In the original story of the Lovelady Center, “redemption,” “change,” and “growth” aren’t just buzzwords. Brenda Spahn started the first iteration of the Lovelady Center, a “whole-way house,” by inviting seven ex-cons to come live in her own home as they transitioned out of their old lives within the Alabama Department of Corrections and into their new lives in the “outside world.”
The Lovelady Center has grown into a home that serves over 500 women and children daily, which includes more than just the halfway house room and board. The Lovelady Center provides women with medical, vision, and dental care by partnering with local colleges. The center also provides childcare and education for the women. It does all of this without any state or federal funding and has still managed to leverage the kindness and generosity of its community to grow into the largest transitional program of its kind in the country.
With no federal or state grants supporting their organization, The Lovelady Center is heavily reliant on donations large and small to keep their nonprofit afloat. In addition to monetary donations, the organization accepts donations of new and used goods for their thrift store, which is staffed by the women living at the Lovelady Center. The thrift store provides the nonprofit with a large portion of their operational costs, but the Lovelady Center needed to begin collecting digital donations as well as offer registration for their upcoming events from their website.
When the center chose to move from DonorPerfect to Arreva’s Online Fundraising software, the customer support team got right to work setting them up with a brand-new website and content management system complete with online donations, email marketing, and event registration.
“We were just so impressed with what we were seeing,” explains Jeanne Sparks, Director of Media & Marketing for The Lovelady Center. “The fact that Arreva had everything integrated and you could use one platform for all of our needs was very enticing.”
After a smooth training period, Lovelady Center got up and running quickly. They began using the online donations and event registration modules and right off the bat, they saw a significant increase in donations and event registration.
“Between 2016 and 2017, we saw a 40% increase in our online fundraising efforts. We collected over $40,000 in online donations last year through one-time gifts and recurring monthly donations and we anticipate surpassing that number this year,” says Sparks.
Their online donations haven’t been the only increase since implementing Arreva’s software.
“This past February was our Second Annual Legacy of Love Luncheon and we’ve doubled the attendance from around 300 in 2016 to over 600 attendees in 2017. We did every aspect of promotion and registration using Arreva’s Online Fundraising platform. The ease of event management through the platform along with the easy-to-make landing page and simplicity of getting the messaging out through email marketing definitely contributed to the increase in attendance.”
The Lovelady Center continues to see online fundraising success, even in their most recent email campaign, which yielded a nearly 50% open rate. The email resulted in donors emailing and calling to help take a woman off the waitlist for the center by paying the necessary fees associated with intake.
From meager beginnings to its current expanding capabilities, The Lovelady Center has grown through grit, grassroots efforts, and the grace of God (with some additional help from Arreva’s Online Fundraising software).
When asked what she would say to other nonprofits looking for an integrated online fundraising product, Sparks didn’t hesitate to answer:
“If you want every possible help that you could have out of a development department in one company, this is who you want to go with. You can call Arreva’s customer support team and immediately get answers. The service at Arreva is top notch, you just won’t get this out of another company.”
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