As of October 3, 2022, Ascend Fundraising has helped over 800 nonprofits, charities and foundations raise over US$1 Billion! This remarkable milestone was made possible thanks to YOU – our clients and partners all over North America and the United Kingdom.
If you’ve just stumbled on this post and aren’t familiar with us, let’s recap – what is it that Ascend actually does?
Ascend Fundraising Solutions helps nonprofits and charities raise money through online raffles, sweepstakes, dream home lotteries, and many other innovative fundraising programs. We do this by providing a world-leading technology platform as well as full lifecycle services from marketing to ticketing to winner announcements and everything in between. In short, we do what it takes to help nonprofits succeed! Schedule a call to learn more.
Quick facts about Ascend
- Funds raised = $1,005,437,173 (as of Oct 12, 2022)
- Customers = 800+
- Tickets sold = 16 Million+
“Ascend’s mission is to develop leading products, software and services whereby nonprofit organizations can efficiently raise money for good. We are thrilled to cross the $1 billion mark, and we are committing to raising the next $1 billion in a fraction of the time as the first.”
— Daniel Lewis, CEO, Ascend Fundraising Solutions
Ascend has been working with charitable organizations for close to 14 years. Here’s how we enabled hundreds of nonprofits and charities to scale up their fundraising game.
Steady steps to success
Our key product, the Ascend 50/50 (then called 5050 Central) had its first big win way back in 2009 at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Saskatchewan. During the tournament’s New Year’s Eve Canada vs. U.S.A game, fans purchased nearly $190,000 worth of 50/50 tickets, creating a prize of more than $93,000 – it was the largest jackpot at the 31-game tournament and was the biggest prize delivered by our technology at the time.
Just nine years later, that jackpot would seem small! In 2018, the Vancouver Canucks set a record for a 50/50 raffle bringing in more than $1.4 Million for a children’s charity. Ascend sold more than 62,100 tickets at that raffle, including close to 44,800 online. That single night, we sold three times as many tickets as there were people inside the Rogers Arena! The winner of the raffle bought the ticket online and took home $706,815.
Floating on a cloud
Technology is at the very core of our offerings. Prior to the rise of cloud computing, our operations were more complicated due to the need to ship physical servers and create segregated networks for clients. As cloud computing started to gain traction, it was only natural for Ascend to go virtual – this substantially reduced server shipping and install issues and helped us transition to a cloud-native solution.
Until mid-2019, Ascend was primarily focused on providing in-venue 50/50 and raffle solutions to sports teams. Some of our customers and partners include established and big-name organizations such as teams from the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS, NLL, CFL, and NCAA as well as NASCAR events and PGA tournaments.
In 2021, we relived our first big win from 2009 — at the Hockey Canada World Juniors raffle; we sold $17 Million worth of tickets in 12 hours! Our application scaled up to match traffic and never missed a beat while serving thousands of transactions every minute.
Today, we have a secure, validated, and scalable solution running on the cloud.
“It has been an amazing journey to reach this milestone. I’m very excited for the future and everything that’s to come, which I know will be different from just raffles. Really looking forward to all of it!”
— Shonari Knibbs, Chief Technology Officer, Ascend Fundraising Solutions
Steering through a pandemic
In our early days, we had an in-venue, cash-driven raffle solution. While we did offer an online platform, many of our customers preferred running the show in person. As with the rest of the world, the pandemic was a key catalyst in the shift to digital and virtual environments. During this time, nonprofit organizations organically gravitated towards virtual fundraising, and online raffles were a top choice for many.
Ascend moved quickly to serve customers as they transitioned to virtual events; we hired top talent, refined our sales pitches, and built full-lifecycle lottery assistance into many of our programs.
And our efforts paid off. In our first year of working with charities, we were able to hit about $40 Million in raffle sales – this was not only a significant milestone for Ascend but also a strong indicator of the future of fundraising.
Our expansion into the nonprofit sector opened a huge opportunity for Ascend that enabled us to substantially grow our customer base, triple our revenue, and position ourselves as an undisputed leader in the online charitable gaming space. We continue to work with charitable organizations such as the Special Olympics, United Way Worldwide, and several big-name hospitals, humane societies, hospices and more organizations across North America and the U.K.
“Over the years, Ascend has evolved from being a pure-play charitable gaming provider to a true fundraising partner. The nonprofit technology space is crowded with platforms that can become repetitive and exhaustive for the donor. At Ascend, we have always believed that to create a steady recurring revenue stream, donors need a novel experience – one that focuses on giving but simultaneously, also offers value in return. Ascend’s unique value proposition with all our products and services allows our clients to build a sustainable stream of happy donors.“
— Dan Libro, Chief Product Officer, Ascend Fundraising Solutions
Onwards and upwards
Ascend is committed to enabling nonprofits and charities worldwide to meet their fundraising goals. The opportunity to make a difference in the nonprofit world continues to excite and motivate us. We will continue to focus on delivering the best products with appreciation-worthy customer service.
We are immensely grateful to all our partners, customers, and everyone that has bought a ticket from us. You have been a part of this journey with us thus far and we know that you continue to believe in our capabilities to deliver the best. Stay tuned for our next milestone(s); we promise you it will be worth it!