Old Sol Music Hall is a nonprofit organization based out of Manchester, NH, that provides a performance venue and community center with the goal to contribute to positive social and environmental impact through the arts.
Anna Caron, Startup Coordinator for Old Sol Music Hall, shared some insights into the major success of their first-ever fundraising campaign during New Hampshire’s first Giving Day, NH Gives 2016.
What made NH Gives your most successful campaign?
Anna: “We have spent months intentionally building a community of supporters and this campaign was our first opportunity to ask for donations. In our opinion, it was a huge success because we were able to spend all of our time reaching out to potential donors and spreading our GiveGab page far and wide rather than developing an effective donation page.”
“GiveGab made it incredibly simple to fill in the blanks with our mission and campaign information, pop in a few fun photos and set our giving levels. Then we were ready to rock!”
What would you attribute to its success?
Anna: “The giving levels allowed potential donors to see how their dollars could transform into tangible impact. Our most frequent donor level was $25, which equated to 100 meals packaged during our Serve-a-thon.”
“We believe donors were encouraged to make a gift because the giving level buttons made the vision of the donation’s impact a reality.”
Could you walk us through your plan of action for this campaign?
Anna: “We have a unique story in that NH Gives Day was Old Sol Music Hall’s first-ever fundraising appeal as an organization. Also, our 501(c)(3) status is currently pending, and we were only able to secure our fiscal sponsor 24 hours prior to the giving day.”
“Needless to say, our plans came together rapidly and our team had an all-hands-on-deck approach for this fast-paced marathon of giving.”
How did you reach out to new donors?
Anna: “On NH Gives Day, we circulated our GiveGab page to our e-mailing list and social media audience. This helped us spread the word about our Summer Serve-a-thon and Concert event, and in turn, encourage new donors to support the event.”
“Using the giving levels as a focus point, we were able to successfully engage over 100 new donors to give at a level that made sense to them.”
How did you recruit your fundraising champions?
Anna: “Long before we started asking for donations, we began engaging community members in personal, face-to-face conversation about how to implement the unique vision for Old Sol: uniting people through music and service.
This included monthly community meetings that brought our community of Old Sol supporters together to contribute to the momentum. On the day of giving, we spread the word via our Old Sol Facebook page, Twitter account, and e-mailing list. Throughout the day, we also did plenty of one-on-one outreach.”
“One unique aspect of our outreach centered around NH Gives Day prizes.”
“As we ramped up our outreach before noon, we realized that we could be in the running for most dollars raised from noon to 6 PM, in addition to most donors overall. We messaged these potential prizes to our online communities which motivated many donors to give.”
How have you communicated with your donors following your campaign?
Anna: “Our new donor base involves a wide variety of individuals. Many are near and dear to our Manchester community and have been involved in supporting and spreading the vision of Old Sol from the very beginning. Others are friends and family from afar. Since NH Gives Day, we have interacted with them in a variety of ways:
“Mass thank yous via email and social media, one-on-one follow-up texts, emails and phone calls, and printed thank you with tax info.”
We’re in the process of creating postcards with photos from the Serve-a-thon and Concert!”
What did you learn from this campaign that you would implement again?
“We learned that if you set tangible, varied giving levels, donors will use them!”
“We will definitely find ways to implement this strategy again so that our donors know exactly how their generous donations are being used to achieve community impact through music and service.”
What’s your single best piece of advice for other nonprofits looking to walk away with a successful campaign?
“Make it really clear to your donors how their dollars will be spent by using giving levels.”