How U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation used Peer-to-Peer Fundraising to Expand Their Donor Base

Background

Background

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation is the nonprofit fundraising arm of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard teams. The Foundation, made up of seven different sports, shares one common mission: to support Olympic athletes in their efforts to become the best in the world.

Incorporated in 1964 as a 501(c)3, the Foundation raises money to support year-round athlete training, development, competition, and educational needs.

When COVID-19 hit, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation was wrapping up their fiscal year. Even with a world-wide pandemic happening, their mission to support their athletes remained important as ever.

“We consider ourselves pretty fortunate. All of our large fundraising events had been completed. But it painted a difficult picture for what the next year was going to look like,” said Jacquelyn Luedtke, Director of Special Events and Hospitality.

To help paint a brighter picture for the months ahead, The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation team looked to incorporate new fundraising technology to support their efforts. The foundation needed a fundraising tool that would help them reach new donors, increase awareness about their mission, and most importantly, provide an easy giving and fundraising experience for their teams and donors.

Challenge

Challenge

In previous years, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation put on 4 in-person events to support their mission. Knowing that gathering their supporters together was no longer an option, the team sought after a solution that would still allow them to connect with donors in a new way.

Having never tried Peer-to-Peer Fundraising but knowing the power it can have on a mission, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation began to look for the software that was right for them. There were a few “must-haves” on their list. The team wanted a Peer-to-Peer solution that:

  • Assisted them in their efforts to go virtual
  • Provided an easy, consistent giving experience
  • Integrated with Salesforce
  • Was user-friendly for the team
  • Allowed them to grow their donor base
  • Gave supporters more ways and better tools to evangelize

It was OneCause’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Solution that checked all the boxes that U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation was looking for.

“I knew OneCause was the right solution. Once I saw all the integrations and capabilities that it had and how easy to use it was, I knew we were going to be set up for success,” said Luedtke.

COVID-19 meant the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation was challenged with reimagining how to engage donors, expand their donor base, and increase awareness about their cause.

Solution

Solution

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation went all in with OneCause’s Peer-to-Peer Software Solution. And as a result, their team went from 4 in-person to raise money for the foundation to an unstoppable online fundraising movement of Peer-to-Peer campaigns to power the foundation’s mission.

It all started with the teams. As the voices of the foundation, they began using team-specific peer-to-peer micro-sites to help drive traffic and get supporters engaged and excited.

“Before OneCause, we had never had landing pages for our teams. So, with them, we’ve grown awareness for our cause. It’s a place to direct donors for information, to learn about the team, and to donate… just to feel a part of the organization and a place to follow the athletes throughout the season,” said Luedtke.

Luedtke worked to create Peer-to-Peer landing pages that were intuitive, engaging, and shareable for each campaign – and there’s no doubt that she succeeded! The U.S. Ski & Snowboard campaign picked up momentum, gaining more donors, fundraising dollars, and social media shares.

One of the most notable campaigns was created to support the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund, to both honor Jeff Shiffrin’s legacy as well as contribute to the ongoing pursuit of excellence for all athletes across all sports.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation

“The campaign speaks for itself. There are hundreds of stories from our athletes that are connected to the campaign explaining what resiliency means to them. It was also a matching grant, so it was nice to have a place where we could put all this information into one spot on the peer-to-peer site to direct our supporters to. Centralizing our fundraising efforts was a game changer, and we saw the effects of it in our fundraising dollars,” said Luedtke.

The strategy and effort put into these Peer-to-Peer campaigns by the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation team led to their incredible results. Luedtke attributed their success to three key points:

  • Expanding their donor base
  • A strategic marketing approach
  • The right fundraising tools

Expanding Their Donor Base

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation understands that fundraising success goes far beyond meeting donation goal. That’s why their team made expanding their donor base a top priority.

The team launched a pop-up on the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund page, which invited viewers to help fuel athletes’ Olympic dreams and asked for an email address to learn more.

“We are already looking like we’re going to be growing our donor base by 500+ people. It’s amazing because have never been able to track hard data like we’ve been able to with OneCause. It’s allowed us to move faster and see higher results across the board,” said Luedtke.

Because OneCause offers Salesforce integration, for the first time, The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation was able to spend less time managing their expanded donor base and more time cultivating relationships.

A Strategic Marketing Approach

Expanding the foundation’s donor base with these new contacts created a solid foundation for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation to build off of. From there, they worked turn those new names into new donor relationships, and produce loyal, year-round supporters.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard FoundationThe team launched a strategic marketing approach to take those new and existing donor contacts, steward them, and help build their connection with their cause over the new year.

By segmenting their donors by their interest and donation amounts, the foundation was able to foster a unique giving experience and stronger donor relationships. By hosting virtual events, like A Night at the USANA Center of Excellence, the foundation was still able to create a cohesive supporter experience with the organization.

“The foundation supports seven different Olympic sports, and our virtual event in November supported each of those. By having detailed donor information, we were able to engage them in their specific interests after the event and serve them up content that is related to that,” said Luedtke.

The Right Fundraising Tools

With the right fundraising tools, you can raise more, engage your supporters, and spread awareness of your cause anytime, anywhere. U.S. Ski & Snowboard foundation knew that the experience you have with the technology you choose can make or break your fundraising experience as well as your supporters’ donation experience.

For the foundation, finding that perfect fit meant having a solution that checked all those “must-have” boxes, but above all, made it easy on their team and their supporters to fundraising for their worthy mission.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation

“We found that OneCause was the right fit for us. When it came to technology, what we’ve come to realize is that it’s not as hard as you think. We learned so much over the last 6 months. We’re constantly learning. And we’re recognizing that it’s easy to put together, you just need the right technology,” said Luedtke.

Because it was essential for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation to have the right technology that provided an easy, engaging experience, Luedtke’s advice to nonprofits is – test it out!

“The first time we used OneCause’s Peer-to-Peer solution was with our staff. We invited all staff to check out the website for feedback. Knowing that our staff was able to utilize the tool seamlessly, I was confident that donors of all generations from all around the world would be able to navigate it,” said Luedtke.

Knowing that the fundraising tool they chose would provide their supporters with a positive giving experience meant Luedtke and the rest of the U.S. Ski & Snowboaring Foundation team could proceed confidently in their efforts to power their mission.

Results

Results

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation was resilient in the face of fundraising adversity. Their ability to keep pushing their fundraising forward was key to their success, allowing them to raise more and reach more. Look at these results!

  • 6 giving sites through OneCause’s Peer-to-Peer solution.
  • $3,075,000 raised for the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund and still going!
  • $1.5 million matching gift from a generous group of 6 families
  • $170,307 raised for U.S. Ski Team Moguls – 155% to original goal
  • $8,000 raised through online direct marketing appeals and counting

When asked what advice she has for other nonprofits, Luedtke’s answer did not disappoint.

“Once you get started, it’s easy to get it rolling from there. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just put your touch of flavor on it to make it engaging and exciting!”

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