Success Story: Kitchen Rodeo pulls off 30+ successful fundraising events in 2 months

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Success Story: Kitchen Rodeo pulls off 30+ successful fundraising events in 2 months

In this video, Betty and Frank from Kitchen Rodeo, a team of 5 NY-based volunteers, share how they've raised nearly $50k for various charities with Givebutter. Did I mention they did that by pulling off 30+ cooking events in less than two-months? Betty and Frank also dish on:

  • Why Kitchen Rodeo started fundraising for the first time EVER during COVID-19
  • What made their 30+ cooking events so successful (Hint: test and iterate!)
  • Givebutter event tips and tricks
“All in all, Givebutter has really helped serve our needs. We researched a bunch of other kinds of fundraising tools and I think Givebutter is unique in the support of [Livestream] events.”

Enjoy!

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Full video script

Rachel: Hey, all! Rachel here again with Givebutter. So excited that you're joining us for today's success story. We are featuring Kitchen Rodeo, and you are going to be so interested in the 30+ fundraisers that they have crafted on Givebutter. They have been offering Zoom-based cooking classes with professional chefs and these interactive classes are fun, they're donation-based and a hundred percent of the proceeds go to the charity of choice by the host. Betty and Frank are here today from Kitchen Rodeo, and they're going to dish on how they made their campaigns so successful. They've been doing this since mid April on Givebutter. And we want to know what's the magic, how have they made it happen? So they're going to share with us how they raised nearly $50,000 on Givebutter in such a short period of time. So, Betty, Frank, thank you for representing Kitchen Rodeo and for joining us today.

Betty, Frank: Thanks for having us, thanks for having us.

Rachel: So to start, why don't you both introduce yourselves and a little bit more about Kitchen Rodeo.

Frank: So my name's Frank, I've been working in technology software development for pretty much all my career. But I also love to cook. I love to cook. I love to eat. So I love going out to restaurants. And a big part of starting Kitchen Rodeo was how we can kind of give back during the pandemic, and how I can still for myself learn a little bit more about cooking and help others as well at the same time.

Betty: So, hi everyone. I'm Betty. I used to work with Frank and a large part of why I'm involved in Kitchen Rodeo is honestly to keep working with him. But also we're both food lovers and, we did an event not as a part of Kitchen Rodeo basically as a trial -- Frank taught a 21-hour focaccia cooking class. And it was crazy because first of all, we didn't think anyone was going to sign up. And also didn't really know if anyone was going to enjoy it. And it was such an incredible way to create community and to create warm and fuzzy feelings for ourselves, but also to give back to charity. So that's kind of really what inspired us to make this like a real thing: the desire in this kind of time of isolation and sadness to kind of bring some joy to folks and also use that as a way to give back to the community as a whole.

Rachel: Awesome. Very cool.

Frank: I should just clarify real quick. That 21-hour cooking class was not, there was not one single Zoom. It was three. We started, we made some dough, we set it aside. Then we came back to it. It was over 21-hours. Yeah, it was the first. This is the first one we did. And it was absolutely magical and it was only after that where we, we then decided we should do more of them. So it was pretty special.

Rachel: Okay. So that was your inspiration for Kitchen Rodeo to start gathering community around food. So can you share a little bit more, what was your fundraising strategy? Cause this has the charitable component. What inspired that side of things and what was your fundraising strategy?

Frank: Yeah, I mean, I feel like strategy is, is a really big word. And so I'll kind of walk you through our thought process on this and then I'll let the group decide how strategic it is. As Betty mentioned, you know, we had this first class, and you know, actually, maybe even going back a couple of weeks before... I left my previous job to go to baking school, that’s how I was going to spend April and May. I was going to go to a baking school in New York and kind of dedicate eight hours a day for eight months, the first - sorry, for two months, eight weeks - to really learn how to bake. That was canceled because of COVID. And so I had started practicing and making a lot of bread, and I wanted to share that with people. And so just from my own personal Instagram account I started messaging and seeing if anyone wanted to take a class that I would teach. People then start asking how they could donate. And we created a page for people to start donating. Some people also mentioned that you know, that they couldn't donate at that time. And so then we added an option for people to take the class without a donation. So we had a certain number of free tickets and that's something to this day that we've kept in all of our classes. Cause we think learning how to cook and community, you know, it shouldn't shouldn't require you to pay. That is something that everyone should know how to do and be able to experience. So that's part of making food more accessible. And so that has carried through. I think the other thing, when we think about pricing, and Betty can probably speak a little more to this, is that we've wanted to play around with different price points. And so we pretty much have a “pay what you want to” model. That said, we have suggested amounts. So we don't have, we don't expect people to think about what the right amount is. They can see five options and if they want to say they're somewhere in the middle, they can pick the middle option. And so that has also been something that we've thought a lot about as we've started doing more events. We've also been thinking about, should we add a scarcity, you know, should we limit the number of tickets we have? And so we've been playing around with that as well. But we're definitely learning. Our strategy is very much evolving. I think the free component has been really important to us and we want people to pick them up that they're comfortable with. We think in the long-term that will encourage people to come back. So about one out of six people that take our class, take another one. So we feel like that's pretty healthy.

Rachel: Yeah. That's awesome. Do you mind if I share my screen so people can see your beautiful campaigns?

Frank: Sure, sure.

Rachel: I think people should know how beautiful it is. So this is kind of the main hub. Like I mentioned in the beginning, you have had quite a few fundraisers… so I'm just going to click one that's active right now that also looks very delicious. And show what you're talking about with the tickets. So you just click right here.

Frank: That's right. Yeah. And so this is a really good example, right? So the first option - and Betty is great at kind of writing a copy that's inclusive, but also kind of allows us to be open. And so we wanted to frame this as, you know, if you're impacted by the pandemic, then you should take this ticket. Well, there's no way for us to like, tell if people do or aren't, but no one really abuses that I would say. And then we started to experiment with having a limit on the lower end tickets. And so that's what you see here. But then we have other step-ups in the same class. The other thing that we've done is this class actually happened yesterday. So all of our fundraising is event based, but we keep the class, the ability to donate, available for up to 24-hours after the class. That way, if people had a really great time at the event and they want to go tell their friends, they can donate. And since we record all the classes, we then share it back out. So that allows us to get a little bit more money towards, you know, after the event happens.  

Rachel: Right, keeping it up for one more day to just see. Cause a lot of times people think about it after the fact, right? Or they enjoyed the class so much that they want to come back and maybe donate more.

Frank: And we say that during the class. We’re like, you know, so yesterday, I was in this class and I was like, if you all really, you know...thank you so much for donations, and if you end up making the best scallops of your life, you should probably see if you can check a few more bucks in the can. You know? It happens.

Rachel: That's awesome. So speaking of, you know, we're looking at your campaign, Betty, I'd love to hear more about, why you chose Givebutter and what your experience has been like on a platform.

Betty: Yeah. So we, Frank and I both work in technology. We love to explore and test new tools, to a lot of our other team members' frustration. And we've really kind of happily settled on Givebutter, as kind of our platform of choice. We previously were on - Frank's focaccia event was on Eventbrite and, I think honestly, as a fully volunteer-based organization that puts all proceeds towards charity, we actually don't have any kind of operating costs. And what we were trying to maximize for is with a lean team, how can we most efficiently accomplish what we want to do? But also ensure that we maximize the amount of kind of proceeds going to the causes because ultimately that's what it's about. And honestly, Givebutter’s rates from a per kind of transaction standpoint were the most attractive to us. And the Givebutter team has been incredibly responsive to our seemingly custom requests. For instance, defaulting that folks who are actually going to use classes, cover the transaction fees, so that we are not kind of paying those out of pocket from ourselves and able to maximize the amount that we give. The other thing that was incredibly important to us is we wanted kind of the ability to have some flexibility on showcasing why a certain event was special or attractive and the kind of details component of Givebutter just gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of creating bullet points and emphasizing texts, all the things that, you know, with a very bare bones team - we can use emojis to, you know, emphasize certain points. It's just given us the flexibility to do things without kind of thinking too much about it and jumping through too many hoops. I think like some other platforms are a little bit too kind of templatized, and this is just basically helpful because we're a lean team again. And we want the ability to kind of iterate quickly, add new information, remove information. All of that has been really helpful. In addition to that, the kind of event-based infrastructure that Givebutter kind of provides jas really been great. So the kind of order confirmation emails, where then we're able to attach details for joining our Zoom calls, and also the recipes related to our events. It has just removed our ability to either manually kind of follow up with folks. It has also kind of made things a little bit more streamlined. So all in all it's, it's really helped serve our needs. We researched a bunch of other kinds of fundraising tools and I think Givebutter is unique in the support of events. As kind of a construct with like a notion of a date and specifically virtual events where you're then able to associate virtual access information such as the Zoom link and all of that has just very kind of seamlessly folded into our workflow today. The other thing that's been pretty awesome is Givebutter also has an integration with Zapier that has allowed us to kind of automate certain workflows. Specifically what we do is we capture everyone that signs up from a Givebutter event and add them to our MailChimp account. So we can now basically contact these users. In a way that allows us to maintain a relationship with them which was just awesome. And I'm so glad I don't have to do that manually, right?

Frank: Yeah, I think the integrations part is huge. You know, there's some higher-end solutions, I'd say more sophisticated solutions that do some of these things, but they don't support you as you grow. They didn't make sense for us where we were starting out because we didn't know like when we did our first or even our second, we didn't know we'd still be here doing 30. We will probably cross a hundred thousand dollars in July. We're an uncharted territory, right? This is not what we were expecting to do. And so some of those tools felt so overwhelming when we began. And what's great about Givebutter is it has these integrations where it's been the right size for us literally at every step. I think it will still be the right solution for us later. I think it will continue to grow with us. But it wasn't so overwhelming to begin with. We also use your API and we pull in all of the transaction information into a Google sheet to kind of better understand what's happening with our events and what's working, as Betty mentioned, we're trying a lot of different things. So that allows us another view, to understand performance by week performance by what, you know, one thing that we looked at is what day of the week do we tend to raise the most money? And how does that then influence when we send out our newsletter? I don't even know how I would do that on another platform. But Givebutter makes it pretty easy.

Rachel: So happy to hear that. It sounds to me like Givebutter has been an adaptable solution for you as a lean team. It's been affordable. It's user friendly. It's extremely, just optimized to meet all your needs, which I'm so glad to hear that. And Givebutter is so inspired by our community like you, who is, you know, modifying and adapting and adjusting and trying and requesting -- that's what makes our platform better, you know? You make us better. And so I'm glad to hear that you've been trying these different things and then telling us how we can do a better job of making it the best platform it can be for the whole community. So speaking of the Givebutter community, I'd love to know from both of you, if you have any lessons learned, tips, tricks, along the way - because this is a new journey for Kitchen Rodeo. And I can imagine for those that are viewing this it may also be new to them. So what would be your tips, tricks, lessons learned, or word of encouragement for those that are viewing right now?

Frank: Yeah, I would just say that I would try a whole bunch of different things and think about, you know, whether it's, if you want to do event-based...what are five events you can do? How are they different, so you can learn from them. How are there some consistencies, so you can learn from them. And get started doing it, and then go back and reflect and look at the data. I think sometimes we kind of get analysis paralysis, right? Where we're not really sure how to take that first step and the fact of the matter is that It doesn't really matter. You just have to take like five steps. And so I think that that's one thing that we've tried to do along the way is to not...we keep trying and keep investing. And so, you know, I think that Givebutter has a ton of functionality. You know we've played around a little bit with the custom fields, you know, I explained a little bit of how we have added additional price points over time. I don't think you need to try all those at once. At all. Maybe you shouldn't, you should step into it. But I would keep trying and testing and thinking about what are the long term questions you want to answer. And those are probably more experience-driven than like “I just want to raise more money.” Like maybe try to break that down until like, what is the experience that you want to learn from? I would say, you know, try 5 to 10 different things, and then look at the data and reflect. Okay. Other thoughts there?

Betty: Yeah, I think just kind of piggy-backing off of something we've discussed earlier as an event-based type of organization, at some point, you can only do so many events within a given amount of time. And so something that we thought a lot about is, how do we get more mileage out of the events that we do? And what's been really great with Givebutter is after the events we conduct on Zoom, we record them. We've been updating the transactional follow-up on Givebutter to now default send you a recording of the event if you donate. And so what we've been able to do is first, market it as a Live event, and then second, market it as a recorded event with recipes. And so, more and more, I think just being able to get more return out of the same amount of investment has been something that we've been thinking a lot about. And honestly, the fact that Givebutter gives you a lot of flexibility in editing your event details. Ticket structure in the middle of a live campaign has been really helpful for us, in particular, to kind of experiment and also be flexible as you know, customers are asking for different things. And we get a ton of feedback from our social team based on people who love our events and want to get our recordings for instance. And that's really why we started to offer them. So that was really helpful. The goal, also the fundraising goal, I've loved the ability to have some flexibility to edit that. I feel like a lot of other fundraising campaigns don't allow you that flexibility. But for us, it's been great because you really never want to hit your goal. You want to keep pushing people to go further and that's kind of a tactic that we've been using to incentivize and motivate folks to give more in so we can raise more dollars.

Frank: It's so funny; she just told that story, that push right now, just while we're on this call… literally right now, I had a message from our team because the restaurant that we worked with last night wants to do another push to raise additional money. And they asked if we could keep the donations open for even longer than we normally do. And so I just made that change right now to support that. And I responded to the chef while we were on this call. So thank you for that.

Rachel: I'm so happy to hear that. You guys have given us so much to think about. I definitely think you have a strategy here going in terms of modifying, listening to your audience, creating amazing experiences, and I know I am just excited to see where Kitchen Rodeo takes this in the next couple of months, and know that the Givebutter community is cheering you on. We’ll be watching. I know probably everyone who's listening right now is hungry and wants to check it out - and I hope that they do! So I’m Rachel with Givebutter, thanks for joining for another success story. Thanks for representing Kitchen Rodeo and inspiring the Givebutter family today.

Betty, Frank: Thank you for having us.

Rachel: Take care!

View campaign: Kitchen Rodeo

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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.