How did One Hope United turn a time-consuming toy drive into a revenue-generating fundraiser, without compromising on the mission? Building on audience insights, we created emotional connections with donors that resulted in real dollars for the organization—and better yet, meaningful impact on the children and families they serve.
FOR One Hope United
ROLE Creative Director, Strategist, Writer
TYPE Fundraising Campaign
One Hope United's toy drive was a holiday tradition for our supporters, but it was a significant strain on the development. While other non-profits raised 31% of their annual donations during December, OHU raised less than half that amount because fundraisers' energy was diverted to the toy drive. OHU made the strategic decision to discontinue the toy drive and refocus on year-end fundraising. They launched Wishbook, a coupon book and online shopping experience that replaced toy donations with giving levels corresponding to gift-like program expenses: $50 to provide suitcases for children in foster care, $100 to provide educational field trips, etc. While the first Wishbook campaign was a moderate success, donors reported missing the physical toy-shopping experience and the emotional connection to the individuals they were helping.
Through focus groups, we learned that donors wanted more explanation of Wishbook's purpose and impact and missed the personal connection they felt when shopping for a specific child or family. To address this feedback, OHU replaced the coupon book with an original storybook, "A Wish for Tania" – a fictionalized account of a girl living in an OHU residential home that dramatizes how items from the Wishbook support her care and enhance her life.
The story provides an emotional connection to the mission, while the last page lists the Wishbook items and implores readers to "Help Make Wishes Like Tania's Come True!" Items were more emotional, too – items that could change the trajectory of a life: youth anti-violence programs, preschool scholarships, interview attire for young adults, GED testing, and more. Donors could “buy the entire Wishbook” for a nice, round $1,000. A suite of supporting materials simplified the donation process and helped engage corporations, board members, and others to be ambassadors for Wishbook and tap their networks for support.
The new format contributed to measurable increases in support over the previous year, including:
- Nearly triple the funds raised year-over-year, and more than triple during the months of November and December
- A 76% increase in funds raised on Giving Tuesday
- More than half of all donors were new donors to the organization