How did the Out-of-Door Academy Increase Annual Fund Giving by 45% in 2020?

Learn how their first ever Giving Day on GiveCampus raised $425,000+


In Fall 2020, The Out-of-Door Academy (ODA) was looking to make their fundraising campaigns more dynamic and test whether a Giving Day model and stronger online fundraising tools could make an impact. In the past, their main strategies were sending traditional solicitation letters and emails.


ODA partnered with GiveCampus to add texture to their campaigns and make it much easier for the whole community to get involved. Their goal was to bring in 250 donors in two days. ODA reached 141% of their goal with 354 donors giving $425,121 in 48 hours.

“Before GiveCampus, there wasn't nearly the same level of back-and-forth engagement with our constituents.”
Melanie Simmons
Director of Development, The Out-of-Door Academy

The main goal of the ODAStrong campaign was to drive participation for their Annual Fund. “The campaign was about showing how much heart our community has, and how strong we all have been despite so many challenges. We knew if we focused on a donor goal, the dollars would follow, so we decided to really drive participation,” said Simmons.  

To ensure strong results, ODA recruited about 20 alumni ambassadors and at least one to two parents from each grade level to be advocates. They also had three trustees who were actively posting, re-sharing, and driving participation, in addition to alumni who organically signed up to be advocates. One alum offered a $5,000 match for his class directly in response to seeing all of the campaign activity on social media. “When you’re part of getting us to unlock a match, you feel like you’re part of something,” Simmons said. “That really spoke to our alumni.”

When it came to execution of the campaign, Simmons highlighted how many onramps the GiveCampus platform provides for donors. “Donors have so many ways to engage with the campaign. Maybe the class competition doesn’t speak to you, but you wanted to light up a state on the map that wasn’t yet represented. All of the elements were designed for educational fundraising and designed to motivate different people to give.” 

ODA gained 120 new donors through this campaign and increased alumni participation by 108%—that increase comes from comparing participation from the entire 2019-2020 fiscal year to participation in the 48 hour ODAStrong campaign on GiveCampus. They also  reached 43% of parent participation with half of the fiscal year left to go, compared to the previous fiscal year’s total participation rate of 58%.

0 %
of donor goal was reached
50 %
increase in alumni participation
0 %
of donors were new donors
0 %
increase in Annual Fund giving compared to 2019

Finally, the ODA team really leveraged the GiveCampus Partner Success program and resources to hit the ground running and maximize this first campaign. Simmons specifically cited all of the GiveCampus University articles and the ability to meet with ODA’s dedicated Partner Success manager—a specialist in independent school fundraising in their region—twice a month to ensure a smooth and successful giving day. 

Ultimately, ODAStrong not only exceeded all fundraising expectations, but also built a culture of joyful giving among students, parents, faculty, alumni, and trustees to last long into the future.

“The GiveCampus platform made our big fundraising push fun. I've never heard non-Advancement people talking about fundraising being fun before, and our trustees were lighting up about the participation and results we were seeing.”
Melanie Simmons
Director of Development, The Out-of-Door Academy