Over the course of a school year, the average teacher spends more than $500 of their own money to pay for classroom supplies, projects, and field trips. Despite this self-sacrifice, many classrooms still lack critical resources to give children the education they deserve. DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization, makes it easy for public schools to post project requests and receive support from interested donors.
DonorsChoose.org designed their site to be highly impactful and personalized for today’s donor. “It’s about enabling someone who may have just one dollar to give to be a full-fledged philanthropist,” says Charles Best, CEO and Founder of DonorsChoose.org. Best and his team use Marketing Cloud and the Salesforce App Cloud to create this next-generation donor experience.
“We used to send very generic appeals to donors,” says Katie Bisbee, Chief Marketing Officer. “Marketing Cloud helps us create personalized experiences that help individuals connect directly with teachers, providing support for classroom projects that will inspire tomorrow’s leaders.” Instead of sending endless waves of generic emails, each donor now receives an email with one tailored suggestion of a classroom project that matches their giving preferences and history. “By sending targeted, one-to-one communications through Marketing Cloud, we’ve increased our donor conversion rate by 300%,” says Bisbee.
DonorsChoose.org uses Marketing Cloud to personalize and automate customer journeys that delight donors and keep them coming back to give more. Some donors choose to fund musical instruments for a school without arts funding or microscopes for a science classroom that never had them before. Either way, all donors receive a dollar-for-dollar report of how their money was spent and a personalized thank-you from that specific classroom. Bisbee says, “By creating customer journeys with Marketing Cloud, we give every single one of our 1.5 million donors an experience that in the past was reserved only for million-dollar donors.”
Email isn’t the only channel that DonorsChoose.org uses to engage their constituents. They also use Marketing Cloud to schedule, manage, and post content to Facebook and other social channels. So when a natural disaster strikes and schools are damaged or destroyed, like during the 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, DonorsChoose.org is able to quickly mobilize its donors in response.
About half of the money DonorsChoose.org raises is crowd-sourced from individual donors. The rest of their funding comes from partner companies and foundations. “Sales Cloud allows us to manage and analyze our entire revenue funnel. We use these insights to forecast accurately, measure our progress toward fundraising goals, and develop new outreach strategies,” says Carolina Martín, SVP of Partnerships and Business Development.
In the past, the business development team had a hard time tracking incoming partner leads, which resulted in many lost opportunities to raise more funds. With Sales Cloud, DonorsChoose.org is able to scale to support a large network of corporate partners. During a conversation with a partner, members of the development team can quickly pull up the entire history of the relationship. Sales Cloud streamlines every step of the business development process, so DonorsChoose.org can turn leads into successful partnerships faster than ever. Martín says, “After only six months, we’ve already exceeded our fundraising goal for the whole year. And we’re just getting started.”
Since it was founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org has already:
Best and his team count on the scalability of App Cloud as they innovate and expand their vision. DonorsChoose.org recently partnered with Code.org to provide $500,000 in funding to teachers across the U.S. to instruct students in computer coding. Over 15,000 teachers have registered to date. Best says, “Beyond the supplies we provide, we think we can be a force for education reform. And with Salesforce, we’re able to do that.”