Juggling and the Fine Art of Fundraising
The day after the earthquake hit, Stop Hunger Now launched its relief campaign. Throughout the course of the year, it used e-mail, direct mail and social media to solicit donations to respond to both the short- and long-term effects of the devastation. Stop Hunger Now's history as both a hunger-relief and disaster-relief organization provided a blueprint on how to respond quickly and mobilize its resources as fast as possible. Before it began to package meals for the hungry, the organization was a crisis-relief nonprofit; it undertook a similar campaign during the 2004 tsunami crisis in Southeast Asia.
The first objective of the campaign was to mobilize the resources available to respond as quickly as possible. Stop Hunger Now was able to do that with its people on the ground and the work it was already doing in Haiti. On top of that, the organization wanted to raise as much money as possible for the relief effort. But since time was of the essence, it never established a specific dollar amount to shoot for.
"At the time, the hectic nature of organizing the meal shipments and the gift-in-kind shipments didn't allow us much time to think of a specific strategy and goal of the number we wanted to reach," Barrick says. "But the most important part of the relief aspect was mobilizing the resources as quickly as possible."
The media strategy encompassed reaching out to Stop Hunger Now supporters immediately and then updating them and continuing to ask throughout the year. That started with e-mailing its housefile of 9,000 e-mail addresses, sending quarterly newsletters on Haiti to its 18,000 direct-mail addresses and promoting the campaign via social media.
Stop Hunger Now wanted supporters to send in donations and gifts-in-kind to help the organization provide as many services as possible. Given the initial need and urgency of disaster relief, it expected a large response online, with more major donations coming in via mail.