This case study about Steel Yard’s successful ‘fund a day’ direct mail appeal was originally published by SOFII: Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration. The Steel Yard is a small industrial arts organisation in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. In 2009 it ran a direct mail appeal called ‘fund a day’ to a small group of donors to fund ‘a day’ of Steel Yard to help raise funds for its 2010 operating costs. This simple fundraising campaign engaged donors and raised US$35,000 within one month.
Less than two weeks after the mailing was sent to a relatively small list of students, artists and friends, the Steel Yard had ‘sold’ 139 days at the donated price of $131 per day. One donor bought a day each month for a year. Other donors banded together to buy a week. Some donors picked specific days they wished to buy (to honour a birthday, say). Within a month, $35,000 in donations had arrived at the Steel Yard in response to the buy-a-day mailing.