The Los Angeles Zoo Modernizes Their Fundraising With WeDidIt

The Los Angeles Zoo knew they needed to modernize their fundraising, but they couldn’t afford to leave their traditional donors behind. Using WeDidIt’s fundraising platform, the LA Zoo developed a highly effective hybrid fundraising plan that increased the efficiency of their department, facilitated high value campaigns, and catered to both new online donors and traditional check-writing donors alike.

Increase in appeal funding, year-over-year:


“We’ve seen a significant improvement in the number of donors for specific appeals using WeDidIt.” -

Genie Vasels,
VP of Advancement,
Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association


Raised Across Two Campaigns in 2014


First Time Appeal Donors


Average Donation Size

Using Technology Alongside Traditional Direct Mailers Allowed the LA Zoo To Raise More Money, Faster

Direct mailing is still a highly effective form of fundraising, however it presents several serious problems for nonprofit organizations. Young, tech-savvy donors can be turned off by a lack of online donation options. Additionally, a donation system based on checks and mailed letters can prove cumbersome and slow, tying up valuable resources.

“A lot of our donor base is older, and they still like getting a piece of mail that has a story and encourages them to give. A large portion of those people are still writing checks,” says VP of Advancement Genie Vasels.

To avoid leaving these valuable donors behind, the LA Zoo utilized a hybrid approach to their annual appeal fundraising. In addition to a branded crowdfunding page, a traditional direct mailer letter was sent out to their supporters as well. The letter asked donors to consider giving their donation online, and provided them with a simple website URL where they could do just that.

This hybrid approach proved to be highly successful. The campaigns exceeded their original goals, all while increasing the efficiency of their fundraising process.

“On one of our campaigns, we raised over $65,000 in just five weeks, which is the fastest we’ve ever raised that kind of money.”
- Genie Vasels

These numbers demonstrated marked improvement over previous appeals. A 2013 campaign raised 47% of a $35,000 goal. Using WeDidIt, the L.A. Zoo’s 2014 campaign raised 122% of a $50,000 goal.

Not only that, but the campaigns were reaching new donors. 31% of the donors across two campaigns had never previously given to an appeal.

Mobile Friendly Donation Pages That Attract Visitors

Knowing that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce in the U.S. by 2025, the L.A. Zoo also knew they needed to attract new young donors to supplement their traditional base.

It’s not often that someone is so excited about a direct mailer they receive that they make 100 copies and share it with their friends, but millions of people do that with videos they find online every day, particularly millenials.

The video for one of The LA Zoo's appeals caught the attention of Time Magazine for Kids, who posted the video on their site, letting the Zoo take advantage of a national forum.

In addition, the mobile responsive donation pages the LA Zoo created through WeDidIt were able to capitalize on the 25% users who visited these pages using a mobile device.

“We’ve had a lot of zoo events that we’ve geared to Millennials and attendance is growing by the thousands. For many of them, we have their email address, but not their home address! That’s a demographic that will make an online gift, but wouldn’t think of writing a check.

In the past, our appeal emails had never been all that successful. The last two appeals have way exceeded anything we’ve ever done before.”

- Genie Vasels

WeDidIt allowed the L.A. Zoo to capture a new wave of tech-savvy donors. No tech headaches, no web design hassles; just high-converting, mobile-responsive donation pages.