Pineville Neighbors Place: Creating a Sense of Community with OneCause Peer-to-Peer

Background

Background

Pineville Neighbors Place strives to be the connection between those affected by poverty and available support resources in order to empower their neighbors and community.

Founded as the only nonprofit offering these services located in Pineville, North Carolina in 2016, Pineville Neighbors Place was created to assist the 13% of its population that lives at or below the poverty line. They show this support through addressing the financial, furniture, and food needs of the underserved in their community.

Challenge

Challenge

To ensure there are resources available to serve their mission, Pineville Neighbors Place hosts an annual fundraising dinner and special events to capture the support of their community. Through these more intimate events, Pineville had established a following through running these dinners each year.

Like most nonprofits, once the COVID-19 Pandemic became a reality, Pineville Neighbors Place realized their previous fundraising efforts were not possible.

However, this realization came at a delay. With government support present at the beginning of the pandemic, many people did not reach out to Pineville Neighbors Place for assistance. In July of 2020, 3 months following the start of the pandemic and as government aid lessened, Pineville Neighbors became swarmed with more people needing assistance than ever before.

The pandemic and high levels of need only further emphasized their desire to help the people that Pineville Neighbors Place serves. They knew that there wasn’t room for cancelling their main fundraising dinner, but they also wanted to fundraise in the safest way possible

Knowing that they would need to continue to fundraise during this difficult time, Jane Shutt, Executive Director of Pineville Neighbors Place, knew she needed to find an alternative solution to their current fundraising plans.

“I knew we could not host our typical fundraising dinner, and I needed another way to raise as much money as [Pineville Neighbors Place] did in the previous year…I just did not know how we were going to raise that much without having the dinner,” said Shutt.

The team at Pineville Neighbors Place started to brainstorm how they would make up for not holding the dinner and concluded that they needed to host a virtual event.

“We had never held [any event] virtually before and had no idea what it looked like or how to do it,” said Shutt.

Pineville Neighbors Place needed a fundraising solution that not only allowed them to have a virtual presence but created a memorable experience for their donors and community.

Solution

Solution

After looking and discussing virtual offerings with other nonprofits, Pineville Neighbors Place connected with OneCause on their Peer-to-Peer Solution.

“Once we talked with OneCause, we saw that their solution was able to do everything we needed, especially helping us share our story with our community. It was that aspect which made the decision to choose OneCause simple,” said Shutt.

With the help of the OneCause platform and support team, Pineville Neighbors Place was able to share their story by hosting a 5-day fundraising event in place of their typical dinner.

This event engaged their community virtually with a different task for each day. The daily tasks allowed their donors to feel connected and engaged with the event, while still raising money for an important organization in their community. Such tasks included: wearing your favorite local team’s gear or supporting their favorite local restaurant.

With the help of an engaging fundraising strategy and powerful software, Pineville Neighbors Place was able to:

  1. Host a 5k and get community members involved
  2. Have a Platform to share videos and pictures of their community
  3. Live Stream the Celebration/Closing event

To be successful during the campaign, Pineville Neighbors Place leveraged four main fundraising strategies to enhance their donor engagement in a virtual environment:

  1. Variety of Supporter Involvement
  2. Easy Giving Experience
  3. Social Media Outreach
  4. Campaign Personality and Engagement

Variety of Supporter Involvement

Over their 5-day event, Pineville Neighbors Place was able to create an experience for donors to contribute to the campaign in various ways.

Each day promoted a different way for campaign interaction, keeping the campaign exciting for donors in a virtual environment. These differing types of engagement took the form of:

  • Posting and promoting the campaign and events on social media
  • Donating directly to the campaign site
  • Creating personal or team fundraising pages for the event
  • Participating in daily challenges to encourage donation
  • Running/Walking in the 5k

This variety of involvement types allowed each donor to not feel too overextended during the campaign while also offering flexibility for donors to participate in a way they felt most comfortable.

Easy Giving Experience

Through the implementation of OneCause’s Peer-to-Peer Solution, each donor was able to encourage involvement and increase the reach of the Pineville Neighbors Place campaign. The platform allowed for donors to:

  • Sign up quickly and efficiently
  • Keep up to date with each daily event
  • Monitor the amount currently raised for the campaign
  • Share with their connections on social media.

The easy giving experience allowed for a shared awareness across all donors and supporters involved in the campaign. This awareness inspired donors to keep coming back to the fundraising page and continue to follow the campaign and get others involved over the 5 days event.

Social Media Outreach

One reason that social media is the perfect channel for peer-to-peer fundraisers is that there are literally millions of new donors waiting to be engaged online.

Through the integration of social media within the peer-to-peer platform, supporters of the Pineville Neighbors Place were able to share the campaign site and their personal fundraising pages through their own social channels.

Pineville Neighbors Place capitalized on the growing social opportunity by strategically using social media to organically increase the reach of their campaigns while increasing donations.

Because social media sharing is embedded in the software, each personal fundraiser was able to become a campaign promoter in the click of a button.

Community Engagement

Because Pineville Neighbors Place focuses on giving back to their specific area, it was very important for them to get their community excited about their virtual event.

To increase their neighborhood’s participation, Shutt creatively promoted the campaign with its very own mascot: a 5-foot Teddy Bear. This bear travelled around the Pineville area, promoting the daily events and encouraged donations from the community.

Not only was it a fun way to promote donations, the “Teddy Neigh-Bear” was able to promote various aspects of the Pineville community and how it is important to help those who live there.

This bear became symbolic within the community of the Pineville Neighbors fundraising campaign. It allowed for people to have fun, grasp the light-hearted personality of the event, and wonder where the bear would travel to next!

This mascot creation by Pineville Neighbors Place shows how a fundraising campaign does not need to solely focus on asking for donations. Teddy Neigh-Bear allowed for Pineville Neighbors to create a sense of excitement and buzz around a Teddy Bear, and shed light onto areas of importance within the community.

Through being able to leverage the peer-to-peer platform and fundraising strategies, Pineville Neighbors Place was excited to see that their hard work and perseverance was paying off as the campaign ended. Let’s check out the final results!

Results

Results

Pineville Neighbors Place saw the success they needed for their first 5-day virtual event.

Check out these amazing results:

  • 134% of previous year’s fundraising goal
  • $33,600 raised for the Pineville Community
  • $8,600 over their event goal
  • Countless appearances from Teddy Neigh-Bear

Not only was Pineville Neighbors Place able to raise money for their community, but they were also able to connect and bring joy in such a difficult time during the pandemic. When asked about what made their event successful, Schutt said:

“We could not have seen the success of this event without this platform and OneCause. Not only was the platform so easy to use, but we had the support from OneCause’s responsive staff throughout the entire process.”

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