Katherine Sammons Posts

Arlington Academy of Hope: A GlobalGiving Success Story

Arlington Academy of Hope: A GlobalGiving Success Story

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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.


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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.”


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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.



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All photo credit to AAH

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

Designed by Emma Park 

Awamaki: A GlobalGiving Success Story

Awamaki: A GlobalGiving Success Story

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Based in the Sacred Valley of Peru, Awamaki works to empower rural female artisans by providing them with the training and market access to run successful cooperative businesses. The organization’s mission is to enable these women to generate a reliable source of income and lead their communities out of poverty.

Founded in 2009 by Kennedy Leavens, Awamaki originally served a single cooperative made up of 10 women. Now, the nonprofit works with 150 women in eight cooperatives. Awamaki’s cooperative members like Florentina not only run successful businesses but also engage in sustainable tourism and community education programs.


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A year after the organization was created, Awamaki’s team and cooperative members were making great strides in their work. They came across an exciting opportunity, the chance for two Awamaki members to travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the location of America’s largest folk art market. Participation in the market could be an amazing opportunity to connect their cooperative to an expansive global market. However, the organization needed to raise funds in order to be able to participate.


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Case Study_Awamaki_Blog_3_Quote 1As Awamaki searched for a way to fund the trip, it became clear that their current income would not cover the cost. They identified crowdfunding as a way to tap into their broad network of global donors.  Kennedy recalls, “We had no previous experience in online fundraising, but we figured we had nothing to lose.” By raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, Awamaki hoped to receive the financial boost they needed to achieve their goal.

It was decided that crowdfunding was the solution, but how?  As a small, internationally-based nonprofit, Awamaki needed a platform that would effectively rally their supporters, connect them with new donors who care about their cause, and offer them tools to help grow their organization. The Awamaki team was introduced to GlobalGiving through a friend and after learning more about the platform it was decided that GlobalGiving was the right fit.

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Awamaki joined GlobalGiving’s Open Challenge, which is a time-bound campaign that offers an opportunity to test out the power of crowdfunding. They built a project page on GlobalGiving that shared their story with potential donors and then spread the word about their GlobalGiving project through phone calls, emails, and social media outreach. Awamaki’s supporters were inspired to help the organization succeed in the Open Challenge due the team’s unwavering enthusiasm for their work and time sensitive nature of the Open Challenge.

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The Awamaki team and members were blown away by the results of their fundraising efforts on GlobalGiving. In just 30 days, Awamaki raised more than $10,000 from 379 unique donors and earned $5,000 in bonus prizes from GlobalGiving! Most importantly, two team members were able to attend the market in Santa Fe and spread the word about Awamaki.


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Awamaki joined GlobalGiving with the intent of funding one unique project. Today, Awamaki is a Superstar on the GlobalGiving platform and raises around $12,000 every year! As Leavens puts it, “GlobalGiving has helped our organization to grow and is now part of our core operations.” What’s their strategy for long-term success? Rallying their donor base around GlobalGiving’s Bonus Days.The Awamaki team has found that establishing a specific monetary and donor engagement goal during a time-bound campaign creates an urgency that motivates donors to give.

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Today, Awamaki has been able to continue to harness the power of a crowd to further their mission so that cooperative members like Florentina can continue their businesses for years to come. Fundraising isn’t easy, but GlobalGiving, a trusted crowdfunding platform can help you accelerate your efforts and help you to continue your earth-changing work!


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All photo credit to Awamaki

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

Designed by Emma Park 

October 15, 2014 Bonus Day Tips and Tricks

Last week GlobalGiving held a webinar on the terms and conditions for the upcoming October 15th Bonus Day. We also went over a Bonus Day strategy, that will help make Bonus Day a successful fundraising day for your organization. We’re offering a 30% match on all donations up to $1,000 per donor per project, while funds remain. There is $75,000 available in matching and matching begins at 9:00 a.m. EDT and lasts until funds run out or 11:59 p.m. EDT.  There is also $2,000 in bonus prizes available!

The Benefits of Bonus Day

Bonus Days are a great way to re-energize your donor base and grow your network of supporters. Bonus Days allow your organization to fundraise around a time-bound campaign. Matching funds gained on Bonus Day are just the icing on the cake. Bonus Days should be looked at as a reason to ask your donors to give. They allow your organization to create a sense of urgency; donors must give now.

Bonus Day Terms & Conditions

For full Bonus Day terms and conditions click here.

Bonus Day Strategy – Let’s Gets Started! 

Use the timeline and tasks below to create a Bonus Day strategy for your organization to use in order to have a successful Bonus Day.

Tips and Tricks – Week 1, Sept. 22-28

  • Bonus Day Funding Goal (excluding matching funds and bonus prizes): ­____________
  • How many donors do you need to reach your funding goal?: ________________

Tips & Tricks – Week 2, Sept. 29 Oct. 5: Identify supporters and get feedback

  • Identify potential donors, such as board members, former volunteers and interns, and friends/family
  • Identify donor captains. Donor captains are responsible for raising a funding goal on the day of Bonus Day. For example, a donor captain may be a former intern that is excited about your work and pledges to raise $300 from 20 donors for your project. Donor captains help your organization grow its network of supporters.
  • Contact donor captains. Let them know why you are asking for their help and tell them how they can help. Remember your donor captains are persons that care about your organization, the work you are doing, and most importantly they care about you (the number 1 reason why people give is because someone they know and trust asked them too).

Tips & Tricks – Week 3, Oct. 6 Oct. 12: Begin Communication with supporters and write communications for Bonus Day

  • Send an email to your network letting them know that on Oct. 15th you will be asking them a favor. Tell them to look out for an email. Include a quote from a beneficiary, a story about one of your beneficiaries, or an update on how your project is doing. You want to make sure that you remind them about the great work your organization is doing, and why their donation will make a difference. Include the world clock announcer, so they know that time Bonus Day starts in their location, but do not include the link to give.
  • Call your major donors and supporters to let them know about the Bonus Day and that they should be on the look for an email from you about how to give on Oct. 15th.
  • Put together messaging for your organization to use on Bonus Day. This should include the following:

–A project report for GlobalGiving. Submit your project report to GlobalGiving before Bonus Day, and request that it be sent out on Oct. 15th at 9 am EDT (Bonus Day start time). In your project report include an update about your project, a quote from a beneficiary, and/or story of one of your beneficiaries. Also, don’t forget to include a call to action for donors to give on Bonus Day. Your project report should inspire them to give.

–Write and send messaging for your donor captains to use for Bonus Day asks. You want to make sure that assisting your organization is easy for them, and that they are sharing the correct information. Include a template email, sample tweets, and sample Facebook posts, if relevant.

Tips & Tricks – Week 4, Oct. 13 -19: Bonus Day week & thank you notes

  • Day before Bonus Day: Send out an email to supporters the day before Bonus Day letting them know that there is an opportunity for them to have their donation matched. Let them know when Bonus Day starts. Include the world clock event announcer, so they know what time Bonus Day starts in their location. Do not include a link to your project page or how to give quite yet.
  • Bonus Day: When Bonus Day begins at 9 am EDT, send out an email to your supporters letting them know that you are now asking for the favor, and why. Include directions on how to give, by including a direct link to your project page. Do not send donors to GlobalGiving’s homepage. Please send donors directly to your project page in order to minimize confusion and clicks.

Day after Bonus Day: Make sure you thank your donors in a timely manner by using GlobalGiving’s thank you note feature.  Click here to learn more about the thank you note feature

Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat. 

We know your time and resources are valuable. We want to help you be as effective as possible with those resources, and we’ve seen that effectiveness is driven by a cycle of progress that involves listening, acting, and learning (and repeating — doing it all again). Think about the questions below in order to test how your strategy worked.

  • LISTEN: You just read tips for a creating a successful October 15th Bonus Day.
  • ACT: What is one way you are going to fundraise for Bonus Day?
  • LEARN: How will you know whether your fundraising strategy worked? What results will you look for in order to measure success?

October Bonus Day Terms & Conditions

September is here and that means that fundraising is getting back into full gear! To help your organization propel it’s fundraising efforts GlobalGiving is hosting a Bonus Day on October 15th, 2014. Bonus Days are a great way and reason for your organization to reach out to your donors and ask them to give.

We’re offering a 30% match on all donations up to $1,000 per donor per project, while funds remain. There is $75,000 available in matching and matching begins at 9:00:00 EDT and lasts until funds run out or 23:59:59 EDT.  There is also $2,000 in bonus prizes available! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to hit your funding goals and supply your supporters with a time sensitive campaign. Check out the full terms and conditions below:

Terms & Conditions

  • Bonus Day begins at 09:00:00 EDT on October 15, 2014 and ends at 11:59:59 PM EDT on October 15, 2014.
  • There is $75,000 in matching funds available.
  • Online donations of up to $1,000 per individual donor per project are eligible to be matched at 30%, while funds last. So for example a donation of $1,500 will receive a $300 match.
  • Bonus Prizes:
    • All bonus prizes will be determined at 11:59:59  EDT on October 15, 2014 pending GlobalGiving approval.
    • The project that raises the most donations on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving.
    • The project that secures the most unique donors on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving.
    • If projects tie for the most donations raised prize than the project that has the most unique donors will receive the $1,000 bonus prize.
    • If projects tie for the most unique donors prize than the project that has the most donations raised will receive the $1,000 bonus prize.
  • Projects must be approved and live on the globalgiving.org website by October 13, 2014 to be eligible.
  • Only donations made by unique donors per project will be matched. Unique donors are determined using numerous criteria, including name, email address, credit card number, mailing address, and IP address. We are monitoring these and other parameters in our system to ensure that only unique, distinct donors are counted.
  • Only online donations made by credit card, PayPal, or a GlobalGiving official gift card are eligible for matching. Donations made by check or text-to-give are not eligible.
  • Donations made on globalgiving.co.uk or any GlobalGiving corporate sites including Benevity are not eligible for matching.
  • GlobalGiving funds, such as the Ebola Fund and Girl Effect are not eligible for matching.
  • We encourage you to get donations in early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.
  • Please note that GlobalGiving will monitor and review all donations made through this matching offer.
  • Online donations made using PayPal or credit card must be made by the PayPal account or credit card holder.
  • GlobalGiving maintains the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning the allocation of matching funds.
  • Please note that all donations are final. GlobalGiving cannot change the time, date, or status of a donation after it is processed for any reason.
  • GlobalGiving is a registered nonprofit in the United States. Donations made on globalgiving.org can only be claimed as a tax deductible contributions on United States tax returns.
  • Fulfillment fee for donations: GlobalGiving charges a 15% fulfillment fee on donations but works to keep the fees you pay as low as possible while providing you great services and resources. During the October 15th, 2014 Bonus Day the fulfillment fee only applies to the initial donation. The fulfillment fee does not apply to the match. The fee covers all transactional charges such as credit card fees, as well as helps cover the costs we incur to promote organizations and projects, provide them with fundraising training and tools, and maintain and improve our online technology in order to keep you connecting with new donors. With our add-on option, we also offer the donor the opportunity to make an additional donation to cover the fee.

GlobalGiving Bonus Day  Support

  • Are you looking for intensive one-on-one support for the upcoming Bonus Day that is being held on October 15th? Apply for a 4-week strategy session with GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day fundraising guru, Katherine Sammons. Organizations will be selected by September 15th. Click here to apply.
  • Join us on Thursday, September 12 for a webinar on Bonus Day preparation and tips and tricks for getting ready for the big day!
    Sign-up for webinar: Click here
    Date: Friday, September 12
    Time: 11 am EDT (time in your city)
  • Questions about Bonus Day? Please email projecthelp@globalgiving.org

Fail Forward

Two years ago, GlobalGiving invested a lot of time and energy to rebuild our fundraiser feature.  The fundraiser tool allows donors to raise money on behalf of their favorite projects on GlobalGiving, usually around a specific event like a birthday or marathon.  We thought this would be a great tool not just for our donors, but for our nonprofit partners as well.  We wanted to encourage our nonprofit partners to use the tool, so we created a special campaign that would reward organizations when their supporters raised money through the fundraiser tool for their projects during the month of September 2013.  We wrote the terms, set aside several thousand dollars in prize money, held a training webinar, built a leaderboard, and answered a LOT of questions. We set goals for the campaign around the number of organizations that would participate and the total donations that would be raised.

Fundraiser Campaign Leaderboard

Fundraiser Campaign Leaderboard

When the end of the campaign came around, we discovered that we hadn’t hit our goals.  Fewer than a dozen organizations had actually participated in the campaign and we hadn’t helped them raise the funds we were expecting.  On top of that, we found that our team had spent a lot of time managing the campaign – answering questions, training organizations, and trying to make a very complicated campaign easier to understand.  Because we track how we spend our time each day, we discovered that we actually spent significantly more time on this campaign than almost any previous campaign, but we raised far less money.  By any measure, this campaign was a failure for GlobalGiving (although the few organizations that did participate did an excellent job!).  We could have just ignored this campaign and never talked about it again.  Alternatively, we could have ignored the results and done the exact same campaign the next year.

Instead, we reached out to some organizations that participated and some that didn’t participate to find out what these organizations thought of the campaign. We learned that the rules of this campaign were too complicated – GlobalGiving didn’t do a great job explaining these complicated rules to our nonprofit partners, and likewise, it was difficult for them to explain the rules to their donors.  We also learned that the timing of the campaign didn’t align well with many organizations’ outreach–it was hard to dictate when their advocates wanted to use fundraising pages based on our campaign’s timeline.  We met as a team to figure out what went well and what could be improved about the campaign. We shared those results, both internally within our staff and with some of our external partners. Ultimately, we decided to not run the campaign the following year and instead use the time and money to add an additional Bonus Day in 2014 – the type of campaign that our partners said they valued the most.

It is hard to admit when an idea or experiment doesn’t work, but it’s especially important in the development arena to not just admit when something fails, but to learn from that failure. (Let’s call these “Fail Forward” stories!) nonprofits can’t afford to make the same mistakes again and again; our missions are too important. Sharing your failures with your peers can help move the whole sector forward.

That’s why we want to hear your Fail Forward stories – and we’re offering some incentives!


Now through October 10th, organizations that submit Fail Forward stories via GlobalGiving project reports will be eligible for cash prizes and social media promotion. This is a unique opportunity to share your organization’s story with GlobalGiving’s supporters.

Need some inspiration? Check out this website for more examples and information about why this is important.


How does it work?

  1. Submit a GlobalGiving project report for your donors featuring a story about a time that your organization tried something that didn’t work, but learned something that ultimately helped improve your work
  2. Once you’ve submitted your report, use this online form to send us your project ID and the date of your report by Friday, October 10th.
  3. GlobalGiving will review all the submissions and the top three stories will be featured in GlobalGiving’s social media and will receive cash prizes.  First place will receive $1000; second place will receive $600; and third place will receive $400.


*What is GlobalGiving looking for in a Fail Forward story?

A clear and compelling story that includes a description of:

  • What your organization was trying to achieve and why
  • What the idea or method was that you tried
  • Why the idea or method failed – admit responsibility!
  • What your organization learned from the experiment
  • How your organization is using that experience to improve its work

Don’t forget — part of talking about failure is admitting responsibility. We’re not looking to create a circle of blame, but instead, to take ownership over our own work, and also to be set free from past mistakes because we’re learning and growing, and ultimately improving from them!