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SAALT: Exploring Different Pathways to Fundraising

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national movement strategy and advocacy organization committed to racial justice through structural change, focusing on transforming institutions while leveraging incremental change as a means to shift conditions and power. With a grant from Progressive Multiplier, SAALT launched a monthly giving program to increase revenue by recruiting new donors. However, organizational change and unexpected challenges caused them to change paths. 

Just before the inception of the monthly donor program, SAALT experienced a change in leadership and was in the process of finalizing a new mission and vision with its board of directors. Their email series, which aimed to raise $20,000 for the anniversary of 9/11, didn’t perform as expected.

SAALT hypothesized that the academic nature of their work, which often lacks a consumer-friendly explanation, made their donation ask more challenging. In addition, they tried to segment their lists and target their content to different groups of lapsed donors and didn’t get the response they expected, especially from past mid- and high-level donors. 

To course correct, SAALT deployed a new email series, forgoing segmentation. They tried to move away from academic language and focused on showing the manifestation of their values.Saalt -Lakshmi Sridaran, Executive Director, SAALT

From the start of their engagement with Progressive Multiplier, SAALT had five recurring donors giving $450/month. After their 2020 campaigns, recurring donors increased to 18, giving $900/month. The experiment did not produce the desired results, pointing SAALT to a need to expand their house.  

In September 2020, SAALT expanded its revenue generation reach by registering with five donation aggregators and sharing their updated mission and vision with clarity and strength that wasn’t present before. Revenue slowly increased by applying valuable lessons from the monthly donor email project. Donations spiked in the spring, allowing SAALT to raise $225,000 through aggregators over the course of a year.

Through federal policy and advocacy, local and national partnerships, coalition building (i.e. NCSO) and strategic communications, SAALT convenes dedicated spaces for South Asian organizations nationwide to engage in political education, leading to strategies and narratives to realize their vision.