60K raised in donor funding
2000 more Twitter followers
2000 more Instagram followers
2900 Facebook members reached per month
Capitol Tech Solutions (CTS) helped guide them through the process of preparing for the Crowdfunding Campaign, consulting them through various strategies, and provided guidance on implementation. Their initial goal was to raise $30,000 for the entire campaign. Which would run for a period of seven weeks – August 15th, 2017, through October 3rd, 2017.
- Surpassed original goal of 30K to raise over 60K in donor funding.
- Reinvented how to promote awareness for cause to new and existing audiences.
- Grew social media account followership astronomically ahead of regular growth patterns during campaign.
In the beginning of the campaign, the climb to receiving donations was slow and steady; which validates the expectations in the first part of the goal – to promote the awareness about the campaign. As a few weeks went on, the Crowdfunding Team gained traction after analyzing what had worked.
The important thing to note about the success of the campaign was a process of developing a goal, constantly identifying where success could be found, and adapting to the behavior of the users across all the different platforms.
Phase 1 – Develop a Goal & Strategy
The goal and purpose this try around, was to try a new approach to raising funds for the cause by utilizing their social media channels effectively.
TPI had gathered a group of volunteers who were capable, enthusiastic, and passionate to hike 25 miles in a single trip around the Grand Canyon. This alone was enough to market to the target audience in order to ask for their support in an organization they believe in.
The goal for the month of August was to develop awareness for the campaign to potential donors. The goal was to highlight the humanitarian efforts and assistance that their generous donations would be to the mission of The Patriots Initiative. The goal for the month of September was to reflect that same mission, but acquire more donors with the awareness of the campaign freshly in their minds.
“Every campaign, no matter the cause or mission, needs to have a roadmap, as well as a calendar, to evaluate direction and progress.”
How would the Social Media Marketing Team reach out to supporters effectively, let alone the right ones? Fortunately, CTS had been helping TPI gain a strong followership with over two years of Social Media Growth to enhance their Brand Awareness. Capitol Tech Solutions had helped The Patriots Initiative garner a trusty following on their Social Media Network.
Phase 2 – Identify Target Persona Insight to Promote Campaign
Every social media platform presented it’s own strengths and barriers with promoting the campaign; however, it’s important to note that each campaign’s effectiveness is unique and cannot be generalized. For instance, we understood that if we were to seek out a large donation for the campaign, LinkedIn would be a great way to connect with executives and business owners alike with military background.
For smaller donations with a large audience, the other social media platforms are great to tap into. Instagram is a great way to engage with a community of family members who are emotionally engaged, charged, and fired up to support this type of campaign. Twitter’s followership identifies with users who are well informed and ready to respond to social and political issues; it’s safe to say that promoting the health and wellness of all military service members and veterans is something that’s a particular hot topic on this platform. Facebook allows for a basic and simple way to share your brand with your followers with engaging posts and sharing other content alike. Each platform played an integral role in the success in promoting the campaign.
After meeting with The Patriots Initiative, our team developed a comprehensive Social Media Marketing Strategy that focused on four primary pieces:
- Promote the Crowdfunding Campaign through the donation platform FirstGiving.
- Curate original content (video, photos, team member testimonials, etc.) for a compelling campaign mission.
- Consistently research and evaluate the successes or shortcomings of the previous week’s strategy.
- Implement what worked, scrap what didn’t work.
It was crucial that the team carefully conduct ethical outreach methods to create trusting relationships with people who had good faith in The Patriots Initiative.
Phase 3 – Strategic & Technical Implementation
Before the Campaign Outreach had initiated, weekly meetings were scheduled to assess and evaluate the findings from each Social Media Platform. Social media marketing only works by understanding the behaviors and attitudes of your followers on their platform of choice. Our outreach team needed to conduct careful evaluation regarding what was known as normal behavior in response and followership. Each platform presented it’s own challenges and successes through trial and error.
Facebook Sharing & Promotion Details
Despite the data reflecting the best performing month of The Patriots Initiative’s Facebook activity, very little donation activity could be credited to the platform itself. We noticed that it was the least active platform in comparison to Instagram and Twitter. It was a great way to keep gaining momentum though, because it’s important to know and understand that each campaign is unique in its own facets. Depending on the type of campaign, during a certain time of year, or whether or not it’s supporting a particular cause, the campaign team needs to intuitively make decisions that will yield success wherever it can be found.
Twitter Sharing & Promotion Details
The Capitol Tech Solutions Social Media Marketing Team made sure to note that in several tweets and direct messages to the followers, that even just a single $1 is a worthy contribution. With that, we were able to account for over 15+ donations from Twitter alone, all ranging between $1 – $150.
Instagram Sharing & Promotion Details
One of the strategies that we utilized was to reach out to people who had liked or commented on the posts. We found that it was successful in the sense that people were more inclined to donate when they found our posts interesting and exciting. Like Twitter, we encouraged that any $ donation amount was a sufficient contribution to TPI’s humanitarian efforts. We were able to credit Instagram towards 15+ donations that accounted for over $500; the donations ranged between $1 – $100.
LinkedIn & Email List Details
Team members who also worked for The Patriots Initiative were able to leverage personal contacts who had affiliated themselves with the organization before. Larger donations are harder to obtain from followers with little to no connection of any previous involvement, which is why it’s always important to tap into your personal contact database.
“Utilizing a professional network such as LinkedIn is a great way to find other executives & Members of organizations such as TPI.”
All in all, $1,250+ can be directly attributed to the use of TPI’s contact database for outreach. We found that even though there were some people that hadn’t donated to the campaign via LinkedIn, they were now connected to supporting TPI moving forward by connecting on this platform.
TPI Hiking Team Outreach
The TPI & CTS Crowdfunding Team met in the beginning stages of the campaign to discuss how we could coach the hikers in collecting donations. Our team developed a strategy for reaching out to family and friends of the hikers; which resulted in the 6 hikers accounting for over $61,428 in donations. To say their efforts were successful is an understatement.
Phase 4 – Accounting for Outside Current Events
It was without question that the campaign had to go on hold for a portion of the month of September out of respect for those who had just experienced complete devastation from the hurricanes. It also goes without mentioning that the team halted the progress of the campaign when the Vegas shooting on October 1st had occurred.
Both TPI and CTS felt it would be best to direct donation efforts and attention over to support groups lending a helping hand to those in need. As two organizations that focus on the solemn humanitarian efforts of the United States, it was only appropriate to spread awareness that others were immediately in need of help and support.
“Knowing & understanding that something can inadvertently halt the progress of your campaign is imperative for success”
There was no way to predict multiple disastrous events could have occurred, but our teams both learned that preparing for anything is of the utmost importance. Despite feeling like you’re prepared, when conducting a Crowdfunding Campaign, you must be prepared with Plans B, C, & D readily at your disposal.
Phase 5 – Analyzing the Donation Results
Other than the fact that TPI more than doubled their expected Crowdfunding expectations, they’re social media presence has grown immensely larger than their initial growth plan. They grew in the following areas just by focusing on the Crowdfunding Campaign:
- Twitter – 2,000 more followers (1,500 more than the monthly average in their growth plan).
- Instagram – 2,000 more followers (1,500 more than the monthly average in their growth plan).
- Facebook – TPI’s metrics across the board broke record highs in Reach (avg. of 2,914 / month) and Engagement (Avg. of 143 / month in post engagement) to current followers, as well as non-followers during the campaign.
The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Challenge was positive in every aspect for TPI, especially for the brand recognition it received from all over the United States of America. Being that it’s a patriotic cause that promotes the humanitarian efforts of honorable organizations, we couldn’t be happier to know our nation’s troops and veterans will benefit from this cause.
Phase 6 – Ongoing Website Maintenance & User Experience Required for Further Success
Alli Hillgren, Co-Director of Marketing at The Patriots Initiative, had this to say about working with Capitol Tech Solutions during the Crowdfunding Campaign:
“Outside of friends and family networks, true crowdfunding is a unique, challenging landscape. It takes expert communication skills, bravery and perseverance – like any fundraising campaign really does. But, it also requires extreme resourcefulness. We managed to far exceed our crowdfunding goal, and a big part of it was thanks to the unwavering devotion and true passion from Capitol Tech Solutions’ crowdfunding consultants, Ilana Harkavy and Steven Vance. They embraced The Patriot’s Initiative cause like it was their very own. We are honored and humbled to have worked on this campaign together with the two of them.”
Until the next Crowdfunding campaign, CTS will continue to grow TPI’s social media accounts and brand awareness. We firmly believe that the best results come from a genuine interest in the user, and the rest will follow.
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