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How MedSend’s Online Giving Grew to Half a Million

Building an online fundraising strategy from scratch.

Photo: MedSend

MedSend, founded in 1992, awards grants to healthcare professionals so they can cover their student loan debt while helping communities around the world, but it had no organized strategy for online engagement or fundraising. That changed after joining Network for Good in 2009, thanks in part to easy-to-use online fundraising campaign and donation tools like EmailNow and DonateNow. Since then, MedSend has raised more than $500,000 through their online channels and created a constituency of engaged repeat donors.

We started with no real online strategy, so we built one from scratch based on Network for Good products. The results exceeded our expectations.
—Rick Allen, chief operating officer, MedSend

Since MedSend’s founding in 1992, the organization has covered more than 500 healthcare professionals’ monthly student loan payments so they have the freedom to care for people in underserved communities around the world. Grant recipients run mission hospitals and rural clinics. Through extensive involvement in community health education programs, many grant recipients are working to transform entire communities. Only a few years ago, MedSend wasn’t receiving significant revenue through online channels. Since joining NFG in 2009, MedSend has garnered more than $500,000 from donors, thanks to their strategic use of EmailNow and DonateNow. We spoke to the organization’s president, Rick Allen, to find out what they’ve learned about successful online engagement and fundraising.

NFG: How did Network for Good fundraising services help MedSend improve online engagement and fundraising?

MedSend: We started with no real online strategy, so we built one practically from scratch based on Network for Good products. We did a lot of research and found that NFG provides the highest-quality service and best prices. The results exceeded our expectations. Prior to using NFG services back in 2009, MedSend did not raise much revenue online. Since using NFG’s services, we have raised more than $521,000. Being able to plant the DonateNow button anywhere makes it easy for us to encourage donors to give. EmailNow reports help us learn what’s working and what isn’t.

NFG: What makes MedSend successful at online fundraising?

MedSend: We set online fundraising goals from management on down. Everyone on staff has goals to reach. We strive to create a partnership with our constituents and engage them in our work by having folks read our emails, telling them about events, and taking them on vision trips so they can see where their dollars are being spent. EmailNow is an important part of our communication strategy. Regular donor communications, such as our Facebook page and quarterly emails, which include news, event announcements, and compelling stories, show our constituents what MedSend is doing and make them to want to donate. This continuous process of communication, using stories and pictures—and always including the DonateNow link—encourages repeat giving.

NFG: What advice would you give other nonprofits to help them maximize online engagement efforts?

MedSend: Engagement works, as does delivering a quality brand image and compelling content. Have DonateNow visible in all of your communications. Also, be aggressive in collecting email addresses, especially considering the cost of paper communications sent via traditional mail.

Fundraising Takeaways

  • In all of your online and email communications, tell compelling stories using both words and photos, and include DonateNow links so your audience can give when they’re inspired.
  • Be aggressive about collecting email addresses to build your e-newsletter list and save costs associated with paper mailings.
  • Show donors how their dollars are making a difference, whether that’s through great stories and photos or actually taking them to see your organization’s work in person.

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