Beginning in July, we challenged our partner nonprofits to acquire 25 donors in 25 days. Though they changed their approach along the way, Restoration Place Counseling (RPC) completed the challenge successfully—and emerged with some best practices for donor acquisition… plus a new stream of donations that will yield thousands of dollars each year.
RPC provides private mental health services to women who, otherwise, may not have been able to afford counseling. The organization decided to use the RoundUp App, which allows supporters to automatically donate the change from their credit or debit card purchases at the end of each month, as a way to convert new recurring donors.
Every March, RPC holds its big signature fundraiser, which centers on the theme “Be the Change.” This year, the slogan took on an additional meaning. It called for donations of actual change. The RPC staff made bookmarks that said “Be the Change” on an attaching pendant, and called on the services of a local crafter who made jewelry out of vintage silverware to make bracelets.
Anyone who became a donor through RoundUp and convinced three more people to sign up would receive a bracelet. Unfortunately, this campaign resulted in a disappointing turnout.
“Only one person actually did this: [an RPC] board member,” says Founder and Executive Director Cindy Mondello. “Asking people to ask people to give money is a pretty big deal… [We] didn’t feel like the bracelet was enough of an incentive.”
With this lesson in mind, they changed their approach for the better. Cindy began personally reaching out to prospective donors and telling them about the RoundUp challenge. This added sense of urgency proved to be the missing ingredient. 25 donors signed up, half of which had never given to RPC before. The other half chose to donate their change in addition to their other giving.
RPC marketed the opportunity through email and social media during this time, leveraging their branded RoundUp App signup page at https://roundup.app/p/restorationplace. But in the end, face to face interactions were by far the most effective approach. The key, Cindy explained, was telling people in person about the impact their donation would have and convincing people to sign up right then.
“There are a lot of times that people are giving to an organization, and they never hear from the organization again. I will continue to be in touch with my new donors,” Cindy adds. It is this commitment to an ongoing relationship with the donor that allows RPC to use tools like the RoundUp App to maximize impact.
The value of completing the challenge was more than monetary, as this success came in the wake of a beloved colleague’s unexpected passing.
“I had lost my Development Director on August 11th,” says Cindy. “She had originally brought me this idea, and knowing that we had accomplished it, I just knew she would be so proud.”