Laura Collazo, United States Coordinator for The Bienvenido Project, talks with GlobalGiving about how her organization inspired recurring donors and used new tools to raise more than $7,000 in the June 2017 Accelerator.
The Bienvenido Project earned the #3 spot for recurring donors in the 2017 June Accelerator, a virtual crowdfunding training program for nonprofits. Laura Collazo of Bienvenido shares her strategies in a Q+A with GlobalGiving.
Q: Tell us a little about The Bienvenido Project.
A: The project is located in the outskirts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It began in 2008 feeding about 15 kids lunch every day and now has grown into a program that provides care for over 300 impoverished Dominican and Haitian youth. We have a really small staff—it’s Veronica and one cook, her name is Violetta, and she takes care of providing meals for the feeding program five days a week. Now, we’re partnering with GlobalGiving to be able to continue to support the program.
Q: You placed third for organizations in the June Accelerator with the most recurring donors. How did you inspire donors to set up recurring, monthly donations?
A: Something I think worked well was contacting people directly. We did send out group emails, but also we reached out to people in a personal email and asked for specific amounts. We focused on an ask of $25 because we wanted to hit that 40-donor mark. That was a small enough amount, but it has a really big impact in our program—it cares for one child for a whole month. We also asked people if they would consider giving that as a recurring donation, which seemed to be successful for us.
Q: What aspects of your Accelerator social media strategy worked well?
A: There are a couple things I think worked really well. In one of the webinars GlobalGiving mentioned to use Canva and Hootsuite. They were both new resources to me, so I spent time learning the basics of them and both were very helpful in giving the content we posted on social media a more professional look. Hootsuite helped us to plan ahead and make sure we had content on our Facebook page or Instagram on the days we were busy.
Q: Anything you thought could have gone better?
A: I wrote about 70 individuals the day before the Accelerator Bonus Day and most of the people who gave donated that night and not the next day, even though I wrote ‘donate tomorrow’ multiple times in the email. We obviously are thankful for those donations, but missed the opportunity to have the money go a little bit farther. So, I think next time I wouldn’t reach out to individuals the night before. I would do it the morning of.
Q: What would you say was the highlight of the Accelerator experience for The Bienvenido Project?
A: I would say our highlight was working with GlobalGiving! I was really encouraged by the staff and found you all to be very helpful, especially watching GlobalGiving interact with people on Facebook as concerns came up with individuals and the support you all offered. I didn’t expect it to be so encouraging and exciting, but it made me really want to graduate from the Accelerator not just for the benefit to our program in general but to continue to partner with GlobalGiving.
Q: Was there anything about the Accelerator experience that surprised you?
A: I was surprised by how much the webinars really encouraged and motivated me. The information was not necessarily new to me, but it reminded me that I was on the right track. Also, we’re a really small organization so most of the time we are by ourselves and that can be lonely and discouraging, so I was really surprised by the amount of encouragement we received, even indirectly just from doing the webinars and watching how GlobalGiving supports organizations.
Q: If you had one piece of advice for future Accelerator participants, what would it be?
A: One thing that really helped me was the reminder that every dollar you raise is one more dollar than you had before you started. I think this really encouraged me on those days when I thought we were never going to reach the $5,000, to remember that our goal is to graduate but even if we don’t all this effort is still worthwhile. For us, $25 provides food, education, and tutoring for one child for one month, so I focused on celebrating every time we raised $25 and thought, “Okay, that’s one more time that one child is going to benefit!” Thinking this helped me keep a healthy perspective and not get overwhelmed looking at this really big number of raising $5,000 from 40 donors.
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