Good News from Australian Childhood Foundation

July 2, 2020 Eve Heidemann

First-Ever Online Emergency Appeal 

The Australian Childhood Foundation provides specialist trauma therapy for children and their families. When COVID-19 hit and everyone was forced to isolate, it quickly became apparent that we still needed to continue providing our services remotely using technological means. We needed $200,000 to invest in teleconference facilities, to purchase video conferencing accounts and to increase our counsellors. We conducted an online emergency appeal to raise the $200,000 needed to scale up our programs. We raised $253,401- this is the first time we’ve held an emergency appeal and it is the highest digital fundraising activity to date for the Foundation. Our appeal link is: https://australian-childhood-foundation.giveeasy.org/covid19-response.

Challenges

This was the first time that we had done a digital appeal. While we do have digital activities that enhance our DM campaigns, the highest online giving ($8,000) was from our Christmas 2019 appeal. This was further complicated by the fact we only have email addresses for 40% of our financial supporters.

To combat this, we incorporated a large social media component promoting the Appeal on the Australian Childhood Foundation’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn platforms. We produced a comprehensive communication schedule for those supporters whose email address we did have. Over the course of three months, these supporters received 5 COVID-19 related communications, but only two of those included asks, all others were information and value add.

The communication schedule has yet to conclude with a final eDM to provide an update on the amount raised and how these funds made an impact. This will be sent in July, following our Tax Appeal. We also had a Supporter Survey campaign active at the same time and we adapted the survey communications to be more in line with the emergency appeal communications so that those who received both the Appeal and the Survey would see a coherent communication over all mediums, relevant to the current state of play..  

Impact

Our projected key measurements were:
Total target amount raised: $200,000
Total number of donors: 150
Average donation amount: $100
Total number of donors contacted: 7,966
Projected ROI:  $75
 
These are the actual measurements at the end of the appeal:
Total target amount raised: $253,401
Total number of donors:  258
Total number of new donors:  93
Average donation amount: $130
Total number of donors contacted: 10,882
ROI: $125.70

While the fundraising income is a direct measurement of the success of this campaign, the true impact is that the Australian Childhood Foundation has been able to provide an additional 1,060 hours of counselling and therapeutic support for children in our care. The stress and anxiety COVID-19 placed on our children and families meant we could extend our support to providing additional counselling where required – in some cases increasing the number of sessions in a week from 1 to 3. It has been important to respond to this demand because it has helped break down the isolation and loneliness that many of the children have felt, as well as remaining a constant support to ensure no child finds themselves in new situations of violence.
 
As well as trauma therapy, The Australian Childhood Foundation runs a series of education programs and activities for professionals. We had a list of professionals who had previously completed one of our programs and activities, but we hadn’t previously approached them with a donation ask. The response from this group of supporters was fantastic and better than we were expecting.
 
The key point of difference with this Appeal was that we responded very quickly. Our content was relevant and urgent to the crisis unfolding and the direct impact that this would have on our services. We provided a varied range of communications to supporters being able to present them with resources and updates, as well as asking for contributions.