Success Story: 3 Dollar Challenge and The Reflect Organization partner together to raise $75k to support college student wellness and suicide prevention

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Rachel MillsWhite arrow icon

Success Story: 3 Dollar Challenge and The Reflect Organization partner together to raise $75k to support college student wellness and suicide prevention

In this video, I’m joined by Jared from The Reflect Organization as well as Jack and Kate from 3 Dollar Challenge. These two organizations have partnered together to double their impact for good. They’re raising $75k to support suicide prevention and mental wellness on college campuses across the nation. Not only are they successfully raising funds on Givebutter, but they’re on a mission to prove that every donation—no matter how small—can make a difference in the life of someone who needs it. Follow along to learn:

  • What made them turn to Givebutter (Hint: Venmo integration!)
  • How they have used team fundraising to drive donations on Givebutter
  • Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for mobilizing younger donors in support of your cause
“[The Givebutter platform] has integration with Venmo, QR codes—there are so many different ways, using the Givebutter platform, to make your campaign as accessible as possible. It has to be the perfect platform, and for us, it has been a wonderful and encouraging experience to work with the team at Givebutter."

Keep reading to learn how a little amount of good from a lot of people can make a big difference!

Campaign at a glance

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Full video script

Rachel: What's up everybody? Rachel here with Givebutter. Thanks for joining for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we are highlighting not one, but two amazing organizations who are linking arms to give better together. Right now 3 Dollar Challenge and The Reflect Organization are in the middle of raising $75,000. I think you're really going to love hearing about this one, particularly if you're wanting to learn more about how to engage younger donors or how to effectively partner with other organizations to raise more funds. I have Jared, Jack, and Kate here with me to share why they're raising funds to support college student wellness and suicide prevention. 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 all so much for joining to share your story with the Givebutter community today.

Jared: Absolutely! Thank you for having us. We're very excited.

Rachel: And Jack and Kate, Happy Birthday again!

Kate: Thank you so much.

Rachel: You guys, they are true champs. They are joining on this call right now and it's their actual birthday as we're doing this. How fun is that? If you're following along on YouTube, please leave them a Happy Birthday note of love. Just to start, why don’t each of you go ahead and introduce yourselves and your organizations that you're representing.

Jared: Yeah, so I can start. My name is Jared Fenton. I'm Executive Director of The Reflect Organization—or Reflect for short. We are a mental wellness nonprofit with college and university chapters dedicated to empowering students to foster a culture of authenticity, allyship, and self-love on campus.

Jack: My name's Jack Adler. I’m the Co-Founder of the 3 Dollar Challenge along with my twin sister, Kate, which we founded back in April for Coronavirus relief. We began raising donations for Feeding America direct relief and the CDC through $3 donations, and we were able to raise over $20,000 in our first campaign. Now, we've partnered up with Jared and The Reflect Organization to help raise money for suicide prevention and the mental wellness of college students.

Kate: Yep! My name is Kate Adler. I’m a sophomore at the University of Miami and I’m the other Co-Founder of the 3 Dollar Challenge as Jack was just saying. We are really excited to keep the challenge going and partnering with Reflect has been an amazing experience so far.

Rachel: So how did you guys team up? Tell us the story.

Jared: So, Jack please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, but the way that I found out about the 3 Dollar Challenge was during Jack and Kate's first campaign when they were raising funds for COVID-19 relief. My girlfriend, actually, one day just showed me her phone and she said, “You have to check this out. I just saw on Instagram this campaign called the 3 Dollar Challenge. It's Incredible. They're raising thousands of dollars through $3 donations—maybe they're interested in partnering with Reflect.” I immediately took out my phone. I checked out the page and fortunately, I was able to get in touch with Jack. I remember I gave him a call, and he picked up and I said “Hey, is this Jack Adler?” And he said, “Yeah.” And I said, “Oh, cool. People actually used to call me Jack,” which is true. It might sound a little strange if you're just meeting somebody over the phone who calls you out of the blue, probably when the phone says Jared, and I go, “Oh, by the way, people used to call me your name,” but he believed me which was kind. And again, it's true. People used to call me Jack. So we started talking and Jack said “Hey, as a college student…” and of course, Kate, as well, ”...we care about mental health. We care about mental wellness. We would love to work with you in the future and stay in touch.” Now, a few months later, they have been gracious enough to partner with our organization.

Jack: Yeah! I do remember so clearly the day Jared called because not only was it really cool for us to get that recognition from another nonprofit—at the time, we were just a couple weeks into the fundraiser. Of course, we knew that we were reaching thousands of people, but it really had yet to hit us, the actual scale that we were working at. We had a nonprofit organization reaching out, asking if they could partner with us and use the concept that we created just a couple of weeks ago. So that was really cool for both Kate and I to see that this is something that we could possibly continue using moving forward.


Rachel: It sounds like it just seemed like the time was right; it was the perfect fit. You have this 3 Dollar Challenge that was the exact right format and time for Jared‘s cause: rallying around mental health for college students. So, what is it? Describe it for people who are not familiar with the 3 Dollar Challenge. How does it work? Why $3? Why does the 3 Dollar Challenge work for raising funds for this specific cause, do you think?

Kate: Yeah! So the goal of the 3 Dollar Challenge is, as we said, to raise as much money as possible through only $3 donations. The reason why we stuck with $3 is because when we got back home when school shut down because of quarantine, we were thinking “How could we engage our community to all get involved to make a difference?” That was really the baseline of it. We thought, “Well, we could ask for $5 donations,” but that's a little bit more of an “ask” then we wanted. We were thinking $1. People would really be willing to donate $3. It's right in the middle. People had the spare change that they weren't spending out at college or out for lunch and dinner and things like that. So we decided that would be a great way to engage our community by also incorporating the social media component. Basically, the 3 Dollar Challenge is to donate $3, post a picture on your Instagram story, and then tag three friends or more to do the same. That's really what made the spiraling effect because everyone was donating $3, posting a picture with their friends, and tagging those friends. It was just really amazing to see everyone coming together and really being willing to help and support. They weren't doing it necessarily because we asked them but more because they wanted to get involved and help out the cause.

Rachel: Yeah, I think you point out two really helpful things. One is that the goal is for participation—for every person to participate. Remove blockades or any barrier that might be in the way. Anybody can participate with $3. Then secondly, you're continuing the fundraising loop, right? Tag three people, right? It doesn't just end with the donation, but tag three and continue this fundraiser to move on. So, why Givebutter? Why did you guys turn to Givebutter to pull this off?

Jared: I guess I can take that one. I have the pleasure of being connected to a wonderful support network, and one of the individuals in that support network is named Tony Raffa. I was talking to Tony about the 3 Dollar Challenge and we were looking for the right platform on which we could run this campaign. Tony said, “I know exactly who you need to talk to,” and he connected me to Max. He’s the CEO of Givebutter for those of you who are listening and may not know that. Tony connected me to Max; they're good friends. I was able to get in touch with Max. Max could not have been more kind, offering what I would say was probably the number one innovative tip that we were able to take away and then implement into this campaign to help us achieve the success that it has thus far. And again, we're in the middle of it; we're still going. But that was to really utilize the team element. Max shared with me that the team element is very successful on the Givebutter platform. The platform fees are a unique benefit of Givebutter to the nonprofit. They have integration with Venmo, they have QR codes—there are so many different ways, using the Givebutter platform, to make your campaign as accessible as possible. It has to be the perfect platform, and for us, it has been.


Jack: I do want to add on that the number one thing really was the team component. We have a wide network of connections in Greek life and different clubs and organizations in the college demographic, so being able to make a team and allow people to motivate others who are a part of their team to donate—it really adds a new component to the challenge. Whereas before we were raising money through Venmo. One, it's hard to keep track of how much we've raised and two, Givebutter offers a Venmo component where you can link it. It was really just the perfect match.

Rachel: Absolutely. I'm just sharing my screen now so people can see your beautiful work that you were just talking about. For those that are wondering, “What are they talking about?” The teams right here—that’s what we're looking at. The team leaderboard. There were over 100 that were listed here. Who are these people that you're targeting to be a part of your team leaderboard?

Jack: Kate and I began what we call a “frat and sorority network.” We reached out to all of our connections and asked if they could help connect those with philanthropy chairs from as many Greek life organizations as possible. We were able to come in contact with I'd say around 200 philanthropy chairs from all around the nation. Look down—you can scroll through the list, and it's all different parts. We've actually got I'd say about 50 teams to raise at least one donation, at least one supporter, and we are still working. We are still in contact with hundreds of other people right now, hoping to get them involved in this next coming week. We're trying to continue growing our network, and I really think that it's a way to bring together college students from all around the nation to combat a cause that is so prevalent right now more than ever.

Rachel: Absolutely. I want to point out a couple of other things that I see on your page that are beautiful, working so well for you. One is the power of storytelling. Your story is just clear, concise, to the point. I love these headers. Easy to follow. “What's going on? Why should I donate? Who do I contact?” Just very easy to follow. Especially since your campaign is so oriented around social, it makes sense that the copy is really concise. That's really smart. The team fundraisers we already talked about. Then your video is wonderful. Again, it's short, it's to the point, it's very personal. You even give Givebutter a little bit of a shout out and show people how to use it. How did you create your promo in the header? Because one thing that we like to point out to people at Givebutter is that headers that have videos, 50% or more that watch it are likely to donate. Video is so much more powerful than just an image or just a graphic. How did you create your promo video?

Kate: Jack, I didn’t know if you wanted to take the lead on that or not. For our first campaign, that was really our driving point, I would say. The very first thing we did was film a video of Jack and I talking in our living room at home about the 3 Dollar Challenge and what it was. We both posted it on our personal Instagram accounts and it definitely got the most traction. It has over 10,000 views on it. It really was important to us to keep putting our face on Instagram to show people that we were behind all the posts and that we wanted to connect everyone. Because we're college students as well, and in the same boat as everyone else. Then, for this campaign we said we definitely wanted another video. It was definitely a little bit more challenging since I'm at the University of Miami and Jack’s at Syracuse University. We wanted to figure out a way to find two beautiful places on campus, film our portions of the video, and then merge them. That's exactly what we did in that video, honestly.

Rachel: Awesome. That's helpful because that makes it accessible. Any fundraiser who's watching: just use what you have. You can do it wherever and it doesn't need to be long, drawn out, and have a full script. You can just speak from your heart and share why you're doing what you're doing, what you're raising funds for, and then just simply ask people to give. It's as easy as that. That's really helpful. Anything else, as we look at your fundraising page, that stands out to you as tips, tricks, or lessons learned that you could give other fundraisers? Or do you feel like we pretty much covered it?

Jack: I feel like we covered everything.

Rachel: Awesome! What would you guys say to other fundraisers that are watching right now? Let's say they’re just like you, they're putting together their campaign page, and they’re about to start sharing it with all their supporters—what would be your word of encouragement or advice? I'd love to hear from all of you.

Jack: I really think that the driving force of the 3 Dollar Challenge is that every single donation does make a difference. The reason that we started this in the first place was that we felt like a lot of people felt as though—at least in our Gen Z demographic of college students—they weren't making a donation because they didn't have the financial capabilities to make a large enough donation to make a difference. One thing we're trying to prove through this 3 Dollar Challenge is that everyone can make a difference, and the power of your voice is just as strong as the power of your donation. By making even a small donation of $3, by you spreading the word and getting other people to do the same, the exponential effect of that is greater than a large donation.

Kate: Yeah, I was going to say something super similar. I was going to say that really anyone has the power to donate. For anyone creating a Givebutter page, no donation is too big or too small. Everyone really has the power to contribute and make a difference. It's really just about getting the word out, sharing on social media, reaching out to really anyone. Whether you know them or not, I'm sure they'd want to support the cause that you're raising money for. That's definitely my piece of advice.

Jared: I would add only two things. The first thing that I would add is if there's anybody out there looking to fundraise for a charitable cause, get in touch with Kate and Jack because they're incredible at it. They are unbelievable. Kate and Jack, I'm sure you're going to have a lot of requests coming in, so my apologies if it overwhelms you. I can certainly help with that, if you'd like. Seriously, from a nonprofit standpoint, we just feel so lucky to have been able to partner with the 3 Dollar Challenge. Rachel said it at the beginning of this interview: Jack and Kate are literally here working on their 20th birthday and, might I mention, this isn't even their job. They're college students. That's what they're doing fulltime and this is their volunteer work on the side, yet they're giving their time to help all the other fundraisers out there and to support Reflect. The second thing that I'll say is, in a similar way to how it's been so incredible to work with both Kate and Jack through 3DC, it has been a wonderful and encouraging experience at every step along the way to work with Rachel, to work with Max, and to work with the team at Givebutter. So if you're an individual that's out there watching this video and thinking, “Hmm, should I use Givebutter or should I use a different platform?” You heard it from me, use Givebutter. Truly, the team there has been very responsive—quickly responsive and helpful in their responses, and has helped us, like I said, along every step of the way to try to make this fundraiser as successful as it could possibly be so that we can help the students that we serve.

Rachel: Thank you all. Excellent words of advice. Jared, Jack, and Kate: Thank you so much for using Givebutter and for letting us share your inspiring campaign with everyone today. We are cheering you on.

Kate: Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

Rachel: And for everybody who's following along, please remember to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter’s YouTube channel. If there are any questions that I didn't ask that you want answered, please comment below. We'll try to answer as many as we can. Thank you so much for joining, and we will see you next week for another Success Story. Bye everybody!

View campaign: Accept the 3 Dollar Challenge to Support College Student Wellness and Suicide Prevention

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Written By

Written by
Rachel Mills
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.