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In the Indianapolis Children’s Choir’s 34 years of music, education, and artistic excellence, their event-based fundraising efforts have been limited. Like most nonprofits, they continually try to find new ways to engage donors, attract new supporters and raise more funds.
This past year, they decided to rethink their fundraising strategy and explore the new world of peer-to-peer and social fundraising, to broaden their reach and innovate their events.
This is the story of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and the results of their inaugural, soul-stirring fundraiser: Sing-a-thon.
Sing-A-Thon was designed to show the community the power of music and raise funds for the choir’s nonprofit programs and outreach efforts in the Indiana area. Ensembles, solo artists, and community members all actively raised funds and sang in support of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
And to match the innovative strategy, the event was streamed live on Facebook to help reach those you wanted to support the cause but lived in other areas.
After using OneCause auction software for galas in the past, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir chose to leverage the OneCause peer-to-peer platform for their new Sing-a-Thon event.
As with any nonprofit, the challenge was how to add a new event or campaign into an already packed fundraising calendar, without overtaxing the small but mighty team.
The Indianapolis Children’s Choir took time to plan out their fundraising strategy, and pitched the idea to key stakeholders (staff, volunteers, board members, teachers, and donors). They rallied the troops behind an event that would be focused on both raising funds and highlighting their mission.
Once the supporters were on board, the team hit the ground running. Their plan was to have choir directors, teachers, students, and community members engage their social networks directly from the OneCause peer-to-peer platform and raise funds from their personal participant pages.
The key was to combine social fundraising technology with pre-event fundraising, and to culminate/celebrate their efforts with the live sing-a-thon event.
The children in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir were the main ambassadors of the fundraising initiative while also being the performers for Sing-a-Thon. What was different about this event, was how personal the fundraising became to the children and how easy they took to the software.
“The technology built the motivation. It was easy for everyone to use and gave our event a brand. The teams started fundraising fast and the energy just spread,” said Stephen McCoy, Senior Director of Marketing, Development, and Alumni Relations.
McCoy and his team customized their Sing-a-Thon main fundraising page to fit the mission, goals, and campaign strategy they set for Sing-a-Thon. Through the home page they were able to clearly attract social donors to their cause, their mission and their fundraiser.
With the OneCause software, they used built-in functionality to fully harness the power of social fundraising, including:
To set their fundraising apart and engage supporters through social networks, participants used personal fundraising pages spread the word and solicit donations.
Through personal branding and customized participant pages, the choir was able to create a personal connection for donors, through:
Indianapolis Children’s Choir also used OneCause peer-to-peer to create custom donation levels with tangible impact.
This helped increase donor conversions by showing donors a visible example of what their money would do for the organization. Supporters were able to understand what a difference their donation made for the mission and children.
As the Sing-a-Thon kicked off, live fundraising also began. To help increase donations during the event, the team linked to their peer-to-peer giving center from the group’s Facebook page, making it easy for a viewer to click the link in support of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
The donations were typically accompanied personal messages and words of encouragement for the teams and vocalists. Then, the performance, participants could see the messages on their page completing the circle of a positive giving experience for all. This is the power of social fundraising where donations turn into gifts both for the organizations and the active fundraisers.
“It was amazing to see the messages that came alongside the donations. The messaging feature helped bring the campaign alive and gave kids confidence about their voice, offered them encouragement to fundraise, and made everyone feel like they were part of something special,” said McCoy.
So how did their first peer-to-peer campaign turn out?
The Indianapolis Children’s Choir’s original goal for Sing-a-thon was $25,000. Thanks to their hard work, they exceeded their fundraising goal, with every dollar raised going to giving children in Indianapolis the ability to share their voice.
Proceeds for the inaugural Sing-a-Thon were:
“The peer-to-peer technology brought the organization together in a way that it hasn’t been brought together before. It really helped us strengthen our culture of philanthropy. It’s awesome that this platform could help us raise more and reach more way beyond what we could have done on our own,” said McCoy.
Founded in 1986, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir is responsible for giving over 5,500 children in Indianapolis a voice. Housed on the Butler campus, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir offers an early childhood program, classes, and summer camp along with 110 rehearsals and musical classes a week. Learn more about their cause here.
Explore the social fundraising approach that was made possible through peer-to-peer technology!