Case Study: Forest Ridge Academy Builds Their Donor Base Through Online Fundraising

In 2014, Forest Ridge Academy participated in Northwest Indiana (NWI) Gives on Razoo as their first ever crowdfunding or Giving Day campaign. They joined the giving movement as an experiment without any experience with online fundraising. With only modest goals in mind, the sole purpose of their participation was to raise awareness and gain exposure of the school.
Their campaign was built by following the directions and templates provided by Mightycause. Unaware of the incentives and prizes, they were surprised to find themselves at the top of the leaderboard all day. Forest Ridge Academy ranked first not only on the Large Nonprofits Leaderboard but also on the Overall Leaderboard as well. They had 41 unique donors and raised a total of $14,525 in 24 hours.

The Give4FRA Campaign

After a successful NWI Gives campaign, Forest Ridge Academy looked for another giving day to participate in. in early 2015, unable to find a Giving Day to join, they created their own campaign, GIVE4FRA: Hender-Monti Days of Online Giving.

Campaign Strategy

The goal of GIVE4FRA was to raise $20,000 from 100 donors in 3 days. The campaign was focused on specific needs of the school, making the gifts more tangible for donors. These needs included: purchasing new technology, upgrading current technology and providing teacher training so that Forest Ridge Academy will continue to be leaders in employing state of the art technology.

This campaign was built around a knowledge of the school’s culture. When students enter Forest Ridge Academy, they are chosen to be either a Monti or a Hender. Once they become part of the team, they identify as either a Monti or Hender throughout their time at school. The two teams, led by student captains, have an ongoing friendly competition throughout the year. At the end of the year, the team and individuals with the most “school points” receive special recognition. To encourage participation and create a fun and friendly competition, Team Monti and Team Hender competed to raise the most dollars throughout the campaign. Students were awarded “school points” when they gave. Each student whose parents gave was awarded 50 “school points”, no matter the size of the gift. At the end of the campaign, the team with most dollars raised received 500 “school points” toward their team totals for the year.

With these two teams in mind, Forest Ridge Academy utilized Mightycause’s Team feature to build their fundraising campaign. First, a project page was created for Team Monti and another one for Team Hender. Each page highlighted the respective team, giving donors a tangible landing page to learn more about the school and how their donations will help them through detailed donation levels. The students prepared their own “Thank You” video, which was featured on their pages. The project pages were then added to a Team titled, “GIVE4FRA: Hender-Monti Days of Online Giving,” which became the main page for the giving campaign. The team page allowed donors to select their team to support the school, but it also allowed students to create their own fundraisers connected to their team. The overall appearance of the team page was very straightforward and easy to follow throughout the competition.

The student leaders of Monti and Hender program became the correspondents for the campaign to assist in the fundraising e orts. Each morning, the morning radio announcement updated the school population on the status of the campaign, letting them know which team was in the lead and how much has been raised so far. Aside form in-school promotion, communications involved phone calls, social media and a letter campaign to reach potential supporters including parents and school alumni.

The Impact

In just 3 days, GIVE4FRA raised a total of $29,195. It was a close competition for the two teams with Team Monti raising $14,735 and Team Hender, $14,085. The friendly rivalry between the
teams, together with team spirit and school pride proved to be a very effective way to motivate donors to give. This campaign was a success thanks in large part to creative gamification and advanced planning. Knowing the strong identity of the two school groups encouraged a stronger level of engagement from current students, their parents and alumni.

In 2014, Forest Ridge Academy had a total of 100 donors throughout the entire year. By developing their own creative online fundraising initiative, they had 95 donors give in just one day. The future looks bright for fundraising efforts at Forest Ridge Academy, and we can’t wait to see if the Monti’s or the Hender’s win next year’s competition!

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