After just 6 years in operation, Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California, enjoys a high level of repeat donations from parents and alumni. Making sure their audience is aware that they can give online via DonateNow is an important part of PRS’s communications, both online and in paper mailings. The result: Folks are giving earlier than ever and alumni donation rates have reached 80 percent!
Engage your community. Let them know that online giving is an option."
—Emma Balina, Manager of Annual Fund and Alumni Relations, Pacific Ridge School
Any nonprofit would consider itself lucky if, after only 6 years since its founding, it already enjoyed an engaged, enthusiastic community of donors. Carlsbad California’s Pacific Ridge School (PRS), founded in 1997, has done just that. Thanks to its mission of preparing students both for college and a purposeful life by fostering academic excellence, ethical responsibility, and global engagement, this independent academy’s staff, parents, and alumni are always eager to step up to the donation plate. Emma Balina, the school’s manager of annual fund and alumni relations, shares a few secrets of their fundraising success.
Q: What makes PRS successful at online fundraising?
PRS: We’re lucky to have a very engaged community. Our volunteers connect with parents and encourage online giving. We send an e-newsletter every week that highlights things like school events and vacations. Every few weeks we highlight a fundraising campaign. We include DonateNow links in all of our email communications. The school has quite a culture of giving, primarily through grassroots efforts. We don’t have specific goals for online giving. More important to us than dollars raised is achieving a participation benchmark. If we can get everyone to engage, the money will come. In 2012, 80% of alumni and 100% of parents gave—quite a feat for an organization that has been around for just six years.
Q: Why did you sign up for DonateNow?
PRS: After researching review sites and blogs, it was clear that Network for Good was the best provider. DonateNow is customizable, so we can have the background look and feel just like the school’s website. It also eliminated steps for donors, which makes giving easy and allows them to give when they choose. Folks are giving earlier as a result of DonateNow.
Q: What advice would you give fellow nonprofits to help them maximize their online engagement efforts?
PRS: Engage your community. Let them know that online giving is an option. Enable giving in every communication.