Resource Library

Sister District Madison Case Study: Virtual Fundraiser

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Raising for: Robyn Vining
Date: Sunday, May 3, 2020
Time: 2-3pm
Attendees: approx. 25
Total raised: $4,546 ($2,323 for candidate + $2,223 matching funds for Sister District)

What were your steps to put the party together?

  • In early 2020, Neal suggested we secure Rita as a guest speaker.
  • In February, the District Captains decided on a date based on general guidance from SD about timing.
  • We were given a matching gift to Sister District Project for all funds raised by Robyn.
  • We requested Robyn to attend the event.
  • The week before, we met and discussed the flow of the event and divided out the responsibilities. We decided on a fundraising goal and created a thermometer that we used in our follow up social media.
  • The day of the event, we held a dry run with just the DC’s.

How did you recruit for the party?

  • Created a Facebook invitation (shared the invite on our DC personal FB pages).
  • Shared multiple Instagram posts.
  • Sent out invitations via Mailchimp to the entire distribution list.
  • Called through our volunteer list (2 of the DC’s split the list) with script from Taylor; left messages for no answers.
  • At least one of the Madison volunteers sent an email to her personal friends (60 of them!) with our email invite and a personal statement of why SD is important to her.
  • We had “Party Points” that were designed to make the Zoom call fun.
  • Our candidate shared our Instagram and FB posts the day of the event.

How did you confirm/remind RSVPs?

  • Sent out emails the week of the event.
  • Sent out an email the morning of the event via Mailchimp to the entire distribution list.

What worked?

  • Do a dry run so that everyone knows the part they need to play in making it run smoothly.
  • We had a timed event agenda and we stuck to it. After we introduced our speakers, we told them, “you have 10 minutes.” We had people ask questions in the chat, so we could keep on time in the Q&A portion.
  • Our candidate spoke in such a heartfelt way. We received a lot of positive feedback regarding her specifically.
  • After the event, the candidate sent out an email to her campaign distribution list, which touted the benefit of donating using our link and how it would benefit Sister District through the match.

What challenges did you encounter and how did you navigate?

  • The candidate hadn’t had her meeting with the SD field organizer, so she had a lot of questions right before the event that I was not sure how to answer. I got on a call with Neal and he walked me through how to communicate with her.
  • There was some confusion about the matching gift in that it was for Sister District’s general operating funds and not for the candidate. We made sure that once we found that out we made sure to clarify in all our communications (email/social media) and also directly with the candidate.
  • After the dry run, we decided the time for the candidate to join should be moved up. Our candidate had given me her cell phone number after HQ had connected us for the purposes of this event, so I made the request that morning. Thankfully, it ended up working out.

If you do this again, what would you do differently?

  • We would have collected cell phone numbers on our Zoom registration so that we could have called/texted to remind.
  • We would have used the Zoom meeting email reminder function for those people who had already registered.
  • I would have spent more time learning about Zoom functionality.
  • I would not have done the “party points” because much of it was based on things that we had to be able to see (ie. people wearing or having with them (a drink) and with a larger Zoom party, it was hard to do that given that our agenda didn’t really have time to check in with everyone.

What suggestions do you have for teams planning and executing similar parties?

  • When you send out reminder emails via Mailchimp, make clear that it is going to everyone, so include a statement that says something like, “please disregard if you have already signed up.”
  • Having an icebreaker on Zoom is helpful to get people used to the chat function and gives time for others to get on the call.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from HQ.

What suggestions do you have for staff in preparing teams to plan/execute similar parties?

  • Having generic scripts available for calling.
  • Help assess the ideal schedule in advance of making the candidate request, since you need to provide an exact time for them to join.
  • For newer teams, it was very helpful to have a dry run with a SD organizer.

Invitation and reminder communications:

Mailchimp reminder email
Instagram reminder post