Arlington Academy of Hope: A GlobalGiving Success Story

Arlington Academy of Hope: A GlobalGiving Success Story

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Title 1

Arlington Academy of Hope (AACase Study_AAH_Blog_3_Photo 1H) is a small, nonprofit located in Arlington, Virginia, that helps support  children living in the Bududa district of Eastern Uganda reach their full potential by providing them with access to quality education and health services. In 1995, the organization’s founders John and Joyce Wanda relocated to Arlington, Virginia. There, they witnessed the high level of education their children received in the public school system and were inspired to create the same experience for students in Uganda. In 1999, they began providing financial resources for education purposes to a handful of students in local schools, but they wanted to do more, so in 2004 they established a primary school in the village of Bumalukani, and in 2015 about 350 students are enrolled.

 

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Title 2Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Photo 2AAH’s primary school grew rapidly, both in the number of students it was supporting and the number of graduating students eligible to attend secondary school. By 2006, 100% of AAH’s seventh graders were passing their national exams and qualifying for admission to secondary schools throughout Uganda. While the AAH team celebrated this milestone, they faced a new challenge. How could they ensure that their primary school graduates attended and completed secondary school? They badly wanted to support their students beyond primary school but found that they did not have the resources to do so. AAH has a solid base of donors and supporters in the United States, but the increasing number of students eligible for secondary school would require them to raise funds quickly and look outside their existing network.

 

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Title 3

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Quote 1In order to grow their programs AAH’s Executive Director Maureen Dugan knew they needed to increase their visibility and find a broader donor base. Maureen searched for a crowdfunding platform that would help the organization grow their donor network and provide hands on customer support. For Maureen and her team, that platform is GlobalGiving. In 2012, AAH joined GlobalGiving’s September Open Challenge.“I had no prior experience with online fundraising; it was not a part of my skillset when I came to AAH,” explained Maureen. But she soon found that GlobalGiving specialized in working with organizations new to crowdfunding. “What’s great is that GlobalGiving works with organizations at all different levels.The GG staff is very approachable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and call in,” Maureen stated.

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Photo 4By explaining the potential of a partnership with GlobalGiving to their supporters,  the AAH team was able to get them behind their Open Challenge campaign, and they raised almost $7,000 during the Open Challenge. Due to more donors and increased funding, 100% of AAH primary school graduates have gone on to secondary schools since 2012! Rachel, who began as an AAH primary school student, is now entering her third year at university. She credits AAH for her success as a student: “Before AAH, I just assumed that after 7th grade, I would get married. That is what all my older sisters did. That was all I knew. Now, I am in university and will have a career helping others.”

 

Case Study_AAH_Blog_4_Title 4

Maureen and the AAHCase Study_AAH_Blog_3_Quote 2 team are now crowdfunding experts! Due to their hard work and open communication with the GlobalGiving staff the AAH team quickly became a Superstar organization that actively participates in GlobalGiving’s programs. “GlobalGiving is making us a more effective organization because of what the team asks us to do and by the tools and information they share. GlobalGiving also increases the visibility of our organization, even though we are small”, Maureen said. Maureen has made learning from GlobalGiving’s tools and programs like the Online Fundraising Academy an investment  and priority. Maureen shared her experience with the Online Fundraising Academy, “GG has brought many new donors to us and enabled many youths to go to school as a result. I would say that the Fundraising Academy was an absolute lifesaver for us.”

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_NumbersAs of July 2015, the team has raised more than $300,000 on the GlobalGiving platform, including $15,681 in GlobalGiving’s July Partner Rewards Bonus Day.  AAH’s crowdfunding success has allowed them to provide each of their students with a secondary education and the greater Bumwalukani community of schools with additional resources ensuring that students like Rachel will continue their education.

 

ph_14409_56870

Case Study_AAH_Blog_3_Quote 3

 

All photo credit to AAH

Written in collaboration by Karis Ailabouni, Jenn Bell, and Emma Park, and Katherine  Sammons

Designed by Emma Park 

Feedback Series, Part Four: The May Pro-Rated Bonus Day

Feedback Series, Part Four: The May Pro-Rated Bonus Day

We’re now in the fourth week of our Feedback Series! In our last two posts, we told you about different mechanisms that GlobalGiving uses to receive feedback: the Project Leader Survey and our Leadership Council. This week, we’re eager to share an example of how we have used your feedback to experiment within an existing program at GlobalGiving.

It all started with feedback…

This past May, GlobalGiving hosted its first-ever Pro-Rated Bonus Day. This is the biggest change we’ve made to our matching campaigns in almost 5 years!

Why did we make sure a drastic change? We have received feedback from Project Leaders and from donors that the Bonus Days would be so much better if funds didn’t run out and they could guarantee that the donations would be matched. Each time funds run out before the end of the day, donors get frustrated that they missed the opportunity to get the matching, and for organizations that plan their fundraising around Bonus Days and plan on getting those donations, this can be a real problem.

We have also received feedback that the start time of 9 am Washington, DC time is disadvantageous to certain donors who might still be asleep or may even be getting ready to go to bed! With donors all across the globe, a single start time that pleases everyone is just about impossible to find.

So…how can we do this without having unlimited funds? With the help of GlobalGiving’s 2014 Leadership Council, the idea of the Pro-Rated Bonus Day surfaced.  We worked with Project Leaders to design a campaign to counteract this drawback of the Bonus Day. Read our Leadership Council blog post for more details here.

Quick overview of the Bonus Day:

The Pro-Rated structure created a way for us to match all donations on Bonus Day at a Pro-Rated percentage. This percentage was determined by using the following formula:

($75,000/Total amount raised) x 100 = Matching percentage

That matching percentage was then applied to all eligible donations on Bonus Day. This meant that the matching percentage was unknown at the beginning of the day.

On the May 13th Bonus Day, 300 organizations received matching funds with a total of $289,476 raised in just 15 hours. The matching percentage was 25.9%. More donors got matched than in May 2014 and more organizations receiving matching funds than in the May 2014.

We’re not done with feedback yet!

In the past few months, we’ve been collecting feedback from our nonprofit partners about their thoughts on Pro-Rated structure and how it went for their organizations. We received comments in the Facebook group, received email replies to our call for feedback, and we asked our Leadership Council for feedback.

What we heard was that, generally, one of the biggest benefits of this Bonus Day was that all donations were matched at the Pro-Rated percent and funds never ran out.

  • We wanted to again let you know how much we loved yesterday’s bonus day… We’ve tried reaching out to donors in various ways for other bonus days, but have run in to trouble – donors giving before matching begins, or after funds have run out, etc. To be frank, we had kind of given up on trying to mobilize all but a select few donors on bonus days. Seeing this pro-rated system, we decided to publicize this bonus day and the results were fantastic. Of our 20 active projects, 14 raised funds from a total of 24 donors. Before matching funds, we raised just shy of $4,000! 
  • I like that everyone has been matched since we’ve had donors very upset in the past that within 15 minutes of campaign opening that there

We also heard that the guarantee of getting matching funds made this Bonus Day enticing. The chance that funds would run out before donors could give, turned organizations off to other types of Bonus Days.

  • Yes, [the Pro-rated Bonus Day] was great! Personally, to me, the results look satisfying, and every organisation has got a good amount of matching bonus for the donations made from their patrons…The model is well-balanced and avoids the gambling kind of feeling which we would always want to avoid. 

GlobalGiving received mixed feedback regarding the communications to our nonprofits about the Bonus Day. Some felt that most of the information as clearly communicated and understood by the organization, but others thought certain information was missing or misleading.

  • Thank you very much for that Bonus day! We and our donors found it very useful and interesting to participate! All information about the campaign was detailed, the only thing we lacked in description is that each donation more that 1,000$ will be matched only in amount of 1K$. We didn’t tell this to our donors and received 2 donations more that 1K$. But nevertheless thank you very much again for you job, its great!
  • Also, you could clear up how when you put in the donation does not determine the percentage rate you receive.

Finally, one of the largest hurdles for our partners was communicating this match opportunity to their donors. Not being able to provide the matching percent upfront was a challenge and condensing the information into manageable pieces was also difficult.

    • For our donors though, they found it a little misleading to call it a “match” and were definitely put off by the uncertainty of how much it would be. The main comment I got was that it was too confusing. We prefer not having an uncertain match amount, but respect that there is likely a plethora of different opinions on this!
  • Trying to summarise it into a social media posting encouraging people to give was too complicated
  • I like the concept of the pro-rated bonus day, but it was hard to explain to donors and to our board.

Our donors weren’t silent on the opportunity either. We received some feedback from donors following the checkout process about Bonus Day.

  • I love that GlobalGiving helps Mickaboo with matching donations…We give what we can and having the matching funds really helps them continue to do the good work they do.
  • I am confused about the matching fund vs.the amount given to AHA. 

Based on this feedback, the GlobalGiving team is determining now if we will host another Pro-Rated Bonus Day in 2016. What do you think? Should we host another one? What would you change? Continue to share your feedback here.

Thank you to everyone who provided their thoughts, comments, and suggestions for improvement.

Photo courtesy of Green Shoots Education Services.

Feedback Series, Part Three: Leadership Council Case Study

Feedback Series, Part Three: Leadership Council Case Study

In the third part of our Feedback Series, we’re excited to share a behind the scenes peek at GlobalGiving’s Project Leader Leadership Council.

Last week, we introduced our Annual Project Leader Survey as one way that we collect feedback from our nonprofit partners. The survey is a useful tool for checking the pulse of our community and understanding the general needs and priorities of a large portion of our partners.  But, the survey doesn’t allow us to engage respondents in a conversation, to ask clarifying questions, or to dive deeper into specifics. That’s where our Leadership Council comes in!

A Diverse Advisory Committee

The Council is an advisory committee made up of about 20 representatives from GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners, who meet to provide regular feedback and engage in discussions about new features on the site and ideas for future campaigns. Members represent GlobalGiving’s diverse group of partners: from old-timers, who have been on the site for years and seen how GlobalGiving has changed over time to some of GlobalGiving’s newest community members, who can bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the group. Our Council members also vary widely in their geographic location, access to the internet, experience with online fundraising, and other identifying traits that tend to also make GlobalGiving organizations so unique.

Influencing Important Decisions

The Council meets via conference call at least twice a year to discuss important GlobalGiving decisions, and each member also provides ongoing feedback via email and the Leadership Council Facebook group. Because we believe that project leader voices and opinions should go into the design and implementation of all of our programs, we often present new programs or website features to our Leadership Council for testing and feedback before rolling them out to the entire GlobalGiving community. In addition, we often solicit new ideas or solutions to problems from our Leadership Council members.

For example, in 2014, GlobalGiving’s Bonus Days had skyrocketed in popularity and, consequently, matching funds began running out early in the day, resulting in unmatched donations and dissatisfied donors and Project Leaders. With limited matching funds available, we knew that we needed to begin exploring alternative Bonus Day structures, so we took this challenge to our Leadership Council. Several Council members presented their ideas for new Bonus Day structures to the group, which engaged in a productive conversation about which solution best met the needs of GlobalGiving’s diverse network of  nonprofit partners. From this conversation, several viable options emerged, two of which we have already tested in the past year! Thanks to our Leadership Council, we tested time-released matching funds in Microsoft YouthSpark’s #GivingTuesday Bonus Day in 2014 and a Pro-Rated Bonus Day in May 2015. Keep an eye out for more on our Pro-Rated Bonus Day later in our Feedback Series!

More recently, GlobalGiving invited our Leadership Council to share feedback on our new GG Rewards dashboard before it went live. We asked Council members to do some simple tasks on the new dashboard to test its usability, and we invited participants’ feedback on everything from the rationale and purpose for the new GG Rewards program to the look and feel of the actual webpage. This was one of many conversations that we’ve had over the years with our Leadership Council as GlobalGiving has moved in the direction of rewarding organizations not only for their fundraising activity but also for the ways in which they Listen, Act, and Learn on and off the GlobalGiving platform. This most recent conversation won’t be the last! We will continue to solicit input from the Leadership Council as this program evolves.

Proposing New Ideas

In 2014, after years of running our Annual Project Leader Survey and leading the Leadership Council, we were feeling pretty good about the way that we collect and act on feedback. I, for one, was starting to think we had this feedback thing nailed. And then we got a wakeup call. One of the Leadership Council members reached out individually to discuss her concerns that GlobalGiving was really steering the feedback conversation. We were determining the discussion topics and only reaching out when we needed input. As she pointed out, we weren’t inviting unsolicited feedback or entirely new ideas.

So, this year, we’ve made some changes, and we’re trying to take a step back and invite Leadership Council members to steer the conversation. For the first time, we invited Leadership Council members to submit one-page proposals to GlobalGiving about changes or improvements that GlobalGiving could make to enhance their organization’s experience. Last week, we invited five members to present their proposals. These proposals ranged from improvements to project reports to translating our website into multiple languages and offering donations in several currencies. Representatives from several GlobalGiving teams were present to listen and ask questions. We will be using the proposals and subsequent feedback on the proposals from other members of the Leadership Council, to inform future improvements to the website and our services. Stay tuned for more information about the proposed ideas in 2016!

We’re still learning the best way to solicit, collect, and act on feedback from the Leadership Council. If you would like to be a part of this journey with us, you are invited to apply for GlobalGiving’s 2016 Leadership Council. Applications will be available in early 2016.

Apply for One-on-One Technical Support

Apply for One-on-One Technical Support

GlobalGiving helps organizations access more than just money. Our mission is also to connect you with valuable information and ideas that can help you become a more effective organization and transform your work in the field.  So, this year we are offering three opportunities to apply to receive one-on-one, in-person support from  members of the GlobalGiving team. This is just one of many ways that we are helping our partners access important information.

Today we are excited to announce the details of this year’s third and final professional support opportunity. Apply now for the opportunity to receive technical support from Nick Violi, GlobalGiving’s Senior Software Engineer for Good, and Scott Williams, our Project Manager for Good. The deadline to apply is Friday, September 11.

About the Opportunity

This unique program will support one organization through the process of defining a technical challenge, understanding the tools, techniques, and resources that are available to tackle that challenge, creating a comprehensive outline of actionable steps to achieve your technical goals, and working together to make improvements to a tool or platform. In addition to several hours of remote preparation, Nick and Scott will spend 2-4 days in-person with the organization bringing together organizational stakeholders (staff, board members, etc.) to offer technical training and one-on-one website support.

What is a technical challenge?

A technical challenge is a problem related to your organization’s website, blog, or online presence that requires a multi-step plan and cannot be solved with a one-step solution. The plan involves:  identifying goals, barriers and opportunities, evaluating alternative strategies for addressing the challenge, gathering requirements, identifying resource needs, and implementing the best possible solution.

Here are just a few examples of the types of challenges that your organization may want to address:

  • Technical Training
    • “Our team has the basic skills needed to manage our website but we don’t have the technical know-how necessary to implement an upcoming website improvement project. What skills do we need to update our website?”
    • “Our team is familiar with basic web development but we need help catching up on the latest trends. How do we make our site more mobile friendly? How do we reduce page load times?”
  • Website Development & Improvement
    • “The content on our website hasn’t been updated in years. We have a lot of great new content but we’re not sure how to share it with our supporters and constituents. How should we present this information? Should we restructure our website or start a blog?”
    • “We have the skills and content we need to create a website but we feel overwhelmed by what it takes to get started. What are the first steps in creating a nonprofit website?”
  • Web Analytics Collection & Application
    • “We have a website but we don’t know who is visiting it or what parts of the site are most frequented. As a result, we’re not sure how to best allocate staff time towards improving the site. How can we collect and use analytics to improve our website?”
    • “We love our website but it doesn’t seem to drive much activity. How can we design an experiment to test changes to the site that drive greater activity?”

The purpose of this opportunity is to provide your organization with the framework, knowledge, and technical support that you need to excel! Although Nick and Scott are available to offer training, support, and temporary website development, they are not responsible for the ongoing maintenance of your website. In addition, this exciting opportunity is not directly tied to additional fundraising resources or corporate partnership opportunities; the team will not connect you with funders as a result of this opportunity.

Meet Nick and Scott

nickvNick Violi – Senior Software Engineer for Good

Nick channels his passion for new technology and user-centered design into making the GlobalGiving website easier to use, prettier, and hopefully more fun. Nick holds an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. in Math from Bates College. He spends as much of his spare time as possible being outdoors – biking, rock climbing, hiking – and traveling. Before joining the GlobalGiving team, Nick and his wife climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, stuffed their faces with street food in Hanoi, drove across South Africa, and skied in Patagonia during an around-the-world trip of 21 countries in one year.

scottScott Williams – Project Manager for Good

Scott works with GlobalGiving team members to define and execute brilliant ideas that enhance the donor, nonprofit, and corporate partner experiences on GlobalGiving.org. In his former life, Scott was a 6 Sigma green belt at Caterpillar, an implementation manager for an enterprise software solutions company, and the digital media manager for a management ethics nonprofit. He holds an MBA-GM from Thunderbird School of Global Management, a B.S. in International Business and Marketing from Illinois State University, and is actively pursuing his PMP certification. Outside of work, Scott can be found making a mess in the kitchen, on his mat in downward dog, or expertly packing a bag for a weekend getaway.

The Application Process

Only GlobalGiving Partners, Leaders, and Superstars are eligible to apply for this opportunity. Apply online here by Friday, September 11. Finalists will be selected to participate in an interview process in September. One organization will be selected to receive in-person support.

Social Impact Academy: How to Grow Your Impact

Social Impact Academy: How to Grow Your Impact

In the final session of the Social Impact Academy, Segal Family Foundation’s Executive Director, Andy Bryant, shared different approaches that organizations can use to grow their impact—either more broadly to reach a larger population or more deeply by providing additional and improved services. He also offered valuable tips to secure funding for growth from impact-focused funders.

Article: What’s Your Endgame? (Gugelev and Stern)

This article, which was used as the foundation for Andy’s presentation, discusses how to develop scale strategies for small and medium sized organizations. “Endgame,” refers to the specific role that organizations play to confront their communities’ challenges. Unfortunately, the social problems that nonprofits take on are often larger than their organization can entirely address. For that reason, nonprofit leaders should shift their focus from the scale of their organization to the impact that their organization can help achieve. Gugelev and Stern found that nonprofits that define their endgames early tend to make better use of resources during their initial stages of growth. The article outlines six approaches to scale:

  1. Open source your model: This endgame involves refining a new idea or intervention and spreading it for other organizations to draw knowledge.
  2. Replication: A nonprofit with a replication endgame seeks to expand usage of its model by demonstrating the effectiveness of its approach and then finding other organizations that will replicate the model.
  3. Government adoption: In the government adoption endgame, a nonprofit provides a public good/service which can be delivered at a significant scale through funding and implementation by the government.
  4. Commercial adoption: A nonprofit with a commercial adoption endgame aims to alleviate either a market failure or a market inefficiency, such lack of information.
  5. Mission achievement: The mission achievement endgame has a well-defined and achievable goal which helps align short-term activities with long-term strategies.
  6. Sustained service: This model is only used when a nonprofit is needed to address an enduring social problem that the commercial and public sectors do not satisfy.

Pathways to Scale

Andy shared several case studies about Segal Family Foundation grantees that have successfully scaled their work. Some methods are included in the Endgamearticle and others are entirely unique.

Lwala Community Alliance

Direct Service Provision:  Lwala is a healthcare provider that operates in a remote part of western Kenya. Lwala found that it had to take a holistic approach in community involvement to meet its healthcare-oriented mission because there are no other service providers in its communities. In addition to healthcare services, Lwala scaled its program to provide direct services in classrooms and fields.

Spark Microgrants

Community Adoption: Community adoption is a platform for stakeholders to design their own visions of scale. Spark makes small grants to communities to enable project implementation for social good in education, health, and food sustainability. Stakeholders are encouraged to become proactive planners, implementers, and advocates for their development through microgrants.

Last Mile Health

Government Adoption: Last Mile Health is committed to saving lives in rural and remote villages in Africa. During the 2014 ebola outbreak, the Liberian government recognized the proficiency of Last Mile Health’s program. Last Mile Health is now helping overhaul the failing national health system in Liberia. It will implement a nationwide community health worker program by building, refining, and subsequently transferring the system to the government.

Educate!

Open Source: Educate! provides social entrepreneurship curricula to provide business skills to young people in Uganda. This creates new opportunities for Ugandans to start their own businesses and community development initiatives. By open sourcing their material, Educate!’s national entrepreneurship curriculum is used throughout all of Uganda and its model has been adopted in nearly every secondary school. Other NGOs have also adopted portions of Educates!’s model.

One Acre Fund

Sustained Service: One Acre Fund works with small farmers across Africa and provides microloans, farming inputs, and market access. It has grown from a budget of 4.8 million to over 55 million. This is possible because $35-40 million of its budget come from repayments on loans. This means that One Acre’s model is financially sustainable and able to expand. This has a great value proposition for donors because when they invest in one acre, the repayment on that loan pays for another person’s acre.

What does it take to scale?

  • Vision: You must have a mission, diligence, and passion to achieve it.
  • Desire: You must learn how to best achieve your mission with the help of peers and tools.
  • Commitment to measurement: You and your team should be driven by an internal desire to learn, improve, and demonstrate impact.
  • Clear path: Figure out which pathway to scale works best for you; identify systems and people get on the correct path.
  • Institutional funders: You will probably need funders like Segal Family, and they require reporting, accountability, and measurable results.

Fundraising Tips for gaining institutional funders

Do

  • Be clear in your intentions: Have transparency in your motives. When you engage donors let them know upfront if you are going to make an ask.
  • Have a few KPIs that are well-measured: Having hundreds of performance indicators is confusing and suggests that you are measuring too many things with sub-standard procedures. Provide examples of a few well-measured, well-defined indicators that really show your impact.
  • Have up-to-date financials: Know your most recent numbers, and know them well. Have a hard copy of financials with you and provide projections for the future.
  • Ask your current donors for referrals: Donors value the opinion of other donors more than that of potential grant seekers. Get referrals from your current donors so that you can present them in meetings with future donors.
  • Treat possible donors as human beings: Be empathetic to donors’ needs and objectives. They, too, are human and subject to “off” days.

Don’t

  • Get frustrated: This is a marathon not a sprint. Donor relationships might take years to build but continue to have patience and keep trying.
  • Chase money: You have a mission and vision, do not deviate from them for money.
  • Lose sight of your vision: You have something incredible to offer, remain wedded to your organization’s vision! Do not bend to whims of your funders.
  • Make excuses: Be patient and diligent while connecting with institutional funders.

Service providers

  • Catchafire: Connects NGOs to pro bono service providers.
  • Vera Solutions: Helps people design Salesforce-backed data systems.
  • Lex Mundi: Does pro bono legal work on behalf of NGOs.
  • Foundation Center: Has a great database of funders that Segal provides to its partners free of charge.
  • Tact: A Salesforce customization service.

Access the database of service providers from Segal Family Foundation: http://bit.ly/1QUapdB.

This post was written by Kennan Howlett, Program Team Intern.