Events With Benefits® Podcast

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Experts in the fundraising arena, Renee Zau, Danny Hooper, and Ian Lauth, have pooled their nonprofit expertise to create an educational podcast called Events with Benefits®. Covering topics related to nonprofits and fundraising, the podcast steps inside the world of event fundraising, seeking to provide insights to event planners, nonprofit staff, and volunteers. The episodes are designed to assist nonprofit organizations in achieving success with fundraising events and raising money.

The Events with Benefits podcast episodes are each 30 to 40 minutes in length, allowing listeners to gain quick access to new ideas for future events. Episodes feature special guests from many backgrounds within the nonprofit industry, who share their personal experiences and lessons learned. Listeners can subscribe, stream or download the podcast episodes, which are available on iTunes and at EventswithBenefits.com

 
 

One of the most popular episodes is #6: Thinking Big with Noah McMahon, Founder and CEO of Anonymous.  McMahon, who specializes in holding multi-million dollar events, explains his 3 building blocks for having a lasting relationship with donors and event sponsors, in order to multiply the impact of funds raised.  He also shares many extremely helpful event planning tips.  

Meet the Podcast Hosts:

  • Renee Zau, CEO & Co-founder of DonationMatch.com, has personally worked on over 50 charity events and mentored over 100 business owners.  She personally has experienced and understands the frustrations and challenges that people face during the in-kind donation process.    

  • Benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper has had an award-winning career through thousands of on-stage performances and the creation of Danny Hooper Productions.  He has also had experience as a recording artist, motivational speaker, comic emcee, and celebrity benefits auctioneer.

  • Ian Lauth, VP of Marketing at Winspire, works for a company that provides unique experiences for charity auctions or fundraisers, allowing users to place exclusive travel packages into their charity auctions.  

The Engagement Issue: Rallying Your Employees to Donate

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Guest Post By Tiffany Rowe

Consumers love to hear about companies with philanthropic sides, but the headline “Acme Corp. Gives $250k to Charity” rarely turns heads (or encourages clicks) in the new world of social media. Instead, businesses gain more visibility for their deeds when their entire workforce is engaged in doing good. Unfortunately, motivating workers to participate in donation drives or volunteering is easier said than done.

Employee contributions are incredibly beneficial ― not only do they add to a company’s donations but they have been shown to boost productivity and profits through brand image. Here are some strategies to help any business engage its employees in philanthropic efforts.

Make It Understandable

A significant barrier that prevents many charitable organizations from receiving the donations they deserve is a lack of information. If a potential donor doesn’t understand an organization’s aims, it’s unlikely he or she will cough up any cash. The same is true within your company: If your employees don’t fully comprehend the good they can do by donating or volunteering, they probably won’t waste their money or time.

Therefore, it behooves you to educate your workforce on your philanthropic goals. You can contact the organizations you support and request resources, like brochures, to help explain their causes and practices. Alternatively, you can schedule meetings between your teams and representatives of charities, during which your employees can become educated about donation and volunteering opportunities (and perhaps score some sweet swag).

Social media is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to encouraging charitable activity. You can promote workplace donation by urging your employees to visit the social pages of the organizations you support. There, they can learn more about recent activities hosted by the charities as well as upcoming events that might be of interest. UNICEF and the World Wildlife Fund have particularly effective social sites, though you might want to support an organization closer to home. As long as your employees understand the goals of your company and your charitable partners, you will find it easier to generate employee good will.

Make It Easy

Even when employees fully grasp the implications of their potential good works, many will not participate because it demands too much effort. For example, food and toy drives require employees to spend time shopping for specific items and bringing those items to work ― or worse, to another location where the charities make collections. Fewer employees will bother engaging with charitable goals when it requires additional time and effort.

Instead, you must make it as easy as possible for your employees to contribute. Online donation opportunities are perhaps the best option because they allow your employees to add money in any amount at any time from any place; therefore, they don’t feel any social stigma for contributing too little, and they can add more whenever they catch the benevolent bug. You might also institute payroll deductions, which automatically takes a donation from your employees’ paychecks every payday, so they can participate in doing good without thinking about it.

If you want your employees to make donations of items as well as cash, you should be flexible regarding the type of gifts you’ll accept. Boat Angel is an excellent corporate partner as it accepts vehicles and vessels in nearly any condition and supports a wide range of charities that your employees can feel good about. You shouldn’t be restrictive of the contributions your employees make if you want them to feel engaged in your good works.

Make It Too Good to Miss

Any remaining employees who refuse to engage with your corporate giving attempts might object with the phrase, “What good does it do me?” Fortunately, you can win these holdouts over by incentivizing employee donations and volunteering in a number of ways to ensure that the activity truly does benefit everyone involved.

Plenty of charities offer gifts and rewards for donations, and you can do the same for your employees. For example, contributions of a certain size might earn workers gift certificates; you might even encourage teamwork by holding a catered lunch once donations reach a particular amount. Likely, such opportunities will ignite your employees’ sense of competition, which could earn you the donations you crave.

For the most part, people enjoy doing good. However, in a corporate setting, you must make it obvious and easy to do the right thing. Once your employees become engaged with your philanthropic goals, you won’t have to try so hard to earn donations; they will come to you ― as will the extra productivity and publicity associated with them.

About the Author: Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her strong ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. Favorite quote: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

The New & Improved DonationMatch is Here!

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By Renee Zau, CEO of DonationMatch

After a year of gathering feedback from current members, supporters, UX experts, mentors, partners, and more members, we are excited to announce that the new and improved DonationMatch platform is here! We hope you're having a great start to 2016, and this makes it better.

There were quite a few ideas which were weren't able to squeeze in (Rick and Tim especially, thanks for your invaluable input), so keep an eye out for even more bonuses to be released over the next year.

For now, here are some highlights of what's new:

 

A New Look

Our new design hails from switching our CMS (content management system), which meant selecting a new template, framework, and our ever-hardworking CTO Darryl rewriting the entire site from scratch.

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Menus are now on the left of the dashboard. These should look familiar (companies will see "Find Events" and "My Items" in lieu of Find Donations and My Events, respectively); general workflows are the same.

The dashboard remains your starting point, with messages and other to-do's now organized into highlighted sections, and with activity stats (and *new* organization totals, too) below.

No More Usernames

Log in with just your email address and password--easy peasy! All profiles using with the same email address will be accessible with the same login information. This means you can...

Switch Between Profiles Easily

Once logged in, you'll see the dashboard of the last "organization" (nonprofit or company) you managed. If you represent more than one organization, switching between them takes just a click in the upper right corner (name/arrow) and selecting the profile you want to manage next.

Adding organizations to represent = no extra logins! (Verification process still applies.)

See All Unread Messages In One Place

Inbox too full? There's now an easier way to handle private messages. In addition to message previews on your dashboard, you can also click "See New Messages" in your To-Do area to see matches with unread messages on one easy, sortable list. Also new is that each is timestamped with date/time sent.

 
 New showcase pages

New showcase pages

 

Show Off Your Good Work

Every organization now gets a showcase page to publicly share with others. It includes links to your website, social media accounts, and the most popular information from your profile. Use this promotional page to boost awareness about your charitable activity--it's even one-click shareable!

How do you find your showcase page URL? Click on "My Profile" to see your page. Copy the "https://..." link address from the navigation bar and share it--and your praiseworthy work --with others!

(For Nonprofits) Add Referral Codes Provided by Companies

Given a DonationMatch referral code by a charitable company? You can now add codes yourself through "My Account" to ensure you reap the benefits of being their direct referral.

What's on YOUR wish list for a web-based donation system? Tell us in the comments below, and come to www.donationmatch.com (or register if you're new) to see how these our platform's new features can knock even more time off the event planning process!

Where to Start Your Opening Bids in an Auction

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By Renee Zau, CEO of DonationMatch

Every year, Benefit Auctioneer Sherry Truhlar is asked by a few auction chairs, “Sherry, let’s review the opening bids on these live auction items.  Where shall we start them?”

In this video and the post that follows it, she addresses why you shouldn’t care about opening bids. The science behind it is just as important for increasing your results from your silent auctions, too.

[Thanks for being so generous about sharing your insider knowledge, Sherry!]

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Benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar publishes "Benefit Auction Ideas," a bi-monthly e-zine for auction chairs seeking to improve the financial results of their charity auctions. Get your own copy - and a complementary procurement gift - at www.RedAppleAuctions.com.

Engaging Millennials: Don't Give Up on Your Email Marketing!

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By Juliet Davenport, Nonprofit Ambassador at DonationMatch

Do you remember being awed by the answering machine? (Does anyone still own one of those?) Or what about the cordless phone? Now it's all about smartphones and iPads. Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000) are all about digital, and it can be challenging to keep them engaged with your cause or brand. As Cynthia Hamlin of B2C explains in her blog, "[d]espite Millennials' increased internet usage, when surveyed by Pew Research Center for MILLENNIALS A Portrait of Generation Next, there were no significant differences among Millennials, GenXers and Boomers when asked about the amount of email sent and received in the 24 hours prior to the survey. Millennials were more likely to have Tweeted, updated their online profile or sent a text message in that time period."  Millennials are still using email, but in conjunction with social media and text.  Here are some interesting numbers pointed out in her blog that are just as relevant now as they were then:

  • 90% of Millennial use the internet or send and receive email at least occasionally
  • Millennials are more likely than all other age groups to have a cell phone: 94% have one
  • 88% of Millennials use their cell phones to send and/or receive text
  • One-in-five Millennials (20%) have posted video of themselves online
  • Three-fourths (75%) of Millennials have created a social networking profile
  • Among Millennials, 65% say television and 59% cite the internet as their main source for news

As the numbers show, incorporating social media into your email marketing is a smart way to keep Millennials engaged. Ms. Hamlin's blog shares tips on how to accomplish this. How have you incorporated social media into your email marketing?

Top 3 Things Donating Can Do for You and Your Business

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How can donating help you in your business?

Large or small, businesses want give back to their communities. They want to find a way to get involved. Should they? Absolutely! Nonprofits are always looking for more donations to help them attain their charitable goals. Giving to these organizations can really benefit your business, too. You know that your company’s success isn’t related to just one thing. It includes a myriad of ideas and network of professional relationships. It also includes loyal customers who wear many hats and could easily be a part of local nonprofits and charities.

So, what are these Top 3 reasons?

Customer Loyalty

Giving back to your community will help you connect with your customers. It will help you gain traction and trust. A study done in 2014 revealed that 85 percent of consumers had a more positive outlook on businesses that gave back to a charity that they cared about. This means that giving to more than one charity is the most beneficial way to go. Participating in programs and giving back to more than one organization shows your customers that you really do care about your local community. After all, actions do speak louder than words.

Tax Deductions

We all know that you can claim volunteer hours and contributions on your income taxes. By itemizing your deductions you can write off any time your business spent volunteering and you can add monetary value to any donations given as well and claim them, too. The types of donations that are tax-deductible are cash donations, donations of inventory or services, volunteering, sponsorships of charities, and events. You will of course need to ensure that you are working with an organization that is approved by the IRS.

Earned Promotion and Publicity

Sponsoring one or more different nonprofits or volunteering your time is a great way to raise awareness about something you care about but it is also a fantastic way to promote your business! You can get the word out about the event by posting it on your social media platforms and on your website. Often, the nonprofit or charity you are working with will also be doing the same. Now, you have two media outlets and twice the attention, all because you care about giving back to your local community

However, picking a charity or charities isn’t as easy as it seems. You need to set aside time to research them, make sure they fit your company’s culture and values. Then, you have to think about your customers and who they might support. Finally, you have to take time to think about your frequency of donation and how you will get your donation to the charity in a timely fashion. To that we say, “Don’t get discouraged!”

How do you begin?

www.donationmatch.com  We can handle it all. You tell us who, when, and what you want to donate and we do the rest. We even confirm applicants belong to a real nonprofit organization and get you all of the information you will need to get any deductions you deserve.

All you have to do is click, “Approve.” What is easier than that? Try it today! It’s FREE to sign up and start donating and building relationships!

10 Tips and Tricks for a Successful Donation Drive

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Guest post by Nicole George, CEO & Founder of The Parent Quest

Our last donation drive took us almost three months until completion. We all felt so much more pressure this time because we were going to be on LIVE TV…yikes! When rallying the troops to find donations we weren’t allowed to tell the companies we were going to be on TV, which is usually a huge draw for companies to donate. So we had to get creative. We told them it would be at a surprise location no one would expect. What surprised me the most was how many companies are willing to give, just by our following their donation request process. Some took longer than others, but all in all most companies we asked gave.

A donation drive can be very daunting. The process takes months of coordinating, organizing, and “begging” for donations. This list should help you spend less time and energy on your donation drive, yet yield higher returns. The stress a donation drive potentially can have on an organization and your staff is intimidating, but with these tips you can focus on your goal.

My Tips and Tricks to a Successful Donation Drive

  1. Never be afraid to ask for a donation. The worst they could say is no. Most companies love to donate, especially if you are a nonprofit.

  2. Be quick to reply with thanks and gratitude if a company or person donates. Always follow through. You never know when you might need them to donate again in the future. Never burn a bridge.

  3. Keep a donor registry. You don’t want to keep asking the same donors to donate to your cause every time you have a new event. Try to mix it up and tap into different donor pools. This will keep your donors happy.

  4. Tell your story. The more a donor can connect with your cause the more likely they are to donate and donate generous amounts. Adding a video is always best, but adding at least pictures with a description is a must whenever marketing your event.

  5. Don’t send updates too frequently. People are easily annoyed by multiple updates, especially on Facebook. Limit postings to once per day or every other day. (Don’t be discouraged if you lose Facebook likes during these times. It is normal.)

  6. Don’t have multiple events at the same time. Focus all of your efforts and marketing for donations to one event.  This will make sure your donors aren’t confused as to which event they donated to.

  7. Use different avenues to market your event. Social media is a big money maker now, but Facebook and Twitter aren’t your only opportunities to get your story out there. Call your local radio stations or even post your event on their Facebook page. They usually don’t mind and welcome hearing about community events. Call your local news stations as well, they may want to cover your story live. Reach out to your community as much as you can.

  8. Don’t be afraid to use a crowdfunding website such as GoFundMe, GoGetFundingIndiegogo, or Kickstarter. There are upsides and downsides to each so do your research. They all take a percentage of your donations, but all have different rules on deadlines and meeting your goal. Do your research and do it well. You don’t want to learn the rules after the fact.

  9. Offer incentives. Some people won’t donate unless they get something out of it. It is a shame, but there are people who just can’t give because it makes them feel good. Offer a small token of your appreciation, a gift bag, or even a raffle with all monetary donors who give at least a certain amount. People love games and winning.

  10. Don’t be afraid to pay a little money to get help. Websites like DonationMatch.com that help you find donations are worth more than you could ever imagine. Their connections and consulting expertise can bring far more donations and happiness to your event than you could ever tap into yourself.

Hopefully these tips will help you be successful in your fundraising endeavors. Keep your eye on the prize and shoot for the stars!

 

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Nicole George is the CEO/Founder of The Parent Quest, a nonprofit online parent-to-parent mentoring program which runs 100% off donations and fundraising.

Market Research Results: Comparing Community Involvement of Large and Small Companies

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Guest post by Shabnam Eghbali, Student at Wharton School of Business

Recently, I conducted some market research on the community involvement programs of large and small businesses. Prior to this research, I had never known that large and small businesses alike do their part to serve the community. This is surprising considering that 70% of my fellow Millennials have purchased a product that supports a cause. Just log onto any company’s website and you'll find the “Community” tab that we often overlook. Speaking to marketing and community outreach representatives from these companies highlighted for me the different approaches companies take to serve their communities. Some view community involvement as their duty and part of their mission, while others participate to improve their image and business.

I asked three questions:

(1) Could you please describe your community involvement program?

(2) What are some challenges you have faced with your community involvement program?

(3) What do you and your company hope to gain from the community involvement program?

I spoke to businesses of all types—restaurants, theme parks, museums, etc.—via telephone and email. Their responses demonstrated that, when it comes to community involvement, large and small companies are more alike than different.

Many community involvement programs revolved around product donations to nonprofits and having employees volunteer at fundraisers. Some, like The Cheesecake Factory, told me they gave on a first-come, first-serve basis while others, like Barona Casino, had strict guidelines as to which nonprofits would receive their donations.

Regarding challenges they face, 50% of respondents stated that having enough resources (time or inventory) and dealing with demand was their biggest challenge. Still 33% stated that good communication with nonprofits is their biggest challenge because of the difficulty in making expectations clear and in having proper information submitted in a timely fashion.

On the flip side, the goal companies said they most wanted (83%) was to serve the community that has been supportive of them. The gap between desire and ability and was clearly a source of pain.

What this tells me is that companies need greater support in serving their community. The intentions are there, but there are clear challenges in executing those plans. Research uncovered online platforms such as DonationMatch, Versaic, DonationX, and AIRS (Bidding for Good) that can help with managing donation requests and ensuring that their donations are going to groups that champion causes they truly care about.

As a potential customer, I feel that at the end of the day, businesses--small or large--should be answering this question: "How have I helped someone today?" Service to society, whether it is for profit or not, should be a top priority for businesses because Millennials—our ultimate consumers—are deeply passionate about social and/or environmental causes and 79% of them are more likely to purchase from companies that support such causes. Even if it means spending a little money, companies should know that there are now easy solutions to mitigate the challenges they face and make their community activity more streamlined and known. To me and my generation, this is a worthwhile investment.

Infographic - Where Are We Now?

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If you saw our original infographic on Pinterest, you'll notice it was released in 2012, when DonationMatch was just over a year old. Apparently the statistics and data are still appealing, as it continues to be our most popular pin, but the numbers are frankly a bit outdated. So, it's with great pleasure that we share updated results. Congratulations to the schools, charities, businesses, and brands who made these win-win connections!  

 
DonationMatch Impact Infographic 2014

Many thanks to Bella Vidaña for contributing to this infographic's creation.