How Chicago Cultural Alliance Raised $20K+ in their First Virtual Fundraiser

How Chicago Cultural Alliance Supports Local Centers of Cultural Heritage

The Chicago Cultural Alliance has been around since 2008, with a mission to connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago.

They are an active consortium of over 40 Chicago-area cultural heritage museums, centers, and historical societies that span 30 neighborhoods and nine suburbs in the Chicago area and represent over 30 different cultures worldwide.

Their work spans across museums and cultural centers, and they provide professional development and resources as well as give the organizations a platform to promote themselves and their work.

Creating a Virtual Event that Raised $20K+ During COVID-19

It is no surprise that COVID-19 changed a lot of plans in 2020. When Chicago Cultural Alliance realized that they would no longer be able to host their annual gala, they got to work figuring out how they could change it to a virtual fundraising campaign. That is where the “Taste from Home” fundraising campaign was born.

Peter Vega

Executive Director of Chicago Cultural Alliance

“We hadn’t done much virtually before. And we needed the tools fast to be able to do things virtually. And so that part of it was a big reason why we chose Neon One.”

“‘Tastes From Home’ came from us wanting to share stories about cultural heritage institutions that we work with,” explains Peter Vega, Executive Director of Chicago Cultural Alliance. “It became a recipe sharing and storytelling event that lasted for two months.”

Neon CRM’s peer-to-peer fundraising pages allowed the Alliance to host the recipes and the stories for their fundraising event. Posting the recipes on the peer-to-peer fundraising pages made it easy to prompt donations. 

Their recipe fundraising campaign raised a total of $20,000 in two months, which helped replace some of the lost revenue from their annual Gala.

Learn More About Taste From Home

Chicago Cultural Alliance’s CRM Solution

The Alliance needed to make a quick transition from all in-person events to all virtual events, and they needed the tools to help them streamline that process.

“The main thing that attracted us was the peer-to-peer fundraising elements and the donor management aspects of Neon. Thinking about how we could improve our individual giving approaches quickly became important to us during COVID-19.”

Peter Vega, Executive Director of Chicago Cultural Alliance

On top of that, over 70% of Chicago Cultural Alliance’s revenue is made from foundation giving, so it was important to CCA to have a system that directly communicated with donors.

The Challenge

Before switching to Neon One, Chicago Cultural Alliance had multiple systems, and much of their staff’s time was spent cross-checking three different platforms. They were using Excel as a temporary database and many times had missing information from one or more of their systems.

As they continued to explore different virtual fundraising options with Facebook and PayPal, they were spending too much time importing and inputting donations. All of their time and work was being spent validating data, instead of focusing on developing relationships with their donors or finding new ways to keep their donors engaged. 

They wanted clear and easy access to data on donors for quick donor engagement and virtual fundraising.

Our Solution

Neon CRM’s all-in-one system includes donor management, fundraising software, email and direct mail management, and event management, doing the work of all of the Alliance’s previous software systems, and more.

With Neon CRM, Chicago Cultural Alliance was able to:

  • See donations coming in real-time, with accurate tracking towards their fundraising goal 
  • Show Board Members which of their friends had donated and thank them immediately
  • Automatically check for new donors, and see their accounts and donation history
  • Easily train every team member to use the system, from the Director of Finance to the Development Manager

Neon CRM streamlines and automates time-consuming manual efforts, so you can focus on what matters most — your organization’s impact.

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