Pathway Homes provides housing and supportive services to individuals with serious mental illness and related disabilities in Northern Virginia. In 2020, for example, Pathway Homes served 1500 individuals in 505 residential units, with 92% remaining out of psychiatric hospitals, 97% remaining out of jails. Their record of service and success is outstanding.
In 2020, Pathway Homes was hit hard by COVID. Among other things, in person fundraising events were cancelled, threatening a much needed source of fundraising revenue. Turning to virtual events, they headed down a path they had not been down before. And the question quickly arose: “How do we encourage people to donate at an event when they are not in person, with checkbooks?” That’s where Givio stepped in.
Removing Barriers to Giving
“So much of our fundraising has been very traditional,” said Liz Sulsa, Director of Development for Pathway Homes. “We haven’t invested in technology, and we aren’t sure where to begin.”
The team at Pathway Homes spent a lot of time planning that first virtual event. Dollars that used to be raised at the event became a pre-virtual event fundraising goal. Letters, emails, phone calls. But something was missing. There was still an opportunity to ask virtual attendees to give. But how is that done when your donor is sitting behind a computer? Do you ask them to open a new window, navigate to a new website? If they leave to make a donation, how do you get them back? And what if your audience isn’t exactly “tech savvy?”
The Answer: Make it So Simple to Give, to Match
Using Givio, Liz and her team were able to make giving at the event as simple as answering a text message.
Givio helped Pathway Homes create a fundraising campaign page from their charity profile which already existed in the Givio app. Pathway Homes also sent an email to everyone registered for the event that provided an agenda, and a reminder that they would have the opportunity to give during the event.
Then, at just the right time, the event’s host asked everyone to check their cell phones. When they did, they saw a text message with a welcoming image inviting the attendees to give to Pathway Homes. We had queued up a giving-message for everyone attending the event, and delivered it to the attendees at just the right time.
In moments, donations were pouring in. Thank yous were being sent right back out. Then a matching donation kicked in. And the campaign tally on Givio quickly helped Pathway Homes reach its event fundraising goal of $150,000.
2021: from Virtual to In-person Events
With the 2020 event a success, Pathway Homes was excited to build for the future. Liz reached out to Givio to see if we could once again lend a helping hand. Pathway was hoping to turn last year’s virtual event back into an in-person affair. But 2020 had taught everyone an important lesson – donors are embracing digital giving. In fact, 2020 saw a 32% increase in online donations. “We can’t go backwards,” said Liz as we planned for the event. “We hope to have a strong in-person attendance, and we want to give them the same opportunities to give as last year.”
As so we did.
The Results Speak for Themselves
This October, Pathway Homes hosted its second annual fundraiser since the onset of COVID-19. The good news is that supporters were eager to attend. The better news is that they were just as eager to give.
Once again, at just the right moment, the event host asked everyone to check their phones. When they did, once again they were welcomed with a text message that opened up into a friendly giving page inviting them to make a donation. So simple, just tap the message and make a gift. No one needed to register for the Givio software. Just give. The donations started rolling in. So did the corporate matching gift. And as they did, Pathway could see the results in real time, one gift at a time.
And once again, Givio helped Pathway Homes reach their $150,000 event fundraising goal. Here’s to next year!
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