By Kendra Lusty | Updated on Aug 27, 2018 11:05:32 AM
Last week in this article, we introduced you to Access Fundraising (formerly TriQuest Fundraising), a new division of Access Development that has spent its first year creating new and better ways to simplify fundraising.
For several years before the restructuring, I ran the blog for TriQuest Fundraising, sharing strategies and tips for a successful fundraiser. This week, I got to sit down with Rusty Bentley, President of Access Fundraising, and get a deeper look into the products offered, see what the first year looked like, and discover its plans for the future.
Access Development has long enjoyed the title of America’s largest private discount network. And while this department is new, Access has actually been involved in fundraising, especially for youth sports groups, for nearly two decades.
Bentley, who was head of fundraising for TriQuest and now President of Access Fundraising, has led its evolution from add-on benefit to a growing division with a variety of products.
“There’s always a need for fundraising products, from youth groups to institutions trying to cure cancer and everything in between,” said Bentley. “Their worthy causes inspire our mission to be a great fit for any fundraising group. We aim to do that by developing innovative products that earn groups the most money with the least effort.”
Access Fundraising has taken its core discount program and tailored it into a range of fundraising programs to choose from.
“In today’s world, fundraising organizations need the freedom to reach beyond their local communities,” said Bentley. “Fundraiser fatigue is a very real thing so it’s important to maximize your total universe of potential donors – and do so in a way that’s still relevant to them. Our products are built to do just that.”
Beyond this need, Bentley and his team kept hearing the same requests and frustrations over and over again. Their commitment to designing products that fill current needs led to the development of three main products, detailed below.
The Champion’s Card is Access Fundraising’s original product, and most popular option to date. Designed with sports teams in mind, these cards have also been tailored to many other youth groups and schools.
When it comes to discount card fundraisers, there are a lot of options for groups to choose from. Yet the most frequent complaint Bentley has heard is that most are limited to 15-20 local discounts that can fit on the back of the card – while another common variant, coupon books, are rated as bulky to store and full of one-time-use-only coupons.
Access’ answer to those issues was a card that unlocks the nation’s largest discount network, offering big savings in virtually every neighborhood in America. Each contributor gets a unique code for a full year of savings, along with instructions on how to download the app and access the website.
The recommended sale price hits right at the $20 median donation for gifts below $1000 in the US reported by Blackbaud in 2017.
“We even have an option where you can snazz it up with a Premier Postcard, which has room for a message to donors,” said Bentley. “Many sports teams use the space to print their game schedule, which provides extra value, meaning they reach their goals even faster.”
Another need Bentley’s team identified was a fundraiser with a lower price point ($10) that more contributors could afford. So earlier this year, Access Fundraising introduced the Pizza and a Movie Card.
This card pairs together two of Access’ most popular discounts: buy one get one rental at Redbox, and 25% off at Papa John’s Pizza.
“One of the added benefits is its simplicity,” said Bentley. “It’s not only a cinch to explain, it’s also simple to redeem. Contributors just use the scratch off codes found on the back of the card at any location nationwide. For only $10, many people consider it a no-brainer.”
One big question among many groups is how to reach contributors outside their communities. Often, their sellers have family living far away, making product sales and community events impractical for a large segment of their most likely supporters.
Other challenges limiting the success of many traditional fundraisers include ever-growing safety concerns about children selling door to door and the fact that few people use cash anymore, relying instead on cards for all transactions, including donations.
Access’ answer to these and other concerns is WeFundThem, a secure online fundraising engine, which pairs nationwide deals with nationwide sales potential.
“Ours is a giving site that gives back,” said Bentley. “Each online contributor can enjoy access to the same savings network included with our other products. It’s a thank-you gift that makes it easy for benefactors to donate more AND more frequently down the road.”
With WeFundThem, groups leverage various channels like email, social media and text messaging to reach large numbers of people with minimal effort. Youths are comfortable with these forms of communication and, increasingly, so are contributors.
In fact, online giving grew more than 12% in 2017 to now represent 7.6% of overall fundraising, the highest percentage Blackbaud has ever recorded. “Add that to the fact that more than 21% of online giving was done from a mobile device represents really positive signs for the emergence of digital and mobile device giving over time,” said Steve MacLaughlin, VP of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud Institute.
“No matter which fundraiser you choose, your success depends largely on the dedication of the leaders and participants,” said Bentley. “But we can help. We want you to reach your goals and get the money you need to succeed too.”
In the world of youth fundraisers, most leaders and participants are volunteers, many even first-timers learning as they go. Access Fundraising provides a number of resources to lead groups through the whole process, like dedicated representatives to guide through selection and set up, and a toolkit to keep everyone on track.
“For us, success comes when a team not only reaches their goals, but also doesn’t have to spend all their time doing it.” Bentley said.
Learn more about the discounts offered here or speak with a representative at 888-878-6178.
Topics: Membership Organizations, private discount programs, customer loyalty, Customer Engagement, Discount Programs, loyalty programs, partnership marketing, Access Fundraising, School Fundraising, youth fundraising, Charities, Fundraising Companies