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Uplifting Athletes Increases Donor Engagement

A disease is considered rare if it is believed to affect fewer than 200,000 Americans. There are approximately 6,800 such diseases.

While each disease is rare, when considered together they affect nearly 30 million Americans or almost 1 in 10 people. There are certain challenges that all patients and families affected by rare diseases share.

Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising them as a national priority through outreach, research, education, and advocacy.

What makes Uplifting Athletes unique is that there chapter network is run by current football student-athletes, providing them with an opportunity to gain practical job skills while learning how to leverage their assets and abilities to make a positive and lasting impact.

Each chapter adopts one out of approximately 7,000 rare diseases (such as MS, ALS, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, etc.) – giving the football student-athletes an opportunity to make the cause relevant to them. There are currently 25 chapters at different universities throughout the United States.

In 2014 Uplifting Athletes used performance-based fundraising to engage their donors by launching touchdown pledge challenges at their existing chapters.

The Power of Performance Based Fundraising

For the 2014 college football season, Uplifting Athletes provided its chapter network with the opportunity to hold Touchdown Pledge Drive campaigns. Using PLDGIT, 12 universities collectively raised over $35,594 for rare disease research with their 2014 Touchdown Pledge Drive campaigns. The top three fundraisers were Florida State with $11,179 for Fanconi anemia, Penn State with $9,241 for kidney cancer, and Baylor with $6,146 for cerebral palsy. You can view the campaigns here:

“PLDGIT is fun and easy to setup. Our charity was able to increase our revenue by 10% with only 16 fundraiser campaigns!” Becky Mayes, Chapter Manager at Uplifting Athletes


From 2013 to 2014, Uplifting Athletes was able to increase their new fundraising tool ultimately contributed to a 19% increase in total revenue from 2013 to 2014.

Don’t Ask Donors the Same Way

In closing, the most important takeaway for charities is to always engage your supporters in new years each year. For Uplifting Athletes the proof lies in the numbers. Their organization added $55,235 in new revenue by engaging existing chapters and loyal supporters. For loyal supporters, each campaign was a fun way to give to their favorite charity, team, and cause. It was a win-win-win!

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Published on April 28, 2015

by JohnPaul Bennett

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