Chad Nichols, chief development officer, and Michelle Ashman, communications manager, both knew that for Sight Savers America to grow in the years ahead — and expand their life-changing services — they needed to build their base of donors.
Sight Savers America was founded in 1997 with the mission of making sure that children failing a school-based or community-based vision screening actually make it to a local eye care provider to receive a dilated eye exam and all necessary follow-up eye care treatment.
By 2017 they had served over half a million children through their three unique programs (Children’s Screening Program, Children’s Eye Care Program, and the Low Vision Program), and in 2020 they expanded their services into 16 states through their Low Vision Program that provides high tech vision aids for the homes of children with severe visual impairment with the medical and financial need for assistive technology.
Chad and Michelle have been working closely together since 2013 at the headquarters in Pelham, Alabama.
Like many charities, Sight Savers America receives much of its funding through state appropriations, foundations and corporations. And because this was working well for them during their early years, they often didn’t have the additional budget or staff to look for additional revenue streams.
Chad said, “We've never been able to fully take advantage of the individual donor market other than the people who know us really well. And we have some wonderful donors and some very important people in the community that are donors. But we don't have a high volume of them, and haven't had a way to find them.”
For Michelle and Chad, answering that question included having a more developed digital toolkit. They wanted solutions like geofencing and lookalike to build awareness and then follow up with retargeting and email to close the loop.
With Feathr, Sight Savers America was able to find all the digital marketing tools they wanted to expand their reach and find their next donor. And they were impressed by the expertise and help Amy Noteware, their sales rep, was able to offer.
Chad said, “The fact that you guys can reach out to any number of these markets and specifically connect with them in a meaningful way, that’s what got our attention.”
As a midsized nonprofit, staff time is just as important as budget. This is why they’re partnering with the Services team at Feathr to launch the initial campaigns, working alongside marketers who have found success for thousands of nonprofits before. This added expertise helped confirm for Chad and Michelle that they would get the most from their investment.
Since launching their first awareness campaigns just over one month ago, they’ve already reached a new audience of 49,000 who they can continue to follow up with and invite into the meaningful work they do giving children sight.
But even more than a pair of glasses or even a low vision device, Sight Savers America is giving children back their future. Now that these children can see what’s happening at the front of the classroom, they again have the opportunity to live up to their fullest potential.