Even with decades of Hollywood and government support, EGPAF is leveraging RallyBound to raise more money for their critical programs. Its signature series, UP 4 THE FIGHT, demanded a modern platform for empowering millennials to grow EGPAF's social fundraising. Less than a year after switching platforms, EGPAF has seen incredible results and is ready to expand grassroots fundraising.

The mission of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is "to end pediatric HIV/AIDS through research, advocacy, prevention and treatment programs." Their results are certainly remarkable. Since its founding more than 25 years ago -
  • EGPAF has reached more than 21 million women with lifesaving services, such as HIV testing, counseling, and treatment to prevent HIV-positive women from passing the virus to their babies;
  • There has been a 95% decline in new pediatric HIV infections in the U.S., and a 58% decline in the number of new infections in children worldwide.
Yet, there is more to do. Sydney Van Horn, Associate Officer of Development for EGPAF confirms, "Every day 600 babies are newly infected. We will fight until that number is zero." Research shows that 80% of the children born with HIV/AIDS without treatment will die before they are five. And most of these deaths can be prevented with proper medication, treatment and education.

The number of children born with HIV worlwide has been reduced by 58%

Van Horn continues, "One of the biggest issues is that most of the time these mothers don't know that they are HIV positive. HIV is transmitted from mother to child in utero, during delivery, or during breastfeeding. We can prevent its transmission by treating the mother and the child... We just need to reach them with those services. Education makes a huge difference."

Like many nonprofits, EGPAF faces its share of challenges. Despite its efforts to bring together leading donors and advocates in the HIV/AIDS community to ensure that the needs of pregnant mothers are being met, funding remains a constant obstacle. Education and treatment options continue to grow, but putting them to work on the ground where they are needed most remains elusive.

EGPAF has been highly successful working with many international funders and government grants, contributing approximately 80% to annual funding. Nevertheless, as Van Horn explains, "....it is sometimes hard to garner individual support." Even with a robust database that exceeds 80,000 advocates and a strong year-end program, EGPAF continues to feel the pinch of restrictions on their funds. "The government pie is only so big," Van Horn stresses, "we felt it was important to reach a new audience of people who wanted to jump on board with us."

Elizabeth Glaser
Elizabeth Glaser

The story of Elizabeth Glaser, founder of EGPAF, is fairly well known. As the wife of Hollywood actor and director Paul Michael Glaser, Elizabeth contracted HIV through a blood transfusion while giving birth to their first child. During the early years of the Foundation, Elizabeth rallied support from Hollywood and used her influence to advocate on Capitol Hill. In 2003, EGPAF work became global with the launch of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. As their mission continued to crystalize, their need for new voices became more critical. In 2000, EGPAF launched a partnership with the national sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi - Elizabeth was a AEPhi alum - and EGPAF also started its own Dance Marathon program. "Today, over 14,000 supporters participate in UP 4 THE FIGHT program events on over 60 campuses," Van Horn explains. "It raises over $500,000 annually in unrestricted support for our programs."

It is often the case that as a fundraising program grows, the needs of the participants change. That can certainly be said for the UP 4 THE FIGHT collegiate fundraising program. "Our online platform at the time was sufficient, but not extraordinary. We had challenges with customer service, data inconsistency, and concerns about the high fees," Van Horn expands. The biggest challenge, though, was the outdated design and lack of customization options at a reasonable cost. Van Horn says, "We wanted to give students the best experience possible, and the product we were using just didn't meet our standards."

"Students were through the roof. With RallyBound, we finally had something that looked like it was born in 2015."

Led by Van Horn, EGPAF looked at eight peer-to-peer fundraising platforms and narrowed it down to the top three: Classy, Blackbaud's TeamRaiser and RallyBound. The team had three main criteria:

1.  Compatibility with their existing CRM;
2.  Customizable design and features that were intuitive and aesthetically pleasing;
3.  Low fees / cost.

After nine months of evaluation, RallyBound was chosen as the new platform. "I was a student at UCLA," Van Horn explains, "and part of the dance marathon program. Now I am an employee working with the system. I knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn't. RallyBound had everything!"

A key factor in their decision was the beautiful design and how easy it was to adapt to the UP 4 THE FIGHT program. According to Van Horn it didn't require someone with a lot of back-end experience to install the system. "RallyBound put a lot of care and interest into working with our organization."

Other tipping points included:
  • Customizable to fit the client's need - including layout, backend capabilities, and reporting;
  • RallyBound is extremely helpful with tech support without increased expense;
  • Up to date in the technological sphere, being mobile optimized, and offering social auto-posts.

Year over year, the Average Dance Marathoner raised 52% more

"It's pretty spectacular working with RallyBound," Van Horn continues, "and the students were through the roof... Finally, something that looked like it was born in 2015."

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Beauty is nice, but what about results? Van Horn credits RallyBound's expanded features as one of the major contributors that helped one college, Baldwin Wallace University, finally move from their 13 year 5 tradition of raising approximately $25,000 annually to breaking all expectations by raising over $40,000 in 2015 - a 60% increase!

They were also able to include impact metrics, which fundraising experts strongly suggest increase fundraising support. "Being able to state that $42 could provide care and treatment for a child with AIDS for one month really helped us quantify our support services for our donors."

All in all, Van Horn is very enthusiastic about their decision. "This year we implemented a new fundraising incentive for the UP 4 THE FIGHT program to increase dollars raised and awareness spread. This year, two leaders tied to win a trip to Tanzania and see our work in person. It was incredible that both winners went from raising a couple of thousand dollars to each raising more than $15,000 this year." The execution of this new incentive feature was a result of RallyBound's ability to customize the experience and easily report across campaigns. "We couldn't have done this on our previous platform." She is also very excited about the ability to expand to more events across the country because RallyBound's system is so easy to scale.

"Both winners went from raising a couple of thousand dollars to each raising more than $15,000 this year, winning them a trip to Tanzania to see our work in person!"

The nine month selection process seems to have paid off well for EGPAF, and Van Horn encourages others to keep a few lessons in mind. "You are working with this online provider all the time. You have to decide what works best for you. For us, it's RallyBound. While there are always bumps and challenges, RallyBound has been the most seamless transition thus far and I look forward to working with them for years to come."