Wings of Change
Humbled by the research findings, Easter Seals has shifted to approach fundraising as more of a three-way partnership between the organization, the beneficiaries of its services, and the donors and partners that make those services possible. As a result, the organization has further expanded its focus on relationship-based fundraising with a strategy that begins with engaging individuals, then asking them to give, and then stewarding a relationship.
Easter Seals put this strategy into practice with its recent “Be an Angel of Change” PSA campaign, which focuses on the concept that individuals can make a difference and feel good as a result.
“We just came right out and said it, because that’s what they were telling us. Folks were saying, ‘You know, I feel real good when I’m doing this,’” Sowa says.
Copy in newspaper and magazine ads, and television and radio spots reflects the underlying emotions and motivations the research unearthed, she explains. For example, the radio spot features soothing music with a voice-over of a woman saying: “Love is the answer to all questions. Hope is the breath that keeps my spirit alive. Smiles are the world’s most plentiful resource. Easter Seals changes the lives of people living with disabilities. Be an Angel of Change. Learn how, at EasterSeals.com.”
The campaign drives individuals to the organization’s Web site to share personal stories about Angels of Change in their own lives, giving visitors the opportunity to interact with Easter Seals through a two-way conversation as well as providing a way for the organization to thank existing donors, volunteers and other Angels.
Asking individuals to write about Angels of Change in their lives is a strategy that’s brought constituents to a fuller understanding of the Easter Seals brand and mission, and their stories serve as testimonials for the organization’s effectiveness. Every story posted on the “Real-Life Angel of Change” page on the organization’s Web site articulates what Easter Seals is all about — from Kara in Bloomington, Ill., who talks about her disabled daughter Emmy and calls the therapists and staff who work with her at their local Easter Seals affiliate her Angels of Change, to Corinne from Collierville, Tenn., whose Angel is her son Ryan, born with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism and seizures, and recently diagnosed with a rare brain disease.