In this video, I’m joined by Katy from Sprout Social. Katy takes us behind-the-scene of their annual Philanthropy Week: a five-day charity event that empowers Sprout employees to partner with and advocate for organizations that are making a difference in their communities. Team Sprout is passionate about using their privileges and resources as a public company to give back, and they were looking for a way to give better—which is exactly what led them to Givebutter! Discover how they raised over $42k ($19k on Givebutter alone!) to benefit 10 different charities their employees care deeply about. Plus, Katy shares:

  • What made them turn to Givebutter for their team fundraising efforts
  • How they were able to house 10 different fundraising pages all in one place (Hello, Giving Hub!)
  • Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for going above and beyond raising funds to continue supporting charities—even after the events are over!
“One of my teammates...did extensive research into a variety of solutions and he came back with a hearty recommendation for Givebutter. After demoing the platform myself and seeing how well the user and admin experiences worked, I was totally sold. Givebutter was such an important and joyful partner to have in this process. It really made things a lot easier for us.”

Follow along to learn how Sprout made their fundraising efforts blossom into lasting relationships!

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Full video script

Rachel: Hey everybody! Rachel here with Givebutter. Thanks for joining for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we are highlighting Sprout Social. Recently, they raised over $19,000 for their annual five-day charity event, Philanthropy Week. I have Katy here with me to share how they turned up and turned out to gather together and raise money for causes and charities they care deeply about. Katy's also going to tell us what made them turn to Givebutter as well as tips, tricks, and lessons learned along the way. Katy, thank you so much for joining and for sharing your story with the Butter Fam.

Katy: Thank you so much for having me, Rachel. I'm excited to be here!

Rachel: We're excited to highlight your success. So to start, could you please introduce yourself and, for those who aren't familiar, who is Sprout Social?

Katy: Sure! My name is Katy Harth; my pronouns are she, her, and hers. I am Sprout’s Events Operations Manager. To give a little color and context there, I help streamline event processes at all of our office locations. I help drive large-scale employee experience initiatives. I partner with our business resource groups and our recruiting team to connect with our office location communities and to help champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in our recruiting efforts by way of public-facing events. As for Sprout Social, Sprout Social is a social media management solution. We enable businesses to harness the power of social, to understand and reach their audience, engage with their communities, and measure performance with our robust, but easy-to-use, all-in-one platform.

Rachel: Beautiful. Let's talk about Philanthropy Week. What’s it all about? How does it work? What were you raising funds for? It is a beautiful backstory, so I'd love it if you could share how it got started.

Katy: Sure! Philanthropy Week is Sprout’s annual five-day charity event in which Sprout team members gather together to raise money for causes and charities that we care deeply about, like you mentioned. During the week, we leverage our privileges and resources to support, engage, and improve the communities in which we live. This year, in addition to raising funds, we were really focused on providing our employees and networks with opportunities to learn, promote social amplification, and—most importantly—create lasting relationships with the 10 charities we partnered with for Philanthropy Week this year. This is our third year doing it as a global employee base; we started it off with our Seattle team. We acquired a company about four years ago, and that team started Philanthropy Week. They brought it to us and said, “This is a really incredible and impactful initiative for us,” so we grew it and scaled it with our global team after that.

Rachel: Beautiful. So over the last three years, it's been tweaked a little bit, and you mentioned that you were adding on to raising funds this year. How did you change up how you raised funds this year?

Katy: We partnered with Givebutter, obviously, and in previous years, the solutions that we had—that we were using to collect and then donate the funds—were quite cumbersome for everyone involved on the backend. It made it challenging for donors to feel confident that their money was going to the right cause. It was crucial for us to find a different tool this year that could offer an easier and more transparent experience for the donors and for people on the backend, like me. One of my teammates reached out to Givebutter—his name is Kevin Bertrum—did extensive research into a variety of solutions and he came back with a hearty recommendation for Givebutter. After demoing the platform myself and seeing how well the user and admin experiences worked, I was totally sold.

Rachel: Well shoutout to Kevin! Thank you for doing that and bringing Sprout Social into the Butter Fam.

Katy: Yeah!

Rachel: What was your idea for setting up your Philanthropy Week with Givebutter? What were you envisioning? What tools did you use when you were setting it up?

Katy: I want to highlight that the experience was really pretty effortless for me. At first, we were taking a look at what it would be like to have a fundraiser—a single fundraiser where we're housing all 10 charities. But, we recognized that it would be a lot easier for us to create 10 different fundraising campaigns, so that each charity had its own, dedicated page. It was important for us to do this for a couple of reasons. One, we wanted to make sure that teams felt like they had a place, a central fundraising page, where they could direct all of their donors to learn a little bit more about the charity that they were supporting and that they felt passionate about. We wanted to be able to do things like create custom colors on the “Donate” buttons and within the text of the “About us.” The custom donation links—from the high-level of the general Sprout page that highlighted all 10 fundraising pages, to the specific fundraising pages that we had for each charity, and then down on to the team level—made it really easy for our teammates to engage with their networks and to drive those funds through Givebutter.

Rachel: I'm just sharing my screen here, so people can get an idea of, “Okay, what does this look like? Where is this housed?” All of the fundraisers are laid out here. Just to reiterate the branding work that you did, one thing I noticed that you did, that was so brilliant, was creating cohesion around your storytelling. It was the same format of headers, the colors were just different and the story was repurposed to fit the charity you were highlighting. I thought it was just a really simple touch and made it easy to go through all of them. I can imagine other supporters may have been curious to check out other fundraisers, even if they weren't invited to one specific one. Kudos to your team; that was beautiful and so well done.

Katy: Thank you! Yeah, it was really easy. We ended up just—we partner directly with the charities as well to make sure that their voice and their vision was heard on all of these pages. We were able to take copy that they provided to us, either through email correspondence or just being able to pull copy directly from their own websites, so that everything was in their voice and in their language. I went through and edited it to make it a little bit digestible and easy to understand to make sure that we were getting at those really critical, high-level impacts.

Rachel: That is helpful to know. Were there any other tips, tricks, or lessons learned? Whether it’s from you at a high-level, team members, or feedback they’ve gotten from supporters—anything that you learned along the way or did to make it more successful?

Katy: One of the things that you'll notice as you're taking a look at what we have here is while the competition was internal for us, we didn't have any fundraising goals for any of our teams. We thought that was a really important thing to do because we wanted to be able to celebrate every dollar that was earned as opposed to feeling like any of the teams were more or less successful for not hitting certain goals. Fundraising was a component, but the goal was really to drive awareness and social engagement. We also structured our events. It was five days, and each day had a dedicated event or goal tied to it. For example, on our first day we had something called “Why my charity?” People created videos talking about why they chose the charity that they were supporting, and we put it all out on social. We let them leverage those Givebutter links—whether just to their team’s page or to their individual page—to drive those donations. We highly encouraged them to be very active on social every day. While it was a short week of fundraising, we gave people that content and those driving events every day to stay engaged and to encourage their networks and communities to show up for them.

Rachel: Absolutely, and that model was incredibly successful for you. You raised, on Givebutter, over $19,000.

Katy: Yeah!

Rachel: I heard that there may have been more raise beyond that. Can you tell us more about your success there?

Katy: Definitely. So like you mentioned, on GIvebutter alone we raised over $19,000 for our charities through—I believe it was a little over 280 different donors which was incredible. While we didn't have any financial goals specifically tied to the event this year, I am thrilled to share that we did exceed our funds raised from last year by over 24%! In total as an organization, we raised $27,329 because we included a bonus from Sprout to give people extra incentive to engage and have that little bit of friendly competition with each other. In addition to that, Morgan Stanley—who is one of the lead banks on our IPO—pledged an additional $15,000 to this initiative. That brings our grand total to $42,329 for our charities! Speaking about social, we saw well over 103,000 impressions on social for all of our Philanthropy Week-centric content—which I have to say, is not bad for a five-day initiative.

Rachel: Not at all. That's amazing! Kudos to you and your team for making a huge impact for all 10 of these incredible charities. I'm wondering, what are you hoping is the outcome of Philanthropy Week? Now that Philanthropy Week is complete or over, what do you hope comes from this?

Katy: Like I've mentioned, we really wanted to try and create lasting relationships with these charities, and we did that in a few different ways. We provided educational content and ways for everyone across Team Sprout to get to know some interesting facts and tidbits about the charities and the causes they support. We also encouraged—this is a point-based competition system, so outside of getting a point for every dollar raised, there were also points for engaging in different activities. One of the things that we did is give teams a point for every follower gained across all social channels for their charity.

Rachel: Oh!

Katy: Our hope there is that instead of this just being a five-day event that really has a great impact in terms of the awareness and the funds that it brings, that it really does create those longer, lasting relationships. We also created a Service Day project for all 10 charities. Whether it was getting an analytics report and some recommendations for how they can be more proactive and engaged on social, or doing something custom that the charity was hoping that we could help with—like Howard Brown Health had a summit event that they wanted some expertise on in keeping their attendees engaged after the day summit and all that good stuff. We really wanted to make sure that the charities felt like they were connected with the teams that were supporting them. Outside of Philanthropy Week itself, championing diversity, equity, and inclusion—like I mentioned before—is one of our core values. Our dedication to leveraging our privileges and resources continues to remain strong even as we navigate being a public company. While Philanthropy Week is currently the only initiative that we have that centers around active fundraising, we are consistently donating funds and time to organizations that we care about. A few things that I want to mention: we have a program called Sprout Serves. It's an internal program dedicated to engaging our employees and volunteering, so that we can be of service to our communities. The same way that workplaces provide time off for other things like voting or other civic duties, we saw fit to provide opportunities for community involvement. Whether you're volunteering as a team in the middle of the workday, or on your own with an organization that you care about, we wanted to make sure to make it easy to accomplish for our team. Even with the pandemic, I'm thrilled to say that we have collectively volunteered over 3,500 hours to date this year. Earlier this year, we donated a quarter of a million dollars to local, national nonprofit organizations that advance racial equity and justice. Those are things that we will continue to do and continue to prioritize as an organization, so we can be engaged and continue to help improve the communities in which we live.

Rachel: Absolutely! Thank you so much for the incredibly important work that you all are doing around diversity, equity, inclusion, and uplifting the nonprofit community. We are huge fans of the work that you are doing, and Philanthropy Week was so fun to follow along. Our entire Givebutter team had a blast watching you even just advocate and uplift these stories and facts around these charities. So thank you for using Givebutter to do that and for sharing your success with us today.

Katy: Definitely! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about it. Givebutter was such an important and joyful partner to have in this process. It really made things a lot easier for us. Frankly, I think it's all of our job to give back in whatever we can, whether that's time or other resources, so we're thrilled that we could do it in this way and that we can do it in all the multitude of ways that we support and highlight at Sprout.

Rachel: Absolutely. For everybody else who's watching, thank you for joining for another Success Story. Please remember to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter’s YouTube channel. If there are questions I didn't ask Katy that you want answered, comment below and we will try to get to as many as we can. We look forward to seeing you next week for another Success Story. Bye everybody!

View campaign: Sprout Social Philanthropy Week 2020

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Rachel Mills

Rachel Mills

Givebutter Marketing & Contributing Writer

Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.

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