History Aunt Leah’s Place has been helping kids in foster care and teen mothers for over 25 years. Their programs support countless children and youth who have fallen through the cracks in the system or have ‘aged out’ of foster care. In 2012, Aunt Leah’s Place (ALP) fell into a financial slump. They relied heavily on large grants and funding from the Provincial Government. When budget cuts came, Aunt Leah’s Place lost some of the funds that were allowing them to provide services for children and youth who depended on them. While the demand for Aunt Leah’s Place services was high, the community support was stagnant.
Frontier was enlisted to help pull ALP out of their slump and build a more sustainable fundraising plan. Following a data audit and consultation, we uncovered a few interesting findings:
- Only 13% of Aunt Leah’s funding came from receipted donations
- ALP’s donor base was unusually young - the majority aged between 40-69
With these findings in hand, we went to work on creating a sustainable long-term plan for ALP:
- Increase individual donor base to decrease reliance on government funding and small groups of donors
- Provide increased opportunities for monthly and legacy giving
- Revisit donors who had expressed support for ALP in the past
- Build engaging website to ease the process of online giving
We worked away at getting Aunt Leah’s print campaigns to rally the community they work within. We ran acquisition pieces, cultivated donors who had expressed their support in the previous year, and established a robust direct mail program. The newsletter shows donors the real-life impact of their donations by featuring photos, stories and testimonials from youth whose lives have been changed for the better. These stories of resilience, featured both on the website and print appeals, provide an insight into the vital work of Aunt Leah’s Place.
Since we established the need for a strong online presence, we worked to build a clean, responsive site that would draw donors in and make them 34% more likely to donate. We moved ALP’s website to WordPress, added a simple donation form that kept donors on the site (from previously being shuffled over to Canada Helps), and enrolled them in the Google Grants AdWords program. We also set up a successful email program starting out with a list of 850 people which has now grown to over 1,700.
This strong online presence combined with effective print campaigns contributed to immense growth in online revenue from $15,890.01 in 2012 to $31,477.33 in 2014 over the giving season of November to December. That’s an increase of 98.10%!
In 2013-2014 we saw an increase of 43.34% in the number of gifts received and an increase of 11.81% in gift size compared to 2011-2012. The trend of higher gift numbers and larger gift sizes brings ALP closer to the goal of financial sustainability. Individuals now make up 22% of Aunt Leah’s funding (up $237,000); alleviating the pressure on grants and Provincial Government funding.
In the few years that we’ve worked with ALP, we’ve seen them grow from an organization extremely dependent on grants and government funding to an organization that rallies its supporters within the community to share the weight of caring for marginalized youth in the Lower Mainland.