CureSearch: Driving Impact by Meeting Donors Where They Are

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By Kelli Wright

CureSearch was recently highlighted in blackbaud's Charitable Giving Report: How Nonprofit Fundraising Performed in 2014. Chief Development Officer Christine Bork spoke to CureSearch's efforts to introduce donors to its mission, and keep them coming back. “A key lesson is to meet your donors where they are.”

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer
With events generating roughly 48% of the $6.1 million it raised in 2014 to support research, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer faces a big challenge in converting the 20,000 individuals who participate in its events into ongoing donors.

Among individuals who participate in a CureSearch event for the first time because they are family members, friends, neighbors, or coworkers of parents who have children with cancer and who help raise money for the event, 60% agree to participate a second year but only 20–30% agree to participate a third year. “We’ve got a limited amount of time to capture them,” says Christine Bork, Chicago-based chief development and communications officer for CureSearch, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

CureSearch developed a strategy to convert event participants to annual fund donors over 18 to 24 months. The strategy includes five to seven outreaches that do not ask for money but instead provide educational materials and other information as well as six to eight separate requests to give. “The events are a portal to our individual giving strategy,” Bork says. “We bring them in through events and then have to retain them using other strategies.”

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