Epic Fundraising Examples: Houston Fundraising Lab Recap

Fundraising Ideas

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Thanks so much to all of our clients who joined us at the Houston Fundraising Lab on May 9th!

Attendees networked with other local nonprofits, enjoyed Rachel Muir’s presentation of “I Wish I’d Thought of That!” Epic Fundraising Examples, saw how other clients are using Qgiv’s features and driving success, and learned how to write a better appeal letter.

The purpose of the Fundraising Lab is to host events that give local organizations the opportunity to connect with each other and benefit from the expertise of industry pros. The events also give nonprofits the chance to talk with staff about all things Qgiv!

“I wish I’d thought of that!” epic fundraising examples

Rachel Muir, CFRE showed epic fundraising examples that are sure to catch donors’ attention. She shared how having great content, unique thinking, and delightful designs across donor thank-yous, emails, websites and online advertising can help increase donations.

Epic fundraising example: Animal Protective Association of Missouri

Epic Fundraising Example
  • Goal was to increase senior dog adoptions
  • Created the “I’m a Grown Ass Adult” campaign – Post featured a picture of a senior dog, funny text and the hashtag.
  • Kicked off the campaign on National Puppy Day
  • Idea from the board marketing committee


  • 30,000 social shares in 10 days
  • Increase of 254% in Facebook page followers

7 takeaway tips

  • Don’t be afraid to take risks!
  • Be creative
    • Try using humor.
  • Personalize
  • Know your target audience
    • Your campaign may work for a certain age group and not another. Know what your target audience likes and will react too.
  • Steal Smart
    • Look at For-Profit companies. Are there any advertisements that you could use in one of your campaigns?
  • Use Emotion
    • Try and connect the donor with the message you are conveying
  • Pique their Interest

How to build a better appeal

Sarah Sebastian, Director of Brand Communications at Qgiv, went step-by-step on how to craft a better appeal letter, from what people look at first in the letter to how to catch people’s attention with the envelope!

How donors skim an appeal

  1. Pictures
  2. Salutation
  3. Johnson Box & Post Script
  4. Signature
  5. Body of the letter

  1. Pictures
    • Choose powerful images
    • People are going to feel more connected to a picture of a person or animal looking happy and healthy than sad or sick
  2. Salutation
    • Don’t “Dear Friend” your donors
    • Try to use a salutation that matches the person’s interest if you don’t have their name. For example, use something like “Dear Animal Justice Warrior.”
  3. Johnson Box & Post Script
    • 79-90% of readers look here first!
    • Great place to make an ask
  4. Signature
    • Use someone besides the CEO to sign, like a volunteer or board member. If it is the CEO’s signature, try to include a personal note.
    • Be creative with the signature! For example, if your appeal is for an animal shelter, have the signature be from an adoptable pet
  5. Body of the Appeal
    • Make it easy to scan
    • Make sure that it’s donor-centered. It should contain more “You” language than org-centered language.
    • Read the letter out loud! This is a good way to ensure it flows and makes sense.

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