The last year has seen a lot of nonprofits dipping their toes into online fundraising for the first time. Spinal CSF Leak Foundation was among those numbers when they ran their first peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on CauseVox.
In years past their annual Duradash fundraiser raised about $5000 when through their event. In 2021, they used CauseVox to create their Duradash peer-to-peer campaign and came away with over $30,000 through their virtual activity challenge!
Let’s take a look at how they raised 6x more with their event:
Background On Spinal CSF Leak Foundation
Spinal CSF Leak Foundation is a non-profit organization that’s just 7 years old and already making huge strides. Their mission is to reduce the suffering of persons affected by intracranial hypotension or spinal cerebrospinal fluid leak through awareness, education, support, advocacy, and connection. As a relatively young organization, they entered the last two years of COVID without significant experience in online fundraising, and no prior experience running a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Historically, they’ve run a fundraiser that earned around $5000 each year through a race that people would run on their own. For 2021 they decided to shake things up and make it an activity challenge through the CauseVox platform instead.
After so many months of pandemic struggle, Andrea Buchanan, Executive Director of Spinal CSF Leak Foundation, shared that they were nervous to run a fundraiser. She says they were concerned that people were exhausted, unable to give, or just hunkering down to wait out the pandemic.
But what she found when they started their fundraiser was that all it took was asking. She said, “Don’t be afraid to ask. We were really grateful and surprised to see that the support from our community didn’t diminish at all.”
What Made it Work
Spinal CSF Leak Foundation generally keeps their fundraising virtual. Andrea shares “Everything we do is virtual since many in our community are bed-bound. In the past, we’ve never had a peer-to-peer platform. Instead it’s been thrown together on social media.” They weren’t able to host the event last year, but after finding CauseVox they jumped into peer-to-peer fundraising with gusto.
They invited individuals to create a personal fundraising page (it took less than 60 seconds!) and share via email and social media. 40 amazing fundraisers signed on to help raise money, with one super-volunteer raising over $13,000 by herself.
Each year they hold an event called Duradash. The name comes from the “dura” matter in the brain, which is where spinal leaks happen. Historically they’ve made right about $5000 each year. This year they raised over $30,000.
Andrea credits their success to a few important elements: the platform, the ease of administration, the updates, having a toolkit, and the training that CauseVox provides. Let’s take a look at each of these elements to see how they worked for the Spinal CSF Leak Foundation.
Here’s what Andrea said about her experience, “Thanks to CauseVox, our duradash event was able to raise $30,000! I think the last time we did this event, in 2019, we maybe raised $5k? So this was a huge success, and we have been really pleased with CauseVox both on the back end and the user side.” Andrea also noted that the funds raised came from both online and offline sources, and it was easy for her to add offline donations on the admin side and her fundraisers and donors loved it.
Andrea also shared that the personal fundraiser enjoyed their experience in the middle of their campaign, “Our Duradash fundraisers are really loving the CauseVox platform! Everyone I’ve spoken with has found it easy to use, and even though the event doesn’t officially start until May 29, we’ve already raised over $10,000, which is just fantastic.”
Having a great fundraising event platform that is easy for you and easy for your donors can make all the difference in a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Your supporters are already taking time to raise money on your behalf: you don’t want them to have to fight irritating technology.
CauseVox helped Andrea run their Duradash fundraiser with ease, and accessed our library of free webinars and resources to help plan her campaign and generate fundraising ideas. A platform goes beyond the features: it’s also the support you get.
Learn more about how you can use CauseVox for your fundraising event and get similar results!
You may be a fundraising professional, but in all likelihood your supporters aren’t. That’s why it’s essential to provide them with resources and tools so that they can fundraise effectively. Andrea shares “We created a toolkit for participants to use, which has also been met with rave reviews—people very much appreciate that resource.”
Just like the right platform, a toolkit makes it easier for your fundraisers to go out and do what they need to do: connect with friends and family and ask for donations. It empowers fundraisers to feel confident and supported throughout the fundraiser.
Of course no peer-to-peer fundraiser would be successful without the supporters. Andrea recruited a group of super volunteers that she called “Durables” to amp up excitement on social media. Not only did she identify her most powerful supporters, she also made sure to incorporate all the fundraisers throughout the campaign.
“We began highlighting some of the creative and passionate ways in which people are planning to participate in a ‘duradash spotlight’ feature that just launched.” This spotlight idea makes fundraisers feel recognized and thanked, plus it shows off the successes they’re having in order to inspire others.
One thing that was incredibly important to Andrea from the beginning was making this fundraiser accessible to people with a wide variety of abilities. “Our activity metric is set to “minutes” so that people can track/log the minutes they spend doing whatever activity, rather than tracking miles. There are participants who are healthy enough to plan to walk on a treadmill, or participate in group exercise, or bike ride; and there are participants who are unable to be physically active who will be dedicating their 150-minutes goal to raising awareness and sharing information about SIH/spinal CSF leak, or to hitting a target word count in their writing, or to meditating and working on themselves emotionally.”
CauseVox’s activity metric supported this flexibility perfectly: participants could track minutes related to any activity and share more information on their fundraiser page.
One of the most powerful elements of online fundraising is the incredibly low cost to run your event. There were no costs for Spinal CSF Leak Foundation except for CauseVox’s Standard plan, which features 0% in platform fees.
They were able to cut costs by choosing not to create and mail out medals, and instead created personalized digital medals for each participant (with incredibly sweet awards like “most cats petted on a walk”).
Moving medals digital kept the costs at almost nothing and still gave a thank you to fundraisers that they loved. With such low costs, the ROI was astronomical: significantly more than it would be if they had paid for a location, food, print, and more.
Hear more from Andrea Buchanan, Executive Director @ Spinal CSF Leak Foundation Executive Director about her tips for pulling off a successful fundraiser, presented at our Digital Fundraising Summit:
Andrea says that Spinal CSF Leak Foundation is hooked on virtual fundraising. The most important question for them is where their community is, and it’s clear that most of the community is at home on their phones and computers. The strongest fundraising strategy will meet those donors where they are.
As for next year, Andrea says “This experience with CauseVox has made me very confident about moving forward with this.” They’re planning on running a similar event next year after the wild success they found this year.
Raise More Money With Less Effort on CauseVox
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Typical fundraising software is clunky, complex, and contract-bound, but CauseVox actually tidies up your digital fundraising. Run donation pages, crowdfunding, and peer to peer fundraising in less time, without hassle. You’ll see huge payoff with less effort.