The word pivot is an understatement for what Lacey Dixon and the team at the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids do daily. As the VP of Mission Advancement and Marketing, Lacey is constantly in conversation with her community, educating them about The Movement, and inspiring them to get involved.
For Lacey and her team, the past year has been an exercise in creativity, especially when it comes to events. After months of planning a golf tournament, their first in-person fundraiser since the pandemic, it sadly got rained out. Two days later, on June 30, Lacey jumped on a webinar with us to share her experiences with curating events, driving donations, and engaging community through a challenging year. Through welcoming experimentation, her team found success in building campaigns and connecting with community. In case you missed the webinar, we summarized the themes that have guided the Greater Grand Rapids team below.
Make It Easy to Engage
In a year of unexpected challenges, Lacey and her team made the conscious decision to see hurdles, like time and budget constraints, as opportunities to experiment with new types of content. This led to the realization that they should prioritize easily consumable content to better reach donors and potential event attendees. The team launched a campaign of short promotional videos made using their phone or computer and followed up with personalized messages automated through Daxko Engage. These quick, lighthearted messages got great interaction. The lesson? Low budget doesn’t mean low quality, and it certainly doesn’t mean low rates of engagement. Content that is easy to produce and easy to consume was a win-win for their event promotion.
Make the Most of In-Person and Virtual Opportunities
Many learnings and developments from the last year will continue as we navigate a new normal. Keeping virtual options for events, conferences, and meetings is one of them. While some prefer in-person interaction, keeping a virtual event option can save resources and provide freedom for members of the community to attend how they desire. Ultimately, giving attendees the option to choose pays off for all involved.
For Lacey, the biggest concern was keeping big donors engaged. With proactive communication, she’s found that those sponsors aren’t as attached to the traditional practice of buying a table for a fundraising event, but rather they’re amenable to donating and staying involved in other ways. Having a combination of in-person and virtual events, coupled with persistent communication is central to the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids’ strategy going forward. They’ve found that using multiple channels to engage donors, whether it’s over the phone, on Zoom, or via social media has helped her team hone their craft and strengthen their message to make better connections and maintain key relationships.
Make Teams and Tools Align for Success
The most important step in ensuring successful campaigns, especially with limited staff, is to involve the right team members and use tools to scale the heavy lifts. Lacey and her team relied on team members with specific knowledge and expertise from across departments. For example, getting the membership team to help draft copy about new offers, having someone proofread an email, quality check videos, or double check the action plan for campaigns helps ensure the messaging is sound and engaging. Once they have the content in place, marketing channels including website pages and automated emails help funnel interested parties to increase engagement.
Lacey’s advice to ensure success? Don’t wait until the end of a campaign or event to run a report. Share your progress as you go to get ideas and feedback from the start. Keeping leaders in the organization involved in campaigns throughout the process makes reporting on the success much easier. Conversion Analytic reports in Daxko Engage can help prove out the results of your marketing efforts.
Over the past year, we all have had to do more with less. Now that businesses are opening up, and there’s a little room to breathe, it’s not necessarily the time to sit back and relax. For the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, harnessing this moment to continue exploring ways to engage their community has helped ward against complacency and kept their organization moving into the future. For more information about how Daxko can help your organization save time and resources while building the best campaigns to engage community, schedule a consultation today.