Tag Archives: fundraising

Texting for dollars

by Maggie Probert

The estimates about giving for Haiti relief are amazing and incomplete. What we do know is that approximately $21 million has been raised in $10 increments through texting.

Cellular companies are using this outpouring to their own benefit by announcing how they will deliver the donations to the American Red Cross – all at once, in increments with a hold-back of 5% for uncollectible donations, etc. There’s even discussion about disputed charges on cell phone bills for customers who claim they did not make a donation. Putting aside the technology and systems questions, the real message here is about communication.

We saw the power of personal communications via technology in the 2008 presidential election. But what we are seeing in Haiti relief efforts takes personal communication technology to a whole new level. For those of us responsible for the messages delivered to the public—marketing, public relations and fundraising—direct one-on-one communication is the ultimate goal. It seems that we may now have the technology to enable us to “talk” directly to thousands of people with ease. An added benefit is that the new technology is instant and cost-effective. Most importantly, technology is bringing us closer together. That is a goal we can all embrace.


Are you an online donor?

Charity or nonprofit, three cities stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of online giving. Alexandria, Va., Cambridge, Mass. and Minneapolis topped the list as the nation’s most generous cities based on per capita giving in 2008 and are well on their way to topping the 2009 list, too…at least acccording to Convio, a company that helps nonprofits with online marketing, fundraising, advocacy and constituent relationship management.

St. Louis, home to the National Center for Parents as Teachers, the nation’s largest home visiting organization, ranked six in generosity among cities greater than 100,000 in size.

Donors are increasingly turning to the Internet to build and manage relationships with charities. National Center for Parents as Teachers, for example, recently increased its Facebook fan base by 20% over a single weekend. Each of these fans represents a potential advocate, donor, supporter.

Life, whether we like it or not, is moving online. Nonprofits/charities who know how to effectively manage online relationships stand to gain not only dollars but sustainability.

My Mommy Manual kicks off support for Parents as Teachers

Yesterday I spent an exhilarating hour with Ria and Sharon, two of the most energetic young moms I know! (Follow them on Twitter at @riasharon and @zenmommy.)

On their Web site mymommymanual.com they’ve kicked off a monthly online raffle to raise money for charities. Right now Parents as Teachers is the featured recipient.

1) On the first of every month, mymommymanual will announce a new raffle prize.
2) To be entered into the raffle, use the ChipIn widget on their Web site to donate at least $1
3) At the end of the month, they will draw a raffle winner!

This month, Artistic Sensations founder (and mommy), Kim Gellman is contributing a very cool Toddler Nap/Sleeping Sack valued at $45. Now’s your chance to get a very cool nap mat and contribute toward Parents as Teachers at the same time. Do it now. And be sure to check back in at www.mymommymanual.com for next month’s raffle, too!

A personal request to give

Panhandling is a problem on so many levels. When the “Parents Talk Back” online forum asked, “How do you deal with the questions that arise when your kids see panhandlers?” most parents agreed with Dan Buck, chief executive of St. Patrick Center, the largest provider of homeless services in Missouri: stop giving your change. Donate instead to a charity that can help them.

“I explain…that’s why we give to the church, who in turn can take care of these people.”

“If you want, give to the church, Salvation Army, St. Patrick’s center, places that can help them.”

“I say this is why we give to charities.”

At least that’s what people say they do to address this social need. St. Louis-based National Center for Parents as Teachers, the largest home visiting program in the nation, is about half-way through its 25th anniversary campaign. It, too, is a charity…one that helps many of the neediest families find parenting support to help them make good choices during their children’s crucial early years of development. About two-thirds of all the families served by Parents as Teachers programs across the nation last year fell into the “high needs” category.

It takes money to train those who do this kind of work and to sustain the programs that serve this needy demographic. Giving USA estimates that $307.65 billion was given in the U.S. in 2008. Only charities in the religious, public-society benefit, and international affairs arenas showed increases in contributions. Education-focused charities saw a decrease of 5.5 percent.

A significant number of Americans do not donate at all because (gasp!) they’ve never been asked.

Consider yourself asked. Would you join me in supporting the work of the National Center for Parents as Teachers with an online gift?

Making dollars count

Katya Andresen gave a thought-provoking online presentation today as part of IFC Online’s first international fundraising e-conference. Her session, Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing corporate savvy to sell just causes, looked at some fundamental marketing strategies for attracting supporters and donors to nonprofit causes. Her advice boiled down to three fundamentals:

  • Know what you’re good at.
  • Communicate how you’re different.
  • Explain how you impact your target audience on a personal level.

Innovative? No; basic marketing. What’s thought-provoking about it is why so many of us fail to do it! Why do nonprofits (and for-profits, for that matter) think their end user or target audience wants to know all about the organization? Why do we think we need to tell everything we’re good at (and Parents as Teachers is good at a lot of things!) to everyone? Why is it so hard for us to sit back and listen to what our audience cares about before telling them how we can help?

What makes the difference for you?