Focus On: E-philanthropy: E-volving with the Times
“We looked at all the components in our arsenal to help us reach our goal, and we saw [online fundraising] as an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of the organization in the eyes of the public, government, funders and corporate partners and [to] go out and tell our story,” Palley says.
With the gauntlet thrown down, the braintrust of BBBSA designed an e-newsletter campaign to solicit donations and event participation for its signature fundraising program, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, an event that takes place in bowling centers to raise funds for children.
“The lower cost and higher efficiency of using e-mail is going to be key in slicing the direct marketing pie in a new way,” Palley says.
When a constituent receives the e-mail, he is taken to a localized landing page to either register for the local event, volunteer to raise funds for the event, sponsor a child participant, make a credit card donation, or pass the message on to a friend or family member.
BBBSA piloted the e-mail program in 2002 with only seven participating agencies; in 2003, more than 125 BBBSA local organizations signed on.
“Up until now, Bowl for Kids’ Sake has been our only real online effort,” confirms Debbie Everitt, director of development projects. “Our agencies, as well as our donors, are becoming technically savvy, and that’s going to continue to play a role in our online initiatives going forward.”
The amount raised online for the nationwide Bowl for Kids’ Sake events increased by 1,026 percent, from $33,971 in 2002 to $382,588 in 2003. The number of e-mails sent by participants to friends and family increased by 1,100 percent, from 5,392 e-mails sent in 2002 to 64,682 sent in 2003.
Click-throughs of pass-along e-mails increased 1,199 percent, from 1,719 in 2002 to 22,328 in 2003.