AtlantiCare leverages the power of peer-to-peer fundraising to help cancer patients beyond their appointments.
The AtlantiCare Foundation, which supports three hospitals and over 100 clinical sites in New Jersey, launched its first peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to help cancer patients with everything from wigs to transportation costs. After three years, the event has raised $50,000 and made life-changing impact.
No-Shave November began with a simple idea: Give up your hair removal routine—everything from regular trims to shaving faces and legs—for one month; donate the money saved on razors and salon visits to help cancer patients; and ask friends to support your cause with contributions.
The AtlantiCare Foundation, which fundraises for community and clinical programs that support AtlantiCare’s hospitals and ambulatory sites in southeastern New Jersey, wanted to turn No-Shave November into a personalized way to connect with supporters. The foundation team started its own version of the event called Heroes of Hair. Proceeds would benefit a fund that pays for wigs, transportation, and financial assistance for oncology patients.
“It’s different than a capital campaign in that it’s not a building,” explained Financial and Data Analyst Beth Gibney. “You’re affecting the lives of patients.”
To make Heroes of Hair successful, her team needed the right solution to raise awareness and keep participants engaged throughout the month by providing them with individualized pages where they could publish testimonials, photos, and updates along the way. “We’d never had a peer-to-peer platform and never had done any fundraising like that,” Gibney said.
She began exploring tools and landed on Blackbaud’s peer-to-peer fundraising solution. “They literally had me at hello,” Gibney said, recalling the exhaustive list of questions she tackled with customer support. “The customer service is top-notch.”
With Blackbaud as a partner, Gibney felt confident about launching Heroes of Hair. “I’m a finance person, not a web person, and I was able to jump right into it,” Gibney said. “And that’s how I sold it to my team.”
That first year alone, the AtlantiCare Foundation raised over $13,000. By its third year, AtlantiCare nearly doubled its fundraising to $25,000.
“Our three-year total was over $50,000 from a campaign that runs one month each year,” said Marcia McCulley, Gibney’s partner in the fundraising initiative. “We are so excited to get the community involved as we work to support cancer patients.”
Outside of the direct fundraising revenue, AtlantiCare benefitted from valuable additions to its donor database through integration with Blackbaud’s flagship fundraising solution, Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT®. Over the past three years, AtlantiCare has engaged nearly 400 new donors through Heroes of Hair.
“The big perk with peer-to-peer is with new donors,” Gibney said. “We can see wealth ratings right away, if the person has potential as an annual or major giver, if they’ve made other donations, or if they’re a first-time giver—and then add them to the pipeline.”
The greatest payoff, though, has been the outcome of the peer-to-peer campaign. In the first two years alone, the funds have helped 94 patients.
“With everything from confidence-boosting wigs to financial assistance, it’s our way of allowing patients to treasure the moments and focus their energies on healing,” Gibney said. “That’s exactly what we hoped to accomplish—and then some.”
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