SMASH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping provide students of color access to college and career readiness resources (with an emphasis on STEM). SMASH is the educational arm of the Kapor Center.
Fundraising is challenging enough on its own and a $500,000 goal is nothing to scoff at. And although social media is a great platform for raising cash, there’s no denying that algorithms are fickle and reach is far from guaranteed.
SMASH acknowledged that they’d need to take a more direct approach to outreach rather than “spray and pray” their campaign. Such a large goal also meant they’d be reaching out for large-dollar donations with the hope to source a bunch of smaller ones.
The timing of the campaign also presented a distinct roadblock. While there was definitely an increased interest in donating to causes against racism, SMASH was fighting for the attention of donors during a time of widespread anxiety and a relentless news cycle. They needed to find a way for their positive message to push through the noise.
But perhaps one of the biggest hurdles to SMASH came early on in the campaign as the organization attempted to run paid Twitter ads alongside their organic push. Due to the “political” nature of their paid campaign, their ads were abruptly suspended. This meant that SMASH’s fundraising initiative was truly a grassroots effort.
With a tight time frame and specific dollar goal in mind, SMASH took a three-point approach to raise funds and build awareness:
With no ad targeting available, SMASH turned to Audiense to determine who their best outreach candidates were and how many potential donors were fair game based on their existing followers.
Below are the steps SMASH took using Audiense to build their fundraising campaign from the ground up.
1. Identify their engaged, verified social media influencers
2. Engage with their target audience directly and track results
3. Keep the momentum going by identifying new donors to target