What is a giving initiative? Think of an initiative as a page featuring a story or group of stories with a specific objective or outcome in mind.
For example, you might be thinking about a page that allows you to display a rich array of rotating funding opportunities, each with its own goals, timeframes, and leaderboards. You might have a significant day coming up where you’re hoping to galvanize your entire audience around one particular cause or need. You might be hoping to have a giving page that is evergreen that showcases the areas of need that are recurring or long-term at your organization.
These are all initiatives.
We know that each group is unique and that not every example that we’ll be discussing will be a good fit for you. Consider the organizational layout of the page and the giving opportunities, and how you might do something similar, with a different focus or theme. This post is all about inspiring creativity!
Today we’ll look at six different types of initiatives that we’ve seen in our community:
- Focused Fund
Focused funds are a great way to spotlight a single cause or effort. The page should have a simple layout but feature compelling information about the fund including (ideally) a short video with a relevant cover image and a clear explanation of the goals and impact. If possible, consider adding progress meters to help people understand the progress being made towards the final goal.
This type of initiative will be driven heavily by centralized marketing efforts, but you can fractionalize your fundraising efforts by leveraging social ambassadors.
Here is an example that’s popular around the holiday season: it’s an effort to combat food insecurity.
You might have the ability to provide meals or meal plans. This might also look like the support that you can drive for a community food pantry or a financial gift to a local organization that helps with these types of needs.
You can also make this focus a little more thematic by supporting, say, unrestricted gifts for emergency or greatest needs projects. What’s special about this kind of initiative is that you’re reaching out to your whole collective audience, motivating them to rally behind a single story.
Cumulative initiatives are great for times during the year when seemingly disparate opportunities need support. To best leverage your central marketing resources, it’s beneficial to group these varied stories on a single page as part of a single initiative.
Here’s a great example:
This page is powerful because it can illustrate the array of different projects that your organization makes possible.
However, with a wide range of funds, it’s important to leverage search tools and tag categories that make it easy for a supporter to find the options that most closely align with their passions. This is also a perfect fit for using leaderboards to inspire friendly competition and to leverage matches and challenges that incentivize your project teams and donors to strive towards your overall goal.
Consider breaking up your funding again by creating challenges and leaderboards that tie to your most important metrics. For example, if your internal goal is to raise alumni participation, consider a leaderboard that reflects alumni donors per campaign.
Then, offer monetary challenges for top performing projects in that area overall or time-sensitive matching gifts that reward projects with the most alumni donors during hours where you typically see a lull.
Remember to communicate these match or challenge funding opportunities to project teams in advance and feature information about them on each project page for donors. While you may be driving donors to the aggregate page, each opportunity is also insulated with marketing happening on a per-story basis.
The aggregate traffic of teams driving people directly to their projects can even outweigh traffic driven to the collective page!
Not all your opportunities will be of interest to your entire audience. You’ll find that certain the themes will be particularly compelling for a niche audience. For these, you can offer a landing page that groups multiple stories that pertain to a specific audience or theme. These can either be time-sensitive, like a Giving Day, or they can be evergreen and fundable all year.
Here’s a fun example:
This initiative culminates in a 24-hr race for teams to identify as many bird species as possible. Each team of spotters has their own story and they’re competing against each other to raise the most support. In the end, all the teams are collecting gifts to help support conservation, education, and enjoyment surrounding birds in their community.
While you leverage leaderboards or challenges to inspire competition, they aren’t as critical for longer-term or evergreen efforts that use this model. These types of initiatives are all about driving the right audience to the appropriate group of opportunities.
Multi-program initiatives are a hybrid of cumulative and niche page styles. They group multiple concurrently running “programs” under a page that aggregates the activity.
Programs are niche pages that then roll-up to an aggregate cumulative page, where there are disparate focuses.
Here’s an example:
This affords all sorts of marketing angles!
If you don’t know anything about the interests of a particular audience, you can promote the main aggregate page and let them self-select in order to learn more about their passions. If you know about some of the greater themes that interest them, you can direct them to a particular Program, where they can find stories that energize them. And if you are leveraging project teams, they can direct their networks directly to their individual stories.
Because of the breadth and depth of promotional options, these projects are best leveraged in a longer time frame or as evergreen funds.
They are also a perfect fit for presenting opportunities to leadership and major gift prospects to identify their affinities or to send them to their areas of focus that showcase compelling funds they can impact. This can help prime the pump of challenges and matches for other events or just be one-time gifts that transform an area of your organization.
Rivalries are highly competitive and offer a landing page that stresses and highlights head-to-head opposition.
Here is an athletics example:
From a marketing perspective, the aggregate rivalry page, like the one you’re seeing here can be the desired starting point for your audience. Each opponent will also have their own page that groups all of their fundable opportunities as you can see here:
Rivalries can leverage competition with external entities, like the one shown above, or they can focus on friendly internal competition. Think of departments or units within your organization that may have fun trying to out-fund one another towards a cause, or even stakeholder groups that might be a good fit.
Marketing can take place at any of these levels – from the highly competitive page down to the opportunities and needs that are financed by this competition.
An Ambassador initiative allows people with a particular passion to tell their own stories and to raise funds for a cause that’s personal.
Here’s a grateful patients example:
You can see in the image above that each of these individuals are represented by a story, each has a progress bar that lets you follow along as they reach their goals, and you can see the total number of supporters, the amount that has been raised, and how many days are left to give.
By grouping these stories together in a time-sensitive way, marketing can be used to promote the initiative at large, while the ambassadors promote their own unique cause.
If creating a full story page for each person who wants to be a Champion for your cause is too big an undertaking, a Peer-to-Peer Initiative might be a better fit.
Here’s an example of what that can look like:
In this case, many passionate people can help fractionalize a greater goal by using their own voice, passion, and social reach to inspire their own audience to give. Each person can create a short personal appeal to share why this story is so important to them. Then, they should receive their own unique share link that will track the support that they inspire.
These are great for fun-runs or other events where a large group of people might each be challenged to raise support, but all the gifts go to the same cause. Rewards and awards can be used to incentives your Champions to drive as much support as possible.
We’ve covered a lot! We hope that as we talked through these examples, ideas came to mind about creative ways that you can market and display the unique opportunities at your organization. You know your community best: don’t hesitate to shake it up and present them with something new!