Omaha Community Foundation (OCF) is a collective of donors who help make good things happen in our community. They provide financial services to simplify philanthropic giving, and they offer knowledge on the local philanthropic landscape so donors can give with confidence.
A client since 2018, Emspace + Lovgren has partnered with OCF to reach prospects, inspire fundholder action and gain financial advisor referrals. In 2020, philanthropy took on a whole new urgency, and we helped pivot an annual messaging strategy to support a sudden uptick in community need.
At the beginning of 2020, we asked fundholders to reflect on the past decade and look toward not just the next year — but the next 10 years. We wanted to get them thinking about the long-term impact of their giving decisions and how OCF could be a strategic partner to maximize their philanthropy. It was time for a new decade with new intentions.
In March 2020, “new” took on a new meaning. OCF quickly launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, which has since become the Community Resilience Fund, and asked us to develop material to explain the new giving opportunity to fundholders and the community. The fund was also open to community donations, and it was further promoted during Omaha Gives (which has since sunsetted) any time someone made a donation to a nonprofit. We also developed a paid media strategy and digital ads to promote the day of giving.
As the year came to a close, we bookended 2020 by bringing it back to our original message, which evolved with our new reality — new priorities, new perspectives, same intention. People were still giving, sometimes more than ever before, but their lens had shifted. It became less about their personal philanthropic preferences and more about the most heightened needs of our community.
Throughout it all, we kept a finger on the pulse of community needs to make sure our communications were timely and relevant.
Big gifts are no small decision, so it can take a long time to turn a prospect into a fundholder or move an inactive fundholder to action, but we’re proud to have played a part in these results: Omaha Gives donations increased 11% from 2019, the COVID-19 Response Fund raised $1.5 million to assist 51 nonprofits, and our year-end direct mail message inspired a 14% of inactive fundholders to make gifts — 5% above the industry average.