the graduway library

An endless resource of thought leadership, insights and best practices from the world of Career Services and Alumni Relations.

the graduway library

An endless resource of thought leadership, insights and best practices from the world of Career Services and Alumni Relations.

How One Non Profit is Bridging the Gap for Students in Need

Diversity Matters
More and more institutions are taking steps towards becoming more inclusive, yet we are still a ways off from full and complete inclusivity. To ensure we continue making strides towards embracing diversity, we need to create environments that facilitate and encourage Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

These days, organizations across the nation are diversifying fast, demanding true action whereby minorities are not only represented but fully incorporated.

InvestED Responds to Diversity
Operating in Seattle, Washington, InvestED is a nonprofit organization that deals with fundraising for higher education. Started in the 1960s by an anonymous donor who purchased a coat for his daughter’s underprivileged classmate by writing out a check for $500 to her school, InvestED is focused on some of the most vulnerable populations on campuses across the state. Naturally, the organization sees an overlap between these low-income communities and the underrepresented minority groups that are struggling to access basic needs, higher education, skills training and job opportunities.

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, InvestED saw a growing need for timely relief among minority groups and sprung into action. Its takeaways speak volumes about donor behavior; what opens up donor wallets and what shuts them closed.

Bold Messaging that Donors Can Relate to
Through their Graduway powered virtual Giving Day, InvestED raised $1.1 million for campuses affected by COVID-19. It was through this fundraising initiative that the nonprofit noticed donor response rates were directly linked to their moving yet bold plea. “This is a very emotional time for people” says Joyce Walters, InvestED Executive Director. “Which is why we need to put out an emotional message that is easy to digest and respond to. It was as simple as letting donors know that these young adults were going to bed hungry. We saw that people wanted to help, they just needed a clear message of what they were helping”.

As one of InvestED’s donors put it, the message must be bold not timid. By staying on message and coming up with a clear, well formulated plea, InvestED was able to more than double the donations they set out to receive and add an outstanding 200 new donors to their database.

Tangible Goals for Immediate Relief
Beyond their messaging, InvestED noticed that donors were equally invested in a particular set of behaviors and attributes, and that making those known to donors was dramatically affecting their fundraising efforts.

  • Trustworthiness of the Educators
    These are the individuals on the ground who will be getting the funding and allocating it. They will be dealing with the vulnerable students and making decisions for them. Donors wanted to place their trust in these figures.
  • Timely and Prompt Assistance
    Donors wanted their dollars to go towards quick and effective solutions. When it comes to covering basic needs like food, shelter and learning materials, it was fairly easy to distribute those on a near immediate basis, allowing donors to see the results of their giving without delay.
  • Covering of Basic Needs
    As campuses were closing down, donors became aware that services offered to struggling students in and around campus were no longer available to them. These are often students who rely on their campus for meals, housing, internet, computer access, social services, counseling etc.

To learn more on how to scale with equity, register for our upcoming webinar on Diversity & Inclusion in Career Services.

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