Kristina Leroux, COO and Community Engagement Manager
With the cancellation of so many in-person fundraising events, organizations have had to use unique ways to meet their goals this year. Let’s see what Aleeka Kay Morgan has done. ~Kristina
Guest Post by Aleeka Kay Morgan of American Cancer Society
Marching in place. Fundraising for a national nonprofit organization during a pandemic has felt like marching in place – a daily exercise in efforts that do not seem to “move the needle” forward.
Like most Development Managers, at the onset of the pandemic I pivoted our in-person fundraisers to digital events.
I observed that as quickly as our corporate sponsors develop donor fatigue, they seem to have a similar proclivity to Zoom fatigue. It also appeared that all organizations that depend on donor dollars were promoting identical concepts: online galas, virtual walks, etc.
Compared to the gamut of branding opportunities available for live events (informational booths, banners), virtual-event sponsorship possibilities are more restricted.
We weren’t being original, and our fundraising strategies were not inspiring. There are 7,554 registered nonprofit organizations in Hawai’i and we are vying for many of the same revenue opportunities. It was time to get creative and march out of formation.
To set us apart, we turned to Solitaired. Our customized game of solitaire features images of local cancer survivors (the beneficiaries of our funding), local celebrities, and local business organizations on each card. A hyperlink to each entity’s website is also featured on the screen.
When prospecting for new sponsors, we offered this opportunity to be featured in our card deck as a $5k sponsorship package. Inside of one month, we recruited three new corporate sponsors.
It turns out that people are not averse to donating during a pandemic, people simply want to be asked to donate in innovative ways.
We are now on track to hitting our fundraising goal.
We continue to host virtual events to be on par with other organizations, but our Solitaired game has meteorically increased our fundraising while other attempts to fundraise have been fruitless. The game is a continuous stream of income to complement our one-time events.
Our constituents are able to play the game and share it with family during this time of world adjustment when many are home looking for wholesome entertainment. Solitaire reminds our cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers that they may be solitary but they are not alone. The game affords us the ability to provide a win-win relationship for our customers, advocates, and donors.
Aleeka Kay Morgan has always believed in helping others for the greater good. It began with her interest in telling stories of underrepresented communities when she was a journalist at NBC News in New York, it continued when she helped families come out of debt as a financial advisor, and today she helps cancer patients and their caregivers. She joined American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific as a Development Manager after co-founding a flourishing local 501(c)3 non-profit, Honolulu Sea Hawkers, where she produces community events with NFL players to promote healthy lifestyles. In her free time, she plays the piano and loves to go kayaking. Aleeka is a graduate of Brown University.
Have you found an innovative way to stand out in 2020? We’d love to share your story too!
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