DonorDrive client, The Ali Forney Center took a big hit when Hurricane Sandy destroyed their Manhattan shelter. Their housing, clinic, supplies, kitchen (that served 10,000 meals a year)—everything—was lost.
Mobilizing quickly, Director of Development Alex Roque set up an event and fundraising page in their DonorDrive Social Fundraising Software. News spread fast about their need and within 24 hours they raised $100,000 online from sources in New York City, across North America and around the world. They turned a disaster into quite a success story.
DonorDrive’s simple setup saves the day
Ali Forney staff responded immediately. While Director Carl Siciliano broke the story on Facebook, Director of Development Alex Roque, created a campaign and page in DonorDrive. In a time-critical instance like this, it’s important that nonprofits have hands-on control over their fundraising site. Alex was able to create a page for Sandy relief, make it live and start taking donations within minutes. Word spread across Facebook and Ali Forney raised $100,000 in 24 hours. Donations continued to pour in until they raised $450,000.
Spotting what works: Facebook
Alex was able to track success in DonorDrive as it happened.
We were tweeted and retweeted significantly. Celebrities picked up on it. Facebook was huge. It was the number one source of revenue.
DonorDrive’s up-to-the minute reporting gave him the data to make time-sensitive decisions.
Something great that DonorDrive offers is conversion. We were able to see conversion, what was trending and where the traffic was coming. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
Conversion helped determine what was working.
It told us that Facebook was trending and our biggest conversion was coming from Facebook, so lets do more on Facebook. So we really started tackling our Facebook network. We started coming up with posts and pushed the post talking about how important it was to share our story.
Landing the bigger fish
Alex and the Ali Forney Center staff strategically spoke to influencers on Facebook.
We really went after bigger people with bigger networks on Facebook telling them they can you follow and share this link.
Movement on Facebook became so big that even Facebook took notice.
Facebook themselves actually called us and said ‘we heard what happened and we want to help.’ That made it even more of great response.
The Power of Personal Campaigns
Driving the campaign through the Sandy page was hugely successful, but many supporters wanted to do more. With DonorDrive’s flexibility, Alex was able to turn the effort into a bigger campaign and empower supporters to create their own fundraising pages.
We raised $150,000 on Personal Campaign Pages.
DonorDrive’s Personal Campaigns gave supporters the ability to create their own campaigns with the proceeds going to Ali Forney. During this time there were a number of Personal Campaigns started around Sandy relief. The most notable was started by Jacob Tobia who said he’d run the mile across the Brooklyn Bridge in stiletto heels if he got $10,000 in donations. The campaign went viral and he beat his goal. Another Personal Campaign raised over $15,000.
From disaster to more donors
With crisis comes opportunity. For Ali Forney, that came in the form of more attention and new donors.
Pretty consistently 90% of our donations have come from Greater New York City area and 10% from across the country and the world. With Sandy we definitely saw an increase in the national donations.
DonorDrive’s built-in Google Juicer
Google Juice in an industry term for the potency a link has to get page rank.
Whenever you Google us we come up and our fundraising pages come up at the top of search results. That’s one thing that DonorDrive does that is extremely beneficial to any organization, fundraising or not. We have people who googled “homeless LGBT youth”, “LGBT Sandy”, or “Ali Forney Center." In spite of all the media coverage of Sandy at the time, Our DonorDrive Sandy donation page was the third or fourth in results.
Individual Fundraising Pages and Personal Campaigns also ranked high.
I tried testing other organizations using Blackbaud and other providers and they don’t have that. A Blackbaud page won’t come up. The fact that DonorDrive is able to figure that out so Google and other search engines find us so easily, that’s just really amazing and probably one of your biggest selling points. Keep it up. It’s really good.
DonorDrive makes it easy to give.
Less than two months later, despite the lack of construction resources in the city, the new Manhattan center was built and reopened.
The generosity of people and of the community that cares, especially in a situation like this, was punctuated by DonorDrive. DonorDrive allowed that generosity and that care to be shown in a very clear way. It really made it easy to see that love. We wouldn’t have had that with our previous software.
For the Ali Forney Center, DonorDrive gives them online fundraising software that makes event creation simple and has the seamless social integration necessary to send a campaign to viral.
DonorDrive has just been amazing. The minute I saw it I knew what it could do for us. I always tell my counterparts at other organizations it’s like the Apple of fundraising software. So pretty, so easy and so friendly to use.