This year we hosted our first Give to the Max Day in the DC area. The entire staff was churning out graphics and code, writing blog posts, and coordinating logistics to help make the event successful for the nonprofits involved.
So when we saw a small nonprofit rock the day in fundraising, we were amazed and proud at the fact that these guys did so well.
Little Lights Urban Ministries (LLUM) is a non-profit Christian ministry that serves the children and their parents in Southeast, DC.
The nonprofit has 12 full time staff, 19 part time staff, and another 19 interns that serve kids in afterschool tutoring programs, Bible studies, choir practice, and fun group activities. Helping these children and their families by providing a supportive environment is at the core of LLUM’s mission.
Before signing up for Give to the Max Day, LLUM worked on their email list, making sure it was up to date and accurate, and maintaining continuous communications with their community. They also engaged fans on social media, so when the time came for them to activate their community, their supporters were ready.
But even though Give to the Max Day was an online event, LLUM recognized the need to mail out postcards to help reach more of their supporters.
“For any campaign we do, we try to follow the ‘Rule of 7’ [to] ask and remind 7 times, thank 7 times,” said Jonny Moy, LLUM’s Development Assistant. “The postcards were an insurance of sorts, making sure everyone knew about the opportunity . . . We also knew that we had a lot of donors/prospects who aren’t as tech-savvy and figured it’d be good to use a more traditional measure of communication.”
The postcards were helpful and useful in different scenarios. They handed them out at difference events and business venues around the area.
“We ‘armed’ our volunteers with stacks of the postcards and they handed them out at Bible study, small group meetings, or to their coworkers and friends,” said Jonny. “This provided the opportunity for people to share their involvement with Little Lights.”
LLUM also tapped into YouTube by creating a short video promoting their participation in Give to the Max Day.
“One of our staff, Tim, made the videos in-house,” said Jonny. “ We knew through [social] metrics that our Little Lights family tends to click on videos and pictures more than anything else.”
It was a success.
“We received a lot of compliments on the videos after the November 9th, and it seems that people really enjoyed them,” Jonny said.
LLUM quickly identified their outreach stronghold in Facebook and focused their engagement efforts there. They encouraged sharing among their fans by posting frequent updates and media (e.g. pictures, videos, links) that quickly spread beyond their network.
Emails also went out two weeks before Give to the Max Day, which helped communicate to those who weren’t connected with LLUM on Facebook or Twitter, and reinforced the ask for those who are.
Steve Park, LLUM’s Executive Director, said their original goal was to raise $15,000 in donations and win the $10,000 Entrepreneurial Award.
They won the entrepreneurial award, but they surpassed their goal beyond any expectation, winning an additional six Golden Ticket Awards (at $1,000 each) and taking home the $25,000 Grand Prize for Most Donors.
“[This event] is great for small organizations with a small following,” said Steve. “The fact that it was online was an advantage for us.”
Little Lights Urban Ministries raised $37,388 in donations with 729 donors—almost 200 people more than the second place winner. In total, LLUM raised a little over $78,000 in just 24 hours.
What does this mean for Little Lights? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.
Because of their excellent work beforehand, and constant crowd pumping throughout the day, and wonderful work with children in our hometown, Little Lights is hands down Razoo’s pick for 2011’s Nonprofit of the Year.