At our organization we love it when children or youth decide to do a fundraiser for us. There is little that resonates with our stakeholders more than hearing a story about kids helping other kids. We tend to refer to these fundraisers as Third Party Events. Our chapter is fairly small local charity when compared to some international or national charities, however the funds raised by these third party events is by no means insignificant. For the fiscal year that just past groups doing third party events raised a million dollars for us- that is a lot of penny carnivals and lemonade stands.
However as important or maybe more important than the dollar figure is the behavior inspired by these junior philanthropists. In the video below I talk about two of the youth who made a big difference to our charity. I will also talk about some of the ways we recognize and reward youth philanthropy (not that they are looking for any rewards).
No wise charity leaders out there or fundraising will be suggesting that their organization plan its Christmas appeal around covering administration costs this season. However as wise leaders understand we do have to invest in our administration or our fundraising to increase our ability to make the impact our charity is intended to make. Imagine if a friend suggested that you invest in the favorite companies stock. The company bragged that it invested no money on staff, operations ,technology or training and development. You might thing that this company might not be a good long term investment. However Marina Glogovac President and CEO of CanadaHelps.org, points out in her recent Huffington Post blogpost that this is what we do to charities when we expect them to direct donations. We encourage or demand of them that they spend money only on direct programs not the other things we would expect a for profit company to do. Below is a link to a vlog post that further covers this double standard we have for charities:
Organizations need to pay attention to the way Millennials think and behave. They do not trust or respond to traditional media, marketing or advertising the way their parents did or do. For nonprofits dependent on donations and volunteers Millennials are transforming philanthropy and volunteerism. If you charity wants to learn how to be better at engaging or attracting this demographic -the video below gives four important considerations for your leadership team.
Research demonstrates that spending your money “pro socially” can make you happier. Elizabeth Dunn in her research found that after giving people experience both positive mental and bodily affects. For a charity talking about the positive benefit to the nonprofits users is something that is often linked to a donors gift. It is not uncommon to hear your $100 means one new clean well for a certain village. We are less likely to talk about the benefit to the donor themselves in giving a gift. We might make reference to a tax benefit- but we are less likely to talk about the positive mental benefit of spending your money pro socially as Dunn’s research suggests. Maybe as charity leaders we should be posting this type of research on our websites. We all want to be happy- maybe we should start writing the happiness we are creating not only for our users but also our donors in our case for support.
Periscope launched only a few months ago. Typically there is a stage when the pioneers and the early adopters jump on board. With the rapid growth of periscope users or “scopes”, has the channel jumped past the early adopter stage and is it moving to the mainstream. If it is, how can your charity benefit from this medium or do you have the resources to make periscope a valuable piece of your nonprofits marketing umbrella.
It is often challenging for a charity that is just beginning to use social media channels. What do you post about? As developing content for these channels feels new or foreign to us we resort to talking about what we know- one that we need money and two one of the ways we raise money, our fundraising events. As organizations that rely on donations to be able to deliver our mission we do have a need to draw awareness to the fact that we need donations- or that we need people to attend our events so we raise money. However if this is all we talk about on our social media posts. our followers will quickly become disengaged. The video below talks about the 80/20 rule or the 90/10 rule so that we can keep our supporters and followers interested and engaged:.
We love and need our donors, but nothing resonates with our supporters like kids helping kids. Here is follow up on 5 year old Haylen’s efforts to raise money for sick children. It is a great story but truth be told it is also a great story about the power of social media. It is a good lesson for small charities not to underestimate how they might use digital platforms or social media to get their message out.
The video post explains why we use peer to peer fundraising in our Rock the House Run fundraising event.
I am not sure that organizational leaders for a charity should take themselves too seriously. We do quite serious work, but the ability to have a little bit of fun and even take a little bit of personal embarrassment can be character building. One of our MarComm staff members said to me recently “when you dyed your hair pink and shaved it bald to raise money for the House and the local chapter of Make a Wish-we knew we could probably get you to do almost anything.” Subsequently I was a willing participant in a fundraising stunt where I had to have a 5 km race with Ronald McDonald at our annual Rock the House Run. Both Ronald and I both raised pledges and the challenge was mainly geared at drawing attention and awareness to our new version of our peer to peer fundraising pledge pages. The stunt was a success as we did raise a little more incremental revenue for the event, but mostly because our pledge fundraisers were able to help us double the ROI for the event. The pledges also become the biggest source of fundraising for this event. In the past our sponsorships and our registrations had made up the majority of the revenue. Both sponsorships and registration went up that year but pledge donations still became the largest source of revenue.
Locally right now the price of oil is down, oil and gas is a major driver in our local economy. When the economy is depressed charitable organizations need to think creatively and be willing to try new things. For leaders of these organizations this is really a good time to personally use your influence to try newer and more innovative fundraising approaches. At this year’s Rock the House run I suppose I couldn’t just race Ronald again, watch the video below to find out what my team has cooked up for me this year.
It is hard to force a viral response to your charity’s posts, I am not sure if you can -however an organic response to your posts about your mission and how you make a difference for those who benefit from your service can be a wonderful thing.