Online Fundraising Academy: Creating a Campaign Strategy


Arlington Academy of Hope

In GlobalGiving’s third session of the 2014 Online Fundraising Academy, we invited Maureen Dugan, the Executive Director of Arlington Academy of Hope, to talk about getting ready for a GlobalGiving Bonus Day. Maureen and her team raised $82,000 in matching campaigns on GlobalGiving in 2013! After participating in GlobalGiving’s first Online Fundraising Academy last year, Maureen is returning to share her advice and insights with this year’s cohort.

Session Notes:

Arlington Academy of Hope

  • Implements education and health programs in Uganda
  • Donor profile – middle aged or older; most not on social media, so didn’t utilize social media

Build Consensus

  • Discuss with Board of Directors – proposed using social media and GlobalGiving; asked them to be ambassadors
  • Create a Q&A – explains online giving to minimize confusion, create enthusiastic supporters, provides a resource for ambassadors/donors to share information with others
    • Put on website, given to Board and other volunteers
    • Take time to talk to advocates to prepare them for questions before Bonus Days

Make a plan – who to target

  • Regular donors –people who give annually
  • Lapsed donors – people who haven’t given in the past few years
  • Board members – ask them to give, be ambassadors


  • Email (Constant Contact), Facebook, Twitter
    • Keep basic facts the same, but tell the story differently on different platforms
    • Generate excitement, empowerment, time sensitivity, why it’s important
      • Empower donors, tell them their money will go further on matching days
      • Explain how they can make a difference
      • Explain importance of giving on specific day to compel them
  • Timing – 1 month, 1 week, day before
    • Need to do what works best for your donors

Minimize glitches

  • Minimize mistakes by including direct link to project page on GlobalGiving in all messaging
  • Have Q&A done beforehand to answer questions from new donors
    • Expect that some donors will not be comfortable or know how to give online

Benefits of GlobalGiving

  • Be able to explain why giving through GG is beneficial, even with the fee
    • More exposure to new people, fee covers training and support, potential to grow
    • Put explanation in Q&A

Q: How much lead up communications went out by mail and social media? What are your primary communication methods and how much did you invest in each method?

A: AAH mailed twice last year: a mid-year mail with info on upcoming day on GlobalGiving and a year-end mail with appeal for December Microsoft campaign. Mainly use email, and then post on Facebook and AAH website. AAH emails quarterly and annual newsletter. From research, AAH found that 80% of donors prefer updates via email. How you tailor your communications depends on your audience. At GlobalGiving, we also see email as the primary driver of donations.

Q: Do you focus between Bonus Days?

A: AAH mostly focused on Bonus Days because it gives a more compelling message to tell people to give, unless it’s a special case. AAH doesn’t strongly push recurring donations, but it is beneficial to have some for your partner status.

Q: How do you reach new donors? What does your donor network look like?

A: AAH’s primary donor network was parents and teachers in their partner school in Virginia. AAH does presentations in local area to increase awareness. At in person events, have paper resources to give and send people to your website. GlobalGiving also helps to expand network to others with no immediate connections to AAH. Many volunteers and in-field interns turn into donors and share AAH with family. Use existing donors and advocates to spread the word, don’t be shy to ask people in communications to share AAH with friends and family.

*Trend from past sessions: Get out and spread the word. Seek new audiences. Participate in conferences, networking opportunities, and meet new people in own community. Use existing donors and advocates to spread the word.

Q: How do you get people to engage in AAH?

A: AAH was featured in the Washington Post and Sunday magazine. AAH also started an intern program for college students to go to Uganda.

Q: Is there a downside to short term volunteers?

A: It takes more time to manage, but short term volunteers may have valuable skills that long term volunteers might not have (for example, social media skills). Need to delegate specific tasks to give students and make sure they’re enjoying their time.

Q: How much time did it take you to prep for bonus days?

A: It takes time to think through things in the beginning, create messaging to send out, delegate tasks to others. AAH took a week to talk to the Board. Save time 4-5 days before the event to answer questions.

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