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Allison Gauss
3 min
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How Athletes 4 Cancer’s Annual Event Raised $190K

Athletes 4 Cancer (A4C) uplifts young adults fighting the disease through outdoor camps that focus on sports like snowboarding, surfing, and paddle boarding. These outings give cancer survivors the chance to focus on what their body is capable of rather than the assault it has been under for months, or even years. A4C’s camps are so popular that by summer 2016, the small nonprofit had a lengthy waitlist.

At this time, A4C was working with their partners at CauseMic to plan the 10th anniversary of their signature fundraising event, Kiteboarding 4 Cancer. Kiteboarding is a sport that combines the wind power of parasailing with wakeboarding. A4C’s challenge to give every cancer survivor their camp experience became the driving force behind the event.

“Our theme this year was #NoWaitList and our goal was to eliminate all of the 112 survivors that were sitting on a waitlist to go to an Athletes 4 Cancer camp, so it was super tangible,” said Noelle Smith at CauseMic. This concrete theme, combined with outstanding support for peer-to-peer fundraisers helped A4C raise $192,429. A4C’s success not only ended the waitlist, but also broke the million dollar mark after 10 years of Kiteboarding 4 Cancer.

Fundraisers Rally for Survivors

A4C used Classy’s Fundraise for Entry campaign to ensure that each participant raised at least $500. But many fundraisers decided to increase their goal to $1,500, the cost of getting one person off of the waitlist. To help fundraisers succeed, CauseMic and A4C sent out a fundraising guide and stayed in constant communication with participants.

In the past, staff at A4C had emailed with fundraisers one-on-one. Their move to an automated email series, though, helped them activate and encourage their whole community more efficiently. To maximize open rates and engagement, A4C created clickable subject lines and beautiful emails incorporating their audience’s love for nature.

Countdown to #NoWaitList

To keep their community motivated, A4C used the simple, yet brilliant, strategy to count down the survivors left on the waitlist. Throughout the campaign, they used a simple graphic to show the progress they were making.

Spreading these updates through email and social media, A4C created the feeling of momentum and accomplishment that keeps fundraising campaigns from stalling out.

A4C has been hosting Kiteboarding 4 Cancer for a decade, but their commitment to learning and improvement has driven huge growth in their fundraising. They show the power of a clear theme and goal, as well as that of ongoing communications and support to mobilize peer-to-peer fundraisers for success.

To learn more about how A4C increased their campaign revenue by 55.9 percent, and boosted the average amount raised by fundraisers by 23.5 percent, check out the full case study.

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