Vail Mountain Rescue Group
Vail Mountain Rescue Group exists to provide backcountry search and rescue, as well as public education on backcountry safety, in Eagle County. The team is responsible for all search and rescue operations in the unincorporated areas of the County. We work under the jurisdiction and with the authority of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
The Group is nationally certified through the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) and an active member of the Colorado Search and Rescue Board (CSRB) responding to calls for mutual aid throughout Colorado.
Friends of Mountain Rescue was looking for an affordable, web-based donor management system that could help them raise more major gifts and send out segmented communications. After receiving an “excellent description and assistance” from a Bloomerang sales rep, Ed Lukes and his team knew that they had found the right solution.
When asked what originally drew them to Bloomerang, Ed cited the design, affordability, and people behind the software. “Low cost to get started as we were small at the time. Liked overall design,” said Ed Lukes from Friends of Mountain Rescue.
Even after finding a solution that would work as their first donor database, Ed and his team realized that Bloomerang could help them get so much more out of their major gift fundraising strategy. Friends of Mountain Rescue had finally found a system that could help them send out personalized communications and utilize custom fields to help them “track for identifying club memberships and residence locations” for fundraising events. Custom fields also allow them to track the information that’s important in creating personalized communications that donors can relate to.
These personalized communications can be created in Bloomerang and then be used to speak to donors and potential donors in a more meaningful way. Ed and his team now send out “6 to 8 News stories a year describing rescue missions.” They use storytelling techniques in their communications to appeal to the emotional side of their donors.
Friends of Mountain Rescue has been able to raise more major gifts since implementing Bloomerang several years ago. They define a major gift donation as $30,000 or more, and they’ve been happy with the results they’ve seen with the help of their donor database. “Our goal is a $2,000,000 Endowment fund to make Vail Mountain Rescue sustainable without continued fundraising. The fund was at $500,000 when we started with Bloomerang and is now over $1.4 million.”
At the end of the day, the single most important thing Bloomerang has done to help Ed and his team raise more major gifts is simple, just like the software is to use. “[Bloomerang] helps us organize to report the source of donations and communicate with donors, e.g. news stories and thank you letters. It also helps us with registrations for special events.” The reporting tool has played a big role in helping Ed and his team stay organized and report on where their donations are coming from. And that knowledge is power.
It’s amazing what a user-friendly, fundraiser-focused tool can do for the growth of an organization such as Friends of Mountain Rescue. “Bloomerang has helped us raise a lot more gifts.”