CreatiVets empowers veterans to heal through art and music. Their purpose is to help disabled veterans cope with service-related trauma by fostering self-expression in a way that allows them to transform their stories of trauma and struggle into an art form that inspires and motivates continued healing.
While a portion of the organization’s programs and fundraisers have always been based online, 80% of their gifts came from corporations and major donors. The organization also hosted concerts and classes driven by donations, but they were also mostly locally-based. When the pandemic hit, these in-person concerts (held at corporate offices, which were now empty as employees began working from home) and classes needed to be put on pause. Kyle Yepsen, Development Director, and Richard Casper, Co-founder and Executive Director, had been considering taking these events virtual for months, but the pandemic forced them into action.
Using Network for Good, CreatiVets revamped their concerts and classes into virtual events. The instant donation feature in Network for Good allows people to donate as they’re participating in a live-streamed concert or class (or watching a recorded session after the fact). And with a virtual format, artists, including Grammy award-winning songwriters, can host classes from across the country. To promote what they’re doing, CreatiVets posts short videos on social media, and they embed the videos in their communications. They interview veterans who’ve been through the program, show behind the scenes, and allow viewers to see how donations are being used.
“Don’t be afraid to pursue something that you may not have done in the past. We had been talking about tapping into virtual events for a year or so, but it just got pushed to the side. COVID made us dive in, and Network for Good helped us make it happen.”
— Kyle Yepsen, Development Director, CreatiVets
Meaningful Virtual Events Required Little Investment
Other than the small investment in a microphone, webcam, computer, and software to stream a virtual class or concert, CreatiVets was able to launch their virtual events with little cost. The participating artists volunteer or, in the case of virtual corporate concerts, are paid via the company hosting the concert.
Thinking Differently Allowed CreatiVets to Tap into New Revenue
Using corporate events as fundraisers gave CreatiVets a completely new revenue source. Richard explains that when you’re looking to raise money from corporations, you can find money outside of their foundation. “The marketing department is always looking for fresh ways to do cause marketing. So think about how your events can benefit the company if they get involved, and make the case to them.”
Gamification Made Fundraising Fun
Kyle says that Network for Good’s capabilities with instant donations allowed them to combine donations with song requests at the virtual concerts. Gamifying donations made the experience more fun for attendees.
CreatiVets Grew Individual Donor Base
With the new focus on virtual events and classes, CreatiVets was able to triple their number of contacts in 6 months and double individual donors.