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Small Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on honoring the life of Brittney Fox Watts by partnering with organizations to educate and inspire individuals and communities to live sustainably. Every year the organization's largest fundraising event is their annual Fun Run Towards Sustainability with the majority of awareness coming from social media channels. Although the Fun Run has built a loyal following since its inception in 2012, the excitement and urgency to sign up to attend the event was lacking.

The Challenge

Opportunity, Goals & Approach

The Small Dreams Foundation social media channels (Facebook & Instagram) lacked consistency when it came to posting as well as a clear plan of action for the weeks and months leading up to the main event. The organization's board is made up of volunteers, many with day jobs and growing families, so the time and attention needed to generate excitement, awareness and sign ups wasn't quite there. Additionally, the team had limited knowledge of the paid digital media and audience targeting capabilities that were at their finger tips.

Luckily, our team at Vert has a connection with this organization and recognized the opportunity to assist with social posts—both organic and paid—and to create a strategic plan to drive more sign ups and awareness for the Fun Run and the Foundation. We reached out to their board, asked if they wanted the help (pro bono of course) and off we went!

The Process


We started out by connecting with the Foundation's team in order to gauge how sign-up progress had gone in years past, what problems they've run into, and any other big messages that would need to be communicated to their audience. They told us that generally people waited until the last minute to sign up, and that one of their main goals was to sell out the event long before race day.

With this goal in mind, our team set out to create a comprehensive organic social calendar in order to continually remind the Foundation's loyal followers about deadlines for signing up and other race details. Additionally, we audited the current paid social advertisement that had been launched by the Foundation to make a plan for optimization.

Vert's Digital Brand Strategy and Design teams worked together to create a plan of action in the form of a posting calendar for the organic portion of the project. This calendar included posts about Sponsorship and Volunteering deadlines, posts focused on the mission of the Foundation, posts about race day details and how to get involved if you couldn't make the event and, of course, consistent reminders to register for the Fun Run Towards Sustainability.

Vert's Paid Media team went to work on the paid social front to determine how we could make their current advertisement work smarter, not harder. Originally the ad was targeting a very broad audience of everyone in the state of Georgia. Our team recommended significantly shrinking the size of the audience and focusing the budget on the people we wanted to ensure made it to the race—our loyal followers! So, we shifted the targeting to 50 miles around the location of the 2019 race and also added in a parameter of people who follow the page. The Foundation had a very limited budget to put behind this ad, so the tighter targeting would allow for the ad to show the right people.

The Results

The Results

Once we made the optimizations to the paid social advertisement, performance steadily increased. We were able to drive 141% more impressions per day with the shift in targeting and were able to increase the rate of event responses at the same time.

  • engagements
  • % increase in impressions
  • % increase in engagements

Through organic Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Story posts, we were able to drive 19,150 impressions, 2,456 engagements and an average of 15.7% Engagement Rate. This was a 218% increase in impressions,  a 544% increase in engagements and 55% increase in overall engagements from the previous period.

One of our most successful organic posts was a video put together by our design team that focused on the mission of the Foundation, while also reminding followers that sign ups for the Fun Run were still available. This post reached the largest total organic audience on Facebook in the month and a half leading up to the race and was also the most shared post during this period.

With the combination of the organic social strategy and plan coupled with the optimized paid social event ad, we were able to sell out the race 3 days before the event. Normally, there are many people still signing up on race day. The Foundation was thrilled with the milestone and the momentum that helped drive their most successful race to date.

Let’s do Work