Running the same campaign twice: can it work?
Aracely was an 8 year old indigenous Bolivian girl, discarded by her family, who is now just one year away from becoming a qualified dental hygienist. How did she get here? Well thanks to last year’s Smiles Forever ‘Send Bolivian women to school for a year’ crowdfunding campaign she was able to start (and excel) at the dental hygiene training programme. And what is driving her into her final year? The same ‘Send Bolivian women to school for a year’ campaign repeated. But how wise is it to run the same campaign twice?
In 2015 one fortunate recipient of a scholarship created from the Smiles Forever’s crowdfunding campaign was Aracely, and thanks to the money raised from our ‘We Believe in Girls’ 50% match-funding campaign (linked to International Women’s Day) she was able to train as a dental hygienist – not a typical career for a previously homeless girl right? Nevertheless, the funds raised paid for her education at the Smiles Forever school. In addition, thanks to the huge amount raised through match-funding alone (£3,128), Smiles Forever, were able to host a group of American dental hygienists who, with Aracely, traveled into a tropical village and provided dental care to 400 children who would have otherwise not had access. In just this one year, Aracely was said to have transformed from a shy girl to one of the most adventurous and top performing students.
Now it’s 2016 and because of the successes of the past, Smiles Forever ran the campaign again, not only to enable more girls to start the program and have a chance to escape homelessness, but also to ensure Aracely could continue and finish her two year programme. If she had been unable to continue this two year course she would have been forced to drop out and live as a servant in her brother’s house, caring for his children.
Luckily though, Smiles Forever also managed to raise a significant amount this year, though much less than last year and I asked Sandy, the founder of Smiles Forever why this was. Her answer was simple and clear – they did not have the time to advertise it as much as last year. Still, the funds raised will not only allow Aracely to finish her studies, but will also enable 10 more girls to join the programme. To me, this is still quite an achievement!
Next year and beyond
By International Women’s Day 2017, Aracely will have graduated and will be working in the local community. So will Smiles Forever run the campaign again? And more importantly, will they reflect on their successes from the first campaign and ‘failures’ of the second in order to make an effective third campaign?
From speaking to Sandy, it was evident that the whole Smiles Forever team are passionate about enabling disadvantaged women to graduate from dental programmes because for them, education makes a difference to not just a community, but a country. Yet what surprised me was that for Sandy, providing dental care is not the main goal of their projects, her main goal is to create new professional role models for other homeless, indigenous women and the communities at large. For that reason, she is as keen as ever to continue running these campaigns.
It is GlobalGiving UK’s hope that she takes the best and worst practices from both campaigns and uses them to build effective new campaigns which will reignite the passion of donors in order to create more dental hygienist role models. Finally, we hope that other project partners reading this will learn from not only Sandy’s experiences but from their own previous campaigns too in order to benefit the most people and make the most impact.