In this video, Dikla and Jen from Camp Moshava of Wild Rose share how they made their 81st year of camp a special one despite having to close their doors due to COVID-19. They raised over $352k on Givebutter in true summer camp style—with a virtual color war! Follow along to learn more about:
- Why they used Givebutter for their COVID-19 relief fund and annual fundraiser
- How to inspire supporters to give through personalized team fundraisers
- What Givebutter features they utilized to surpass their fundraising goal
- Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for connecting with donors in the middle of a crisis
“Can I give a quick shout out to the Givebutter team? Because of those [team fundraisers]. There were a lot of them and it seemed really overwhelming to me. When I chat-boxed you guys, within a minute I had help and you guys set it up on your end which was amazing. I was not expecting that. It's great for people to know that there's really a support team on the backend. . . And it continued throughout the campaign. I was able to reach them quickly and get support. There was always someone there to back me which was really helpful.”
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Full video script
Rachel: Hey everybody, Rachel here with Givebutter. Thanks for joining for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we are featuring Wild Rose. You might recognize the name because we featured this as a “Campaign We Love” on our site as well as a Good Newsletter. Recently, Wild Rose raised over $352,000—and that's over $2,000 of their fundraising goal—with a very special team fundraising aspect. I think you're really going to love hearing more about this one. I have two of their leaders here with me to share how Wild Rose created a friendly sense of competition within their community. They're also going to tell us what made them turn to Givebutter for fundraising, as well as tips, tricks, and lessons learned along the way. Thank you both so much for joining to share your story with the Givebutter community.
Jennifer: Thanks for having us!
Dikla: Thanks for having us.
Rachel: So to start, why don't you both introduce yourself, your roles, and what Wild Rose is all about.
Dikla: Okay! I'm Dikla Weitzner, and I’m the Director of Moshava Wild Rose. We are a Modern Orthodox residential camp in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. And again, thanks for having us!
Jen: I'm Jen Koplow and I'm the Assistant Director at Moshava Wild Rose. We're so happy to be here today and really proud of all we accomplished in our fundraising goals.
Rachel: You definitely should be! We're so excited to be featuring your story. At some point, I'm definitely going to share your beautiful campaign page so everybody who's following along can get the visual, but let's start with the backstory. What led to the build up of this campaign? COVID-19 relief, I know, is a huge part of your story and what led up to your annual campaign being presented in this way on Givebutter. So if you could just walk us back to the beginning—I don't know, maybe five, six months ago—to when the wheels were turning for this campaign.
Dikla: Either of us could. If we go back to March when the pandemic really hit, we really hit a motive. We were really trying to make camp happen. We really did everything we could to run in the summer, all the while knowing that it was a strong possibility that we would not be able to run this summer. I think close to 90 percent of residential camps in the US actually did not end up running. While Wisconsin didn't mandate us not to run, the board and the medical committee ultimately decided that this was not the summer to be able to run. Our camp has 81 years of history, so this was the first summer in 81 years that there would be no camp. That was really difficult just in general. Emotionally—for our alumni, for our families, obviously for our campers, for staff, for us—it was heartbreaking. It was really, really tough. All the while knowing that we had to run our annual campaign regardless. We kind of tried to figure out, for a little while, what exactly we're going to do with this campaign and exactly when we're going to do it. As soon as we canceled, we realized that we had to refund our parents their money. We were very, very open from the beginning of the pandemic that if we didn't have camp, we will offer 100 percent refunds. I'm going to let Jen keep talking too, but—I don't want to say everything—that's when we decided to kind of go with this type of campaign. Again, part of it was annual in general and specifically for this summer, we felt we needed to hit a much larger target. I’m going to let Jen talk.
Jen: Sure! I think you covered a lot. I think the plan for us was to really try to find a platform that would bring in our alumni, bring in our donor base who are not necessarily alumni but just friends of camp, and appeal to our parents and current families. We are an established camp in Wisconsin, but a lot of our base is in Chicago—grew up here, grew up going to the camp. There are a lot of people who care about the camp and the livelihood of the camp and the success of the camp. We wanted to make sure we could find a way not just in our annual campaign where we're calling people that we know and saying, “Hey, we would love you to contribute to the camp,” but really get feelers out there, reaching people who just care enough about the camp to want it to stay and continue to grow.
Rachel: Yeah. So what made you turn to Givebutter to pull that off?
Jen: There are a lot of platforms out there. I wouldn't say either of us are super familiar with many of them, so I started looking for different kinds of campaign platforms that I liked. Personally, I prefer—when I give my own donations—a platform that allows me to throw in PayPal or Venmo. Something really simple and easy that I don't have to start typing all my billing information and everything like that. So on my short priority list, that was one of them: an easy way to to pay because I do think it eases a person into actually hitting submit when all is said and done. I wanted a platform that's very user friendly, appealing, and that we could put a video on. We had a really great video that we made last summer in camp, and once we decided that camp was not going to be running this summer, we really wanted to create a video for camp families to still feel what camp is all about and pull at their heartstrings. We were able to come up with a video, and we wanted to be able to show that on the platform. Then, the final thing is we have alumni and every year there's a grade. Each grade is considered a group, and they have a name. So based on essentially the year you're born, you are in a certain— it’s called Adah—group.
Jen: Shevet, sorry. In terms of the Shevet, we really wanted to pull in alumni that way. We thought if we created sort of a color war, which obviously was not happening this summer, it would be a great way to still connect with everybody and potentially even do a little friendly competition to help increase the amount of funds we can bring in.
Rachel: Well, I'm going to go ahead and share my screen, so people can see some of the things that you were highlighting that also stood out to us. You were mentioning that you're able to accept donations via digital wallets which I'd be curious to know if you have an idea of how many folks were utilizing that who donated. You just click donate here, go next, leave a message—simple. You can click, and it's literally three clicks, and you're done. You donated and you joined, maybe, a team as well if you're participating in the color wars that you just mentioned. It's user friendly. You're able to connect quickly with digital wallets. Then you're also mentioning that you utilized peer-to-peer or team fundraising which I thought was one of the most successful aspects when I looked at your campaign because you have to click “Show more” just dozens and dozens of times to reach the amount of teams that were participating. I thought that was so impressive.
Dikla: It’s year-by-year, right? Like Jen said. It’s year-by-year, and we have many years of history.
Rachel: Exactly! I thought it showed that off so well when you looked at the campaign. A lot of times, when you look at team fundraisers, you'll notice that only a few teams are successful. But the strategy that you came up with included everyone; everyone had a team to be a part of. Sometimes, that can be totally missed. You can look at a team and think, “Well, I don't belong. I'm not necessarily part of this group or that group, so do I just give individually?” But you made a way for a seat at the table for everyone to give. I thought that was so smart. Then, you also mentioned your beautiful video. I'm actually just going to play a couple of seconds here of it because it is so beautiful.
Rachel: Listen, I didn't go to camp and grow up with these, but I wish I did when I watch this. I was like “I want to sing and participate!” It was beautiful. Then, as you keep going on throughout the campaign page, you have a very brief and concise story and message. You share directly how your funds are going to be distributed. It's very clear and transparent which is really important to donors. Then you have a beautiful visual here of all the teams participating. A message from you as well as others who are supporting. I just thought your page and the way you laid it out was really user friendly. Is there anything that, as I'm walking through this, maybe you wanted to share—in terms of strategy or tips and tricks—as you're looking at it that stands out to you?
Jen: For people who are doing this in the future, I think it was definitely helpful. We started the process with some messages; I think if you have no messages and you launch your campaign, some people are intimidated. They don't want to be the first one to write a message, things like that. I think if you have a couple of donors that you can call and ask them to make donations and write something, it goes a long way to helping promote the message portion. I would suggest that.
Rachel: Did you have a goal in mind? Because a lot of times people refer to those as “lead gifts.” Did you have a certain number of messages you wanted to send or lead gifts that you felt you needed to get out there? Or was it just kind of like “Here's our loyal few we're going to reach out to and hopefully they’ll get the ball rolling.”
Dikla: We had a donor list that we went to. We did have a list of people that we were calling and referring to. We also had a fundraising committee, and in the world of virtual worlds, we had a WhatsApp group that was very active.
Rachel: Oh, nice!
Dikla: We were always asking people and reaching out. We had a very—I don't know if this is exactly what you're asking—but we had a very strong social media campaign to back this which made a huge difference. I also actually wanted to mention that one of your features is when someone makes a donation, they have the ability to then share it onto Facebook and show that they donated which is a fantastic feature. Because then other people will see that this person just gave to this cause, this Givebutter campaign. Then they were able to also click on it and also donate. I think that the team feature . . . I think it'd be great if—every team that you talked about above—you'd be able to click on each one and show everyone who supported “Camp Friend.” That's one thing that a few people had mentioned to us through the campaign: that they would have loved to see everyone from their team, from their year, on one list. But people were still really into it and constantly watching and looking. Again, on social media you are able to take each team—like it's “Givebutter.com/WildRose/” then that team. So we were able to also encourage . . . Like I'm “Shevet Achdut,” so I was able to—on my campaigns, I used the link to my team versus the overall social media campaign, so that my team would get more donations. As Jen said, we made it into a color war. We tried to have levels of “Who's going to win this-and-this in this round and this-and-this part of it?”
Jen: The other feature that I think is really important to mention that we did utilize is the ability for staff to go in on the backend of the system and add checks or commitments from people who don't have the time to go on the computer. Or for some of our older crowd—alumni who aren't as computer savvy, tech savvy—we were able to input the information for them which made it so much easier. I think that's really important to know that that's accessible.
Rachel: Definitely. Knowing that your campaign was also a COVID-19 relief fund, there are, I'm sure, tons who are following along right now that may also be in a similar place. Running a COVID-19 relief fund is quite different than running just a normal campaign, right? I'd love to know how that maybe changed your messaging or strategy. How different was running a COVID-19 relief campaign for you?
Dikla: It's funny because beforehand, I thought it would be a tougher campaign. I was gung-ho about running camp, and I really thought that it wouldn't work. Unfortunately, because of the way the world is, I think people understand that everyone is going through these really tough times. I think that if you have an organization that people believe in, and if it's a place that people cherish, they want to make sure that it continues to succeed. I think that was a big part of this campaign. We had tons—and I mean tons—of alumni that have not given in years, or maybe even ever, who seemed to really take to this campaign. As soon as we sent it out, we sent out an email, we immediately got—without even asking! We had the campaign click on and we immediately got donations. It was honestly something that I'm really proud to be a part of. I think that you have to be sensitive to what a difficult time it is, but, I've actually heard this from a few fundraisers, don't be afraid to ask. Even in these tough times, don't be. That's one thing we definitely learned from this campaign. If you don't ask, you don't know. No one's going to say to you, “How dare you ask!” Worse comes to worse, they don't give or they give less. But most people we asked love camp and wanted to make sure to continue its success for the future and they gave. It was amazing.
Jen: I think the other thing to add is when we went into this, we had started this maybe a week after we canceled camp. We were not in a good place emotionally ourselves. I think we were personally challenged—we don't want to make this a sad, negative campaign, right? “If you don't give, we're shutting our doors,” or anything like that. It's the opposite. This is a hope for the future. We wanted to figure out how do we make this annual campaign where people understand we're trying to make it better for the future, not salvage what we had in the past. I think taking this color war competition, we tried to make it more positive than negative. I think that also spoke to people in terms of them feeling more connected to the campaign.
Rachel: Definitely. Yeah, I think that's something that we're seeing on Givebutter. The campaigns that are most successful with COVID-19 relief are humanizing their campaigns. It's walking that tension of acknowledging the pain and the difficulty and the grief while simultaneously having hope for the future and getting people to be a part of that full story with a sense of community. I think that's something that you all did brilliantly. Anybody who's following along, we're definitely going to link to this campaign so you can play around with it, you can watch all the videos, take a look at the supporter feed—I didn't even mention . . .
Dikla: You can donate if you want!
Rachel: Yeah! Donate if you want. There are tons of beautiful messages that I didn't even get to point out on your supporter feed that people were really engaged with. As well as team fundraising pages that you can also personalize and add in your own message apart from the overall campaign page. There's so much more that we could talk about and share, I'm sure.
Jen: Can I give a quick shout out to the Givebutter team? Because of those Shevets. There were a lot of them, and it seemed really overwhelming to me. When I chat-boxed you guys, within a minute I had help and you guys set it up on your end which was amazing. I was not expecting that. It's great for people to know that there's really a support team on the backend.
Dikla: And it continued throughout the campaign. I was really running the campaign part and they're often just little questions. Whatever it was, it was the same thing. I was able to reach them quickly and get support. There was always someone there to back me which was really helpful.
Rachel: Oh, so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for saying that. We are so proud of you and this beautiful campaign. Thank you for using Givebutter and for letting us share your inspiring Success Story today. I know there's tons of fundraisers who are going to watch this and be really inspired, so thank you so much for joining us today.
Dikla: We were happy to! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about our camp that we love so much.
Rachel: Thank you. And for everybody who is following along, please remember to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter’s YouTube channel. If there's questions that I didn't ask and you want to ask them, comment below. We'll try to answer as many questions as we can. We’ll see! Thank you so much again everybody for joining. We will see you next week for another Success Story. Take care.
Jen: Bye! Thank you.
View campaign: Moshava Wild Rose Annual Campaign and COVID-19 Relief Fund
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.