Surpassed 6 month goal of $300k in 4 months

55% increase in web visitors and 295% increase to the donation page


The Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter [MCREST] provides meals, lodging, life-skills training, housing assistance, job readiness training, and emergency shelter 365 days each year to Macomb County’s homeless population.The shelter wanted to launch the public phase of a capital campaign to raise funds to complete the renovation of its shelter building. The shelter provides food, educational resources, childcare and tutoring, job training and job placement for up to 45 women and children.

Having previously relied on a network of dedicated church groups for support, MCREST needed to expand its reach to Macomb county and southeast Michigan donors to raise the $300,000 needed in just 6-months. They came to Phoenix Innovate looking for ways to greatly increase their outreach potential, nurture existing donors, increase their support and find new donors.


In order to meet the goal, we needed to expand outside the current supporters of MCREST. The community they serve needed to hear the stories of the people experiencing homelessness in a way that was relatable and emotionally engaging. To accomplish this, our team created a content marketing plan to educate our target audience on the need and the positive impact on the lives in the community MCREST served.

We then approached the communication channels from three separate but interconnected angles: website design and integration; social media outreach via custom-content; and traditional earned media. To optimize the impact through the digital channels we used, we created a series of videos that told this story and allowed it to be shared to a wide audience.

The videos were tailored to be timely and relevant, and to maximize the emotional engagement to audiences that viewed them through the website, email and social media campaigns. By updating the content to highlight challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness, such as the impact of cold weather, our audiences could relate to the need on an emotional level. And because our web designers had re-tooled the MCREST website, visitors had an easy time finding information and options for donating in support of the cause.

Finally, we partnered with Robar Public Relations to conduct a traditional media outreach campaign to make sure the press was involved in spreading the word. With feature stories in print and online publications, MCREST’s mission and their need made it out to a wider group of people. 

Here’s an example of how well this integrated approach worked: in December — someone who had never donated to MCREST before — saw an article in one of the publications about the campaign. This person then went to the website, where they were able to easily learn more about the need and made a first-time gift of $50,000 to MCREST.


MCREST’s goal was to raise $300,000 from November 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. By mid-February, we had brought in more than $325,000, surpassing our goal by 60 days and tens of thousands of dollars. We also completed an update of the MCREST website and expanded their reach, both of which will be assets for the organization for future campaigns. 

  • 425% increase in Facebook Engagement
  • Earned media advertising value of $835,000
  • 55% increase in website visitors
  • 16,400 clicks on Facebook: an increase of 149,885%
  • 295% increase to the donation page on MCREST’s website

Even though we reached the campaign goal with two months left, the fundraising work continues. We’re excited to share the full success of the campaign through a follow-up case for this campaign.

Working with Phoenix Innovate allowed us to really broaden our reach and gain donors that would never have known about us otherwise. Even after the campaign officially concluded, we now have a great website, a customized donor database and new, engaged and dedicated donors for the long haul. ”

-April Fidler, executive director of MCREST