In 2023, Youth Villages, a nonprofit dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully, launched The Big PiggyBack fundraising initiative following a hiatus of The Big Payback, a well-known annual day of giving for Nashville nonprofits.
The Big PiggyBack followed a similar fundraising format and gave donors 24 hours to support the Youth Villages of Middle Tennessee and its LifeSet program, which specifically supports young people aging out of foster care as they step into adulthood. The organization set a goal of raising $50,000 during the fundraising window.
Our team had the opportunity to support this effort by creating a custom social media toolkit that was distributed to the organization’s board members and supporters to help generate momentum, excitement and funds for the campaign. The toolkit included custom post copy, graphics and hashtags for posts before, during and after the event, including a suggested timeline to share content. It also included custom email copy to be distributed to personal and professional contacts before the event began.
After a hugely successful campaign, in which Youth Villages of Middle Tennessee surpassed its $50,000 goal, we spoke with Rae Ryan, director of development, and Lyndsay Wilkinson, assistant director of development and communications, to discuss the campaign strategy, results and ways our team’s efforts helped support the success of this important day of giving.
Congrats on the success of the first Big PiggyBack campaign! We know so much goes into fundraising initiatives like this one. What are the top 3 things you attribute to the campaign’s success?
This year was a little different since we ran our own campaign independent of the Big Payback. Educating our advisory board on the importance of tapping into their networks was a big part of the success, and Pierce’s training greatly impacted their participation; in fact, the Zoom call that Pierce facilitated to showcase this year’s event toolkit was one of our best-attended meetings of the year. The toolkit was very easy to follow and allowed advisory board members a quick and simple way to push the campaign needs out to their socials.
Lastly, having a volunteer advisory board member “lead” small groups of our advisory board was great for accountability. In the non-profit sector, we know it’s better to have volunteer-to-volunteer accountability rather than a staff member asking. I would say these three things, plus the fact that we weren’t competing against another 100+ organizations on one giving day, all contributed to our success.
We’re grateful for the opportunity to create a toolkit that included a social media strategy that supported the campaign’s success. What was most beneficial about having a toolkit to share with supporters? How did the toolkit strengthen the campaign?
The toolkit posts were professional, direct and personable. The directions were easy to follow and timed out to allow advisory board members time to focus on each post and the flexibility to add their own personal flair for submission. Having social media post suggestions as well as more traditional letters to send to our advisory board’s network was a great additional asset as some of our advisory board members are not active on social media.
What was the most valuable aspect of our team’s support in achieving the campaign’s goals?
Definitely the training and ease were an integral part of the campaign in addition to the reiteration to our investors that this was a 24-hour giving campaign. It wasn’t a special event that takes months of planning and manpower, but instead a very quick, easy commitment that could raise a lot of money for the organization in a very short, concise amount of time. Pierce did a great job of creating a “can do” attitude in our board members and really drove home how easy, yet impactful, their participation would be during the campaign.
What advice would you give to other organizations interested in launching their own day-long fundraising initiative like The Big PiggyBack?
Volunteer-to-volunteer communication is key! Having polished, professional collateral for advisory boards or other investors to use shows the campaign is well thought out and worth their time investment. Be clear and concise with volunteers about what the expectations are, and provide a good, solid timeline and list of actions that are easy to follow.
What else would you add regarding The Big PiggyBack?
We appreciated that Pierce listened to our feedback and ideas. We came up with the title for the Big PiggyBack, and they ran with the idea and created impressive imagery and collateral to communicate our mission. I loved the piggy bank imagery, which presented the importance of “every little bit counts.” Considering the success of this fundraiser, we hope that we can stay independent of the Big Payback. We feel we will be more successful with our own giving campaign in the future!
Our national social media manager and our director of digital communications were incredibly impressed by the toolkit and plan to do a scaled-down version of it for our major campaigns (Backpack Heroes, Holiday Heroes, Foster Care Awareness Month, etc) at Youth Villages locations across the country. The toolkit will not be to the level of the one Pierce PR produced for us, but it will include images and messaging for social media to promote, for example, the need for more foster parents during Foster Care Month in May. This is something our staff, volunteers, board members, and more have been requesting for many years from our digital team, and we will now receive one thanks to Pierce PR and the high quality, professional and comprehensive toolkit they provided.