43 Days of Giving for the Lutzie 43 Foundation

How targeted, strategic and intentional donor communication led to a successful Giving Tuesday and end-of-year campaign.

About the Lutzie 43 Foundation

The Lutzie 43 Foundation was established in 2014 in loving memory of Philip Lutzenkirchen who tragically lost his life as a passenger in a distracted and impaired driving accident. The mission of the foundation is to inspire young people to make better decisions on the road and as friends by learning from Philip’s legacy and circumstances that surround his passing. As a registered 501(c)3, the foundation relies on donors and donations to continue its mission and increase its impact.

Setting the Stage

Knight Eady began working with the Lutzie 43 Foundation in 2015, shortly after Philip’s passing in June of 2014. As the foundation grew, Mike Lutzenkirchen, Philip’s father and executive director, wanted to ensure that the foundation’s impact would be longstanding. Thus, it was important to develop year-round fundraising initiatives. Through strong, targeted fundraising, the foundation would be able to expand its reach and make a difference in the lives of young drivers, their mentors and special needs students, all while continuing to share Philip’s story and legacy. In 2017, Mike wanted to make his annual end-of-year letter more impactful. Knight Eady worked alongside Mike and the Lutzie 43 Foundation to develop an enhanced end-of-year campaign in hopes of capitalizing on year-end giving tendencies from donors across the country and in time, create a larger impact for the foundation. From there, the 43 Day Campaign was born.

A Winning Game Plan

The main goal was to create a campaign that could live on year over year, while still being adjustable to coincide with timely initiatives and themes. To brand the campaign, it was important to remain timeless and bring in brand elements of the Lutzie 43 Foundation. Forty-three was the number Philip wore during his time at Auburn University and the number holds a special significance with the Lutzenkirchen family and foundation. The 43-Day Campaign would take place the last 43 days of the calendar year, to capitalize on end-of-year giving and more specifically, Giving Tuesday, with a nod to the 43 in the foundation’s brand.

In 2017, the first year of the 43 Day Campaign, these efforts raised over $48,000, followed by $54,000 in 2018. Specific milestone goals were set each year to create a steady stream of donations throughout the entire campaign and milestones that would encourage donors to donate consistently. With these successes and Knight Eady’s strategic guidance, the Lutzie 43 Foundation set out to have the most successful end-of-year campaign to date with a new goal of $60,000 in 43 days. Before the campaign began, the team created a plan that implemented learnings from years past and introduced new ideas that would prove to be successful by the end of the campaign. To reach this new goal of $60,000 in 43 days, the campaign required a strategic donor communications plan with compelling messaging that would tell the story of the foundation, share how the donor’s contribution would benefit the foundation and it’s initiatives and lastly, make a clear ask for donations.

Once the strategy was defined, the plan began to fall into place. A custom fundraising page was set up on Classy — the foundation’s donation platform that allows the organization to create unique campaign pages that can be customized to fit any message and need. When designing the page, it was important to have the goal front and center with real-time tracking of the progress to keep donors engaged in the process. Additionally, the foundation’s mission and a clear reason to give were clearly displayed to provide potential donors with a stronger connection to the foundation. Lastly, the giving levels were set and arranged strategically on the page, showing the highest level of giving at the top, a research-proven tactic providing the donor with the best option first. Knight Eady also evaluated the foundation’s past donor reports to understand the giving patterns of previous donors and average giving size of previous campaigns. The reports revealed the previous year’s lowest donation level was too low as the majority of donors gave more than the lowest suggested amount. With this new data, the lowest donation level for the 2019 campaign was increased to fall slightly above the average donation size from the previous year’s campaign.  

Alongside the donation page, the campaign needed a strong donor communication strategy. Knight Eady worked in tandem with the foundation to identify the strongest platforms to communicate with donors. For the Lutzie 43 Foundation, insights revealed social media and email marketing to be the most engaging and responsive forms of communication. Each day of the campaign had a strategic purpose, whether that be to gather large amounts of donations on days like Giving Tuesday or to spread awareness and educate in between larger milestones, and all of our social media accounts had messaging to reflect these initiatives. Our team knew that our email base included a large variety of our followers, varying from some of our biggest donors all the way down to students who had heard Mike speak at their school. Because of this, email communication was segmented and targeted to different levels of donors based on their previous giving amounts. To encourage either a matching donation from the year’s prior or hopefully one larger, personal emails were sent to donors noting their donation amount the year before and a suggested increase in their donation for this year’s contribution. Alongside our monetary goals, we also wanted to focus on engagement and awareness to build a bigger community and grow our donor base. Instead of educating steadily throughout the campaign, we focused on one initiative at a time and made it timely and relevant, with our biggest push happening around the holidays. Through impactful videos, photos and messaging, the campaign carried a powerful message that told potential donors about the foundation and how their donation would impact the Lutzie 43 Foundation. Through all communication tactics, the task was clear, “give to the Lutzie 43 Foundation’s 43 Day Campaign to help us raise $60,000 in 43 days.”

Getting the Win

In the past three years of executing the 43 Day Campaign, the Lutzie 43 Foundation has increased donations by over 60 percent and grown their database by over 400 unique donors. Through targeted donor communication and an intentionally-designed fundraising page, 2019 was the Lutzie 43 Foundation’s most successful 43 Day Campaign to date, raising over $60,000 in 43 days. 

Because of the success of the 2019 43 Day Campaign, the foundation has awarded more $4,300 PFL Scholarships, funded multiple safe driving talks to schools and organizations who might not be able to afford it, sent ‘43 Key Seconds’ safe driving keys to young teenage drivers and hosted more Adaptive PE Field Days for special needs students than ever before.