By Raymund Flandez, Holly Hall, and Idit Knaan
In a still-sluggish economy, charities experimented with creative approaches to attracting donors during the 2013 year-end fundraising season. As groups turn their attention to planning their 2014 year-end campaigns, here are examples of strategies used by seven groups and the results each yielded.
Participating in Giving Tuesday and sending more appeals through email boosted U.S. year-end giving for the water-conservation group from $26,000 in 2012 to $37,000. It raised $6,000 on Giving Tuesday alone, the first time it participated.
Oregon Humane Society
The group’s main year-end effort was called “Snuggle Express.” For a donation of $100, the group would bring puppies and kittens to a workplace for a 15-minute visit, while a $200 gift bought a 30-minute visit and $1,000 bought an hour. The $10,000 raised from that effort is contributing to an estimated 8 percent increase over 2012 to $750,000 in 2013.
Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council
For the first time, the organization decided to hold a more uniform campaign that incorporated several marketing efforts, from postcards and emails to video and 20 billboards around Pittsburgh. Giving during November and December rose 24 percent, from $45,000 in 2012 to $56,000 in 2013.
Girls Write Now
The charity raised more than $112,000 at the end of the year, up from $103,00 in 2012’s holiday campaign, by rallying its community of supporters. Starting with a kick-off letter-writing fundraising party, the group mobilized its board and fundraising committee to meet its fundraising goals. The organization is projecting a 10 percent gain in 2014.
Center for Employment Opportunities
The organization is using a year-end infusion of $13.5-million in investment funds—not donated dollars—to help men like this one find work after leaving New York prisons. The investors, including some family foundations, will earn their money back with up to a 12-percent return if the program meets its goals to reduce participants’ repeat incarcerations and increase their employment rate in the next five and a half years. What’s more, New York will save $7.8-million in prison and related costs.
Photo by Annie O’Neil/Courtesy of CEO.
By focusing its year-end appeal on how children are affected when older family members have Alzheimer’s disease, the association’s Los Angeles chapter saw a 62-percent increase in year-end contributions two years ago. Last year the chapter featured a diverse group of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families in its year-end appeal to keep broadening donors’ understanding of the impact of the disease. That appeal raised more than $811,000, a 22-percent increase over the 2012 year-end solicitation.
Jewish Federation of San Diego County
To build ties to younger donors, the federation has stopped charging admission to events that used to cost up to $100 to attend. A free “Men’s Event” featuring basketball legend Magic Johnson drew more than 850 people, up from 250 at a similar event that people paid to attend. More than 40 percent of those who came to see Mr. Johnson were under the age of 40. The group expects the effort to pay dividends in the years go come.