Driving Fundraising Success Through Collaboration

ceres logo with tagline

Overview

Ceres is a nonprofit transforming the economy and leading the most influential investors and companies to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.

Ceres entered their 5th year of partnership with Media Cause in 2022 to advance their fundraising and marketing program. This particular year was the first to include project management to stay on top of tasks, timelines, approvals, and budget allowing for both Media Cause and Ceres to be more efficient.

Client
ceres logo with tagline

Outcome

Establishing a robust project management process empowered collaboration between Ceres and Media Cause, resulting in goal alignment, risk mitigation, and timely delivery, which led to successful outcomes that allowed Ceres to improve their year-over-year fundraising campaign performance.

51%

32%

more gifts yielded by 2023 campaign YOY

more revenue compared to 2022 campaign

The Challenge

Internally, Ceres faced the challenge of managing complex projects with multiple stakeholders, diverse tasks, and tight timelines. Adding in an agency brought in a larger team and more communication channels. Without a structured project management approach, we collectively would have encountered difficulties in coordinating activities, aligning goals, tracking progress, and ensuring timely delivery.

The Strategy

To address these challenges, Media Cause recognized the need to implement project management best practices.

A clear project management process is crucial in the client and agency relationship. It aligns project goals, enables effective communication, and facilitates resource allocation. It helps manage risks, ensures quality, promotes timely delivery, and controls costs. By establishing a structured process, both parties can collaborate efficiently, stay on track, and achieve the desired project outcomes.

This allowed the teams to establish clear processes, improve communication, allocate resources effectively, manage risks, and enhance overall project execution. By integrating project management, Media Cause supported Ceres to overcome complexities and streamline their project workflows for successful outcomes in their digital fundraising campaigns, such as bringing in 17 gifts from nondonors in 2023, compared to 4 gifts from nondonors in 2022.

We’ve partnered with Media Cause for close to 7 years, and over that time, we’ve had several changes to staff on both teams, as well as shifts in processes and workflow. When we onboarded a dedicated staff member to work alongside our Media Cause counterpart, we noticed an improved level of transparency and accountability for both teams.

ceres logo with tagline

ceres logo with tagline

The Implementation

Media Cause recognized the need for a centralized project management system and Ceres was open to new technology as a solution. From there, Media Cause implemented a structured plan for Ceres members to receive training on the tool and learn how to effectively utilize the platform. This facilitated seamless collaboration and communication, task management, and improved project visibility.  

 

The process of identifying tasks and responsible parties on the Ceres team enhanced accountability and transparency, enabling effective coordination and collaboration among team members, resulting in improved project execution and client satisfaction. 

Media Cause focused on discussing the existing workflow and identifying pain points. In collaboration with Ceres, Media Cause identified key steps, milestones, and dependencies involved in the projects––such as the email production process. This documentation provided a clear roadmap for project execution, improved team coordination, and ensured consistent and efficient workflows across different campaigns and team members. 

 

Through the identification of turnaround and lead times, Ceres and Media Cause set clear expectations and deadlines, allowing for efficient planning and resource allocation, ultimately contributing to the timely delivery of high-quality project deliverables.

Media Cause understood the importance of defining assumptions to align with project expectations and minimize misunderstanding. This also empowered Media Cause to make decisions in a timely manner. 

For example, if client approvals aren’t in by 2pm on the day of approval, the client would consider the email send pushed to the next business day. These assumptions allowed the teams to move forward and focus on execution without having to wait in limbo of a response, confidently avoiding any miscommunications in why emails may have launched later than the planned date or time. 

 

By diligently drafting assumptions, Ceres established a shared understanding with Media Cause, minimizing miscommunication and ensuring that project goals and objectives are accurately defined from the start.