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Running a successful national fundraising campaign

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There are many national or regional nonprofit organizations that host fundraising events through individual chapters in an effort to raise money in support of various programs and initiatives. When launching a fundraising event at the national level, there are many things to take into consideration in order to help each individual chapter achieve their fundraising goals, while staying true to the overall mission and identity of the organization at the national level.

Some questions you may ask include:

  • How can a national fundraising campaign support the brand at the national level, yet allow for customization for each individual chapter?
  • How can our organization create economies of scale and save time, money and resources without duplicating efforts?
  • Are there reporting tools available to monitor the progress and success of the fundraising efforts for each individual chapter?

Every year, organizations pour significant resources into researching, building, and managing fundraising events. DoJiggy provides Enterprise Edition online fundraising software specifically for national level nonprofit organizations with dispersed chapters in an effort to simplify and standardize national fundraising efforts. The software provides high-level coordination of online services and continuity in an organization's fundraising efforts so they may reduce time and money while optimizing event success.

Case study

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) is a great example of a national organization that has achieved great success through hosting a signature fundraising event series through various chapters.

CHHA is the national voice of all hard of hearing Canadians. It is a nonprofit, self-help, bilingual consumer organization run by and for persons who are hard of hearing. The philosophy of CHHA is to produce knowledgeable hard of hearing consumers who understand how to have their needs met. Its mission is to raise public awareness concerning issues that are important for persons who are hard of hearing, to promote their integration in Canadian society, to remove any barriers to their participation and to generally make every community in Canada a better place for persons who are hard of hearing.

Over the past three years, CHHA has held Walk2Hear walk-a-thon events hosted by individual branches and chapters of CHHA throughout Canada. Events have taken place in Ottawa/Outaouais, Vancouver, Newmarket and St. John’s, and each individual group uses the funds to support various programs, classes and training, family support and more.

Event management

The Walk2Hear event series is managed through the national office. CHHA uses online fundraising software to streamline the process of managing logistics for each of the individual events. The national office creates a fundraising website for each chapter participating in the event, and the software system allows administrators the ability to manage event details, track donations and provide regular reports.

"The reporting tools are the feature of DoJiggy that our association uses the most,” explains Robert Corbeil, national executive director. “Since all monitoring is handled out of the national office, we like the ease at which the reports can be generated. By a simple click or two of the mouse, we can create very detailed reports for all participating branches and chapters including a list of walkers and a summary of sales including registrations and pledges."

Another very useful feature in the software is the cloning feature, which allows the national office to easily create multiple fundraising websites based on one design. Administrators use a custom template to design the Walk2Hear fundraising website that illustrates one consistent look and feel and follows CHHA’s brand standards. Then they “clone” this site allowing each chapter to customize specific information and upload photos to personalize the site for their specific chapter and event.

“Utilizing online fundraising software to manage our walk-a-thon helped develop our campaign into a professional event,” explains Karla Wilson, executive assistant. “It was fun for many participants to create their own fundraising pages and keep track of their results and easy for administrators to generate reports and track progress from the national office.”

Event promotion

Promotion of the Walk2Hear event series is handled at the local level, in the city where the walk-a-thon will take place. In most cases, there are several branches and chapters participating in one location so all groups involved in a particular location do promotion. Use of online software makes managing the fundraiser easier for individual chapters, as they aren’t duplicating efforts of their national office. This allows each chapter to focus their energy more fully on event promotion, motivating participants and optimizing their event success. If any of the chapters should fall short on their promotional efforts, National can provide additional support. In addition to local promotional efforts, the national office also sends email blasts to potential participants and donors. This provides an easy way to keep the event fresh in people’s minds and to encourage participants to sign up as the date of the event approaches.

Event success

Prior to hosting the Walk2Hear event series, CHHA used direct mail as their main form of fundraising. In each of the past two years, over $50,000 in revenue has been raised each year through the Walk2Hear event series. In addition, participation from branch/chapters has continued to increase. In the first year, four branches participated. In year two, this number increased to six branches. With an increase in branch/chapter participation comes an increase in walkers and ultimately an increase in revenue. The same result is anticipated for this upcoming year.

Summary

Hosting a fundraising event at the national level takes a lot of work and volunteers to make the fundraiser a success. Each year CHHA learns something new and they make changes for future events. The online fundraising software provides the ability to replicate efforts across multiple offices in a simple and streamlined fashion allowing for consistency across events, in addition to making donation collection easy for participants. However, there is still constant communication with the branches and chapters who participate in Walk2Hear. If problems arise along the way, the national office is there to help and support each of the branches in order to make the overall event series a success.

The Walk2Hear Event Series takes place in cities across Canada on September 22, 2012. To make an online donation in support of hard of hearing Canadians visit CHHA Walk2Hear.

Kari Ann Kiel has 15 years experience managing events and marketing initiatives, and is currently marketing manager at DoJiggy, a company which provides a complete line of online fundraising software for fundraising events and initiatives including: walk-a-thons, charity golf tournaments, gala events, and online charity auctions.

Photos (from top) via Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. All photos used with permission.

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