A Powerful Pivot: How Nonprofit CoachArt Moved Their Volunteers and Gala Online, Resulting in 150% Growth in 2020

November 27, 2020

Today on the Blog, we’re spotlighting CoachArt, a transformative arts and athletics community that successfully pivoted in two huge ways this year in response to COVID-19. Firstly, CoachArt moved their biggest fundraising event of the year online. Secondly, they were able to convert all of their volunteering activities into virtual experiences. We were amazed by their progress, and just had to share some of the tips they learned along the way.

A little introduction: CoachArt is a Southern California-based nonprofit that has expanded their reach across the US this year as a result of our new virtual world. It matches arts and athletics coaching volunteers with students who are impacted by chronic illness. These young people are often isolated and unable to participate in extracurricular activities, which is where CoachArt steps in to provide them one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics.

2020 brought challenges for everyone, CoachArt included. Meeting up with kids for lessons was certainly out of the question, so CoachArt needed to pivot. They decided to do what so many organizations did this year, they went online! CoachArt had already created an app to connect kids and coaches, so they were ready and willing to take on the challenge of going fully digital. With the challenge of moving online, also came opportunities! Without the restriction of travel, CoachArt was able to match many more volunteers to many more students and families, expanding their reach further than ever before.

We were SO curious about what a CoachArt lesson was like for a child, so CoachArt kindly gave us a brilliant demonstration of three sample activities students can do with their coaches: chair yoga, drawing and origami. Take a look at those activities in the video below of our virtual event hosted on Zoom (activities begin at 9:45).

By the numbers: in 2020, CoachArt expanded to 5 new cities, increased their lessons by 148% (from 2018) and vastly improved their app that connects coaches to students. You can see all the stats in their slides from their presentation during the presentation above here:


Not only did CoachArt move their volunteers online, they also moved their fundraising online! To replace their annual gala, they held a multi-part virtual gala instead.

During the second installment of this event, they partnered with Pledgeling to utilize our free virtual fundraising overlay, text to donate and fundraiser page during the event. Much to their surprise, they raised more than $100,000 in 30 minutes - double the amount raised from their previous event! It proved to be their biggest fundraiser to date. You can watch a recording of the event right here.

“CoachArt’s first livestream gala using Pledgeling included ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro to honor our volunteer coaches and raised over $100k in only 30 minutes to support our free arts and athletics coaching for kids impacted by chronic illness - double what we’ve raised in our previous gala!” Greg Harrell-edge, Executive Director

All in all, CoachArt’s ability to quickly pivot in 2020 and adopt new models for their programs & fundraising events has enabled them to grow their mission and impact. We are grateful for their life-changing programs and look forward to growing our partnership with them into the new year.

For nonprofits interested in using these tools for your upcoming virtual events and fundraising campaigns, start here by creating a free account on Pledgeling. Our team would be happy to connect with you to help you meet & exceed your fundraising goals!