Turning Fundraising on Its Head
Recruiting bone marrow and umbilical cord blood donors is an ongoing, never-ending effort. Thus, Team Be the Match isn't raising any specific amount of money in any specific amount of time. It continues to solicit funds and support to build up the registry and help as many people in need of transplants as it can.
As you can imagine, that has resulted in some hurdles with engagement.
"Unlike a race or a walk — there's a start and end to those type of events — Team Be the Match lives on," Nelson says. "So how do you take people once their initial action with us is done and get them to become lifetime volunteer members?"
One way is to create a strategy using e-mail techniques to give people different ideas of how to use their personal fundraising pages. For instance, Team Be the Match messages go out encouraging fundraisers to promote making a gift to the Team Be the Match page in lieu of a present for Christmas or sending an e-card or Valentine's Day card asking for a donation. And the organization looks for new ways to engage team members all the time.
Even with some long-tail concerns, Team Be the Match surpassed all expectations in its first year. While no goals were set in stone, Nelson says the organization hoped to have 100 pages set up and raise $100,000 in the first year.
The campaign blew right through that, with nearly 500 pages set up and more than $250,000 raised in less than 12 months.
"Peer-to-peer fundraising really is a great way to encourage people to donate to a charity," Nelson says. "The passion that the community volunteers have around the mission — a lot of this is patient- and family-focused — the community really comes together to rally around the patients and the families in search of transplants."