How one nonprofit fundraiser doubled her organization’s annual campaign dollars with Velocity

Let’s face it: fundraising is never easy. But, as Aliquippa Impact (AI) discovered recently, you can make big changes with a few donor insights, a little planning, and a clear campaign schedule. Working with resources provided by Velocity, AI tweaked their direct mail—doubling the dollars of their previous annual appeal.

How did they do it? Brandie explains:

Background: Aliquippa Impact

I represent Aliquippa Impact, a youth development organization in the marginalized community of Aliquippa. We target at-risk youth, children and students through mentoring, cohorts, after school programs and summer day camps. Ninety-five percent of the children we serve are African American. We have 19 year-round staff and host 12 college students to run our summer day camp.

The fundraising challenge

To give you a better picture of AI, individual contributions make up 27% of our $350,000 annual income. In 2016, we decided to raise funds to expand our after-school program. To do this, we decided we needed to tell our story outside of Aliquippa. We started to focus more on branding and marketing.

How we did it

Phase 1: social media campaign

In the Spring of 2016 we launched a social media campaign. As a result, we increased our social media followers by 35%, our email database by 5%, and raised $13,640.

Phase 2: direct mail campaign

Following our initial success with social media, we focused on revising our direct mail and email campaigns. Historically, we would send appeal letters on traditional letterhead with no graphics. Last year, that changed. In the fall of 2016, we implemented changes suggested by the Velocity approach, incorporating photos and a strong headline, and raised $8,950, which more than doubled dollars received through our fall 2015 direct mail letter. [Download AI's letter here]

 

Ready to do it yourself? Here's how:

1. Get Velocity training

New Velocity session start in June. Apply today!

2. Check out Brandie’s top 3 Velocity resources

We asked Brandie to share her top takeaways from Velocity training. Here’s what she found most useful for Aliquippa Impact—click to download the resource packs and get started with your campaign planning today!

  1. Better understanding of the donor's perspective and behavior [Get the insights]
  2. Practical examples that you can customize for your individual organization. The examples were extremely helpful. I referred to them several times. [Get the examples]
  3. The timing on when to launch the campaign. We replicated this positive results. [Get the step by step planning guide]

Brandie's takeaway:

I highly recommend the Velocity training. The training was informative and the speakers and way they presented were excellent: smart, approachable and engaging. The results of our campaign were great.