By Ronny Sage & Jen Sanford
In each issue, The Social Impact Spotlight will feature one non-profit organization that is moving the needle in the world of tech and innovation.
Not all heroes wear masks and capes. In the case of Holiday Heroes, though, sometimes the party requires it. Holiday Heroes is a Chicago-based nonprofit that works to bring smiles to the faces of ill children. They’ve partnered with hospitals, businesses, and celebrities to help patients escape from their typical days of being treated for critical and chronic illnesses. Their events range from parties with superheroes and visits from celebrities to more hands-on events, such as holiday parties, arts and crafts events, and other fun activities.
They attribute at least part of their success to having brought technology into the forefront of their fundraising strategy. Traditional fundraising methods like direct mail campaigns and placing calls to past donors have big overhead costs and long turnaround times between initial contact and donations being made.
Through the use of social media, email campaigns, and new fundraising tools like ShoppingGives, Holiday Heroes has elevated their fundraising efforts and seen great return. Through ShoppingGives, Holiday Heroes was able to set up an online fundraiser, allowing supporters to both shop and donate back with every purchase they made and make direct, tax-deductible donations right to the cause.
This modern form of fundraising is ideal for the times. According to a 2016 study by NP Tech For Good, 72 percent of millennials prefer to give online. Gen X and the Baby Boomers weren’t far behind in the study, with 66 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
Through their online fundraiser, Holiday Heroes supporters were not only able to make convenient donations, but they were able to give in more ways. For example, by selecting a toy to purchase and donate, a percentage of that sale was also donated in cash to Holiday Heroes.
For Bridgette Ferraro, executive director of Holiday Heroes, this technological addition has influenced not only their efforts, but made it easier for the donors as well.
“We are able to use it to enhance in-person fundraising efforts to make them more efficient for donors as well as increase the amount of times we can interact with donors through multiple online sources,” said Ferraro. For everyday supporters, Ferraro thinks the change is clear: “I believe it has made it easier for supporters to give and to give more often.” ■
Ronny Sage is CEO of ShoppingGives. Jen Sanford is the Director of Community Engagement & Strategy.