Classy employees are walking the walk. We decided to put our fundraising skills—and software—to use with a little company competition. Over the course of our campaign we’ll share our learnings and best practices with you through updates like this.
Creativity is an integral part of being human, and to deny its expression is like denying the expression of other crucial human elements that we intuitively realize we’d be miserable without.
Creativity is also central to nonprofit organizations, which depend on fresh ideas every day. However, when the creative well runs dry, retreating to an established comfort zone is easy.
This is when you need to push the boundaries of your nonprofit’s creativity the hardest. For continued success across your campaigns, cater to your strengths and inject your personality, or the personality of your organization, into everything you do.
Classy recently embarked on a fundraising campaign to build a school in Nepal, and, in my humble opinion, the company is crushing it. Our initial goal was to raise $20,000 by December 31, and we hit $38,815 before Thanksgiving.
That success is in part due to the creativity that employees use when it comes to their campaign pages: each one plays to their individual strengths and personalities. Here are five of our favorites to help inspire your future creative campaigns.
The Classiest of Fundraisers
“Build Up for buildOn”—Terry Breschi
Terry Breschi loves two things: lifting weights and being energetic. He’s woven these interests into almost every fiber of his campaign. For each $5 donation, he performs one repetition of various weight lifts. Paired with his enthusiasm and larger than life personality, his donors have been motivated and inspired on the road to fundraising glory.
As he racks up the donations, and the reps, Terry puts out video updates on his campaign, YouTube, and Facebook pages. He also sends public, direct video responses to his donors and thanks them for their support. You’ll notice his videos are all fueled by his infectious passion and gusto. What makes it engaging is that people delight in sharing his enthusiasm for the cause.
For example, his friend Bret donated $500 to his campaign, which earned Terry 100 reps. He did the weight lifting on camera and gave a big shout out to Bret directly. By making this video public, Terry’s audience gets the opportunity to feel like they’re a part of the donation process from start to finish—even if they weren’t the ones who donated.
The extra effort form Terry has landed him as one of the top fundraisers on the Classy leaderboard. And while each video communicates how much fun he’s having crushing these fundraising goals, he always reiterates his purpose to build a school in Nepal. He doesn’t let people forget why he’s fundraising in the first place.
“Classy Ladies Clothing Swap”—Carolina Houston
“My idea for this clothing swap began when I started clearing out my closet,” says Carolina Houston. “I wasn’t ready to part with some of the things I loved, but didn’t wear very often. I knew some of my Classy ladies would be able to find homes for my clothes.”
Carolina decided to host the Classy Ladies Clothing Swap at our Classy HQ, and it was a major hit. The beauty of her event lies in its top to bottom simplicity paired with the access to a large network of potential donors.
“Ladies who brought clothes got first dibs, but all were welcome to get a drink, snack, and pick out a few things to take. You donate money to my fundraising page based on what you can give and what you think is fair—it’s all on the honor system,” Carolina explains.
This is already a creative and personalized idea, but Carolina mixed in another layer by inviting Alexandra Scarlett to sell handmade jewelry during the clothing swap. For each jewelry purchase, Scarlett donated 10 percent of the bottom line to Carolina’s fundraising campaign.
One of the successes of this fundraising event was the donation-as-payment model. Instead of buying clothes outright and then donating on top of that, you instead donate what you think is appropriate.
In other words, she places trust in people participating. Trust is a crucial aspect of any donation process that encourages action from supporters.
Successful fundraisers all have one thing in common- their donors trust them, and their organization enough to make a monetary donation. Trust is key in any relationship, both personal and professional, and this also includes the relationship between a donor and fundraiser.
All things said, The Classy Ladies Clothing Swap netted 25 new donations to Carolina’s campaign in only four days.
“Tibetan Prayer Flags”—Stacey Uy
Stacey Uy, one of our in-house designers, is making her own versions of the Tibetan Prayer flag. A donation of $35 gets you five flags, $60 gets you 10 flags, and whoever donates the most to her campaign gets each flag as an 8×10 poster.
“I used my design skills to create flags that resonate with people here in the U.S.,” says Stacey. “Each flag has a typography design with a saying or message about wisdom, peace, community, strength, and compassion.”
At its root, the Tibetan Prayer flag isn’t actually about prayer. It’s about sending hope and energy for the world into the physical universe. The more tattered and faded the flags become, the more energy they’ve dispersed.
- Blue = sky/stars = wisdom
- White = air/wind = community
- Red = fire = strength
- Yellow = earth = peace
- Green = water = compassion
Tying in elements of Nepalese culture lays the foundation for an emotional connection to her campaign. Not only does it teach something new, it relates directly to our efforts to build a school in Nepal.
Also take note of how Stacey leverages her design expertise and skill sets here. Sticking with what you do best isn’t any less creative than trying out something new. In fact, it offers more creative freedom because you cater directly to your strengths.
Stacey creates flag designs as top tier incentives to support her creative campaign, and it also justifies an increase in minimum ask. Here it’s $35 donations instead of $5 or $10. The roster currently on display has brought a steady increase in $35 donations to her page.
“Gratitude and Happiness”—Brooke Anderson
Brooke Anderson’s 30th birthday was exactly 100 days from the start of our Classy fundraising campaign. She used those numbers to frame the entirety of her campaign. It will last for 100 days, and she’ll ask for $30 donations.
She also wants to highlight something that’s been important in her own life: happiness and gratitude. Brooke is incorporating a 100-day gratitude challenge inspired by the Science of Happiness video, “An Experiment in Gratitude.”
“I committed to practice gratitude throughout the fundraising timeframe. My original donation was a symbol of my thankfulness for my education and the community that built and sustained it, and it was my way of relating to buildOn Nepal,” says Brooke.
Showcasing inspiration that aligns with both your personality and the cause you’re supporting encourages more donations. Also, framing your campaign in a “X” day, week, or month window builds in a sense of urgency, or call to action, for people to donate before time is up.
Brooke’s dedication to spreading happiness and gratitude has put her third overall for total funds raised on our Classy leaderboard. She’s over halfway to her $3,000 goal with time to spare.
“The Peanut Butter & Jelly Brigade”—Mark Warble
Sometimes the cause you support is important, but not directly related to the community you live in. Case in point: San Diego is very far away from Nepal. This is central to Mark Warble’s creative campaign.
His fundraising event, “The Peanut Butter & Jelly Brigade”, directly benefits the school in Nepal while also extending into our own backyard in San Diego.
“I hosted an event at the office where employees donate to my page and then make PB&Js. The following day we delivered the packed meals to the homeless throughout the surrounding area,” says Mark. “It was a great event that gave back threefold: creating employee engagement, fundraising for Nepal, and positively impacting our office’s neighborhood.”
Mark uses his fundraising campaign to support Nepal as well as other, positive initiatives in the San Diego community. Your organization can attempt to do the same, effectively hitting two targets with one shot.
It’s a great idea for how you might also satiate bigger fundraising needs while also giving your own neighborhood some love. At the end of the day, it’s a classic win-win situation. And in only eight days Mark’s campaign went from $50 in total funding to over $1,200.
When we started our fundraising adventure, we set out to raise $20,000 by December 31. All of these creative campaigns, infused with Classy personalization, have helped us blast through our initial goal within the first two months alone. Our first $30,000 goal is complete, and we’ll soon pass our stretch goal of $45,000.
Playing to our strengths, in this case, is quite literally paying off. In no time, we’ll be in Nepal breaking ground and building a school for the community. This is an ongoing series, and you can fully expect us to dig more into our secrets for success as the campaign progresses.