Customer Spotlight: Leading Edge Take Heart 5K

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There have been books, movies, and webinars about a phrase that you may or may not be familiar with — leading from the heart.  In the world of business, it’s sometimes used to remind people that there’s little to no room for “heart” in the workplace.

Of course, it’s our experience – especially in the world of running, event planning, and fundraising – that this couldn’t be further from the truth! The running community is full-to-overflowing when it comes to leading from the heart…and we’ve got a great story to tell!

Meet Heather Ryan, Development Director of Take Heart, and Supporting Race Coordinator for the Leading Edge Take Heart 5K, using GiveSignup registration to raise more through a fundraising event.

Take Heart is a nonprofit like so many – operating with a small staff that aren’t full time race directors and have many additional responsibilities.  They teamed up with Leading Edge, to bring something meaningful to Lakeland’s active community. And when it comes time to make the Leading Edge Take Heart 5K a reality, the tools and guidance of GiveSignup help make it a success. 

Key features that help them to succeed included:

  • Integrated donations and fundraising to increase impact
  • A customized, mission-focused cover page
  • Sponsor Platform to provides additional visibility to sponsors

Donations and Fundraising

Over the years, the race has seen an impressive growth in donations thanks to a well-conceived plan and intentional addition of key features. 

“Our first step was really quite simple. We enabled donation collection within registration.”

Heather Ryan, Development Director

To keep the focus on the mission and highlight the impact of each donation they set a variety of donation levels with clear, descriptive language explaining how far each dollar can go.

Next, race organizers chose to introduce individual and team fundraising. In addition to prompting each registrant to donate, each person is encouraged to join (or create) a fundraising team during registration.

Team fundraisers were a huge success in 2021, with their top team raising more than $6,000 of the total $40,000 raised by the event.

To support their fundraisers and increase overall donations, the event took a simple (one might even say old school) approach: They left online donations open a few days beyond the date of the live event and called on their participants to consider contributing a few more dollars. The lesson: make it easy to donate in the moment, while participants are still excited about the event and you can convert them into advocates for your mission.

“Lakeland is a close-knit community.  People are invested in participating in a local activity…especially knowing that their involvement is making a global impact. Participating in the 5K is an entry point into our donor experience.”

Heather Ryan

Cover Page

The Leading Edge Take Heart 5K built a beautiful Cover Page for their event website that gets all the basics right with a custom logo and branded color scheme. Beyond that, each component includes either a personal, storytelling element, or a time-sensitive incentive to register (or share the event). The resulting impact is a homepage for their event website that is both action-driven and mission-focused.

Notable components of their website include:

  1. Custom Header Image: a beautiful cover image that provides a visualization of both the event and the mission
  2. Event Tiles: registration tiles are front and center to encourage action
  3. Video components: videos are embedded in the website to A) reiterate the value of referring friends to the event, and B) use video footage of last year’s event to create FOMO
  4. Create Urgency: a countdown clock to event day and a reminder of upcoming price increases create a sense of urgency to register now

Additional Opportunities: a two-column component highlights more ways people can participate, including a link to volunteer registration (through the GiveSignup Volunteer Platform) to help staff the event day, and a link to the sponsorship form

Sponsor Platform

Community sponsors are also a huge part of the success of the event (and most fundraising events). To thank their sponsors and provide extra community exposure, all sponsors have been added to their website (just below the components aboe) via the Sponsor platform. They feature on the home page, as well as under a separate website tab for Sponsors.

As a bonus for sponsors, any emails sent to participants from the integrated email marketing system also included logos at the bottom of each email. Unlike the tradition of putting sponsor logos on t-shirts, the logos on the website and in emails can be linked directly to each sponsor’s website, providing participants with opportunities to actually engage with the event sponsors.

The Takeaways

As a nonprofit organization, Take Heart, and the Leading Edge Take Heart 5K, along with over 50 sponsors and hundreds of participants, has made a tremendous impact on the lives of widows and children in Kenya. Adding the right technology solutions enables them to raise more for their asset-based community development initiatives such as small entrepreneurial loans for women and key support services for youth.  

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