marketing

Questions To Ask When Holding an “In-Store Fundraiser”

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In-store fundraisers (a.k.a. on-site fundraisers, restaurant nights, or giveback campaigns) can be a lot of fun and excitement for both hosting venues and the organizations inviting supporters to dine or shop. Before doing one for the first time with a new venue or organization, it's a good idea to get these details clarified in order to set expectations for both sides.

 

1. What percentage of sales will be donated to the charity?  

It is quite common for a store or restaurant to donate around 15%-25% of sales, or a specific dollar amount per package or service sold. However, percentages can vary, and there could be exclusions, such as alcohol, gift cards, or specific product lines.  Make sure to confirm the timeline of the event, whether donations will apply to sales all day or only during certain hours, and if there is a minimum number of guests or total sales required for payout.

2.  Can the event be held over the weekend?

It is very common for a restaurant to hold giveback fundraisers between Sunday-Thursday, so as to avoid their busiest times during weekends. Stores may have similar policies depending on their sales and other special events as well. Consider exploring other creative options, such as a late brunch or early lunch for a restaurant not normally open in the morning, or even longer-term fundraisers focusing on online or gift card sales for up to a month or more. 

3.  Will the percentage donated include all sales, or only those from guests referred by the organization?

Be sure to clarify whether the percentage of sales to be donated will be limited to only those who bring in a specific flyer, use a code, or mention the recipient organization, or all sales during the time period. It is also best to find out whether coupons and other promotions can be used during your event and/or affect the amounts you earn.

4. Does the percentage of sales include both food and drink items?  Does this include alcoholic drinks as well?

Depending on the restaurant, venues may only donate a percentage of food sold, some include both food and non-alcoholic drink sales, while others will donate a percentage of everything sold. Partnering to create a signature drink or dessert for the event can also drive additional sales-based donations.

5.  How will the business help market the event? And what type of promotions can the organization do?

What marketing materials will the restaurant provide to the organization? It’s important to think ahead about how to make promotion easier through social media, flyers, e-mail newsletters, message boards, and online calendars. It is common for a restaurant to provide the charity with a flyer to be used for tracking sales and promotion.  However, many businesses will not allow the charity to distribute the flyer immediately outside the venue during the time of the event, such as in the parking lot, so it's necessary to market the event in advance. If the fundraiser is at a store or boutique, find out if shoppers can arrive early and put items on hold to purchase during the event. Ask also if purchases can be made online, which would invite sales from out-of-towners.

7.  How can the event be personalized?  

One of the best ways to increase event attendance and traffic is to be creative and feature something unique, such as teachers cooking or serving food; an officer, director, or the school band performing; a special discount; or a raffle for a coveted prize or experience, donated by the venue in conjunction with the charity. If there are any limitations based on insurance or capacity, be sure to figure those out ahead of time, too!

6.  How will the organization receive the donation?  

After all sales are tallied, when and how will the organization be receiving the donation? It’s common for a restaurant to prepare a check for pickup within a few weeks from the date of the event, mail it, or even electronically deposit the funds into the organization's account. Some states have deadlines for how quickly funds must be transferred, so it's always a good idea to refer to your state's Attorney General's office for help.

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Great partnerships begin with a clear understanding of what each partner brings and what to expect. We hope these ideas enable you to ask the right questions, clarify details, get creative, drive more sales, and raise more money!

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!

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.

Newest Facebook Update + Our Cheat Sheet To Boost Benefits of "Thank You" Posts

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By Renee Zau, Co-founder & CEO, DonationMatch According to Mashable,

"Beginning Tuesday [February 25, 2014], when a Page tags a separate brand or celebrity Page in a post, that content may surface for followers of both Pages. For example, if Mashable posts a story to Facebook and tags Google's Page, the post could now appear in News Feed for both Mashable fans and Google fans."

This is AWESOME news for all our members who are on Facebook, and a great reason to announce one of DonationMatch's upcoming features: social media "cheat sheets." Starting in March, event organizers will be emailed a list of  Twitter and Facebook accounts of companies from whom they received donations through DonationMatch to be able to easily tag/mention and thank them in posts! No more searching for accounts.

How does the Facebook update tie in to our cheat sheets? It means that a nonprofit's Facebook Page post tagging a donor may be seen by followers of BOTH the company and nonprofit's Pages. The company's fans could see the company they like being charitable, and the organization's fans could be introduced to a company that supports their favored cause. WIN-WIN!

We've seen more and more socially savvy event organizers engaging with donors (like this recent series of Twitter thank-you's by Spirit of Sharing), and companies are noticing. Sure, giving back to the community can be reward in itself, but publicly thanking them, raising their visibility, and making charitable companies more successful means that they will be able to continue donating for years to come.

Not sure how to tag/mention a Business in a post/tweet? Check out the simple instructions on Facebook and Twitter.

Again, we're VERY excited to be soon adding this unique "cheat sheet" reminder that will benefit our nonprofit and donor brands/business members alike and expect it to further help amplify the good you are all doing together.

In what unique ways have you publicly thanked your donors, or been thanked?

What Information Should You Collect Before Your Next Event - And Why?

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Constant Contact has developed a simple strategy for asking the right questions, and in a blog post they explain why obtaining the right information is so valuable in planning your next event. The key to collecting the right guest information before your next event is to start with an online registration form. This allows you to easily learn more about your guests as part of the ticket purchase process. Anyone can use a company like Eventbrite, TicketDerby, or Ticketleap to make it easier, and the best will suggest pertinent questions that will help in planning your event. Knowing what to ask and keeping the form streamlined is crucial.

According to Constant Contact's strategy, #1 is demographic information.  "A nonprofit can use demographic data when planning entertainment or auction items for their annual silent auction fundraiser." Here is their list of what to collect:

1. Demographics: Name, age, gender, even zip codes can matter to sponsors and event partners.

2. Number of guests: Plan seating, food, and amenities better with an accurate count.

3. Contact information: Don't forget about asking for email addresses for follow-up surveys or future communications.

4. Event-specific information:  Are there meal or seating choices to make?  Need t-shirt sizes for giveaways? Can you sell raffle tickets or add-ons in advance?

5. Payment method

At DonationMatch, we do our best to collect the right information on behalf of our users, too. To help companies and brands find their target markets (and nonprofits present themselves to the right opportunities), we ask event organizers for attendee demographics, ticket prices, estimated attendance, social media links, and more. And even before events can be listed on DonationMatch to be eligible to receive goods, a nonprofit's IRS status and account contact must be verified. Because we know nonprofits need to be mindful of the products and services they accept, we now use third-party resources like Yelp to check donor companies, too. We know having better information at your fingertips creates a better experience for both the giver and the receiver.

If your intent is to create a more successful event, asking for more of the right information, and understanding how to use it, is essential. Read Constant Contact's full articles for their strategy and explanations.

What information do YOU collect for a better event?

Capitalizing on Social Media to Expand Marketing Reach and Return

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Social Media Directions

In a survey of nonprofits conducted by VerticalResponse, 80% of respondents post updates to their Facebook page multiple times a week, compared to 66% for businesses.  The survey also found that for nonprofits, social media marketing has become a “preferred marketing channel because it offers free content distribution.”  And according to a Brafton blog post, because of the potential to successfully maximize their reach and return using social media, even on a tight budget, businesses will invest more in updating their websites and social media presence. Did you know that DonationMatch is another excellent way for businesses and nonprofits to maximize reach and return?  Through our free service, a business can get products in front of hundreds of potential customers through just one charitable event.  For nonprofits we deliver companies interested in doing well by doing good, increasing the fundraising potential for your events.

According to Edelman's 2012 goodpurpose study, 72% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that are charitable.  For nonprofits and businesses, using both social media and DonationMatch are ways to gain the exposure you both seek in less time.

What tips do you have for maximizing your marketing reach and results?

Using Social Media to Promote Your Event

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By Juliet Davenport, Nonprofit Ambassador, DonationMatch Spring fundraising time is among us.  How are you planning to promote your event?  According to Socialable, one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal should be social media.  Because of its wide audience reach, social media can be used to "increase registration, increase buzz, and ultimately increase attendance."  However, in considering your social media platform, it's important to keep in mind who your target audience is and how they interact online.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are likely your best options.

Another boost is the new Pro Event page upgrade on DonationMatch. It has built-in extra help for your event to get found by search engines like Google and Bing and Facebook sharing widgets. What makes it super convenient is automatic donor promotion and the ability to export donation details.

For details on using social media to help promote your event, and for useful tools to help you manage it, read more on Socialable's post here.

How are you using social media to promote your event?

Cause Marketing & March's Cause Conference

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Results of Philanthropy

By Renee Zau, Co-founder, DonationMatchThe American Marketing Association's Cause Marketing Conference returns on March 20th. I'll be there bright and early to get a front seat for this year's keynote speaker, the "mother of cause marketing" herself, Carol Cone, whom PR Week called “arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of cause branding.”

Besides the speakers who always leave you with notebooks full of must-do's, another great feature of the conference is the Parker Pike Nonprofit Marketing Scholarship, awarded to a San Diego County college student. It's not too late to apply (deadline is Friday, February 22nd)!

If you're not fortunate enough to visit us in San Diego next month, here are some experts I follow year-round:

Joe Waters of Selfish Giving: After watching the cause-related Super Bowl ads he posted on his blog, you really should check out his Pinterest boards. They're one of the largest collections of cause marketing campaigns and ideas I've seen.

Susan Hyatt, author of Strategy for Good: Susan looks at working with nonprofits from the angle of Corporate Social Responsbility (CSR) and corporate philanthropy. Incidentally, she is putting on her own Strategy for Good Summit from February 25 - March 1, 2013 that is available as a phone or web cast. No travel necessary!

David Hessekiel of Cause Marketing Forum: The Knowledge Center of the Cause Marketing Forum website is THE place to start finding stats and develop a thorough basic knowledge of cause marketing. And his Annual CMF Conference, held in Chicago May 29-30, is on my bucket list (no joke!).

Which cause marketing thought leaders do you follow?