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Nonprofit Champion: Bubba from Ithaca Underground

Ithaca Underground is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a sustainable and supportive environment for people of all ages to express themselves through art and music outside of the mainstream.

Bubba Crumrine, board president, shared with us the details behind his most successful fundraising campaign.

Ithaca Underground

What would you consider to be your most successful campaign and why?

Bubba:  So far, 2015’s Giving Is Gorges campaign was our best to date, raising $935 in just one day.

What would you attribute to this great success?

Bubba:  The urgency of a single day event motivates our supporters to act quickly and spread the word. Having the visibility for our organization to be found among other not-for-profits is invaluable.

Ithaca Underground Walk us through your plan of action for this campaign

Bubba:  This was our first crowdfunding campaign, so it came up with relatively short notice, thanks to the help of one of our stand-out volunteers and Development committee members. She and that team and board banded together to get our message and branding up quickly, for an effective look at what we provide to our community.

We worked with Giving Is Gorges, alongside numerous other local organizations such as Cinemapolis, CSMA, and State Theatre. We rallied our outreach team and social media volunteers to spread the word through our newsletter, word of mouth, and our various social media outlets, as well as their personal pages. We were receiving donations well past midnight the day of the campaign.  

Of the donors for this campaign, about what percentage would you say were repeat donors versus new?

Bubba:  We saw many new donors, as well as donors who were no longer in the area, who can’t always contribute to our physical space events.

What efforts have you made to reach out to new donors and were any of them particularly successful?

Bubba:  We are continuing to broaden our development team and donor cultivation strategies.

How did you recruit your fundraising champions?

Bubba:  Social media, word of mouth, friends of friends, and asks from those who have signed up for our newsletter.

How would you describe your relationship with your donors? How frequently do you interact with them?

Bubba:  Our relationship with our donors is in its infancy. We are a relatively new not-for-profit, with 9 years of history. We primarily communicate via digital means currently, outside of sponsor development, but we are looking to grow.

Was there anything you learned from this campaign that stood out as something you could implement again?

Bubba:  Knowing about our one-day campaign options far in advance now has provided us with considerably more time to prepare.

What is your single best piece of advice for other nonprofits when it comes to launching a successful fundraising campaign?

Bubba:  Take the time to prepare and find those vested in your organization, who are outside your organization, to be proponents of your campaign.

Congratulations to Ithaca Underground on your Fundraising Success!

 You are truly Nonprofit Champions

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