Our mission is to help people make better giving choices by promoting the idea of effective giving, providing donation advice to individuals and organizations, and supporting fundraising campaigns and events. We want our efforts to in turn help our recommended charities in their missions to reduce suffering. We see our role as supporting a broad selection of projects that are of interest to people with different values and beliefs.
This post details our plans for 2018. They are based on what we’ve learned over the past years (for context, see our past annual reviews). Last year, we raised more money than ever before and successfully handled several corporate collaborations in poker, and we want to build on the momentum we’ve gained during that time. By the end of 2017 we will probably have moved more than $5 million since our launch in 2014. With total expenses amounting to roughly $410,000 over three and a half years, we thus have a fundraising multiplier of about 12:1.
In 2018 we will focus our efforts on the poker industry. We’ve previously considered and tried applying REG’s fundraising model to other industries, including daily fantasy sports, video gaming, corporate social responsibility, consulting, and finance. However, additional research and evaluations of different target audiences have led us to the conclusion that it is not worth pursuing such expansions any further at this point. Our current model is very well adapted to success in the unique world of professional poker, relying strongly on brand ambassadors, promotion via patches worn by players at live events, and an overall tight-knit professional community that makes it easy to spread a culture of effective giving—all of which makes it very hard to transfer the model to other communities.
Hence, we will limit our efforts to the poker industry. We plan to raise at least $2,000,000 in 2018, a 33% increase on our target from last year. Our focus will be on strengthening the corporate collaborations we started building this year and on engaging high-stakes players at the biggest tournaments.
Target: Our goal is to raise at least $1,500,000 from individual donors in 2018.
Details: Usually, most of the money we raise comes from a few exceptionally large donations. So far, over 70% of all donations we have raised has come from donors who have given more than $50,000. Therefore, we want to continue our focus on contributions by high-rollers within the poker community. That means using our personal networks and hosting events at poker stops to get in touch with more players and regularly engaging our past donors.
Maximize engagement at the WSOP 2018
Target: Run #WSOP4Charity-Campaign, host a dinner, and have at least one member at the final table of the Main Event.
Details: The World Series Of Poker (WSOP) is the biggest tournament on the annual poker schedule. Over the past three years, we have processed over $750,000 in donations resultingfrom activities related to this event series alone, so we want to further increase our engagement there. We plan to attend the event in person again, run a Twitter campaign encouraging players to pledge a percentage of their winnings to charity, and host a dinner for interested donors. For the main event we aim to have at least one REG member at the final table, continuing a tradition that started in 2014 with Martin Jacobson’s 1st place victory.
Run an end-of-year matching challenge
Target: Run a matching challenge at the end of 2018 with at least $250,000 in matching funds.
Details: In the past years this type of campaign has been very successful. In 2016 Dan Smith ran a matching challenge that resulted in $1.7 million raised with significant contributions from REG supporters. This year we helped put on a matching challenge with $2 million in matching funds alone, in which capacity we advised on the charity selection, promoted the event, communicated with donors and charities, and ran the website. Matching challenges are a good way of incentivizing additional donations because they provide donors with additional leverage.
Target: Our goal is to raise at least $500,000 from corporate collaborations in 2018.
Details: We established these collaborations as an important second pillar of REG. Since poker fundraising tends to have high variance, we believe such corporate sources of donations to be an important addition. By working with the two largest online poker platforms (PokerStars and 888poker) we were able to fundraise over $300,000 in 2017. We want to build on this work in 2018.
Repeat existing collaborations.
Target: Repeat collaborations from 2017.
Details: Going forward, we want to repeat our collaboration with existing contacts during their biggest online tournament series. We will try to maximize the impact of each individual donation.
Expand collaborations and consider official partnerships.
Target: Host a regular live event, expand scope of collaborations, and consider official partnerships.
Details: We already secured a live tournament in January of 2018 and aim to make this a regular event. In addition, we want to explore further areas of collaboration with big poker platforms. We will also evaluate under which conditions an official partnership with such corporations furthers our goals.
Refocus our website on a poker target audience
Target: Refocus our website on a poker playing target audience
Details: In 2017 we made many changes to our website, partly in anticipation of broadening our target audience. We are going to keep many of them as they improved the general user experience. However, as explained above, we have now taken a step back from our expansion plans and intend to focus our efforts on the poker community. We will thus update our website accordingly.
Improve our donation processing to reduce administrative costs
Target: Automate even more tasks related to donation processing.
Details: We already greatly improved the efficiency and user experience of our donation processing in 2017, introducing a new donation management system, a better customer relationship management system, and an improved donation plug-in on our website. In 2018 we want to better integrate these systems and set up further automations.
Even though we have set ourselves ambitious goals, we’re positive that we can achieve them and thereby raise more money for highly impactful charities than ever. As always, none of this would be possible without the contributions of our co-founders, ambassadors, and financial supporters. With your support, we can look forward to a record-breaking 2018!