And the Winners Are …
Total out of Pocket Costs: N/A*
Response Rate: 1 percent
The chairman of the board offering to match every donation dollar for dollar up to $250,000 has a way of lighting a fire under any campaign, and the folks who run it have to make sure that fire spreads to their donors to ensure the organization will make the most of that generous offer.
Such was the case last year when American Jewish World Service was contemplating an unusual (for it) single-issue campaign.
"AJWS executes an online fundraising campaign every year during the High Holiday season," the organization's Joshua Berkman explains. This year, due to the rapidly increasing rate of poverty worldwide, we decided that it would be an ideal opportunity to galvanize our supporters around the issue of hunger and raise money for AJWS' portfolio of grantees who are pioneering sustainable agriculture in their communities and advocating for land rights and equitable trade practices.
"Because this would be a single-issue focus as opposed to a general appeal, we were aware that we might ultimately raise significantly less money than the previous two campaigns," he says. "But the issue was too critical to ignore."
So buoyed by incoming Board Chair Barbara Dobkin's matching-gift offer, the organization launched the Fight Hunger from the Ground Up campaign with a straightforward e-mail from Dobkin, explaining the matching-gift opportunity and why she was providing it. That e-mail raised $19,000 right off the bat, and three subsequent e-mails — equally as tight as the first but signed instead by AJWS President Ruth Messinger — generated more than $185,000.
Two versions of a follow-up e-mail that hinged on the Yom Kippur holiday and used Holy Scripture to encourage recipients to donate the cost of their holiday fast — a suggested $36 gift — raised another $8,301.