charity

5 Podcasts for Charity Fundraising Advice

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As a nonprofit professional (or professional volunteer), hosting a charity fundraiser is a lot of work. It requires organizing, marketing, event planning, sales, people management, and so much more. As fundraisers, we are always looking for improved methods for making our events more cost-effective and profitable. Here are 5 podcasts to help make the efforts of a nonprofit event planner a little easier, or more effective. These podcasts are in no particular order and range from 30 minutes to over an hour in length per episode. It can be great to fit in these helpful tips during a lunch break, long drive, or even during a daily workout routine.

1. The Classy Podcast

This weekly podcast has stories from leading founders and executives in the social sector who hope to inspire the next generation seeking to drive change. 

2. Events with Benefits

Hosted by three longtime event fundraising professionals with 50+ years of combined experience, this podcast seeks to help nonprofits achieve greater success in their fundraising events with less effort. The episodes feature special guests from all different sectors of the nonprofit industry who share their biggest lessons learned, including nonprofit attorneys, directors of events that raise over $1 million or more, benefit auctioneers, and technology companies.

3. CauseTalk Radio: The Cause Marketing Podcast

This weekly podcast, hosted by Joe Waters and Megan Strand, keeps you up to date on the world of cause marketing.  The podcast covers trends, tactics and news related to cause marketing and corporate-nonprofit partnerships.

4. Driving Participation Podcast

This podcast talks with marketers, fundraisers and consultants in order to explore what’s been successful for schools, nonprofits, and associations, in order to attract the right people, maintain their excitement, and encourage them to give back.  

5. Raise and Engage

This podcast if for nonprofit professionals and covers the latest trends and hot topics.  With people speaking from the social good community, it’s designed to help listeners in doing more for their cause.  

DonationMatch Launches GiveBack Program for In-Store Fundraising

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The team here at DonationMatch is thrilled to announce that we recently launched a new online platform, The DonationMatch GiveBack Program!  This new product connects restaurants and stores with nonprofit organizations to host in-store fundraisers. The GiveBack Program will be offered as a feature on our main platform, DonationMatch.com.  

The GiveBack program was created to help any restaurant, brewery, winery, store, service, or online company looking to donate a percentage of sales to nonprofits and causes.  The platform makes companies available to causes that are seeking fundraising options, providing easier scheduling and marketing for the businesses.  

Restaurant fundraisers are popular events for charities and schools, because a percentage of the sales earned during that night are donated to a nonprofit hosting the event.  Fundraisers have also been shown to be a great marketing tactic for businesses, by providing another method for gaining new clients and sales, while giving back to the local community.

The DonationMatch GiveBack tool contains many exciting features to assist with organizing an in-restaurant fundraiser.  Some of the program features include:

  • Giving local fundraising leaders direct access to eligible programs

  • Easy event scheduling

  • Online marketing tools

  • Event tracking and reporting

  • Customizable automated reminders and workflow tools

  • Detailed records of event fundraising history

  • Ability for companies to view event fundraising records for donation decisions

Through the easy-to-use platform, restaurants can receive fundraiser requests, be able to provide event promotional tools to charities, and view analytics post-event.

“We are very excited to launch our latest product, the DonationMatch GiveBack Program, said Renee Zau, CEO at DonationMatch.  “Current DonationMatch clients had expressed a need for a tool that efficiently manages and streamlines the process of hosting restaurant fundraisers.”  Companies who contributed to the design and creation of the GiveBack program include: Buffalo Wild Wings, Dream Dinners, Picaboo, and Henebery Whiskey.

Zau is pleased to launch the GiveBack Program to provide even more functionality to the DonationMatch platform.  Companies interested in trying out the new platform can sign up online through DonationMatch.com and may begin using the Starter option free of charge.

 

About DonationMatch: DonationMatch is a social enterprise that creates online cause marketing software for companies and nonprofit organizations. Since 2010, DonationMatch has facilitated in-kind gifts worth more than $34 million. Co-founded and led by CEO Renee Zau, DonationMatch was recently named to the SheEO "Top 25 Ventures" list for U.S.-based companies in 2017.

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.

5 Minutes with Geraldine D'Silva, Executive Director of PAWS San Diego

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By Juliet Davenport, Nonprofit Ambassador, DonationMatch

For the past 20 years, PAWS San Diego has provided "essential pet services and support to low-income elderly, chronically ill and disabled individuals."  They currently run two programs - a PetCare/VetCare program which includes, among other things, in-home delivery of pet food, cat litter and flea medicine to their low-income senior, or chronically ill and disabled clients, and their PAWS Pantry Program, formally launched this year, in which PAWS sets up several distribution sites around the county to provide supplemental bags of pet food for families in need.

Here's what DonationMatch learned in 5 minutes with Geraldine D'Silva, Executive Director of PAWS San Diego!

What is the goal of PAWS San Diego?

"PAWS San Diego’s goal is keep pet families together. With our two programs we hope for the day when no more pets are relinquished to shelters due to lack of resources for pet care and pet food in San Diego County. Studies show that unfortunately low income is one of the main reasons for pet relinquishment."

You had different positions within the organization before you became Executive Director.  Do you think that experience has helped you become a more effective ED?

"I am so thankful that I started off with PAWS as Operations Manager two years ago. PAWS had just started moving from being a volunteer run organization to being staff driven. With the transition we were in need of a 'Manager,' especially when donors and others phoned to ask for one. When I was promoted to Operations Director after 6 months I had already learned so much, and after completing a Certificate course in Non Profit Management I was ready to take on bigger responsibilities. Now as the ED, I clearly feel the pulse of the organization and I feel privileged to work alongside our volunteers, amazing staff and an extremely supportive, talented and professional Board of Directors. Together we are effective."

Do you have a favorite story of how PAWS has helped someone?

"I have many, many wonderful stories to tell! The most recent one is a beautiful testimonial we received when we thanked a donor. They informed us that they were in fact a PAWS Pantry client a year ago. The family had suddenly become homeless and was living in their car with their dogs and cat. 'PAWS saved their lives' by giving them an emergency supply of pet food so they could keep their pets.

One of our PetCare & VetCare clients, Ray, takes almost 3 hours each morning just to get out of bed. Ray is a senior, chronically ill and disabled. He has been home-

bound for years and his only motivation to get up is his beloved dog and constant companion Ziggy. He talks to Ziggy all day and Ziggy is always right by his side. I personally deliver food to Ray and Ziggy and I always enjoy seeing the unique bond that they share. They clearly love and need each other."

What types of events do you hold?

"Fiesta is the major, annual event for PAWS San Diego. We also have an annual Volunteer Appreciation event and hope to hold a Donor Appreciation event regularly in the future. Apart from that, we participate in a few outreach events throughout the year, particularly PRIDE and PAWS in the Park and also the AIDS Walk where we run the water station."

What are your biggest fundraising event planning challenges?

"Our biggest challenge without a doubt is the need for an event planner. We are a team of four part-time staff with regular day-to-day responsibilities. Fiesta is our one major event each year, and in addition to it being time-consuming to plan, we are also heavily dependent on volunteers to make this event happen. Having the right event chair each year is of prime importance and fortunately this year we have a wonderful and very organized Chair. Coordinating and keeping volunteers committed through the whole process is a challenge in itself, apart from needing to market the event on a low budget."

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

"Fiesta forms approximately 15-17% of our budget. The outreach events help raise some brand awareness. We have small fundraisers throughout the year, hosted by restaurants, bars and stores that donate some of the proceeds to PAWS."

Where would you like to see PAWS in 5 years?

"In 5 years, I would like to see PAWS working more seamlessly with other human and animal welfare organizations and being more self-sustaining on a higher budget. I would definitely like to increase and diversify our funding base while growing and stabilizing our infrastructure and the number of people we serve."

If you were going to eat a brownie, would you choose a middle piece or a corner piece?

"If I were going to eat a brownie, I would choose the chewy center. But I would love a nibble of the crisp corner too, if I had that choice."

Thank you Geraldine and PAWS for all you do! Click here for more information on PAWS San Diego and their 20th Anniversary Fiesta Celebration on June 8th!

Three Steps to Turning New Guests into Big Bidders

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[Sherry's blog post from last year is just as worth sharing now. Here's to your fundraising success! - Renee, Co-founder, DonationMatch] Courtesy of Sherry Truhlar,  Red Apple Auctions

One of my clients held her school gala last month.  A few days prior, she asked how she could ensure that new parents would feel welcome attending the charity auction.

It's a good question.

The reception you give to new attendees can make a difference in whether they buy, and certainly makes an impression on whether they want to return.

At another auction meeting, one of the co-chairs -- a divorced single Mom -- said that when she drove to the auction the previous year, she sat for several minutes in the parking garage, mustering up the courage to enter.

"I was debating as to whether I really wanted to do this," she told me.  She knew everyone else would be attending with their spouse.  As a single person, she wasn't sure she'd fit in or to whom she'd talk.  "I didn't know anyone," she explained.

Once she made the decision to enter, she was so warmly received that she took a leadership role in the auction the following year.

Do you have guests new to the event coming?  Here are some ways to welcome them.

STEP 1:  Prior to the event, call them.

Point blank tell them you're looking forward to meeting them, perhaps mentioning something specific.

"I'm REALLY looking forward to meeting/visiting you," you'll say, "I'm seating you at my table." Say it with enthusiasm!  These are new people prepared to learn about your cause.  They deserve your energy, and it will help build the anticipation.

If you're not holding a sit-down dinner, offer to make introductions, "Find me at the raffle table because I have someone I'm eager for you to meet."

STEP 2:  At the event, assign people to meet and greet.  

At a recent hospice auction, staff were assigned in pairs to greet guests at the hotel door, right after they'd turned their car over to the valet.  Staff briefly chatted with them before pointing them in the direction of the registration table.

Another client asks three people (two Board members and an outgoing woman who has been involved in the organization for years) to mingle with new guests, being sure to introduce the newbies to others and spending time getting to know them.

You might consider identifying new guests in a specific way, such as a "new parent" ribbon or a subtle star on a name badge.

I've seen this done successfully, though some guests might not appreciate the gesture and instead feel like a target.  Decide what works for your group.

STEP 3: After the event, pick up the phone. Nothing says "Wow!" like a prompt thank you.

If you need a slam-dunk strategy for next year's donations, this is it.

The day after the auction, set aside receipts and written thank you's.  Instead, pick up the phone and start dialing.  Here's the proof.

Fundraising colleague Gail Perry introduced me to Penelope Burk's work.  Penelope, a well-respected fundraising expert, shared some statistics on board member thank you calls back in 2004 at an AFP International Conference.

Donors who received a thank you phone call from a board member within 24 hours of making the gift were 39% more likely than other donors to give the next time they were solicited.

39%!

And after 14 months, they were giving 42% more.

Talk about a super strategy for improving your auction donations for the following year....

Engage your Board members.  Anyone Board member who felt uncomfortable asking for an auction item or sponsorship money should be enlisted in this activity. Provide them a script.  They can start dialing to say, "Thank you so much for your donation last night!  We are so thrilled you attended."

Three simple steps and these new buyers can become lifelong auction supporters.

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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 F'REE gift! - at www.RedAppleAuctions.com.

Don't Burn Out Your Volunteers

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By Renee Zau, Co-founder, DonationMatch The inevitable happened. I suspected it was a possibility, but it still took me by surprise. "I just don't think I have it in me." Just like that, my son's elementary school's annual fundraiser was cancelled.

This isn't the first time I've seen a leading volunteer burn out, nor will it be the last. Imagine how much work it is to organize the equivalent of a wedding every year, then DOUBLE it. That's how many hours the average charitable fundraising event takes to plan (about 600 hours!) This will drain even the most experienced volunteers year after year, and we found some advice on alleviating pain:

Get Help. "Auctions are best enjoyed – and planned – with others.... Believe it or not, a good number of your best volunteers may not even have personal ties to the nonprofit, but instead have ties to the auction chair!" - Sherry Truhlar, Red Apple Auctions, from "Five Steps to a Great Fundraising Auction"

Stop the (PTO) Drama. Tim Sullivan of PTO Today addressed this in a blog post where he acknowledged the difficulties of authority or leadership in volunteer situations. He tackled this head-on with several suggestions.

Show Appreciation. While your committees are already securing prizes for auctions and raffles, why not add an ask for volunteer gifts, too? I love that the San Diego Zoo does a raffle at each of their Food & Wine Celebration planning meetings. Another idea? The same companies providing goodies for event swag bags will also often be happy to include extras for volunteers. After all, they are potential customers, too, and a little goodwill goes a long way.

Value Their Time. This has more to do with the tools you provide. It could be an app, software, or updated equipment that can save MANY hours of work or headaches. New products to help with event fundraising are being introduced constantly, including Planana for event sharing and DonationMatch for in-kind donation procurement. The best ones will reduce repetitive tasks, increase sales, and/or stay organized (i.e. prevent busy people from being overwhelmed.)

What helps you stay motivated? What have you done to successfully retain volunteers? We'd love to know in the comments below!

Coming Soon: A Fresh Look and Features for DonationMatch

By Renee Zau, Co-founder, DonationMatch You've told us how easy DonationMatch makes getting more customers and event donors, how much time we've saved you, and how great it feels to both give and receive.  We've taken your feedback and are excited to announce that added features and a new look are COMING SOON! Why are we letting you know BEFORE we do the upgrade?  Our site will be unavailable during this transition, and we want you to be able to plan any important DonationMatch account activity around it.  The exact date/time isn't set yet, but it could happen as early as this Friday evening, May 11th, and we'll announce it as soon as we know with an email, on Facebook, on Twitter, AND here on our blog.

Thanks for all your support, and we look forward to seeing you online at DonationMatch!

Sneak peek of new DonationMatch site

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 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!