In this video, Kelly from Monadnock Humane Society shares how they've raised over $107k for their life-saving animal care programs with Givebutter. They accomplished this with over 20 fundraising team members, 157 supporters, 15 fundraisers, and topped it all off with an epic Livestream event. Kelly also reveals:
- Why Monadnock Humane Society chose to try virtual fundraising for the first time in over 145 years of fundraising to support their community
- What made their Livestream event so successful (Hint: Team Fundraising!)
- Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for gaining donor support while testing out new fundraising techniques
“We could Livestream our event, and one of the things that we really, really loved was being able to tell our story right on the page.”
Campaign at a glance
Full video script
Rachel: Hi all, Rachel here with Givebutter. Thanks for joining in again for another Success Story. Today I have here with me [the] Monadnock Humane Society. Kelly is representing and they are going to share with all of us what made their livestream fundraiser a couple weeks ago so incredibly successful. They raised over $107,000 to care for animals. Kelly is also going to share with us what made them turn to Givebutter, how they were able to pull off such a successful livestream for their first time, and tips and tricks that any fundraiser who's watching can walk away with and immediately plan to use. Plus, who doesn't love hearing stories about cute animals? Kelly, thanks so much for joining us today.
Kelly: Thanks for having us!
Rachel: To start, why don't you go ahead and share a little bit more about who you are and what MHS does.
Kelly: So Monadnock Humane Society has been in operation for 145 years, and we're all about the human-animal bond and caring and supporting animals. We do a variety of programs, including adoptions, boarding daycare, training programs. Most importantly, and a big part of what we did during our Hair Ball @ Home that we're here talking about today, was talking about our Animal Safety Net programs for people who may be in a medical crisis, fleeing domestic violence, and need temporary shelter for their pets. We also did a whole portion on abuse and neglect, as well as–we have multiple programs–our educational programs, our Pet Food Pantry, all of those kinds of things that we run.
Rachel: Incredible. Some of the programs that you mentioned I’ve never even heard of in other shelters. I watched part of your livestream, we'll talk more about that later here, but I'm excited for everyone who's watching to get to hear more about some of the ways that you're innovating in your humane society. So, let's talk a little bit more about Hair Ball @ Home–such a great name! This is a fundraiser that you've been doing for 18 years, correct?
Rachel: This is the first time ever that you went digital and that was due to COVID-19. Could you tell us a little bit more of the backstory of how this all unfolded.
Kelly: So we typically hold our Hair Ball in June of each year. And you’re correct, it's been 18 years that they've been doing that. It's always organized by a team of volunteers, along with our board members and staff. It's never been virtual. In fact, we've never had a virtual event. This was our first one ever. We were pretty excited because we've been using Bloomerang for a couple of years, and part of the reason I know you were interested in how we began to use this, but because it was integrated with Bloomerang we had real interest in exploring the Givebutter side of things. Yeah, this was our first virtual and we feel like Givebutter was a great choice for us. Part of the reason we chose it was because the platform allows for peer-to-peer fundraising, and I should say we had never done peer-to-peer fundraising as part of it.
Kelly: So that was another benefit that this allowed us to do. You know, in choosing it, it really had to do with the integration with Bloomerang. It had to do with the fact that we could try peer-to-peer fundraising. We could live stream our event and one of the things that we really, really loved was being able to tell our story right on the page. As people were donating, the thermometer is moving, and you have the chat going on on the side. Our team felt like “Hey, if we're going to enter the virtual world. Let's do it in a way that people feel really comfortable with.” And it seemed like those types of things felt really comfortable for people.
Rachel: That is wonderful. I'm going to go ahead and share my screen with folks, so that they can see your beautiful campaign. I promised cute animals, so here they are. And like you said you had 15 fundraisers, you had over 20 members, 157 supporters. This is kind of a main hub. If you're going to have future events, they would also be featured here and then the Hair Ball @ Home is right here. You were just mentioning the live Supporter Feed, all the wonderful comments and beautiful pictures that were coming in; I loved seeing those. Then you also were able, like you said, to share your story, your sponsors, and it's just so well organized and fun to follow. I mean, if I was supporting or attending this I would just enjoy watching it.
Kelly: Well, and if you have a chance to see the streaming video–and you and I talked about this–we chose to pre-record it, but then feed it in as a livestream. So we did sell tickets and people came in at a certain time to actually watch it, and that just works so well. People felt like they were literally sitting there in a room together. The streaming, everything is just such a great asset. The ability on the donate page to be able to segregate and talk about some of our different initiatives and what people can be donating to was really nice for our donors. So if you clicked on $50, for example, you could see the impact of $50 in our facility. Actually it's not showing anymore. It looks like it's down because the event’s over. But, you know, previous to this, they could see $50 paid for transport of animals, for example, or a Spay-Neuter Clinic. People can actually see that level of detail here, which was really nice for them and for us.
Kelly: Then people being able to do the peer-to-peer, as I said, that was brand new for us doing that this year. You can see, we had a lot of people trying it out and we actually raised… our peer-to-peer fundraisers raised a substantial amount of money. You know, you see the Anti-Cruelty Fund that the Wratchford set up raised almost $25,000 alone.
Rachel: Amazing. So you tried a lot of different things, and it sounds like you went with Givebutter because of integration and ease of use. But, I didn't notice before the call, but that's really interesting to me that live stream and peer-to-peer were totally new to your organization. I want to know what the secret is because it seems like your supporters were willing to try new things with you. What did you do to get your supporters on board with totally new fundraising strategies?
Kelly: I gotta tell you, we did a huge social media campaign as part of this. Then I think the fact that people could connect their own email messages right to the system if they became a peer-to-peer fundraiser. One of the other things that we did was we actually put together a guide for people who wanted to become peer-to-peer fundraisers or who wanted to donate. So we put together a really simple guide, we published it through Facebook, we sent out emails, we made sure we had links on our postcards that went out. One of the things our peer-to-peer folks said to us, was it was so easy to set yourself up as a fundraiser. It was literally a push of a button and they liked that they could write their own story or put in their own pictures and things. And I should say that we've used, we've never done a virtual event, but we've used peer-to-peer fundraising, but not this way ever before.
Kelly: We’re planning another event in September and we're planning to expand our use of it.
Rachel: That's exciting. What makes you want to expand your use to future events?
Kelly: Well, we think the peer-to-peer side is a big part of this next one we're doing, and it's also going to be virtual. Again, what we'll do is probably stream through the Givebutter page again, but because it's a virtual walk, people will have a chance to submit their videos or their pictures of them walking and have it all show up here on the site so it's really centralized. So we can run, just like we did with our Hair Ball, we can run an event and our program portion of it right through Givebutter but then other people can really participate
Rachel: Yeah, that makes sense. You want it all in one space and it'll be exciting to see some of those videos come up from that event.
Kelly: Definitely. We do, typically during the live event, we do a piece of our program called Fund A Need, and we did that right through the Givebutter site this year. So if anybody watches our video, this is Wes and Kathy here, our Executive Director and Board Chair. If they watch that video, they'll see that they're talking about our different programs, and Wes is saying, “Hey, look! Our thermometer’s going up!” So, you know, they're really making people feel like “Hey! We're in a fundraiser, and it's happening here and now and I'm a part of it.”
Rachel: Exactly. Do you mind if I play a minute or two of the video?
Kelly: Oh no, that's fine.
VO Wes: Okay, I'm here with Kathy and now we're going to kick off our Fund A Need segment. Okay, this is a really exciting portion of the Hair Ball @ Home, and I hope you'll all join us in helping fund some of the really important programs that we're going to be talking about. Now remember, all donations to these programs are really critical to the life-saving operations of MHS. So let's talk about these. We've got four programs that need your support. First is the Animal Safety Net. Next, we have the extraordinary animal veterinary care program. Next, we have Operation No Pet Left Behind. And we also have our new Anti-Cruelty Fund. So first, let's talk about the Animal Safety Net. Now that's a service that’s really vital in our community. The way it works is MHS provides free boarding and medical care for the pets of community members who may be in need. They may be fleeing domestic violence, they might be homeless, or they might be needing to go into a drug or a mental health or a medical treatment program. So I'm going to ask Kathy to talk about all of that in more detail. But before we do that, We have a challenge for everyone, alright? You can double your impact here. So Thomas and Christine and another long-time MHS donor today are challenging all of you watching…
Rachel: So what I loved so much about this segment was, it was just so well organized. For anybody who's following along, and clicks play–and you definitely should link to the story. When you watch this video you'll notice it's very thoughtful and had a very logical flow that made it easy for supporters to follow. It was very, very clear what impact supporters were making: you knew exactly where your dollars were going to go, what the four programs were, what impacts they were making. Of course, lots of free friends throughout the video to warm everybody's heart. So I'm going to say kudos to you and your team. I thought your livestream was and will be a really good source of inspiration for the Givebutter community.
Kelly: There was a lot of thought put in by the committee that worked on this in terms of our program design. What I should say to you, is we literally put this whole thing together in eight weeks and made it happen. Not even this being put together, the final portions of this. At eight weeks out, we were going to cancel the whole event. Then we decided, “Why don't we go and at least try something virtual? We may not raise as much as we normally do, but it'll be something during this crisis right now.” So at eight weeks out from what our date was, we had just decided we're going to notify the public that we're not doing the event. Then a week later, at seven weeks, we decided let's go with the virtual. At six weeks, we were notifying people that we were going to go with a virtual event and to stay tuned. So really it was the last probably four weeks that all of this got put together and the tape itself, all of the different segments, were in the last week.
Rachel: Wow, that's incredible! So if you’re watching this right now and you think, “I don't have time. I can't do it.” Yes, you can!
Kelly: Oh yeah! I won't say it was easy. There was definitely some stressful moments in there and wondering whether it was all going to work, of course. But we had a younger person named Ryan, who took everything and he utilized restream to put everything together and then help stream it through all these different venues. But this was our primary venue, because everybody was donating through here, that people were directed to
Rachel: So for everybody who's watching right now, whether it's their first livestream coming up or they're seasoned digital fundraisers, what would you say are tips and tricks for livestream fundraising on Givebutter that you would recommend to them?
Kelly: One of the things we would encourage is that if people are doing Facebook live stream, that they not make that their primary way of streaming in through Givebutter. Because Facebook, we did find, would shut us down. So you know if you're pre-recording–the other thing is we found real value in having it pre-recorded and put together. So then if we did run into any technical difficulties we weren't trying to deal with that right in the moment. I have to say, we did not have a professional company involved with this. This was all volunteer, all people from our staff and board that put this together. We didn't have a company that could step in and deal with technology if we ran into a problem. So, especially if you're on the novice side of things, I think pre-recording using YouTube and then streaming it in through Givebutter. With something like YouTube, for example could be really helpful to people. I think having a well laid out program so you know what your flow is going to be. We kept it to less than an hour. We thought that was really important. Our donors appreciated that. And then I think using social media to really communicate to people and having a simple guide for people on how to become a fundraiser or how to donate is really important.
Rachel: Excellent! Those are great tips. Thank you so much for sharing those. What I'm taking away from what you're sharing is: make it simple for your supporters. Provide guides, over-communicate on social media, email, you mentioned postcards. Make it really clear and easy for them to hit the donate button. And like you mentioned, tell them how they're going to make an impact and where their funds are going so that they feel especially connected to your cause. I think that's something that all of us can immediately implement. So thank you for sharing that.
Kelly: Yes. The last thing I would say is make sure you build in some, you know, touching, great stories, and we were able to do that. If you watch our video, you'll actually see the stories about some of the different animals and the fact that we could stream that right through Givebutter was just amazing. I've had people call me and say, “I've watched it three times and it still makes me cry.”
Rachel: Aw, that’s so nice. All of the stories! I mean, it got me too. I had to press pause.
Kelly: There's happy tales! All of our things end in happy tales fortunately in this. I know that the steps to get there are the reason why we're here.
Rachel: Yes, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, and thank you MHS for the incredible work that you're doing and for inspiring all of us in the Givebutter community.
Kelly: Sure. And people can always feel free to reach out to us if they have questions.
Rachel: Thanks again.
Kelly: Alrighty, thank you!
View campaign: Monadnock Humane Society
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.