Anne Watson, Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County Indiana, is a big fan of technology. In fact, she came to work in nonprofits after spending years in the tech industry, and she believes that technology is essential in today’s fundraising landscape. “I am very interested in utilizing technology to further our mission, from both the programmatic standpoint and in fundraising,” she told us.
Back in 2016, her organization was going through some significant changes, and she looked to technology to fill in the gaps. For Anne, online fundraising was the solution in St. Vincent de Paul Society’s efforts to transition from a thrift store-based fundraising to an online, awareness-centric method.
Our CauseVox team had the opportunity to talk with Anne about her experience using our online fundraising platform to engage donors and raise money. She provided some great takeaways about how she successfully uses CauseVox to power her crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, and we couldn’t wait to share them with you.
Fundraising and Engagement Snapshot
- Number of campaigns on CauseVox: 11
- Active CauseVox campaigns: 4
- Total funds raised: $125,000
About St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County
“The St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County is an organization dedicated to serving those in need by providing food, clothing, financial assistance, and educational courses,” Anne explained.
Although their two standalone thrift stores closed over the past year, they’re still dedicated to raising awareness and serving over 50,000 members of their community.
In the 2018 fiscal year, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County is focusing their development efforts on donor retention and new donor recruitment.
Solutions To A Common Problem
Small budgets, limited resources, overworked staff: these are just some of the common problems nonprofits across the world face every day, and St. Vincent de Paul is in the same boat. “We lack resources, both capital and human, to get everything done that we want to get done in a day,” Anne explained.
Her solution to this problem is technology.
“Whatever platform we use, it has to be simple enough that our staff can create impactful campaigns in a short amount of time, and that our donors find it easy and convenient to use.”
After searching high and low, and trying a few different platforms out for size, Anne believes that in CauseVox, “we have found a winner!”
What Else Matters In A Platform?
In addition to needing a platform that’s user-friendly for all parties, Anne was also eager to find a service that looked professional and blended in with the organization’s main website but didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
The first online fundraising company she worked with didn’t quite fit the bill, literally.
“While the platform worked for us, the cost was exponentially high,” she explained. Anne knew she wanted to continue with peer-to-peer campaigns, but she couldn’t justify the high costs. Finding an alternative platform was the next step, and she quickly found that CauseVox fit her budgetary needs. “CauseVox has an easier to manage platform, was cheaper, and overall, a good fit for our needs.”
Over time, Anne discovered that, in using CauseVox, peer-to-peer wasn’t her only online fundraising option. She found that Everyday Donation Pages were also a great tool to help capture donations all year long, even outside campaign windows. “We love the ability to create both campaigns and donation pages based on our needs,” said Anne.
Lessons Learned & Takeaways
Throughout the past three years, Anne and her team have learned the best ways to attract donors online. These are some of her favorite techniques, many of which are also online fundraising best practices.
Using Impact Metrics
“Our donors really loved the impact metric we have started to use for #GivingTuesday. We measure our progress by the number of people served through the campaign. On average, a $34 donation can help one person. This has helped us to meet our goals for #GivingTuesday.”
Dollars don’t tug at a donor’s heartstrings, but impact does. Many nonprofits use impact metrics to help donors understand the true, human impact of their donation.
Promoting Personalized Fundraising Pages
“When running peer-to-peer campaigns, it’s really good when fundraisers personalize their pages and tell people why they are fundraising for our cause. This helps donors identify with the fundraisers more.”
Setting up a fundraising website takes a minute. From there, personal fundraisers can share their unique giving story to help encourage their friends and family to get involved in the cause.
“The social sharing buttons have helped a lot in social media. It allows us to spread the word about our campaign and get others involved while still driving traffic to our fundraising sites.”
Every CauseVox fundraising page comes pre-set with social sharing options. With the click of a button, fundraisers share their campaign page on social media and through email. At the same time, donors can also share the campaign on their handles. This sort of exposure is what helps elevate campaigns exponentially.
Elevating Year-End Efforts
“We incorporated #GivingTuesday into our year-end campaign. It’s on the same day as an event we run for members of our organization, a Family Reunion, of sorts, and a great opportunity to talk to people face-to-face.”
St. Vincent de Paul Society’s multi-pronged approach to year-end fundraising is definitely worth mentioning. In combining their traditional year-end campaign with #GivingTuesday, and a supporter appreciation event, the organization organically capitalizes on the excitement of the season. They also add multiple non-ask touchpoints throughout the season, particularly around Thanksgiving.
The organization typically shuts down during the week between Christmas and New Years, arguably the busiest time for donations. However, Anne and her team have found that online fundraising gives them the freedom to be home for the holidays, and still watch the donations roll in.
“We’ve had success incorporating the CauseVox page on social media, email, and even our old-school communication. The integration is great and easy. “
Nonprofits use many avenues to communicate with supporters, but Anne found that CauseVox made integrating their old systems with the new ones easy.
After seeing the phenomenal results of peer-to-peer fundraising firsthand, Anne and her 8-person team at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County are “all-in” on online fundraising.
Besides continuing to use CauseVox for day-to-day donations (Everyday Donation Pages), the organization will also run peer-to-peer and crowdfunding campaigns such as #GivingTuesday, and for the Sweet Dreams Ministry on the CauseVox platform.
“With a limited staff and limited budget, I want to use technology the best we can,” Anne concludes. We’re thrilled that CauseVox is part of this plan!
With CauseVox you get more than a tool. We combine powerful fundraising tools with best practices and an experienced team dedicated to helping you succeed. And we sweat the details so you don’t have to. Handling everything from security and hosting to centralizing your data. We’re here to help!
Thousands of organizations like the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County use CauseVox to grow their impact by inspiring, activating, and rallying people to advocate for their cause.
See how CauseVox can help you streamline and grow your nonprofit’s digital fundraising.
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