Case Study: The Women’s Foundation Of California Triples Their Donors On Razoo

In the Fall of 2014, The Women’s Foundation of California geared up for their second annual #GivingTuesday campaign on Razoo, their second ever attempt at crowdfunding. They crafted a customized campaign with great messaging and solicited a handful of key offline donors to provide a matching grant incentive. After an incredibly successful first attempt in 2013, the 2014 results were astounding, nearly tripling their total amount raised.

Two Successful Years

In 2013, the Women’s Foundation of California participated in #GivingTuesday on Mightycause as their first ever crowdfunding campaign. With short lead-time, their communications and campaign page on Mightycause all focused on soliciting general support to their organization. The campaign was a big success and connected with 87 unique donors for a total of $9,280 2014 in online gifts. Even more exciting is that 45 of these donors — a staggering 52% — were brand new donors to the organization. This was the real eye-opener. If a last minute crowdfunding campaign can bring in 45 new donors, imagine the potential when campaign is planned well in advance.

After the #GivingTuesday campaign, they conducted a strong welcome series to engage the new donors, as well as the current donors who supported the campaign. The steps of their follow-up included: 1) a personal handwritten thank you note from the CEO; 2) a thank you email focusing on the success of the campaign; 3) a monthly newsletter that linked to six long blog posts and a two minute video to educate both new and existing donors and reinforce their donation decision; and finally 4) giving them a second opportunity to give in connect with the End of Year campaign and appeals. This four-step follow-up all in the same month that these donors made their first gift, was a key aspect of retaining and engaging these donors for future support.

Building on the success of their 2013 campaign, The Women’s Foundation of California began planning in early fall for their 2014 #GivingTuesday campaign. They knew the potential to engage donors online, but adapted two key pieces of their strategy to increase their potential for success.

Instead of soliciting general support, they focused the campaign around a very tangible and specific goal of raising money to send 4 women to their Women’s Policy Institute. Focusing the campaign this way allowed them to develop a communications strategy for the full campaign that was creative, tangible, and engaging. The title of the campaign was “I Love WPI,” consistent on their Mightycause page, and throughout each of their 7 emails sent throughout the span of the campaign. They conducted interviews with four former WPI fellows whose bills were signed into law in the last few years; and drafted emails that told the fellows’ stories of success and the importance of the bills the fellows helped pass. They went a step further to engaging these alumni and current fellows in helping them spread the word about the campaign. They are the influencers and the ones who understand the potential of this program best, so they were great to engage as ambassadors to spread the word.

To complement this email strategy, they produced two short videos to further drive the message of the campaign home, and to create a multimedia way for their donors and supporters to connect with this #GivingTuesday initiative. Their call-to-action video was a fun and engaging three minutes that shared the importance of the Women’s Policy Institute, the potential impact of sending four women through the program, and then directed viewers to their Mightycause #GivingTuesday page. They also took the opportunity to share a thank you video with donors upon confirmation of their donation through Mightycause. This personal message from the CEO reinforced the importance and the potential of the Women’s Policy Institute, and thanked donors in a sincere way.

The second strategy that made a significant impact on their 2014 campaign involved securing and promoting a matching grant. Instead of asking for larger support from one matching donor, they used this campaign (and their well-crafted story) to reach out to former Board members, former CEOs, and (for the first time ever) former WPI fellows to make up a larger matching pool to support the campaign. They had great success in this effort, and secured just over $16,000 in matching funds from 14 of these targeted donors. Not only did this matching pool provide a great incentive for the online donors to their #GivingTuesday campaign through the Mightycause matching grant feature, but it allowed their organization to engage in a unique way with the higher level contacts like former Board members and CEOs.

Lessons Learned

Through their focused campaign and successful matching funds campaign, the Women’s Foundation of California raised over $31,000 to put leaders through the Women’s Policy Institute. They engaged with 110 donors to nearly triple their 2013 campaign total. The organization finished this campaign with even more excitement about the potential of crowdfunding to support their mission and with an even better understanding of the value of specific and tangible storytelling to increase their fundraising success. They are already planning and strategizing and how to continue their growth for their 2015 #GivingTuesday campaign. They plan to take crowdfunding to the next step and engage former fellows and alumni of the Women’s Policy Institute to start peer-to-peer fundraisers to raise support on their own. We are excited to continuing following their successful crowdfunding efforts!

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