Quail Springs Permaculture, an environmental educational nonprofit based in Southern California, turned the difficulty of our 25 Donors in 25 Days challenge up a notch. The team didn’t see our email notifying them of the challenge until the deadline was only two days away, but they were determined to give it a try nonetheless.

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Including a call for donations in an email newsletter didn’t bring in any responses. Though Quail Springs had never posted anything about The RoundUp App on their Instagram, they knew it was worth a shot—their Instagram followers are especially engaged. To maximize the impact they could make on this audience, the team looked back at which of their Instagram posts had been most effective in the past.

Quail Springs Development Director and Board Director Andrew Clinard recalls finding that their natural building project, an initiative to create sustainable housing, had received the best reaction. He recalls, “Many of our followers are interested in this, so we posted a picture of one of our new builds and added in the RoundUp push. We got 357 likes and a good bit of sign-ups.”

“The deadline helped,” Andrew adds. “We made sure they knew there were only two days—‘We need you now.’”

Encouraged by this success, Quail Springs posted on Instagram again, this time focusing on the need for scholarship money for youth learning about supporting sustainability. This second post wasn’t quite as successful as the first, perhaps because it was posted so soon after the previous one.  

“People were burnt out a little since this was the second post in two days about RoundUp and the challenge,” Andrew says.

In a final push to beat the challenge, Quail Springs turned to a hands-on, one-on-one approach. The team sent emails and called friends and told them what was at stake. They reminded prospective donors that a small contribution could make a significant impact, earning a $1000 gift for the nonprofit if they met the 25-donor goal. Additionally, they let people know how urgently a contribution was needed. Directly reaching out was the most successful tactic of all, bringing in more sign-ups than reaching out via email and Instagram. Despite the tight deadline, they acquired 25 donors in only two days.

Looking forward, Quail Springs plans to send postcards to prospective donors featuring The RoundUp App and linking to Quail Springs’ direct landing page.

“[We] can’t wait to see how this continues to grow,” says Andrew. Quail Springs has found that, under the pressure of a challenge, they can discover some best practices for donor acquisition.

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