Relationships: The Key to Success for Our Day of Giving in 2024

Emma Doss is the Director of Mission Advancement at CASA. As CASA’s Director of Mission Advancement, Emma manages all of CASA’s fundraising initiatives and external communications. She is driven by showing donors the true difference they can make in our own community.

When I was first asked to write a guest blog about our recent and successful Day of Giving event, I immediately felt like a fraud.  

Don’t they know it wasn’t just me raising all that money? We had our Board, my colleagues, and an amazing group of volunteers leading the charge! I don’t have a “secret formula” for success!

I went over all the details in my head and struggled to find the words. How could I give advice when I felt that the role I played in the success of our event was miniscule?

Finally, it hit me—our Day of Giving, like every other event we’ve ever run, isn’t about me. It’s entirely about the company we keep, the networks we build, and the hype we generate. Yes, there are things we can do as fundraisers to push it along, but at the end of the day it all comes down to our community and relationships.

Our Day of Giving goal this year was $65,000, and we managed to raise just under $95,000. Our amazing Annual Fund manager, Cheyanne Murdock, deserves a ton of credit for her organization and management of the event. Together, we learned valuable lessons on running a successful Day of Giving:

You can’t do it alone.

Fundraising, especially for an event, is not a solo project. Our volunteers, Board, and committee “brought the hype.” We had one Board member who really championed the event and ran with it. She spread the word, got new faces in the door, solicited sponsorships from new-to-us businesses, and even offered to host our in-person portion of the event at her home. Our team also spent significant time over the last year building up a small but mighty volunteer fundraising committee made up of Board members and dedicated donors who wanted to do more. Our committee members each came with their own networks of businesses, friends, family, and colleagues that were eager to learn and give to CASA. Some folks involved in this event were relationships that we’ve been cultivating for 5+ years. Others were just getting involved. We felt that taking the time to know our volunteers and finding their strengths was one of the greatest things we did to ensure we were properly empowering folks to be a part of our mission.

Don’t follow rules that don’t actually exist.

Day of Giving, ideally, is a 24-hour window to raise as much money as possible—but we found that limited us. Will donors actually mark their calendars and remember to give when they’re supposed to? We realized we were adhering to a rule that didn’t exist. So instead, we gathered sponsorships ahead of time. We accepted and solicited donations leading up to AND after the event. We spread the word about our Day of Giving just about everywhere we could and always included a link to give. We used our e-newsletters, Facebook, Instagram, website, paid ads, AND sold tickets to an in-person happy hour. We wanted to make sure that everyone could participate in Day of Giving regardless of when and where they wanted to give. For Board members and volunteers that would be out of town or couldn’t give personally, we asked them to set up Peer to Peer fundraising pages to send out to their networks ahead of the event.

Tell your story far and wide.

Our fundraising department takes time throughout the year to meet and get to know residents so that we can share their stories. There is truly no better champion than someone who has benefitted from CASA housing, and on Day of Giving we made it our mission to showcase our residents as much as possible through our digital channels. We shared photos, stories, quotes, and videos. At our in-person event, we had one of our residents speak. His speech was eloquent, heartfelt, and gave a perspective that our staff simply couldn’t. We did as much as we could to share impact knowing that it would naturally inspire generosity.

Reflecting on our Day of Giving, the one thing that made it successful is what we do best as fundraisers: relationships. We love people and love spending time getting to know them. We keep reaching out and offering opportunities to get involved— even if we’re ignored the first time. And the second time. With the right people backing and supporting you, any event can be a success.  

CASA has partnered with Armstrong McGuire for more than a decade. In fact, in 2013 they did not have a fundraising program. Today, they raise more than $1 million annually and have raised more than $27 million in their capital campaign for King’s Ridge. We applaud their steadfast efforts to build and nurture relationships across their community. Well done, CASA!

Take a deeper dive into Armstrong McGuire's partnership with CASA through our featured case study.

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