- Digital communications & marketing
- Donor Engagement
Infant Crisis Services (ICS) is an Oklahoma-based nonprofit organization founded in 1984. The organization focuses on serving babies and toddlers under the age of four, providing them with important resources like food and diapers. Over the last several years, ICS has held a simple 10-day fundraising campaign that, most recently, raised more than $14,000.
To learn more about the planning process behind the campaign, we interviewed Jo Lynne Jones, ICS’ director of development and communications. Jo graciously answered questions about this campaign’s development, execution, and results over the last seven years.
Keep reading to learn how ICS’ success can be replicated in your organization.
Interview with Jo Lynne Jones of Infant Crisis Services
Campaign goals and planning
Interviewer: Tell me about Infant Crisis Services’ $10 in 10 Days campaign.
Jo: Infant Crisis Services launched $10 in 10 Days in 2009 as our inaugural digital campaign.
The annual campaign is centered on a brief video that highlights the impact each $10 donation makes to ICS and its beneficiaries. The video is pushed out during a 10-day period through targeted emails and social media. We’ve found it to be a quick, easy, and fun way to motivate our supporters and engage new donors.
Interviewer: What inspired you to add this short-term campaign to ICS’ already busy fundraising agenda?
Jo: Back then, we didn’t have a digital drive of any sort, and we were looking for a way to grow our agency’s online footprint. We also aspired to bring in new donors, build our email list, and, of course, raise funds.
We were successful on all counts. In 2009, we raised $12,460, gained 251 new donors, and added 433 email addresses of new and existing donors to our list—a launch trifecta!
Interviewer: How did you come to the $10 in 10 Days approach?
Jo: We were intrigued with campaigns that tied their total giving goal to a short-term period (e.g. $25,000 in 25 days). Then, through brainstorming with our PR coordinator, we realized we could do it even better by making the giving goal personal to each donor. That’s how $10 in 10 Days was born.
We also knew that $10 was a relatively insignificant amount for an individual donor, but could make a huge difference to one of our tiny clients. For example, $10 can buy a can of formula or a package of diapers for a baby in need.
Interviewer: Did you face any resistance to launching this campaign from your colleagues, ICS board members, or other stakeholders?
Jo: Not really. I embrace change and love trying something new. Our board and team members are used to that from me at this point!
Interviewer: Great precedent to set! I would urge other nonprofits to follow suit.
Campaign creation and results
Interviewer: So, several years later, $10 in 10 Days is still going strong. What kind of results did you see this year?
Jo: This year, we raised $14,020 from 166 donors. Not quite a record, but pretty close.
A few years ago, we partnered with a local company, Valliance Bank, that matches our campaign total in full. We highlight this match in our video and other campaign promotion and, as you can imagine, this match has significantly boosted our results over the last three years.
Donors love that their contributions are matched; it’s a real motivation for them. It’s also a real win for the company that provides the match. We feature its logo at the end of our video, mention the company in all campaign emails, and tag its Facebook page in our social media outreach.
Interviewer: The campaign incorporates so many moving pieces. What are all the components and channels?
Jo: We typically start with the video, the core of our campaign. Our first decision is what it is going to look like and how it’s going to feel. Sometimes it’s upbeat; other times it tugs at heartstrings.
Once we write and shoot the video, we:
- Set campaign goals.
- Write and schedule a series of emails featuring the video, the impact of a donation, and a request for recipients to spread the word to family and friends.
- Develop daily social media posts highlighting the impact of a donation.
- Design a campaign donation landing page that features several levels of giving, with the impact of each gift.
- Write the automated thank-you email that encourages donors to share the video via their social media accounts.
- Update our website with a homepage banner that links to the $10 in 10 Days campaign site.
- Revise our $10 in 10 Days website with new messages and video.
- Write and disseminate a news release to local media outlets to generate earned media coverage.
You’ll see that everything is done in advance. It’s the only way to manage such an intense campaign.
Interviewer: How has the campaign (and results) evolved since its introduction in 2009?
Jo: Funny you should ask! We decided to make this year’s video and messaging almost identical to the first campaign. We find that familiarity works in our favor. That’s the beauty of a recurring campaign. There’s no need for a full overhaul each year; just build on what worked well.
Our campaign results are similar too. We raise between $10,000 and $15,000 and add close to 100 new donors to our email list each year.
Interviewer: Any surprises along the way?
Jo: Yes! We’ve had many campaign donors sign up for monthly giving. And this year we had a donor who gave $10 daily for each of the ten days—another unexpected outcome from the campaign.
We love to get creative giving ideas from our donors.
Interviewer: At this point, what time, talent, and budget does it take to run the annual $10 in 10 days campaign?
Jo: We begin planning the campaign several months in advance. Content-wise, we have to write the video script, emails, and social media posts. I share these duties with our communications coordinator and graphic designer.We hire a professional videographer to produce the video. He’s shot every $10 in 10 Days video for us since the beginning for a generously-discounted fee of $250 because we’ve built a relationship with him. His fee is the only direct cost for the campaign.
Advice for other organizations
Interviewer: What’s the best advice you can share with fundraisers considering launching their own $10 in 10 Days?
Jo: Two things. First, get creative! Every year, I gather a few staff members together to brainstorm our video concept. You’d be surprised at all of the wonderful ideas we generate. In fact, sometimes it’s the person who thinks he or she is the least creative who suggests the idea we go with.
Second, your campaign doesn’t have to have a professionally-shot video. Think about featuring multiple short video clips that are shot on a smartphone.
I’ve found that video is crucial to campaign success, no matter how you produce it. At ICS, we raised eight times more when we integrated video into our campaign than when we didn’t. Just be creative and have fun!
We want to thank Jo for sharing her insights. The most important takeaway from this interview can be boiled down into one sentence: It doesn’t have to be so complicated! All you need is a committed staff, a few creative ideas, and a willingness to try something new.
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