Non-profit organization

Nonprofit Spotlight - Scleroderma Foundation, Greater San Diego Chapter

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Scleroderma Foundation

By Juliet Davenport, Nonprofit Ambassador at DonationMatch

This week we are excited to spotlight the Scleroderma Foundation, Greater San Diego Chapter!

Scleroderma is a group of rare, progressive diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues — the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body. The purpose of the Foundation's San Diego Chapter is to "support the National Foundation's mission of Support, Education and Research." They hold a variety of events, from support and education meetings to walks and social events.

Here's a peek at their planning process from Kelly Davidson, Executive Director, and Cyndy Martin, Treasurer and Walk Co-Chair:

What kinds of events does your organization hold each year? 

Cyndy: Walk-a-thon fundraiser, free Patient Education Day, Ice Cream Social, Holiday Party with raffle, monthly support group meetings, bi-monthly chapter meetings. This year we plan to add a Padres Day fundraiser and a golf tournament.

What are your biggest fundraising event planning challenges?

Cyndy: Publicity! Getting more people to attend.

What are your most highly attended events?

Kelly: The Walk is by far the most highly attended event. The 2nd most highly attended is an annual patient education day where we typically schedule 3 to 4 expert physicians who speak specifically about scleroderma related symptoms and treatments.

How do you make your Walk-a-thon unique?

Kelly: We try to make it a Family Fun Day, and not just a 5K Walk. The location is somewhat unique in that it's right by the water on beautiful Shelter Island. We try to have something for everyone -  massage chairs, music, classic car displays, and a kid zone with face painting, bounce house, obstacle course and craft booth. We try to make it educational, so we invite other autoimmune disease organizations. And, we entice folks to stay around for our raffle fundraiser by providing a food truck with healthy options.

Which events raise the most money, and which help you raise awareness the best?

Kelly: The Walk definitely helps raise the most money and also gives us the most awareness. Our core members reach out to their extended friends and family to request donations and attendance at the walk. In addition, posts about the walk get more attention than any others on Facebook. It generates excitement and is something folks like to share.

What ideas and support has the national organization given you?

Kelly: Our National organization provides our fundraising site which enables everyone to have one common focus for fundraising, yet allows for personal fundraising pages. They set up the basic structure and auto-responders which are then customized by us at the chapter level. They also conduct an Annual Patient Conference each year and hold a leadership day where chapter leaders can share and learn from each other.

Do you have a favorite story of how your organization helped someone?

Cyndy: My favorite story is my own! I was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2010. I quickly experienced the 'Sclero-What?' syndrome of no one, not even many doctors, kn[owing] what it was. It was through the Scleroderma Foundation that I learned all about my disease, treatment options my doctors were not offering me, and met others coping and living well with the disease. In 2012 my disease became very aggressive and life threatening. Again, it was through the Foundation's education day, patient conference, and my new friends that I learned about clinical trials for stem cell transplants for scleroderma. In November 2012 I underwent a stem cell transplant that I believe saved me from becoming terminal. I now enjoy helping others on this path.

What is your favorite dessert?

Cyndy: Lemon Meringue Pie!

Kelly: Chocolate creme brulee!

Thank you both for all the good work you do, and good luck at your Walkathon on June 23rd!

Click here to learn more about the Scleroderma Foundation, Greater San Diego Chapter.

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?

Are You Ready for an Event?

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6 steps to determine if a fundraising event is what your organization really needs

Guest Post by Krista Berry, Owner & Principal Consultant at KB Consulting

I recently had the pleasure of working with a small, energetic non-profit organization that originally contacted me to plan their first fundraising event. Like any event management professional, my first step before diving into the planning elements was to conduct a needs assessment so I could better understand the job.

After my first conversation with the board of directors it was very clear to me that the organization wasn’t ready for a big fundraising event (yet). I discovered that, like many organizations, the event was their solution to raise funds to sustain programs and operations, but they had some critical planning that needed to be addressed first, so they were uncertain how to proceed. As a non-profit consultant, I quickly adjusted my role and recommended they take the time to organize a board planning session to prioritize what they should do and what they should NOT do this year.

While an event can be a great way for non-profits to fundraise, it’s imperative that younger organizations take the time to complete a needs assessment before they start planning a big event to avoid getting in over their head.

Now it’s your turn! Answer these 6 questions to determine if a fundraising event is feasible for your organization this year:

  • Why? The purpose of the event – this will be the foundation for any future planning.
  • What? The desired outcome of the event.
  • Who? The scope of audience and demographic info on attendees.
  • When?  The desired season, date, day and hour that event will take place.
  • Where? The desired physical location of event including destination/geographical area.
  • How?  The plan to accomplish all of the event elements above.

After I completed these steps with my client they realized that what the organization really needed was a few “friend-raiser” events to recruit more people to serve on their board of directors and to support the organization’s programming. This was a more realistic next step and is also more in line with their 2012 goals. The needs assessment combined with a board planning session helped them create clear objectives for the organization to achieve before they start planning their first fundraising event. And the ROI (return on investment) will be a successful, sustainable event that will continue to grow every year as the organization grows!

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Krista Berry, MS is the Owner & Principal Consultant at KB Consulting specializing in innovative events, workshops and capacity building solutions for non-profits and communities. She has over 10 years of non-profit experience in both San Diego and New York City.

In-Kind Partnerships with Nonprofits, Part 2

By Renee Zau, Co-founder, DonationMatch My last post on this topic focused on opportunities tied to nonprofit events. Although these typically offer the most immediate exposure, they are often seasonal. Here are some ideas for in-kind charitable partnerships year-round:

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  1. Be a venue for gatherings. You don't have to be a hotel or restaurant to have a desirable place. Spa Gregorie's Del Mar offers a board room for small get-togethers and meetings. Curves women's fitness centers often host meetings for Chambers of Commerce, Zumba fundraisers, and members' clubs. The Microsoft Store has raised the retail bar for community outreach with store space and free group trainings. Invite a nonprofit over and show them you're friendly!
  2. Give tools and support. PopChips started snacking habits in offices all over town with case giveaways. Microsoft Store free trainings make sure their software is used well. DonationMatch co-hosted a fundraising auction workshop with Red Apple Auctions to help nonprofits run better fundraising events. Though not "flashy," free assistance can put you at the top of a nonprofit's go-to list.
  3. Offer services or samples for a donation. By cross-promoting with nonprofits, Aveda sets up their store, complete with signage, to give mini treatments in exchange for a 100% charitable donation.
  4. A portion of sales helps, too.Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes advertises FunRaisers that donate 15% of related receipts on given nights to nonprofit groups. Macy's gives $1 for every stamped letter to Santa deposited in special letter boxes in their stores to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Even if you can't give something outright, a percentage can be enough.
  5. Offer your expertise. Nonprofits small and large are always looking for specific professional talent in their volunteers. It's become so popular that websites like CatchaFire and VolunteerMatch (not affiliated with DonationMatch) were created to make better volunteer connections.
  6. Not a lot of time? Even simply recognizing synergy within your own circles of friends and making introductions can lead to phenomenal results.

What are your success stories?  Please share about the positive impact that charitable partnering has made on your business!

Related articles

In-kind Partnerships With Nonprofits, Part I

By Renee Zau, Co-founder, DonationMatch A question posed in a LinkedIn group made me reflect on how many (typically small) businesses don't know how to use cause marketing, specifically in-kind (non-cash) marketing, to their advantage.  If you have a great product or service, one experience is all you need to convert newbies into customers, even raving fans.  How do you get yourself in front of more potential customers without "paying" for it?

  1. Donate a package or certificate toward an auction, a raffle, or goodie bags.  Most event attendees love these, and donors often get publicized both before and after the event.  Look at donation request letters as opportunities to get hundreds, even thousands, of eyeballs on your brand. You can do online searches for event calendars, ask your employees and customers about organizations they support, check out community boards, or use DonationMatch (my site) to save time (we make connecting with events, sending pre-filled donation forms, and gift certificate delivery paperless and quick.)  One more reason to like auctions: prize winners are the most willing and able to pay more for it than anyone else. You just found your best customer in the room!
  2. Provide event amenities (photography, food/beverage, decor, spa treatments, etc). For a furniture dealer, it could be VIP seating. Chocolates are popular party favors. I've seen HP and a photographer partner to make ornaments from photos with Santa. And who wouldn't appreciate mini spa treatments or makeup touch-ups from a local beauty product store, spa, or beauty school?
  3. Help spread the word.  Your communications reach is another asset companies tend to forget about.  Employees, customers, followers, subscribers... they count.  Be familiar with events you choose to promote, make them a good fit for your customers, volunteer if possible, and the added awareness can add to a charitable fundraiser's attendance and success just as much as any monetary donation.

These opportunities are all tied to nonprofit events, my favorite kind, but may be seasonal or harder to find.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post that gives more everyday ways to help in-kind.

Why not take one lunch break to reach out and explore possibilities with a particularly interesting local organization? And register on DonationMatch to be notified of event opportunities in your market - it's still free in many cities.  I (and your local organizations) will love hearing from you!