Nonprofit Champion: Horizon Health Services
Through GiveGab’s online giving platform, registered nonprofits are encouraged to set a monetary goal for each campaign they run. And quite often we’re amazed to see nonprofits who not only reach their goals, but sprint past them!
It’s as though their initial goals didn’t even stand a chance! So, we thought, what are the most successful nonprofits doing that other nonprofits could learn from? In pursuit of the answer, we started interviewing some of our most successful nonprofit champions, so we can share their fundraising secrets with you. You’re welcome!
Horizon Health Services is a nonprofit organization that provides recovery and support services to individuals affected by mental health and/or substance use disorders. They recently had a campaign through GiveGab called A Walk Towards a New Horizon, where they surpassed their fundraising goals by over ten thousand dollars, making them one of GiveGab’s most successful nonprofit champions!
In order to shed some light on the success of their campaign, we interviewed Christina, the Director of Corporate Communications at Horizon Health Services:
Q1: Your latest campaign for A Walk Towards a New Horizon exceeded its fundraising goal by over $10.5k. What, if anything, would you attribute to this great success?
A1: First and foremost, we had an incredible committee and our community supporters and internal supporters assisted with this success in such an immense way. They pushed out the website to all of their family and friends in order for us to maximize our fundraising.
We simply could not believe how much we raised. We tripled our amount raised in 2014. It is so unfortunate that substance use disorders and mental health disorders are affecting individuals and families as much as they are in our community, but Horizon is working each and every day to provide quality access to care and spread awareness about the resources available. Events like this walk have helped us reach even more community members and provide continued education on our services available.
Second, I have to say that the GiveGab platform was an incredible resource for us to have this year and I truly believe it is another reason we were able to be as successful as we were. The website was so easy to use and we heard GREAT feedback from our employees and community supporters. We had never used a platform like this in the past and it was not only worth it for the fundraising piece, but the customer service behind the scenes, ease of setup and the ease our donors had using it and passing it along was simply phenomenal.
Q2: Could you walk us through your plan of action for this particular campaign? ……………..
A2: We had very little expectations going into this campaign. We don’t ask for money very much from the community – we just want to be understanding and respectful of all that people have going on financially. However, I strongly feel that those who have a personal connection to our services or who know someone who has utilized them feels comfortable giving because they know the funds will go to a project or service that will continue to help our community members.
Q2(a): How far in advance was this campaign planned?
A2(a): We started planning the walk in June of 2015. So we planned it in 4 months.
Q2(b): What outside resources or partners (if any) did you work with?
A2(b): We did reach out for sponsorships to community organizations and individuals. We also had to work with local western New York vendors for setup and execution of the event.
Q2(c): What things needed to occur before it was initiated in order for it to be the success that it was? Did you follow a timeline?
A2(c): We formed a small but effective committee that met and put together a timeline of what we needed to do. Since this was our 2nd year, we were very aware of what items we needed for setup and how to plan for the amount of people we had in attendance.
Q3: Of the 305 donors for this campaign, about what percentage would you say were repeat donors vs. new?
A3: I would say about 20% were repeat and 80% were new donors. Again, the ease of the GiveGab platform and how simple it was to be able to donate was a huge win for why we were as successful as we were!
Q3(a): What efforts have you made to reach out to new donors and were any of them particularly successful?
A3(a): We really just tried to provide information to all of those interested by forwarding the link to our Giving site. We explained the nature of our walk, where the funds were going and provided statistics as to why we need the help that we do. We let our employees, friends and community supporters do the rest.
We also simply just posted the link to GiveGab on our social media sites, website, sent out internal emails to our employees and left the rest up to word of mouth.
Q4: How did you recruit your fundraising champions?
A4: The fundraising champions created their campaigns on their own. We did not ask anyone to be a champion but explained what they were if people were interested.
Q5: How would you describe your relationship with your donors?
A5: Our relationship is getting stronger each and every day. We try not to over ask and be respectful of everyone’s position. However, we constantly try to educate our donors and community members (who may not be donors yet ) to let them know where funds go when we do ask, what we need, why we need it and how it effects our services for the better.
Q5(a): How frequently do you interact with them?
A5(a): We interact with our donors about 3-4 times per year.
Q5(b): What medium(s) do you utilize most for communication? (Social media, email, direct mail)
A5(b): We use Social Media, Internal Emails to our employees (we have over 500 employees), Website and Blog.
Q5(c): How responsive and involved are your donors?
A5(c): Our donors are incredibly responsive and involved. They always are willing to donate their time and resources when needed. They are also incredible supporters and always assist us in pushing out our message and the services that we provide in the community. They understand our mission and vision and communicate that to those that may be unfamiliar with what we do.
Q5(d): How important would you rate your relationship with your donors to the success of this fundraising event?
A5(d): Our relationship with our donors in one of the most important relationships we cultivate. Not just for a financial donation, but to be able to have that support in the community. Our donors take on an advocacy role for us in the community and if we educate them appropriately and keep them informed about what is going on in our business, they will relay those messages to others who are looking to find out about our organization.
Q6: Was there anything you learned from this campaign that stood out as something you could implement again?
A6: I think when an organization provides a story and vision to the donor or a possible future donor it really is important for people to understand where the fundraising dollars are going. Its also incredibly important to provide statistics and data proving why we need the funding we need. We always provide a story and information about why we are asking to raise funds and where these needed funds will be put. After the campaign we give all donors an update as to how much was raised and where the funding is going to. That way it is crystal clear and everyone is aware of specifically where the funds from our event are being put to use.
Q7: What is your single best piece of advice for other nonprofits when it comes to launching a successful fundraising campaign?
A7: Create a realistic goal, but then utilize all of your resources (employees, committee members, staff, friends, family) and have them share your information with their friends/contacts.
Communicate clearly to all donors and supporters. Explain what your mission is and how to sign up for the fundraiser and donate. Be specific on how the money will be spent and how you will update everyone.
Also, tell your story and be honest about your need and why you need it. The community respects that and listens.
Lastly, we work for an organization that is so committed to excellence and quality care. They are behind our planning committee 100% when it comes to our fundraisers and help us succeed without putting any pressure on us. Everyone that works at Horizon wants to succeed and educate our community on what we do and why fundraising plays a vital role in our business. As we communicate to our employees, our employees in turn will ask their contacts and the support is simply incredible.
Congratulations to Horizon Health Services on your campaign success!
You are truly Nonprofit Champions