Rapid Fire Session 2014 World Cancer Congress

LIVESTRONG Day model for grassroots fundraising (#512)

Doug Ulman 1 , Stephani Smolucha 1 , AnneMarie Schindler 1
  1. LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, TX, USA

Background and Context:

The LIVESTRONG Foundation seeks to serve and improve the lives of people affected by cancer. In order to execute our vision, we use a combination of traditional and grassroots fundraising tactics throughout the year. We chose May 16, 2014, “LIVESTRONG Day[1],” as a moment in time to implement a new, sustainable grassroots fundraising model.[1] http://blog.livestrong.org/2014/05/05/livestrong-day-2014/   


We set a goal to leverage our existing network, and their social networks, to capitalize on a previously established annual occurrence to spark grassroots fundraising. 


We engaged 500 individuals in our networks to each find five new supporters who were willing to donate $10. We recruited these individuals through messaging documents, which included financial impact statements and in-person or teleconference trainings. Once this layer of support was activated on our behalf, we created separate email messaging to more than two million current and formerly engaged supporters and invited them to give $10. We raised awareness of our goal and supported the broader outreach by spreading the word via our social media pages. Finally, we thanked our donors with a homemade video that saw success in viewership and increased awareness.

Programme Process:

The organization facilitated diverse engagement, optimized our online donation form, and clearly demonstrated the impact of a donation through simple, custom messaging. To ensure that our efforts supported a sustainable revenue model, we also launched a multi-installment email series to convert new donors within 90 days of their original gift.

Costs and returns:

Because of the grassroots model implemented, fundraising on LIVESTRONG Day had minimal costs to the organization. The campaign returned more than $23,000 over three days, as compared to our average fundraising benchmark of $13,000.

Outcomes/What was learned:

We gained hundreds of new donors and established a benchmark moving forward for single-day fundraising events.