Customer Story

Customer Story: Junior League of Atlanta’s Little Black Dress Initiative

“I definitely think that CauseVox played a large part in helping us effectively raise that money.”

The Little Black Dress Initiative isn’t a new fundraiser for Junior Leagues across the country, but the Junior League of Atlanta (JLA) chapter decided to spice up their efforts this past year by incorporating online peer-to-peer fundraising, and they were ultimately blown away by the results.

So, what was it exactly that made 2016 a stellar year for JLA’s LBD campaign?

According to organizers Liz Loreti (VP of Fund Development), Liz Jones (Little Black Dress Fundraising Chair), and Cathy Ottley (Developmental Support), it was a combination of proper planning, knowing their audience, and providing personal fundraiser support that elevated their campaign and helped them blow past their fundraising goal.

As we all know, there’s something to be said for fundraising best practices whether you’re running a campaign similar to LBD or something completely different (hint: they work)! That’s why we sat down and talked with Liz L., Liz J. and Cathy about the ins and outs of their 2016 LBD campaign. We wanted to get some takeaways so you can set your own nonprofit or charity up for the same success!

Here’s a rundown of everything the JLA did to prepare, sustain, and thrive during their last LBD fundraiser.

“Here’s a rundown of everything the JLA did to prepare, sustain, and thrive during their last LBD fundraiser.” tweet this

About JLA’s 2016 LBD Campaign

junior-league-atlanta-little-black-dress

Little Black Dress fundraisers are held by Junior League chapters across the country annually. In October of 2016, 3,500 chapter members of JLA wore the same solid black dress every day for a week to highlight the effects of generational poverty in Georgia and nationwide.

Even though the JLA set an ambitious goal of $50,000, they blew past their goal and completed their campaign raising $30,000 over goal and exceeding $80,000 in funds raised for charities across the Atlanta metropolitan area.

The JLA chose to use CauseVox to power their peer-to-peer campaign because, according to organizers, it made it easier for them to manage their fundraisers, process donations online and offline, and allowed them more time to motivate fundraisers because a lot of the back office tasks were taken care of.

JLA’s Personal Fundraising Strategy

Recruiting Personal Fundraisers

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Out of the 3,500-strong member base, 82 women stepped up to the plate and became personal fundraisers. To get their members eager and prepared to fundraise, LBD campaign organizers recruited members through social media and their eNewsletter.

They also went above and beyond, recruiting on a personal, one-on-one basis. According to Liz, “Members from the LBD Initiative committee attended programming throughout the league” to encourage participation.

Best Practice: Put a strong emphasis on recruiting personal fundraisers.

Put a strong emphasis on recruiting personal fundraisers. tweet this

Resource For Your Campaign: How to Ask Your Board, Donors, & Other Supporters to Become Personal Fundraisers (+ Scripts)

Setting Clear Guidelines

The women of the LBD planning committee knew that starting goals matter. “No was required to participate, but we did ask everyone to raise $500.” These clear expectations helped keep everyone on the same page and, by the end of the week, several fundraisers had increased their goals.

Kathy tells us that these goals became a personal challenge for participants and they fostered a sense of friendly personal and team competition.

Best Practice: Set a goal for participants from the get-go.

Resource For Your Campaign: SMART Fundraising Goal Setting: Plan to Succeed

Offering 24/7 Support

According to Liz J., organizers spent the majority of their time supporting the team of fundraisers. They kicked off the campaign with an hour-long educational seminar that touched on the ins and outs of the fundraising process, including everything from the most effective ways to fundraise to setting up an online website.

But that’s not all. Since it’s a lot easier to fundraise for a cause you’re connected with on an emotional level, JLA also educated the personal fundraisers on generational poverty.

Those who didn’t attend the seminar still received support in the form of an “Advocate Support Packet, “ similar to what we affectionately call a personal fundraiser toolkit here at CauseVox. Here’s what JLA included in their packet:

  • Sample social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They alternated posts so participants weren’t posting the same thing as their peers each day.
  • Infographics
  • Pitch emails to friends and family
  • Fundraising FAQs
  • LBD rules, including fundraising dos and don’ts.

This high level of support didn’t end the minute the fundraisers were off and running. On the contrary, the organizers made sure to check in with each woman daily to inspire and rally them to hit their goal.

They also prepared a mid-week social for fundraisers to celebrate their early successes and create a strong peer-to-peer support network.

Best Practice: Provide top-down support to personal fundraisers, including a toolkit and a one-on-one support system.

Resource For Your Campaign: Creating a Toolkit For Nonprofit Fundraising

Incentives Matter

JLA were fortunate to work with donation matches from a corporate donor up to $5,000. This type of incentive works well in motivating donors to give in the moment as opposed to waiting around for another time.

By leveraging donations, LBD fundraisers rallied donors quicker and more efficiently. Plus, the LBD committee found that “having matching challenges throughout the week created a sense of competition and pushed people to go the extra mile. That’s really why we raised as much money as we did.”

Best Practice: Offer an incentive to motivate donors to give.

Resource For Your Campaign: How to Recruit Sponsors for Your Fundraising Events & Campaigns

Moving Forward

We are so impressed with the Junior League of Atlanta’s efforts during the 2016 Little Black Dress Initiative. Not only did they raise money for some of the most worthwhile nonprofits and charities in and around Atlanta, they also proved that using personal fundraising best practices can amplify a campaign and bring about results.

“They proved that using personal fundraising best practices can amplify a campaign and bring about results.” tweet this

JLA’s 2017 LBD campaign is just a few short months away and the knowledgeable planning committee is at it again, putting together a well-prepared fundraising campaign. This year, JLA hopes to focus on getting more community buy-in with legislators, local companies, etc. They’re also planning to ramp up their pre-campaign training to better equip fundraisers before kickoff.

Congratulations to the Junior League of Atlanta. We can’t wait to hear about their accomplishments this upcoming October!

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