Year End Donations Fund Running Water
Fundraising Campaign Management
Providing healing and comfort to children debilitated by the emotional experience of living with or losing a parent or sibling to cancer.
A California-based nonprofit, Walk With Sally (WWS), provides free mentoring and community support for children experiencing trauma through a parent, guardian, or sibling's cancer journey. Like many nonprofits, WWS relies on a couple of key annual events for the bulk of their funding and as an opportunity to nurture donors for year-round giving.
However, WWS was frustrated with both the lackluster ROI of their annual event, a peer-to-peer fundraiser, and the post-event conversion rate of attendees into year-round supporters.
Various factors contributed to the event’s poor showing, like a disconnect between its “Bowl-a-thon” name and the powerful WWS mission. This made it difficult for future outreach to associate the event with WWS’s “mentoring friendships.”
Other issues included too-easy-to-earn prizes that failed to motivate attendees’ best fundraising efforts; unclear fundraising goals; and missed opportunities to keep newly introduced supporters engaged.
Walk With Sally had two primary questions we needed to answer:
- What steps can we take to make our annual event a greater financial success?
- How can we leverage event success to increase year-round support?
WWS needed more of a strategy overhaul than a tune-up. So we started at the ground floor with the event name and worked our way up by:
- Renaming “Bowl-a-thon” to “The Friendship Bowl” for a more on-brand link to their mentoring friendships
- Setting a definitive goal of funding a specific number of mentoring friendships
- Helping to launch a multi-channel campaign that coached peer-to-peer fundraisers, along with providing impactful Walk With Sally content that fundraisers could share with peers on social
- Positioning the fundraisers throughout the event as heroes that do good in people’s lives
- Using strategic incentives such as matching challenges to surprise and delight fundraisers
- Building and deploying a new-donor welcome email series to send after the event that helped convert fundraisers and their peers into repeat donors throughout the year