We at JCamp 180 have been asking internally if it makes sense for our affiliated camps to take part in #givingtuesday campaigns. After all, camps have an existing donor and prospect base that many organizations would love - families, alumni, and donors who have a strong emotional connection to their experiences at and with camp. Why not connect with this built-in donor base on another day, when they can be the only voice potential donors hear, rather than one of hundreds of potential nonprofits filling prospects' inboxes on #givingtuesday? Or can camps ride the momentum created by a national campaign like #givingtuesday to fundraising success?
To help answer this question, we've been on the lookout for camps that succeed on #givingtuesday. One camp that definitely fits that bill is Camp Ramah in the Poconos.
Development Director Missy Stein said that Camp Ramah in the Poconos raised a total of $170,000 from 275 donors this year on #givingtuesday. 91 of these donors were first-time donors to the annual campaign! They also received phone calls and emails all day - there was a LOT of energy and excitement from their camp community. This was a huge improvement from their past #givingtuesday campaigns.
Here's what Missy thinks made the difference:
- Matches - the team at Camp Ramah in the Poconos found 3 families to put up large matching gifts for the one-day campaign. These matches allowed the team to promote just how far a donor's gift would be leveraged. Note also that the team kept the matchers up to date throughout the day. As partners in the campaign, they were excited to hear about the success throughout the day.
- Marketing - the team marketed the campaign with a BIG goal ($100,000…even though $75,000 of that was actually from the Matching gifts) that could truly make a difference. They also marketed that each individual gift would be quadrupled by the matching gifts. Psychologically, this shows that even smaller gifts can make a huge impact.
- Marketing II - Missy also believes it was important that they discussed the matching gift donors as "Ramah Families." This further connected everyone to the campaign and to camp.
- Urgency - the campaign only ran on #givingtuesday. In fact, the only marketing they did before that day was an email out to their list the evening before. It was clear that the goal could only be met TODAY and gifts would only be quadrupled TODAY.
- Don't Stop! - Early on #givingtuesday, the donors met the $100,000 goal. Rather than stopping the campaign, the team found another family to put up another match of $25,000. An email was sent out to their list thanking them for reaching their goal…but adding in a new goal of $150,000 with a new match. They didn't want to lose the momentum they'd built up that day.
- Plan, Plan, Plan - Missy and her team worked with the families to set up the matches in advance so that they could prepare their communications. They also planned their social media efforts for #givingtuesday in advance - they contacted various constituents before #givingtuesday and asked them if they'd fill out a small thermometer with the latest campaign status and then submit the photo for them to post on their Facebook Page. Then, throughout that day, they contacted each of them with the current status and a request for them to update their thermometer and send them a picture. (See example on this blog post!)
- Try Something New - Most of this campaign included new ideas and efforts. This was also the first time the camp requested donations via mobile payments app Venmo. They believed they could get younger alumni to give via their phone on Venmo, an app many millennials already use regularly. They received $1,307 from 24 people through Venmo, including many Junior Counselors (College students)! Gifts were mostly small, but they also received a gift of $360 via the app.
- Piggyback on #givingtuesday's marketing - You could pick any Tuesday for your campaign, but the collective momentum makes a big difference.
We asked all of our camps about their #givingtuesday results - check out what we found in our detailed survey results.