cultivating supporters
- Using mixed-media for storytelling and mixed-channels keeps supporters engaged
- Seeding the campaign with an initial group of leaders jumpstarts the campaign
- Supporters enjoy telling your non-profit’s story in their own words
- Donations activity plateaued in the middle of the campaign before rising back up
- Using existing communities to champion your cause can extend your fundraising reach