How ASOC Diversified Funding and Doubled Annual Giving

How the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition Doubled Annual Giving

Case Study Snapshot:

Before

ASOC received a large percentage of their funding from only a few grants. They needed to grow their individual giving program for long term financial sustainability. 

Working with WHC

WHC created and helped implement a plan for increasing giving. Within a few months, they’d raised three times more than expected in a fundraising appeal. 

After

ASOC continues to surpass its annual fundraising goals, raising a full $100,000 more for FY2021 than forecast.

 

“If one of those grants fell through….”

Eli Webster, Director of Operations & Finance at the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) came to a difficult conclusion a few years ago that many nonprofits will relate to. “Most of our funding comes from grants. And I realized that if one of those grants fell through, we’d be hurting.”

ASOC is an international environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting the Antarctic region. It partners with advisors from around the world on research, advocacy, and awareness efforts. According to Eli, “A big part of what we do is work to get marine protected areas set up, which are like national parks, but for the ocean.”

With only two full-time employees at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, ASOC had struggled to put a strategy in place for diversifying its funding. Its individual giving program included one annual appeal and an occasional newsletter. 

“We figured out pretty quickly, we don’t know how to write for donors,” Eli said.

“Anytime you try something new, it can be scary.”

As a small nonprofit, hiring a consultant felt risky for ASOC. “Anytime you try something new at a very small organization it can be scary and kind of hard to get people to buy in. It was expensive for us,” Eli revealed.

Ultimately, though, ASOC knew they needed help. They were drawn to Windmill Hill because alongside Barbara’s strategic prowess and practical insights, they also had access to experts in copywriting, communications, and social media. 

And they weren’t disappointed. 

“…three times the amount I’d been able to raise on my own.”

The work with Windmill Hill Consulting started with data analytics to understand who ASOC’s donors were and what their giving background and potential was. From there, Barbara created an annual giving program strategy, creating the structure and plan for increasing both revenue and the number of donors. 

With help from WHC’s team of experts, ASOC 

  • started sending regular newsletters to donors;
  • formed a Giving Circle for donors at a certain level, with special messaging and perks like webinars with the Executive Director;
  • increased the number of fundraising campaigns each year from one to three; and
  • began paid social media outreach.

Soon after starting to work with Windmill Hill Consulting, Eli was seeing results. 

ASOC did a small “World Penguin Day” fundraiser in April of 2020 and raised three times what Eli had raised in the past for that event. “That was the first big win we had from only a couple of months of work with Barbara.”

“When we got to the end of the year and I was digging into our data, I realized we’d increased donors and the overall amount raised!” When asked for specifics, Eli cited a 54% increase in money raised the first year after hiring WHC and 125 new or re-engaged donors.  

“I’m more confident in what we can raise now.”

Eli and ASOC continue to reap the benefits of their work with Windmill Hill Consulting. For fiscal year 2021, the organization brought in a full $100,000 more than anticipated, and they’re now raising double in individual gifts each year than they were before hiring Barbara and WHC

These gains have allowed them to increase their financial reserves and bring on a third full-time employee. In addition, Eli plans to make a significant investment in the coming year in more communications strategy. “What we do is so nuanced; we want to expand our reach and really get people jazzed up online about our work.” 

Eli and ASOC still work with a couple of the communications experts Barbara introduced them to and encourage other nonprofit leaders trying to juggle many different roles to lean on specialists. “I have seven different job descriptions,” she explains. “It’s such a relief to turn to someone and know they’ll have answers and can lighten my load.”

If you’re ready to grow your nonprofit’s individual giving program with Windmill Hill Consulting, book a call today!

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