Girls from Oz on giving circles
Girls from Oz was one of our Plus1 success stories in 2014/15.
We spoke with the team about their successful fundraising strategy and the ingredients for a great campaign.
Tell us about your Plus1 fundraising strategy.
We approached 25 Girls from Oz supporters in the hope that they may each create and lead their own Giving Circle. We asked these individuals to draw upon their own personal, artistic and philanthropically-minded networks to each raise $1,000 which would contribute to our aim of raising $25,000. Our Giving Circles consisted of:
- Six Girls from Oz board members
- Five Australian Girls Choir (AGC) community engagement officers
- Five AGC state music tutors or choreographers
- Ten additional members of the Girls from Oz community which includes 25 artistic teachers who have delivered Girls from Oz programs.
We wanted to capitalise on our relationship with the AGC to help drive our fundraising campaign as we believed that there was great power in capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of teenage girls who are privileged to have felt the benefits of high quality performing arts activities. We were confident that the girls in the AGC would motivate each other to raise these funds and become part of the Girls from Oz Giving Circle community.
Lead by our Chair and supported by board members and Girls from Oz supporters within the Australian School of Performing Arts (ASPA) community, our fundraising strategy was multifaceted.
Social media was a great way for us to update our donors on our process and our Plus1 project certainly benefitted from the rallying online support we received. Emails relaying our fundraising strategy and project were sent from the Girls from Oz Board and Giving Circle leaders to their personal networks.
We were fortunate to have AGC Choristers volunteer their time to promote and fundraise for Girls from Oz at various AGC venues in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
The idea of matched funding and that each individual donation would be doubled was an important message that we continued to communicate throughout the fundraising process.
Describe your project and the outcomes you hope to achieve.
The Plus1 funding will allow us to develop a strategic framework and dynamic implementation plan to ensure the future sustainability of Girls from Oz. This process will see our current board along with Proctor Major, Business Advisors and Accountants, review our operating structure and achievements thus far and create a plan for the next three-five years.
This process will ensure that we have the most appropriate business structure in which to meet all legal and compliance obligations and will enable us to document the operating model in such a way as to encourage substantial and ongoing funding.
The second part of the process will be to map a detailed funding plan that includes a strategic approach to recruiting new board members.
We are aiming to secure recurring funding from government, philanthropists and the private sector and believe that this is more likely when these plans have been put in place.
Do you feel more confident in your overall fundraising strategy and ability to achieve results?
We sincerely hoped to achieve our $25,000 target (our Chair, Nicole Muir, was aiming for $32,000!) but along the way there was some doubt that lingered in the back of our minds as it was by far the highest fundraising target we had set.
The Girls from Oz team members are very passionate about the organisation and what we’re trying to achieve and we knew that achieving our Plus1 target would make the world of difference to the sustainability of Girls from Oz.
We are thrilled with our overall fundraising strategy and what we have been able to accomplish and will be setting Plus1 as the fundraising benchmark that we hope to improve upon for all future projects.
The Plus1 project has given us not only the confidence to achieve results but has confirmed our belief that this fundraising approach works beautifully for our organisation as we aim to attract new donors and increase the investment of existing donors.
Did the fundraising activity bring new donors? Any tips on how to cultivate them?
We anticipated that our fundraising initiative would result in around 250 new private donors who are already connected to Girls from Oz in one way or another through a current supporter. We wanted to reach a wider audience during the campaign, beyond the ASPA community and further into the personal networks of its members.
We were able to engage a broad range of donors within the ASPA community; from 85 year old friends of AGC’s Founding Director, through to relatives of AGC Alumni and down to 15 year old Giving Circle Coordinators. We found that drawing upon the personal networks of the Giving Circle leaders provided us with groups of new supporters that either weren’t aware of what Girls from Oz does or hadn’t previously donated to Girls from Oz.
We focused on the shared belief, in the ASPA community, of the power of the Performing Arts. Through consistent campaign updates and making our online audience feel that they were taking this fundraising journey with us, we were able to attract new donors and reignite previous ones.
We also found social media to be a wonderful tool to reach the personal online networks of our audience.
Have you increased your knowledge and skills in fundraising and partnerships as a result of Plus1?
We knew that getting the word out about our organisation and being able to promote Girls from Oz through the young women of the AGC would be extremely beneficial. We are aiming for this to be part of our long-term funding strategy as we know that many people remain committed to the first philanthropic organisation they identify with.
The development of a Giving Circle program is an important area of learning for us and is obviously in keeping with the crowd funding or group giving approach that has gained popularity in recent years.
There is no doubt that a $25 donation, for instance, feels much more significant when it is part of a $50,000 pool. We have also found that engaging the next layers of people in the ASPA community has led to some introductions that we will pursue.
This has also been a good lesson in sharing the load and sharing the successes within a like-minded community. There has been a lot of creativity in the ways people have managed their circles and we’ve been delighted by the excitement people have felt as part of this success.
Will Plus1 leave a positive legacy in your organisation?
Absolutely! Funding from the Plus1 project has been invaluable in helping to ensure the sustainability and future direction of Girls from Oz. We are in a better financial position than we have ever been and that is thanks to the Plus1 project and the generous support of our donors.
Plus1 has encouraged us to not only reach new donor networks but has allowed us to capitalise on the generous donors and Girls from Oz supporters that exist within the ASPA community.
Following the success of our Plus1 project, Girls from Oz is aiming higher in 2016. We’re hoping to secure the financial resources that will enable us to fund a year-long program in a new town. This means raising $40,000 ourselves and finding someone willing to match it.