Meet the RNL Digital Giving Team and Their Picks for the Best Campaigns of 2020

Eric BillingsAssociate Vice President, Digital Product ManagementFebruary 4, 2021

I think we all can agree that 2020 was a tough year and one that we won’t soon forget. Professionally, we all had to work hard to overcome adversity and to begin thinking in new ways to engage donors. We are inspired by the work you all do as advancement leaders and how you remain creative and agile. We are excited to help propel your success.

I’d like to do two things in this blog: introduce you to our RNL Digital Giving powered by ScaleFunder team and share each of their picks for RNL partner examples that stood out to us in 2020. It was hard to pick just five, given all the great work you did to pivot quickly in 2020, but I hope this serves as a good sample of campaigns and sparks your creativity about what can be accomplished with a digital-first strategy even during this challenging time.

Kristin DeMarco Carroll

Kristin Demarco Carroll
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Previous Institution: University of Arizona
  • Fun Fact: I went to three Taylor Swift concerts in one year.
  • Kristin’s LinkedIn profile

Kristin’s 2020 online giving campaign pick: Northern Illinois University, Thousands Strong Day of Giving

Online Giving Campaigns of 2020: Northern Illinois University

“Northern Illinois University held their Thousands Strong Day of Giving campaign this past November. One of the efforts I found exciting is that NIU hosted an opening night livestream prior to the launch of the campaign. They used this livestream to highlight successes at NIU, increase excitement about Thousands Strong, and also tied a monetary challenge to it. NIU alums committed a $100,000 gift based on the success of that livestream. Because of this, their giving day immediately started ahead.The engagement of their ambassadors was fantastic as well. They held multiple trainings for their ambassadors, asked those ambassadors to participate in the opening night event, and highlighted exciting matches and challenges in their ambassador communications throughout the day.” —Kristin

Theresa Jubert

Theresa Jubert
  • Location: Iowa City, IA
  • Previous Institutions: University of Iowa, Drake University, Iowa State University
  • Fun Fact: Met Tim Gunn from Project Runway while working at Drake University
  • Theresa’s LinkedIn profile

Theresa’s 2020 online giving campaign pick: Monmouth University, Monmouth Strong Homecoming

Online Digital Giving 2020: Monmouth

“I was inspired by the ways our partners brought their constituents together for virtual events this past year. Monmouth University was one of many RNL ScaleFunder partners who used their crowdfunding platform for registration for a Virtual 5K during Homecoming weekend.” —Theresa

Maile Juranits

Maile Juranits
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Previous Institution: University of California, Davis
  • Fun Fact: I believe Schitt’s Creek is simply the best.
  • Maile’s LinkedIn profile

Maile’s 2020 online giving campaign pick: Sacramento State, Giving Tuesday

Online Digital Giving 2020: Sacramento State

“Sacramento State did a fantastic job with crowdfunding on Giving Tuesday. They created a Giving Tuesday specific landing page which allowed them to tailor their message and showcase a matching opportunity. Sacramento State also enabled the multi-gift checkout option which easily allows donors to support multiple projects in one transaction. Personally, their projects resonated with me and I appreciate their focus on some of today’s most pressing issues.” —Maile

Janice Ridolfi

Janice Ridolfi
  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Previous Institution: Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Fun Fact: I’m currently working on a children’s book with my sister-in-law about a hawk named Bernie.
  • Janice’s LinkedIn profile

Janice’s 2020 online giving campaign pick: Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, You, Me and CHKD Giving Day

Children's Hospital of the King's Daughthers

“This year CHKD signed on with a short timeline and were very ambitious in their goal to launch a giving day quickly. They went straight to work, dove right in, and utilized all the different facets of the platform. They had corporate events that showcased their sponsors. These events were time sensitive and helped create that sense of urgency for their giving day, all while providing that gamification and recognizing and honoring their corporate sponsors. I also loved that they toggled on the new Company Business field in their donation form to begin capturing that employment information for their prospects.” —Janice

Eric Billings

Eric Billings
  • Location: Moscow, ID
  • Previous Institutions: California State University, Fresno; Washington State University; University of Idaho
  • Fun fact: I’m the founder of a local film festival that features cult classic films with an interactive screening of The Room each year.
  • Eric’s LinkedIn profile

Eric’s online giving campaign pick: University of Texas at Austin, Theatre and Dance, Season: burst! Campaign

Online Digital Giving 2020: University of Texas Austin

“UT Austin created evergreen campaigns this year for each of their theater and dance performances. Since all of the performances are virtual this year, they used the campaigns to sell tickets to the show with pay-what-you-can donations starting at $5 and received over 1,500 gifts. I really loved the way they pivoted and used customization within the platform!” —Eric

How can you create a great online giving campaign in 2021? Let’s talk.

We’re ready to help you find the right digital giving strategies to engage your donors and excite them about giving to your institution. Set up a time to talk and we’ll discuss which strategies can boost the performance of your campaigns.

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About the Author

Eric Billings

Eric Billings is a passionate fundraising professional with just over a decade of industry experience, including major gift fundraising, planned giving, and annual giving. He has focused a majority of his career exploring innovative and...

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