How Do More 24 Stays Sustainable
- May 22, 2019
Here on the CiviCore blog, we talk a lot about online giving days. Behind the curtain of a successful online fundraising event is a powerful team of people, most often working for a foundation or other sponsoring community organization. In addition to running giving days, these organizations provide invaluable resources and guidance to nonprofits in their region.
If these community organizations simply supported regional nonprofits for a finite period of time it would, of course, bring value to nonprofits in their region, but doing so year after year exponentially deepens their impact. As such, sustainability is built into the ethos of United Way organizations and other groups sponsoring community-based giving events.
How Do More 24 Stays Sustainable
For countless nonprofits, giving days provide the bulk of fundraising money for the entire year. To ensure that charitable giving can continue over the long run, it’s essential that organizations like United Way of the National Capital Area put systems in place to keep their online fundraising event sustainable.
United Way NCA is hosting its 7th annual Do More 24, a social movement that brings together charities, private companies, and donors who are committed to making a difference in communities in the Washington DC area. Unlike many giving days, which run from midnight to midnight, Do More 24 begins at noon on May 22 and ends at noon on May 23. This allows for maximum exposure, both during the kickoff of the event and at its conclusion.
United Way NCA is in its second year using the CiviCore Giving Platform. As soon as our Project Managers began working with United Way NCA, we could tell that the United Way NCA team was a valuable partner in charitable giving. Here’s what CiviCore has learned from United Way NCA’s Do More 24 regarding running a sustainable giving day.
Investing In Peer To Peer Fundraising
The United Way NCA team excels at many things, including their status as an industry leader in peer to peer fundraising. Peer to peer fundraising, also referred to as peer to peer campaigns, allows committed supporters of a nonprofit to create their own personal giving page tied to the giving day’s website. The page is customizable, allowing the creator to explain their passion for supporting the particular nonprofit and their involvement in its community. Each creator sets a goal for how much he/she wants to raise, encouraging friends and family to contribute directly on their page.
For participating nonprofits, and for the giving event as a whole, peer to peer fundraising widens the audience exponentially, connecting with an entire network of people that otherwise might have remained out of reach.
As peer to peer fundraising is still taking hold in online giving, donations from campaigns typically contribute between 2 and 5% of a giving day’s donation total. Knowing this makes Do More 24’s achievements all the more impressive:
In 2018, the donations from Do More 24’s peer to peer campaigns brought in a whopping 32% of the day’s total!
This means that $500,000 of the more than $2 million raised during Do More 24 2018 was thanks to the 350 committed individuals who created a peer to peer page and shared it with their network.
It’s clear United Way NCA is doing something right to reach this incredible number. In 2018, they invested greatly in the success of peer to peer campaigns, and included it in their training of participating nonprofits. During the 2 webinars and 12 training sessions offered prior to the giving day, the United Way NCA team was certain to cover everything nonprofits needed to know to fully leverage peer to peer fundraising.
As they gear up for their 2019 giving day, United Way NCA has expounded upon the previous year’s Do More 24 success. As of May 22nd, there were almost 750 Do More 24 campaign pages established for 900+ participating nonprofits. That ratio of participating organizations to campaigns is simply unprecedented!
Each one of the almost 750 campaign creators contributes to keeping Do More 24 sustainable. Not only do peer to peer campaigns increase the giving day’s donation total, but they offer free publicity. Each campaign creator shares his or her page with their network, spreading the responsibility of marketing the event beyond what the individual nonprofit is able to do on their own.
Opting into peer to peer campaigns also contributes to sustainability by engaging committed individuals. When someone creates a peer to peer campaign page, they are demonstrating their support for an organization. Later, when it comes time for that organization to call upon volunteers, their list of campaign creators is a great place to start.
As a wonderful tangential benefit of working with the United Way NCA team on Do More 24, CiviCore has received a trusted source of feedback on our platform, specifically for peer to peer campaign functionality. As the United Way NCA team has utilized the CiviCore Giving Platform, they let us know what was and wasn’t working for them, specifically concerning peer to peer functionality. CiviCore took this feedback to heart and made changes that have improved the user experience, not just for United Way NCA, but for all of our giving clients who utilize peer to peer fundraising platforms. In particular, our team was able to implement changes in registration workflow, allowing supporters to more easily create campaign pages. This added functionality should enable United Way NCA (and their peers) to continue to grow donations for Do More 24 this year and in the future.
Utilizing Stretch Funds to Grow Sustainability
Creating a stretch fund is another reliable way to keep your online fundraising event sustainable. Stretch funds provide sponsoring organizations with a discretionary pool of money that enables them to invest in their fundraising operations in ways most likely to sustain and grow the event. In most cases, stretch funds are applied in one of two ways: either by offsetting the cost of running a giving day, or by being directly divided up amongst participating nonprofits.
In the latter scenario, stretch funds are given directly to nonprofits in the form of prizes and matching pools. Some events award prizes based on random drawings, and others for reaching a milestone. This enables sponsoring community organizations to drive engagement, both from a community perspective and among the participating nonprofits.
For Do More 24, stretch fund does the former: they are used to offset the cost of marketing, materials, and technology.
From a donor’s perspective, they are prompted to contribute to stretch funds at checkout, a feature unique to the CiviCore Giving Platform. While other online fundraising sites may allow donors to cover fees at checkout, they do not facilitate that additional donation going towards a stretch fund specifically.
Use of stretch funds for operational costs is a strategic way to lessen the burden on the nonprofits and the sponsoring org to ensure more of each donor’s pledge earmarked for a certain cause goes specifically to that cause. United Way NCA has leveraged them effectively, directed by the preferences of donors, and contributing to the overall longevity of Do More 24.
Prizes and Awards Keep the Excitement Level High
In addition to the use of peer to peer giving and stretch funds to sustain Do More 24 year over year, United Way NCA has also established a strong structure of prizes and awards. The use of prizes to nonprofits has been shown to raise excitement in the community and heighten engagement from both participating nonprofits and their donors.
As part of Do More 24, there are 17 awards, all given to participating nonprofits that either raise the most money, receive the most individual donations, or receive the largest single donation in a given time period or category. Do More 24’s prize structure helps engage nonprofit organizations hour by hour and throughout the day, encouraging them to reach out to donors to help the nonprofit qualify for awards and prizes. This creates a “win-win” scenario: nonprofits are more engaged with their community and their donors, soliciting more donations and raising their overall contributions as they strive to win prizes. And, as they raise more, nonprofits then get an extra boost from prizes themselves. In addition, the competition created around prizes and awards adds to the overall level of excitement around the event in the community, driving more awareness for local causes. United Way NCA has leveraged this strategy effectively during their event, contributing to the sustainability of the event from one year to the next.
Running giving events may appear a simple operation on the outside. However, there is greater complexity than the general public may at first discern. These three sustainability strategies leveraged by United Way NCA benefit participating nonprofits and allow United Way to run a more sustainable giving day.
United Way NCA’s innovation and creative use of stretch funds for Do More 24, peer to peer fundraising, prizes, and other sustainability measures has provided a unique stamp to the Capital area event. United Way NCA’s goals to decrease obstacles for the community means more resources for local nonprofits striving to make a difference and increase impact. Check out Do More 24‘s progress!