Wings of Change
“We have a therapeutic pool that is 15 years old and was in great need of repairs, and we also had a waiting list of about a year long for speech-therapy services. The timing was perfect … so we tied both of those needs into this Angel of Change campaign challenge,” she says.
The affiliate first challenged staffers to give above and beyond their usual level of giving. Then through direct-mail appeals and the organization’s Web site, Kirk’s team told individual stories of kids and adults whose lives had been changed by therapeutic pool therapy and speech therapy, and individuals who were in need of those services but weren’t able to receive them because of a lack of funding. Easter Seals Southwestern Indiana mailed appeal letters to parents of children enrolled in the organization’s therapeutic preschool and child-development center, as well as pool clients. The organization also solicited major capital gifts from local corporations and individuals, and had board members, top management and existing members of its Presidents’ Council — annual donors of $1,000 or more — personally ask others to donate to the campaign at the Presidents’ Council level.
Donors of $100 or more received an Angel of Change wristband. The organization also was fortunate to receive media coverage on local TV stations to help it get the word out about the campaign, and it sold the wristbands at local stores.
The affiliate distributed 1,023 of the 2,500 wristbands it had received from Safeway, raising a little more than $40 per wristband distributed. It won the challenge and was rewarded with a $50,000 check, the larger portion of the grant. What’s more, the campaign’s messaging helped breathe new life into the affiliate’s fundraising efforts.
“The Angel of Change campaign really helped us to have a new message here locally. We’ve been around for 60 years, and we’re very fortunate that we have great support here. But this was a fresh message for us to get out to the community and to tie into specific local needs and, yes, to appeal directly to that donor, communicate to them how good they would feel about making a real difference for people here in their own community. That they really would be Angels of Change for specific local kids and adults whose stories we were able to tell,” Kirk says, adding that the affiliate continues to incorporate the Angel of Change imagery into its communications.