Behind the Scenes of a $211K Giving Day

Our friends at Help One Now set a $200,000 goal for their “Family Empowerment Day” in May.

We were encouraged to see them crush their goal and gain tons of first-time donors during their big day. Because we are the tech partner for Help One Now, we know that it was a really well-planned and well-executed day.

We sat down with Help One Now COO, Brigid O’Boyle, to capture the full story.

We are grateful for the generosity of Help One Now to share all their “secrets” with the broader nonprofit community.

In this blog post, we’ve pulled together just a few of our top takeaways from the case study. But, if you want all the nitty gritty details, you’ll want to watch the full case study.

Takeaway #1:  Get your “people” activated early!

Help One Now started planning about 5 months before their Giving Day. One of the first things they did was tap on the shoulders of all their key stakeholders.

  • Staff
  • Board Members
  • Major Donors
  • Tech Partners (i.e. Pure Charity)
  • Volunteers
  • Influencers
  • Advocates
  • Corporate Partners

In fact, when asked what her #1 piece of advice was, Brigid said:

“The only way we were so successful, was we had SO many people, posting on social media, asking their friends… we could’t reach everyone, all at the same time, without a crew of people advocating on our behalf”.

Takeaway #2:  Tap into influencers to reach new donors.

I expected to learn that most of the giving on their Family Empowerment Day was from existing donors, giving again or giving more.

So, I was shocked to find out that Help One Now actually gained over 200 first-time donors during that one day. Getting these new donors to give the first time, is a huge deal, and gives Help One Now a great challenge to retain as many as possible (see #3 below for one way they are doing that).

So, how did they attract so many new donors?

The key to reaching these new audiences was their effective partnerships with influencers and celebrities who care about their mission.

They had live video interviews throughout the day. But, the brilliance to the strategy was the way they were able to broadcast these interviews out to the followers of these social media influencers, using their massive platforms.

In the full Case Study video you’ll learn more details about how they approached these influencers, their broadcast schedule for the Giving Day, and how one of the social media platforms got way more views for those videos than the other one they used.

Takeaway #3:  Say “thank you” in a BIG way (to staff & donors).

One of the most impressive pieces of the Help One Now Giving Day was the way they celebrated all the generosity.

They had a “party” (sometimes big, sometimes small) the night of the Family Empowerment Day, in every city where they have staff.

I love that they planned to celebrate their team before even knowing how well the day would go. The team had worked toward this day for 4 to 5 months and that alone is worthy of celebration, no matter how the numbers came in.

They also were very effective at saying “thank you” to donors at all levels.

Every donor who participated got a hand-written thank you note.

Every. Single. Donor.

All 423!

Beyond the thank you notes, CEO Chris Marlow also created “thank you” videos to send out to some key partners and donors.

(Side Note: Not sure what tool Chris used, but we recommend “Loom” for quick and easy thank you videos.)

Saying “thank you” is a big deal, especially when you are attracting so many new donors who you want to retain over time. Plan ahead for how you will show gratitude to those who advocate, give, and volunteer for your big Giving Day.

There is so much more to learn from this case study …

In my interview with Brigid, I asked tons of questions.

Beyond the three takeaways here, the video will give you so much more helpful ideas. Here are some of the other things we discuss:

  • Branding Strategy: How to brand the Giving Day effectively, but not cause brand confusion for their existing donors.
  • Email Strategy: When to send? How many emails are too many? What NOT to do with your email unsubscribes…
  • Social Media Strategy: How often to post? What to post? Where to post?
  • Engagement: How they used the power of anticipation to increase engagement.
  • Storytelling: Unique storytelling strategies and details from their campaign.
  • Giving Day Website Preparation: What needs to be ALL over the landing page.
  • Corporate Partnerships: How to approach companies about matching gifts, who to talk to, and how to provide helpful expectations in those relationships.
  • Key Learnings: What they would change and do differently next time…