Guide Dogs for the Blind Association UK threw a virtual tea party on National Tea Day. Using the Facebook Donate Button to raise funds, the organization drove £26K in donations, a 70% increase from its original goal.
“By asking people to donate the price of their cuppa on our Facebook posts, we raised vital funds to help ensure people with sight loss don’t feel alone now or in the future.”
–Pam White, Fundraising Manager
Every day, 250 people in the UK start to lose their sight. Guide Dogs for the Blind Association UK’s mission is to provide life-changing services to the two-million people in the UK living with sight loss and 36K people who are registered blind or partially sighted. Through its wide range of services, the association helps people with sight loss live active, independent lives.
Guide Dogs wanted a way to continue raising funds for its association even while everyone was sheltering in place during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The organization wanted to raise £15K in donations and create a new target audience for future virtual fundraising campaigns. Working with public figures, the organization also wanted to generate media interest by competing for the Guinness World Records title for the largest virtual tea party.
Due to the global pandemic, Guide Dogs needed to replace its traditional fundraising campaign around National Tea Day on April 21, 2020. Instead of hosting physical tea party activities, it turned to Facebook and asked people to donate “the price of their cuppa” to the organization. The virtual campaign was created to bring both existing and new supporters together for a common purpose during the global pandemic.
To build engaging creative for the campaign, Guide Dogs used photos from existing supporters, staff and public figures. It also used service-related content featuring videos of guide dog owners, puppy walkers and other service users to share its story in heartwarming ways. Guide Dogs ran Facebook ads to bring in new audiences for the campaign and to target in future campaigns. In addition to running several Instagram posts and Stories, and Facebook Page and Event posts, the team included a Donate Button on its posts for people to easily donate to the cause.
Being able to drive 70% more donations than originally planned, Guide Dogs plans to run virtual tea party campaigns around key tentpole moments and activities going forward. The organization will capitalize on the audience it built through its Facebook retargeting efforts and implement a few of its best practices in the next campaign.
Reach donors where they’re at
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Guide Dogs pivoted quickly, turning an in-person fundraising event into a virtual campaign with tremendous impact. In addition to exceeding its donation goal, the organization now holds the Guinness World Record for the largest virtual tea party.
Using a multi-channel, multi-account approach to its campaign, Guide Dogs was able to greatly exceed its goals. Developing a comprehensive campaign that ran across all channels, platforms and accounts is key to a successful strategy.
Use what you’ve got
In addition to posting engaging content, Guide Dogs tapped into the Facebook Donate Button. The button made it easy for people to donate in a few clicks and helped the organization easily accept and tally the donations.
The virtual tea campaign, which ran from Apr 10 - April 24, was a record-breaking success.
“The virtual tea party campaign for National Tea Day brought in over £26,000 in donations on Facebook—raising approximately 75% of our annual budget. The results were 70% higher than originally forecasted, with an average CPA of £0.70 and an average donation of £11 from initial request to donate the price of your cuppa.”
– Pam White, Fundraising Manager