“Raising $10K in a single day would’ve been impossible without CauseVox.” – Becky Straw, The Adventure Project
This case study discusses how a six-month-old non-profit start-up, The Adventure Project (TAP), raised over $23,000 in a single day through their TypeTap campaign site. In addition, their campaign strategy, techniques, results, and lessons learned are discussed in detail.
About The Adventure Project
The Adventure Project is a non-profit organization established to increase investments in positive social enterprises around the world. It was founded in November 2010 by Becky Straw & Jody Landers, who met while traveling through Liberia, West Africa. Currently, TAP has two full-time staff, 10 chapters throughout the country, and over 800 individual donors.
TAP organized a one-day fundraising campaign, called TypeTAP, on World Water Day (March 22nd 2011). TAP signed up 150 bloggers from around the globe to mobilize their readers to take part in a Water Revolution. The goal was to raise $10,000 in 24 hours to support a water well mechanics program in India, run by WaterAid. If they met their goal, The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) would provide a matching grant of $10,000.
The idea came from two of TAP’s tribe members, who suggested the blogging campaign as a way to raise funds for TAP’s water campaign. TAP has a “Tribe” of over 300 volunteers around the country. They raise awareness and funds for TAP’s social ventures.
During the campaign, TAP used several techniques to reach their goal.
- Volunteer Strategy – TAP’s Co-Founders elected four tribe members from around the country to run the campaign. This volunteer-led approach was powerful in recruiting other supporters and gave the campaign a grassroots vibe.
- Created Content – TAP created a landing page featuring a downloadable one-page guide, talking points, images, widgets, and all the resources participants needed to spread the message about the campaign. Due to the short timeframe, TAP hired a web coder to assist during the time crunch.
- Fundraising Platform –TAP knew they needed a transparent and fun fundraising platform. They created a free CauseVox.com account, and repeatedly reminded bloggers to link their blogs to the personalized CauseVox campaign page.
- Social Media – The campaign was announced through an email sent to TAP’s Tribe. The members were asked to join the movement, pledge to blog on World Water Day, or share the message on Facebook and Twitter. TAP created a hashtag, #typeTAP, to track campaign messages on Twitter. Within 24 hours, 54 bloggers had registered their blogs on TAP’s site, and 154 signed on by campaign’s end.
- Outreach – Through social networks, everyone actively approached bloggers who potentially wanted to join. TAP sent out another email update to the tribe when they broke 100 bloggers (day 3), and an email blast on the day of the campaign, to kick it off. TAP was also actively emailing their Executive and Advisory Boards, to keep communication clear and to share news.
- Partnerships – Once TAP had surpassed 100 bloggers, Becky asked her advisors if they knew anyone interested in providing a matching grant. Nicole Skibola, TAP’s social enterprise advisor, reached out to her network, and within a few hours heard back from The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF). With TPRF’s commitment to Food, Water & Peace, and their love of social media (they are the third largest cause on Facebook) the campaign fit their mission. Within 24 hours, TPRF agreed to match all funds.
- Telling the Story – TAP focused the campaign on telling the story of Ram Rati – one of the first female well mechanics. By sharing one personal story, donors could identify with the importance of the program. TAP also released a three-minute video interview with Ram Rati on the morning of the campaign. The video captured her energy and spurred giving through a human connection.
By the end of the campaign, TypeTAP raised over $23,915 ($12,525 online and with $11,390 matched by TPRF) through their personalized CauseVox fundraising site within 24 hours.
- Key metrics of the campaign include (rounded figures):
- Fundraising pages that raised $10 or more: 17
- Highest amount raised on fundraising page: $2,185
- Average funds raised per page: $341
- Average donation size: $36
- Median donation size: $20
- Total number of donations: 341
- Approximate #typeTAP mentions (excluding related mentions): 150+
- Facebook “Likes”: 250+
- A set and confined timeframe spurs action.
- Matching funds created great momentum. The communication strategy was to convey that funds would only be matched if $10,000 was raised. This gave the campaign a sense of urgency and excitement.
- Instant feedback on progress of campaign (through CauseVox online reporting) kept momentum throughout the day. Becky and Jody also stayed on Twitter and Facebook the entire day, to monitor progress and encourage giving.
- Given the tools, people want to help, and like to be part of a bigger movement.
- Having CauseVox’s tools drove funds and action. People were constantly refreshing the page, to watch the progress bar rise, and giving so they could write comments on the wall.
- Small readership still inspired action. Blogs with a small following were able to inspire friends and family to give.
- Utilize volunteers’ creativity. Volunteers loved taking the content and making it their own. A few even spent the weekend making a video for campaign day.
- Start early. Becky and Jody wished they had started their planning earlier, so they would’ve been more prepared and strategic (and less sleep-deprived).
- Encourage participants to create their own personal pages. TAP didn’t encourage fundraising page creation early enough, and wish they had done that sooner.
- Report early and often. TAP sent out a final results email the next morning, celebrating the goal. They also created a short anonymous survey, allowing for feedback and ideas. 98% of respondents said they would participate again next year.
Title photo by Esther Havens for The Adventure Project