In this video, I’m joined by Josh from Project Restore Us. Food insecurity has nearly doubled in the United States. Meanwhile, many restaurants have shut down indoor dining—sacrificing revenue for public health. Project Restore Us is a Boston-based nonprofit that is determined to do something about it. They partner local restaurants with community or labor organizations to safely deliver groceries to families in need. Grocery delivery is a safe way for restaurants to make money and survive the winter while helping the people who need it most. Through powerful team fundraising, Project Restore Us has been able to deliver 216,340 pounds of food to 1,722 essential worker families, restoring 1,916+ shift hours to restaurant workers. Learn how they did this and more as Josh shares:
- What made them turn to Givebutter for their first-ever crowdfunding campaign
- What made this campaign so successful (Hint: Livestream Fundraising!)
- Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for making the most out of your next team fundraiser
“The things that really stood out for Givebutter were on the backend of things. It was super simple to set up, the search engine optimization was really good, the ability to embed on our website was something that we found super useful. I guess that, along with the ability to use Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Pay...Some other platforms, the fees range from 2.9 to about 8% combined with platform and transaction fees. But because 88% of our donors covered the fees by tipping Givebutter, our total fees only ended up being about nine-tenths of a percent.”
They’re serving up some serious inspiration!
Campaign at a glance
Full video script
Rachel: What's up everybody? Rachel here with Givebutter. Thanks for joining for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we are featuring Project Restore Us. They raised over $52,000 for their fundraiser to feed 200 families while saving restaurants this winter. If you are looking for an inspirational fundraiser or a COVID-19 relief campaign, this one is for you. I have Josh here with me who is going to share why they turned to Givebutter as well as tips, tricks, and lessons learned along the way. Josh, thank you so much for joining and for sharing your story with the Givebutter Fam.
Josh: Hi Rachel! It's nice to talk to you today about Project Restore Us and how Givebutter helped us reach our goal during the month of January. I help out as a Tech Specialist with Project Restore Us, helping tie together all the different platforms we're using. I've been working with the team for about two months now and came in to help with fundraising, a little bit of graphic design, and stuff like that. Project Restore Us is a Boston-based nonprofit. We are working to feed essential worker families that are in need this winter while keeping restaurants alive. In Boston, one in seven Boston residents is going hungry right now this winter since the pandemic started. One in five restaurants is already closed through this winter. We're expecting that to reach upwards of 50%. Food insecurity in the country has doubled, and this is something that is even higher in some places around the country. For Project Resource Us in Boston, we have delivered over 215,000 pounds of food this winter—so about equal in meals—and that has gone to 1,725 families. So what Project Restore Us does differently than a food pantry or a food bank is that we partner with restaurants and community organizations that already exist to provide this food that I’m talking about as culturally-appropriate grocers. This is something that helps us stand out greatly from other organizations because we provide straight to people's doors who need it—mostly immunocompromised, elderly, and undocumented groups of people. This food is delivered to them in order to feed them for around four weeks or five weeks. Every donation that we were able to get through this campaign is something that went straight back to the community in Boston.
Rachel: That is absolutely amazing. Tell us more about why you turned to Givebutter recently.
Josh: Givebutter is something that one of our volunteers, Isabel, brought up to the team when we were looking into doing a crowdfunding campaign. For Giving Tuesday, December 1st through the 15th, we did a fundraiser with the goal of $10,000. We were able to reach that and wanted to take the next step forward to use a crowdfunding platform. We checked out GoFundMe, Kickstarter, ActBlue, and Givebutter mainly. The things that really stood out for Givebutter were on the backend of things. It was super simple to set up. The search engine optimization was really good; we popped up within a few days. Then, the ability to embed in our website was something that we found super useful. It looked clean. It looked like it was something that was built into your organization. I guess that, along with the ability to use Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Then the integration into other software that I use was also really helpful with open API.
Rachel: Let me just share my screen here as you're describing all of this because my people need to see this beautiful campaign in action.
Josh: I guess someone donated.
Rachel: A minute ago! You just got another donation.
Josh: Yeah, $3!
Rachel: That's amazing!
Josh: Yes, it’s fantastic.
Rachel: You've already surpassed your goal by over $4,000. Four days remaining. Donations are still coming in. You mentioned using a crowdfunding fundraising model, and you can see all your team members right at the top. They have their own fundraising pages with number of supporters. Then your story, I thought, was really compelling to read. Everybody who's watching, this would be great to follow along if you're wondering how to craft your story. Then, I also really appreciate your FAQ section. I thought that was really smart to include at the bottom as well. Then a video—videos always outperform pictures, so I thought that was great. Josh, were there other features that you used on Givebutter—like live stream or team fundraising or something along those lines—that helped you surpass your fundraising goal?
Josh: Yes! The team fundraising feature was useful for us as our team has grown since the start of that fundraiser began—it's about doubled. We have had the ability to add team members as our team grows. The other feature that we used that was really helpful and actually brought in some of our larger donations was the live stream feature. That was something that stood out when we were looking at all the different platforms. You were the only platform that allows something like that. On the days of these live streams, we did two of our biggest deliveries. We had a 346-family delivery and a 200-family delivery. We were able to live stream these events straight to our Givebutter page which is a really neat way to interact with our audience.
Rachel: Nice! Do you have any other tips, tricks, or lessons learned for other Givebutter fundraisers who are maybe new to the platform or who are also running a COVID-19 relief campaign? What would you tell them?
Josh: One of the things that kind of confused me at first was the way that fees work on Givebutter. Being someone who's worked around the service industry though, it's slowly made a little bit more sense to me why this is set up the way it is. I wanted to turn off fees at first, but it ended up working out in our favor to leave them on. I talked about some other platforms where the fees range from 2.9 to about 8% combined with platform and transaction fees. But, at the end of this fundraiser, because 88% of our donors covered the fees by tipping Givebutter, our total fees only ended up being about nine-tenths of a percent.
Rachel: Wow. Amazing!
Josh: Yeah, it was really neat. I guess it's something different that you don't really see the ability to kind of make up for the fees—just so that all of the donation or contribution goes straight to what you're working towards.
Rachel: That's a great tip.
Josh: I guess some of the other things that were handy: the text-to-donate feature is something that we haven't taken full advantage of yet, but something I look forward to using in audio-radio ads in the future. The QR code was also something that was quite handy; we’ll have a different QR code for each campaign.
Rachel: Just to close here, I’m wondering what is the future of fundraising for Project Restore Us? What's next after this campaign closes?
Josh: With our successful campaign in January, we're going to be able to—well actually we've already added two new community partners. These are Boston Community Pediatrics and VietAID, which is a Vietnamese aid organization, and one new restaurant partner, Field & Vine. We've already begun to do deliveries to these organizations and through Field & Vine. So far, we've delivered 216,000 pounds of food to 1,725 families. Our next step is planning the next fundraiser on Givebutter and seeing where we can go from there.
Rachel: Amazing! Incredible work. Thank you so much for sharing your story, for using Givebutter. Josh, appreciate you so much.
Josh: Thank you very much. Have a good day!
Rachel: You too! To everybody else who is following along, thank you so much for watching. Please remember to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter’s YouTube channel. If we didn't ask something that you want Josh to answer, just comment below and we'll try to get back to you. Thanks so much for joining, and we will see you next week for another Success Story. Bye everybody!
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.