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The Shalom Project Breaks Fundraising Records With a Creative Approach

Top Takeaways from 2 Real-World Virtual and Hybrid Fundraisers

The Shalom Project develops programs that challenge the cycle of poverty in the Winston-Salem community, with a spirit of inclusion, compassion, and justice. The organization offers a medical clinic, food pantry, clothing closet, and other initiatives to help those in need. 

Every year, The Shalom Project hosts an event called The Big Chill on National Ice Cream Day at a local park. Volunteers from local churches make multiple flavors of ice cream for the event, and attendees can vote on which they like the best with a donation. Traditionally, local celebrities have raised money bail-raising style via peer-to-peer campaigns (to avoid having to sit on a block of ice at the event!). The Shalom Project depends on this summer fundraiser to support its free medical clinic, clothing closet, and food pantry. But with the pandemic wreaking havoc and preventing large gatherings, they needed to make a shift.

The Shalom project is a long-time user of Network for Good. The event planners combined creativity with Network for Good’s tools to transform The Big Chill into a hybrid in-person/virtual event. Marsha Strauss, Director of Donor Relations and Events, asked the ice cream makers to share a favorite recipe that event participants could make themselves at home. The local celebrities continued their plan to raise money via peer-to-peer campaigns using Network for Good’s customizable peer-to-peer pages. Local breweries offered special deals on pints at socially-distanced mini-events and a gelato shop offered a partnership with two gelato flavors.

“To successfully transition to a different format, you have to be flexible and willing to try something new. Network for Good supported our creative efforts and made it possible for us to make this year’s Big Chill a success!”

—Marsha Strauss, Director of Donor Relations and Events, The Shalom Project

Customized Peer-to-Peer Pages Boosted Donations

The backbone of the event consisted of 24 peer-to-peer fundraising pages promoted by the local celebrities. These peer-to-peer pages were customized with the fundraisers’ photos and messages, making them especially effective. Marsha says, “When people personally know someone who’s raising money, they’re more likely to engage and donate.”

Special Thank Yous Encouraged Donors Spread the Word

When event participants voted on their favorite recipe with a donation, The Shalom Project used Network for Good’s automated thank yous to send recipe cards with a message saying, “Let us know if you make it!” and a hashtag to share on social media.

The Shalom Project Broke Fundraising Records

The total revenue raised by the event exceeded $50,000 — more than the record-breaking amount it raised the previous year! And because they had a lower cash outlay with the new format, the organization ended up with more money in hand as a result.

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