Four Successful Strategies For Online Fundraising Campaigns

Last week Razoo conducted a national fundraising campaign where 162 nonprofits competed to win a share of $30,000 in prize money. The Ellie Fund (based in the home of the RedSox, thank you) won first prize for raising over $53,000 in 24 hours!

Joe Waters and I worked with Julie Nations, the Executive Director at The Ellie Fund to pull off what we thought was impossible.

We knew what we were up against, but put our heads together:

1. Don’t Make It About The Money

The Ellie Fund isn’t in the business of begging. If at all, we talked about the money or how close we were to winning, we’d surely come across the wrong way sooner than later.

Money is generally a small-minded thing to talk about–especially $15,000. Plus, the likelihood of actually winning $15,000 was very low, and we knew it.
And if we knew it, so would potential donors.

2. Create A Compelling Story

When we first started working on the campaign, we concluded pretty quickly that talking about a match would get old very quickly. The chance of winning $15,000 would not be an effective story and we knew it. We needed to uncover the bigger story. The one that matters.

Eventually, we decided to tell the untold story of breast cancer: how families and kids are effected in addition to women.

Our message was that these kids are superheroes–a team of Avengers–who exhibited the super powers of Love, Smarts, Action, and Truth. Hugh MacCleod was generous enough to create a logo for the campaign (shown above).

We also filmed five kids talking about their experiences (thanks Dmitriy!) and strung them together in a series of interactive YouTube videos, which you can view starting with this one:

3. Leverage Existing Assets

Joe and I met with The Ellie Fund a couple of months in advance to start planning. We all agreed that Twive and Receive shouldn’t detract attention from the various things they were focusing on, but instead embed Twive and Receive into activities and relationships they were already developing.

We wanted to leverage any existing event leading up to Twive and Receive. We also leveraged their partners and sponsors, like a local radio station who mentioned Twive and Receive on air.

4. Have A Sense Of Mission

We wanted this campaign to be about something big, to generate huge amounts of passion and commitment among The Ellie Fund community, but also keep the core team excited!

At about 1:30pm, we lost the first place position. Via email, we encouraged each other to imagine the kids being so proud of themselves if we won. This gave us the fire to keep fighting!

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John Haydon