UPDATE 3/2/21: Over 2200 tickets were sold (more than double the original goal), making this a very successful first year for this annual online fundraiser!
The Lake Iroquois Association is the steward of its namesake, a 237-acre gem surrounded by the towns of Williston, Hinesburg, Richmond and St. George in Vermont. The lake is a haven for recreation, wildlife and the surrounding ecosystem. The Association’s work includes managing a cleaning station to thwart the spread of invasive aquatic species, overseeing various projects to improve water quality, and outreach to visitors and property owners to education them on best practices for managing lake health. The Association has been an Ecopixel customer since February 2020, when they collaborated to launch a new website.
Concept for an engaging online raffle
A few years ago, the organization was brainstorming new ways to fundraise beyond their usual activities during the summer months. The leading choice was an an ice-out contest, in which participants guess the date and time when a concrete block will break through the ice as it melts each spring. Similar to a 50/50 raffle, participation is encouraged by splitting the total between the organization and the person with the closest guess.
The Association got in touch with Joe’s Pond, home of a well-known ice-out contest, to find out about what would be involved. It turned out to be pretty hard — in addition to needing a secure online order form, you have to keep track of each participant’s chosen dates and times to know who guessed the closest time. Lake Iroquois Association’s busy all-volunteer board knew they didn’t have the resources to operate the contest in the labor-intensive way that Joe’s Pond does.
Developing a custom online fundraiser
After discovering that there was no “off-the-shelf” software that could handle the contest, the Association turned to Ecopixel to design and develop a custom online fundraiser.
Ecopixel's nonprofit fundraising solution saves nonprofits time by automating as much as possible. When participants pay by credit card or check, they get an immediate thank you email that lists all of their tickets by date and time. A fundraising thermometer on the home page updates as soon as orders come in. The online entry form is automatically deactivated and hidden on the website when the deadline for entries is reached. A secure back office lets the organization download participant information and quickly identify the winner.
Ecopixel tested and refined the online raffle form to make sure it was mobile-friendly, accessible, and easy-to-use. Ecopixel even designed a discount system that encourages participants to buy additional tickets — up to 50 per order!
The proceeds from this year’s ice-out contest will go towards developing an educational program to increase and incentivize lakeshore property owner participation in the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lake Wise Program.
What unique online fundraising idea do you have? Ecopixel is here to help you make it a reality!