In this video, I’m joined by Shikha and Emily from GetUsPPE. They share how this grassroots movement—founded by physicians and medical researchers—is working around the clock to get the equipment they need for themselves and for their colleagues. They’ve already raised over $87k on Givebutter to sustain PPE distribution, supply, and infrastructure efforts. Keep watching to find out:
- Why they chose Givebutter for their fundraising efforts
- What has made their campaigns so successful (Hint: Simple but powerful collect forms!)
- Tips, tricks, and lessons learned from behind-the-scenes of fundraising on Givebutter
“The customer service and the teams at Givebutter have been phenomenal. We've had very few issues across the board using the platform, but when we have, they've been taken care of immediately with kindness and with a sense of urgency. I think that's part of what really appeals to us about Givebutter. There's a true understanding of what it means to be a philanthropic organization: things do move quickly, so being flexible and being able to pivot is a huge asset.”
Campaign at a glance
Full video script
Rachel: Hi everyone, Rachel here with Givebutter. Thank you for joining us for another inspiring Success Story. Today, we are featuring GetUsPPE. So far, they’ve raised over $87,000 to get PPE to the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shikha and Emily join us today to share why they turned to Givebutter to reach their fundraising goals, and tips, tricks, and lessons learned along the way so that any fundraiser who’s watching can put them right to good use. Shikha and Emily, thank you both for joining us today. OK, so let's just jump right in! If you could go ahead and introduce yourself and a little bit more about what GetUsPPE is all about.
Shikha: Sure! My name is Shikha Gupta. I'm a physician in Washington, D.C. and for GetUsPPE I serve as the Vice President of our Executive Board. I'm also the Director of Development and Communications. GetUsPPE is an organization that was started in mid-March as a response to the PPE crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. It was originally started as a viral hashtag on Twitter actually by a group of emergency room physicians. Over time, what they realized was that the PPE crisis wasn't going to end. In order to make the workplace—hospitals where frontline workers are working, anywhere that essential workers were going to be—safer during the COVID crisis, we really needed to find a way to fill the gap and get PPE to people who needed it most until someone else stepped in to do that job. We kind of thought this was going to be a very short-lived program, for a couple of months or so. Over time, we really realized that the need is still here and it's only increasing as COVID cases increase. What we're trying to do is find supply of donated personal protective equipment and our goal is to distribute it free of charge to the people who need it most. That’s really the essence of what we've been doing since day one and it remains our primary mission today.
GetUsPPE was able to successfully able to deliver the surgical wrap masks to one clinic members, Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley (IHCSCV). IHCSCV staff are pictured above holding the box of masks and the entrance to their clinic site where we delivered PPE. "The generous donation from Love Your Melon could not have come at a more opportune time, as the community health centers are working to expand COVID-19 testing per our Public Health Department guidelines." - Dolores A., CEO, Community Health Partnership
Rachel: Well we are so proud at Givebutter to be supporting the incredibly important work that you all are doing, but what made you turn to us? Why did you come to Givebutter?
Shikha: Yeah, that's a really good question. Ari, one of your Co-Founders, actually reached out to us which was such a breath of fresh air and such a kind gesture. He has family members who were in the healthcare space, so he really kind of acutely and personally understood the mission of what we were trying to do. He was an open book, he said, “How can my team help you guys achieve the goals that you're trying to reach?” And it was such an easy sell. Givebutter is a beautiful platform; the user experience is wonderful. It gives us the flexibility to really kind of create the kinds of campaigns that we want to draw our constituents and our stakeholders to. Part of what I really love is that it gives us the opportunity to educate people also. So it's not just click a button and donate money but also learn about where your money is going and why you're giving to this cause. The customer service and the teams at Givebutter have been phenomenal. We've had very few issues across the board using the platform, but when we have, they've been taken care of immediately with kindness and with a sense of urgency. I think that's part of what really appeals to us about Givebutter. There's a true understanding of what it means to be a philanthropic organization: things do move quickly, so being flexible and being able to pivot is a huge asset.
"We were very grateful to receive these 1,000 masks a few weeks ago. Here’s a lovely photo that Nathalie took of me and my colleague Paula! She’s one of our amazing PPE Champions." - Lucy F. Christian Living Communities, Englewood, CO
Rachel: So Emily, just jumping right into more of the Givebutter logistics. What made you guys turn to Givebutter to reach your fundraising goals?
Emily: Yeah! So I think one of the big things that initially was interesting to us was the no platform fees because that's really important when you're a small group just starting out. Also, one thing that I really like is the ability to make unique campaigns with different URLs because a lot of our fundraising is people who want to do a benefit for us or host a show that has donations going to us. Being able to give them a unique link that's personal for them is really nice from their point of view. It also makes it easy for me to send them updates on how much they've raised and keep those things easy to identify. I really, really like that. Also, just how easy everything is to set up. I'm not a coder or anything, so being able to just give the embed code to my colleague and have them put it on our website. Really just how easy everything has been.
Rachel: So what I’m hearing you say is the zero percent fees was huge. You’re a grassroots organization, and that makes it financially affordable. It's easy to share with people who want to rally for your organization, and it's just overall easy to use.
Emily: Yeah! Definitely.
Generosity takes flight! What an incredible #PPEMatchMade. This was a pilot-assisted delivery, from Chicago, IL to Tempe, AZ that distributed respirators to a dozen different tribal nations. GetMePPE Chicago (@getmeppechi) dropped the shipment off in Chicago, Todd Green and his son Asher were the pilots that flew it From Chicago to Tempe.
Rachel: Awesome! What has been your—you were kind of touching on it a little bit—but I want to hear a little bit more about your experience using Givebutter on the back-end because I know you've been kind of behind the scenes coordinating. What has that been like for you? You're primarily using the collect form, correct?
Emily: Yeah! Our initial thing that we wanted to set up was on our website we have a little box where people can donate if they're on our website. That was the first thing we wanted to do, so I did that. For people that are on our website and then want to donate, we want to make that really easy for them. Our other main thing is people are having—we just recently had someone who hosted a talent show with us as the beneficiary. It was a small group, but it was really nice that I was able to create a custom link for them. They raised a lot of money for us, more than we were expecting, so that was really exciting to see.
Rachel: That's wonderful! So what was their experience like on their end? Did you get any feedback from them using Givebutter?
250 pairs of disposable booties, 80 3 ply disposable surgical masks, and 40 pairs of safety glasses, all delivered to Howard University Hospital.
Emily: Yeah! I mean, they definitely appreciated that I was able to make a unique URL for them, and they liked being able to see how they were making progress towards their goal. It was nice that I was able to easily increase the goal because they exceeded their own expectations, so being able to bump that up again was really nice.
Rachel: Mm hmm. That unique link is huge because you can't get that everywhere, and then it's easy for you to track, like you were saying, overall the team and what you're bringing in. So I have your basic collect form up right here. What do you think has made it so successful on your site? Because we've seen other people use collect forms, and maybe there are some who are watching or listening and wondering “How do I make this collect form work to its maximum potential on my website?” What did you guys do to promote it or utilize it to make it successful?
Emily: I think having it be really simple. One of the things we always think about is how many clicks it is that each person has to take, so really minimizing that is important. Then also, promoting something in a way that's really relevant to people. We have social media promotions that try to stay current, and I think this is a really current issue so that's partly why a lot of people are interested in donating.
From the photo taker: "I volunteer as a driver for GETUSPPEDC and on Thursday I picked up 10K gloves donated from the Chemistry Department of Morgan State University in Baltimore. The picture below is our very sartorial donor, and a sight for sore eyes during the pandemic!"
Rachel: Mm hmm. No, those are awesome tips, Emily! It's so easy to get in the weeds and make it way more complicated than it needs to be, and I love that you kept your form clean, simple, and straightforward. Everyone that's watching the video can see that when I clicked it was just three clicks, and then if you have PayPal or another digital wallet, that’s a fourth click and you're done. That's it. It's that simple. I think that has to be part of the secret behind your success is that you've made it easy. It's easy to add more steps, but not always necessary. Then the other piece that you said I think is also brilliant. Making fund designations more and more relevant to what's happening today. People don't need a huge description, they know exactly what you're saying when they read the title of your fund. I thought you and your team did that really well, so kudos to you! I know that you mentioned to me, Emily, that you're new to Givebutter. I'm wondering, what are your lessons learned? What's something that you've learned about Givebutter that you think “That's something that I would tell myself on day one that I know now.”
Emily: I guess how easy it is to create separate campaigns for things. I think we're a little bit hesitant at the beginning. We wanted to keep everything really streamlined, but it's actually really easy, so just to know from the beginning.
Rachel: Awesome. To close, I'm wondering for those that are following along, if you have any words of encouragement or wisdom for them as they're starting maybe their first collect form or their first fundraising campaign on Givebutter. What would be your word of advice or encouragement to them?
Emily: I guess to just jump right in and experiment with it. I have made some test campaigns just to see how things work. It's really very user-friendly and easy to figure out!
Rachel: Great advice. What I hear you saying is, it may not be as hard as it seems—just go for it!
Rachel: Thanks so much again Emily! I really appreciate your time today.
Emily: Thank you!
View campaign: #GetUsPPE
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.