Case Study

How Capes for Kids increased peer to peer fundraising revenue by 35%


Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation details how switching to Engaging Networks for their signature peer to peer fundraiser, “Capes for Kids,” offered a more streamlined participant experience and increased overall revenue by over $1 million.

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

Integration and automation can help you bring your vision to life

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation launched “Capes for Kids” in 2017 as a peer to peer fundraiser. The concept is simple and straightforward – raise $100 from your peers, and receive your Cape. Every year in March, Holland Bloorview promotes “Capes Week” – a week when supporters wear their capes in public to promote awareness and raise money that ultimately helps children with disabilities move, speak, play and heal.

The team knew they were onto an idea with endless potential to support their mission. The results confirmed they were right as the first couple of years recorded consistent increases in revenue and number of participants. But they often received feedback from participants and staff that their previous peer-to-peer platform wasn’t keeping up with the growth of the event.

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

The team at Holland Bloorview faced several challenges:

  • High per-transaction cost ratio to volume of users
  • Dated look and feel and poor UX
  • Difficulties monitoring UTM tracking to evaluate efficacy of marketing efforts
  • Unfriendly back-end experience for participants raising funds
  • Inability to integrate their P2P platform with their email platform

In 2020, Holland Bloorview turned to Engaging Networks to help them transform all of their online fundraising, email marketing and peer-to-peer event forms including their “Capes for Kids” event. With all the data seamlessly integrated into one platform, the team saw their signature peer to peer event increase their year-over-year fundraising total by an incredible 35%.

“We weren't able to automate things much in our previous P2P platform. We immediately saw some pretty great results moving 'Capes for Kids' to Engaging Networks.”
Michael Ragsdale
Michael Ragsdale
Senior Manager of Annual Programs
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

Customizing peer to peer fundraising for a seamless user experience

One of the most crucial elements of a peer to peer fundraiser is getting your supporters engaged and empowering them to share their excitement about participating in your event with their personal networks. The more seamless the experience is to sign up and raise funds for your organization, the greater the chances for shared success.

With Engaging Networks’ flexible functionalities, Holland Bloorview has been able to build templates for individual fundraising pages from the ground up and integrate with its “Capes for Kids” website built in WordPress. While logged into their peer to peer fundraising pages, it is simple for fundraisers to:

  • Sign up and import their contacts
  • Share updates on personal social media profiles
  • Send asks for donations and thank you’s to peers that donate

“Because of the way we were able to design it, the public never knows and it looks the exact same,” says Ragsdale. “It really improved the usability compared to the old platform where the user immediately knew it was a different site and it was a little bit jarring.”

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

Gaining efficiencies and raising awareness through multiple touchpoints

Holland Bloorview staff was spending a lot of time exporting and importing email addresses from their old platform into their email marketing program to communicate with “Capes for Kids” participants. It made for a very cumbersome process to provide participants with the tools they needed to get the most out of their experience supporting the organization.

With Engaging Networks, not only is everything in a single ecosystem, making it much easier to send emails, but it allows staff to focus on multiple touch points with participants to maximize the return on investment in holding the “Capes for Kids” event.

As a peer to peer fundraiser, “Capes for Kids” best marketing tool is word of mouth communications, which is where the tools in Engaging Networks really help them shine and get the most out of their campaign.

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

With all of their information integrated seamlessly in Engaging Networks, staff no longer do time consuming tasks like exporting and importing thousands of contacts just to send an email. Now, when a participant signs up, they immediately receive an email. The team is able to send participants a weekly newsletter with updates on events and fundraising tips. Segments are easy to create so they can reach out to past participants who have not yet signed up for the current “Capes for Kids” and encourage them to participate again.

Not only does Engaging Networks make it easy for Holland Bloorview to target personal outreach to past participants, subscribers, VIP donors and Board Members, they are also able to create triggers to upsell participants into additional support.

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

When someone raises $100, they immediately get an email from the team congratulating them and letting them know they qualify for a red cape. The email encourages the participant to confirm some details and includes messaging that if they raise $1,000 they will receive a gold cape. The strategy has seen significant results. In the first year of using Engaging Networks, the average participant raised $825 for “Capes for Kids.”

All of these easy to implement solutions and strategies in Engaging Networks continue to help “Capes for Kids” grow their success year-over-year and in 2022 the campaign raised over $1 million for the first time.

Adapting to unexpected changes

The “Capes for Kids” team received a terrific surprise in the few weeks leading up to their 2022 “Capes Week” when their events team was able to partner with Warner Brothers to get Batman and Catwoman themselves to do a short video of support.

Without the right tools in place, many organizations would not be able to fully leverage this unplanned opportunity. The Holland Bloorview team was able to jump into their content stream loaded across their digital footprint in Engaging Networks and quickly put together emails and social media posts to capture the moment. Thanks to tracking features in Engaging Networks, they could see the spike in registrations and donations as a direct correlation of being able to jump on that moment in time.

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

Actively listen to give donors more opportunities of support

Holland Bloorview finds many of their areas for growth by listening to what their supporters want, constantly looking for new opportunities to make it easier for donors to support their “Capes for Kids” event. The organization is testing more personalized targeted emails and looking to improve integration between their tools and the Engaging Networks platform.

One of those new integrations will be migrating their SMS program into Engaging Networks as the new Marketing Tools are launched to support bulk sending of SMS and MMS messages. This feature builds on innovative technology already available on the platform to enable features such as one-click donations and conditional content. 

holland bloorview capes for kids case study peer to peer fundraising

Key Learnings

  • Consolidating to a single platform to help you integrate your marketing campaigns and email platform can help you streamline your workflow and increase chances of success.
  • Creating a seamless experience and look and feel for your supporters can boost their enthusiasm to share and participate in your events.
  • Integration and automation tools in Engaging Networks create efficiencies for your staff to allow them to focus on creating additional ways to engage your supporters.
  • Adapting to the unexpected is easier with Engaging Networks because your digital fundraising and marketing tools are in a single ecosystem, allowing for fast and nimble targeting – all integrated in two directions with leading nonprofit CRMs.
  • Listening to your donors and supporters will provide you areas of focus to invest in improving their experiences with your organization.
  • Engaging Networks software solutions can help you provide donors with options and choices that can improve their experiences.

Interested in participating in the Capes for Kids 2023? Support an existing peer to peer fundraising team or start your own!

At ENCC Toronto, Michael Ragsdale and Gregg Wade of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation detailed how switching to Engaging Networks for their signature peer to peer fundraiser, “Capes for Kids,” increased overall revenue, average gift size and the participant experience.

Sound Exciting?

Request a demo today and one of our team will be in touch with additional information about how Engaging Networks can help you raise more money and win more campaigns.

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