VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) is a basic needs organization whose programs include access to healthy foods, social services, housing stability and supportive services. Based in Bloomington, MN, VEAP has supported those in need throughout their surrounding community for over 40 years.
VEAP started working with Vivid Image in 2015. They needed a new website and VEAP CEO, Lisa Horn, suggested the partnership after successfully teaming with Vivid Image in other prior roles.
I’ve experienced a successful partnership with Vivid Image while working with other organizations, so when we decided VEAP needed a new website, they were an obvious choice. Lisa Horn
After launching their new website, VEAP approached Q4 – the time of year when they typically receive about 60% of their total financial contributions for the year. They set their sights on a lofty million-dollar end-of-year goal to push their organization to the next level. They were looking for suggestions on how to achieve this significant increase and Vivid Image was the right partner to help make it happen.
A few months after the VEAP website was launched, Patty Schulz, VEAP Advancement Director, along with Lisa, contacted their Vivid Image Account Director, Danielle Vander Ploeg, for help. After working with them to create their website, Danielle understood VEAP’s target audience, mission, and the importance of Q4 donations to their organization. They wanted to create a coordinated initiative for this critical time of year to actively drive donations both of healthy food and funds, and increase volunteer participation. They knew collecting $1 million in donations in fourth quarter was aggressive, and with an internal team that was already extremely busy, they would need some help.
The Solution – “inspire. give. hope.” Campaign
Creating a branded campaign that pulled together the many activities already in place to promote year-end giving at VEAP would provide focus to their goal and message for all involved. Danielle worked with Lisa, Patty and the VEAP team to brainstorm and pull together all their ideas.
The concept of the inspire. give. hope. campaign evolved while keeping clients, volunteers, and donors in mind. VEAP was already using a newsletter, doing direct appeals and organization outreach, hosting an annual gala, using organic social media, plus more. They decided that creating a brand umbrella for these activities would make them a cohesive campaign.
It also opened an opportunity to try some new ideas. In addition to adding branding which included creating a name, logo, look, and messaging, they added specific landing pages to encourage donations and volunteers. They also moved their social media beyond basic organic posts and tried Facebook advertising. The VEAP marketing campaign was well underway!
Social Media Opportunity
The targeting and advertising capabilities within social media, Facebook specifically, opened new communication and outreach opportunities for VEAP, and created a major impact.
Previously, VEAP was posting regularly on their Facebook page, but only limited numbers of their existing fans were seeing the posts because they were not using Facebook ads. By running Facebook ads, they were able to get in front of tens of thousands of new people, many who may not have been aware of VEAP and the impact they make on their local community. The Facebook ads directed traffic to their website, improved their brand awareness, and increased their Facebook likes by 11% in just two months.
While VEAP was familiar with Facebook, the advertising aspect was new to them. They had a limited budget to work with, as do many non-profits, and needed to make the most of it. Jackie Kaufenberg, Community Manager at Vivid Image, worked with Danielle, Patty and Lisa to find appropriate opportunities on Facebook to target audiences and approach them with VEAP messages that would get them to take action.
Danielle and Jackie helped us understand what we knew and didn’t know about Facebook. We are thankful for their expertise in making this happen. Patty Schulz
Facebook Advertising That Reached People and Provided Results
There were several different goals for the campaign, including finding groups of people to volunteer to host food drives, finding people to participate in “Donate & Do” (donate as well as volunteer within VEAP), and most importantly finding funding donors. The most important aspect of the social campaign was to get people to donate money so VEAP could reach their goal, and continue to foster relationships with these donors into the future.
With the inspire. give. hope. Facebook Donate Ads, the messaging was geared toward the people who wanted to help by showcasing three different types of people in need; veterans in search of housing, families with children who may be hungry, and the elderly who may have to choose between buying medications or food.
Facebook Audience Targeting Capability
Different audience targeting was put in place to find the optimal audience for VEAP to direct the Facebook ads toward.
- Email Addresses – Fortunately, VEAP had done a great job of collecting email addresses from their volunteers and donors. Their contact list allowed retargeting to show Facebook Ads to custom audiences of people who already loved them, even though they hadn’t liked their Facebook page or connected with them recently. (In addition, emails with mirrored branding and messaging were also sent to their email contacts during the same time periods to help reinforce the message and created increased awareness among this group through multiple exposures to the messaging.)
- Facebook Pixel – Installing a Facebook pixel allowed retargeting to the people who had visited their website in the last 180 days, or maybe clicked on a Facebook ad initially but did not donate at that time.
- Lookalike Audiences – Creating “Lookalike” audiences to find more people similar to their top supporters was another tactic for VEAP. Audiences were built targeting people who have interests or behaviors related to volunteering, giving, charitable donations, and so on in the four cities that VEAP serves.
Using the ideal audience targeting with the Facebook ads made a big impact, especially in terms of being able to reach people who had an interest in helping VEAP based on their website activity or shared information. It also worked to make the best use of their limited budgets.
Each Facebook ad campaign had target audiences, with applicable messages and graphics. Testing was done to find the most impactful image and message combination for audiences to ensure the best response possible with the most efficient spend. This topic can be emotional for many, which made the results of the tests interesting often providing surprising results.
VEAP wanted to raise increased funds in 2016 and gain increased volunteer support. They were able to exceed previous year donations and volunteers dramatically. While they were very close to reaching their $1 million-dollar goal, they didn’t quite reach that mark. They did experience a dramatic increase in quantity of supporters giving money or time, as well as people giving online through the site. Volunteers and first-time donors provided more support for their future than they expected, and they consider the campaign a success!
- First-time donors = 298 donation transactions by first-time donors made between October – December 2016 totaling $28,002.
- inspire. give. hope. landing page = 42 donations totaling $6,949 were tied directly to one landing page, with the first donation given the day it went live.
|2015 Results||2016 Results|
Major Donors $1,000+
Food Drive Monetary Donations
Food Drive Donors
The additional volunteers provided over 600 more volunteer hours than 2015. Volunteers are essential to VEAP making an impact on those in need. They want these results to continue to grow year after year.
Creating Tools for Ongoing Success
Building a solid campaign with a clear message was important for more than one reason. By doing this it made it easier to communicate the vision to their volunteers, staff, and audience. They had a goal and all the parts together would help them reach the end-result they were looking for. It would also allow them to use the pieces with appropriate adjustments year after year, making the investment one that would provide lasting value.
The success of the inspire. give. hope. campaign in 2016 set VEAP up to execute the campaign again in the future with minimized effort. They also created a different campaign using similar components for their March Food & Fund Drive. March is another time of year with many activities and needs for VEAP. They were able to apply similar concepts within a different campaign to work towards different goals.
VEAP saw an opportunity to do more with their marketing and knew when to ask for help. The Vivid Image team enjoyed working with Lisa, Patty and the rest of the VEAP organization to create a VEAP marketing campaign and guide for ongoing success.
I absolutely recommend Vivid Image as a marketing partner. They make things happen. Patty Schulz
Sometimes creating great success doesn’t mean starting over – try something new, ask for help or change one aspect – you may be surprised.
Are you ready to try something new like Facebook advertising or get some help with your marketing? Creating a campaign, updating branding or changing messaging are just a few things Vivid Image can help with.Reach out to us here
We’ll get back to you soon! We’d love to help.