Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time to Talk

Even in the midst of the holiday fundraising season, the second half of December should be a time to slow down, to gather data and complete year-end reports, and use that information to create a strategy for the coming year. This less hectic workday offers the perfect opportunity to make a few friendly phone calls to donors.

These aren't "ask" phone calls. These are "team" phone calls. Focus on your biggest donors, and those in the middle who seem likely to move up the pyramid of giving soon. Do not begin by thanking them. Let's be realistic- when an organization calls and leads the conversation with "thank you for your support," you know they are going to follow it with "please give again." Instead, start with something like "I'm calling to share with you the difference you've made this year." Tie their donations to real, tangible work that the organization has done. Press the point that this is their charitable impact and they should feel good about it.

This is also a great opportunity to ask what your donors need more of in the coming year. Do they want more updates on the organization's work? Would they like to be invited to the office occasionally? Do they yearn for volunteer opportunities? We serve our donors as much as we serve the people who receive our services. It's important to meet donors' needs as well.

End the phone call with something like "Have a wonderful holiday, I look forward to working with you in the
new year." No financial ask, but a subtle way of indicating that the donor is part of the work you do, and you hope they will continue to be.

It's fun to call donors and not ask for anything! You might find that these phone calls are the best part of your day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Get Your Story Straight

Matt and Chris Vanderlinden are the demiurgic minds behind Detonator, a creative firm specializing in helping organizations tell their stories in ways that ignite passion for the mission. They join us to offer helpful tips on figuring out just exactly what your nonprofit story is-- and how to tell it.  

Marketing is a tough gig. Technology continues to change the way people communicate. We're all bombarded by a constant stream of information, and it's incredibly difficult to cut through the noise to deliver your message. But the good news is, there’s a simple trick to help you stand out from the crowd. Ready?

Be real, and tell your story well.

That might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many organizations struggle with it. The key is to talk relentlessly about WHY your organization does what it does. People will connect with WHY you do what you do (your purpose) more easily and deeply than with WHAT you do. WHY speaks to them on a more emotional level. If you talk about your purpose, and you live up to it in your day-to-day interactions with people, it creates the foundation for an authentic relationship with your audience. Today authenticity is everything. No relationship, business or otherwise, will last if it’s not authentic.

As a nonprofit, you’re in a better position than some to speak emotionally about your purpose. So how, exactly, can your organization get better at cutting through the noise with emotionally engaging messaging that creates authentic relationships?

1.    Start with Why - Read Simon Sinek’s fantastic book, Start with Why, to learn how to zero in on your organization’s purpose. Get a preview by watching Simon’s TED TALK.
2.    Craft Your Story - Once you’ve articulated your WHY, craft your organization’s story in emotional terms. Explain WHY your organization exists simply and powerfully. Keep refining the story until it’s as clear, direct, and emotionally powerful as possible.
3.    Get Everyone on the Same Page - Make sure everyone in your organization understands your WHY, and can tell your story well.
4.    Relentlessly Share Your Story - It should be part of your pitch, on your website, in your presentations and brochures, a backbone of your social media strategy, everywhere. It’s what makes you unique, and it’s what your audience will care about more than anything else.

It’s hard work to articulate your WHY, and then translate it into an emotionally engaging story. But the payoff can be huge in terms of providing a unique and authentic brand position for your nonprofit that builds lasting relationships with your community.

So what are you waiting for? Time to get your story straight.

Detonator is a creative firm that helps organizations define, craft, and communicate explosive stories, leveraging the power of storytelling to build an emotional connection between organizations and the communities they serve. Learn more and connect with them at detonatorbrand.com.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Falling For Philanthropy, A Tale of Two Charitable Superheroes

You may have seen the videos of HuTerra's own Al Zeise preparing for the Mr. Habitat of Greater Green Bay contest. Those videos were effective- not only did Al win People's Choice Mr. Habitat, but the videos helped raise awareness for the importance of creating decent, affordable housing and the work that Habitat for Humanity does.

This week's Charitable Superheroes are Matt and Chris Vanderlinden, brothers who donated the videos through Detonator, their creative firm. Matt and Chris specialize in storytelling-- something that becomes apparent immediately upon meeting them. The introductions are barely through when these two creative minds go into overdrive, learning about the organization and creating engaging, compelling ways to express what makes the organization unique.
"The first thing is listening and learning; understanding the organization and your supporters. Learn what your authentic differentiation is. Generally where we can be really helpful is taking that information and turning it into a strategic approach that makes it all more emotionally engaging. We help you define your story, and craft your story in an emotionally relevant and engaging way."
According to Matt,
"There's real joy in helping nonprofits get people there so they can hear the whole story, and do something valuable, and really engage. That’s how people become lifelong supporters of causes."
 They point out that the storytelling is really as much for the people inside the organization as their supporters,
"Finding that passion ignites everybody -- staff, volunteers, donors -- to work hard to make an impact. When we create something that gets people to reignite around what they do, the whole organization is stronger."

Their love of philanthropy extends beyond the work they do at Detonator. They held a charity event in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) that raised $14,000 for Covenant House, an organization that addresses youth homelessness. Later, they held a similar event in Houston, and raised $43,000 that was split between Covenant House Houston and Covenant House New Orleans. These days, they each support their own causes through their communities.

While Chris and Matt spend their energy helping others find their authenticity, it's obvious that these two are truly authentic themselves. With good humor and great heart, they are on a mission, both personally and professionally, to use their talents to create greater good in the world.

Check out what Detonator can do to reignite passion for nonprofit by visiting DetonatorBrand.com 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What a Year! Special Thanks to Our Habitat for Humanity Partners!

One of our most successful partnerships this year has been with Habitat for Humanity State Support Organizations (SSOs), affiliates, and ReStores. With nearly fifty Habitats now taking advantage of HuTerra's website application for nonprofits, the HuTerra Foundation will save Habitat organizations a total of $150,000 next year, just for our current participants. That's a lot of roofs on homes; a lot more safe neighborhoods, a lot more "goodnights".

We even gained two employees whose Habitat VISTA programs were ending. Thank you, Habitat for Humanity!

We wanted a way to REALLY say "Thank You" to all the members of Habitat for Humanity. So, we created the Holiday Campaign In-a-Box. It's a ready-to-go holiday 'ask' campaign, complete with email templates, social media posts, and a schedule to keep your holiday donor drive on task. It's a gift: free to download, no strings attached. Our Christmas gift to you.

Happy Holidays to our Habitat for Humanity partners. Here's to another year of creating more laughter, more family dinners, more affordable housing!

Click here to download your gift, a complete Holiday Campaign In-a-Box. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Get Your Nonprofit Ready for #GivingTuesday

For small nonprofits, running social campaigns around days like #GivingTuesday can be a chore rather than an opportunity. #GivingTuesday is just a week away, but don't fret- there's still time to set your small nonprofit up with free online fundraising and take advantage of the awareness raised by a global giving day.

Simple steps to creating your free #GivingTuesday fundraiser:

  1. Create your account 
  2. Find your nonprofit in the Communities listing
  3. Claim your nonprofit Community (HuTerra verifies nonprofit admins manually to protect your organization, so this process takes a few days) 
  4. Create an online fundraiser for your nonprofit 
  5. Send the link to your supporters via social media and email

Visit #GivingTuesday for ideas on how to raise awareness around the event, and for ready-to-use social media posts-- just add your own online giving link!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Quest for the Golden Hard Hat: Al Learns What Not to Say

With just a week left in the Mr. Habitat Competition, Al prepares for the interview and finds that speaking from the heart is easier than he thought...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Bill Ralston

Bill Ralston didn't know what to expect when he was asked to become a Best Buddies Kentucky Champion.

"I knew a little about the organization but had never participated with it in any way. It's a great cause, and meeting the people involved in the program has been really special. These folks are just amazing. Having an opportunity to be with people who are motivated to do great things for others has really motivated me. I'd say I'm a lifetime advocate for the organization now."
The Best Buddies Champion of the Year contest is in its final days, and the Champion of the Year will be crowned on Thursday, November 7 at a special event, "Party with a Purpose," in Louisville, Kentucky. Bill and others still have silent auction items available online and event tickets are still available. Come on out and meet Bill and other Charitable Superheroes and make some amazing friends!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

*The* Contest to Watch this Election Day

As voters to go to the polls today to voice their opinions on everything from taxation to food labeling, there is one race that will really make a difference.

Choose your candidate for Mr. Habitat 2013, and vote by making a donation to Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity. Your vote will help provide a bedroom for a little boy or girl to enjoy the sweet dreams of childhood. 

Let your voice be heard and don't forget to vote today! You don't have to get out, just click here to vote now!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Brooke Burmeister

This high school senior shines with inner beauty

Last week, we honored an entire high school for their charitable efforts. One student in particular stands out. Brooke Burmeister is a senior at Green Bay West High School. In addition to raising over $300 for the Breast Cancer Family Foundation, Brooke donated her hair to Locks of Love. According to Brooke, the hardest part was seeing her long hair fall to the floor. But, she says, it was totally worth it:
"I wanted to give somebody else a chance to have a wig… to feel more like themselves even though they are battling important things in life. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, its how you feel on the inside. I don’t care that I don’t have hair, because I know that I’m helping people who lose their hair to cancer treatments.”
What a great way to double your charitable impact and create good in the world!

If you know somebody who donates, volunteers, or otherwise supports charitable causes, nominate them for Charitable Superhero of the Week. If they're chosen, they'll receive a free t-shirt and certificate of recognition.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Raffle Tickets to Holiday Flowers: Sell more when you take your charity fundraiser sale online (for free!)

Raffle tickets, holiday flowers, and fruit are still popular ways to fundraise and engage communities in charity organizations. Going door to door, or hanging up sale flyers spreads awareness of your organization and its events. But access is a common problem for this type of fundraiser. It's hard to sell raffle tickets if buyers have to stop by the office to pay for them, and grandma can't order flowers easily if she has to have cash on hand when the doorbell rings.

Taking your nonprofit or club fundraising sale online provides credit card processing (bank processing fees apply) and an easy way to spread the word about the fundraiser through social media and email channels. For clubs, it reduces the pressure on members to collect and manage money. And, the online sales system allows coaches, nonprofit admins, and club leaders to set sales goals for the sale as a whole and for participants. The donor list tells you who ordered how many, so order fulfillment is a snap. Plus, it's fast and easy to setup, so fundraisers can start taking orders immediately without even logging in.

Learn more about how HuTerra makes fundraising sales easier and more efficient without charging subscription fees or percentages of sales on our website

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nurture the Younger Generations Now to Create Sustainability Later

Jeff Brooks recently suggested that nonprofits should focus on building relationships with supporters in their 50's when deciding how to replace aging donors. He makes good points that Gen Y lacks disposable income, and their giving habits aren't yet developed enough to turn them into repeat donors. Sure, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them entirely.

Create a plan that focuses primarily on the Boomer generation, if that's what is best for your organization, but keep in mind that much of the outreach you do targeting Boomers also has potential to connect with both Gen X and Gen Y. In fact, your social media outreach has a better chance of connecting with the younger generations (see infographic below) because they use social media more than their parents.

Online fundraising platforms offer a great way to engage with younger supporters because they can be used to gamify giving (by holding fundraising contests), and they provide a way for those with little disposable income to bring in donations and grow the support base. Gen X and Gen Y know how to use social media. Put the request in front of them, and they'll share your message.

As these generations age, their giving habits will develop. It's worth putting the time in now to help them grow their cause-awareness. Sure, it's an investment, but it's an investment in your organization's future. Being the organization that nurtured their giving habits and moved them up the giving pyramid puts you at the top of their lists at giving time.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Training to Become a Charitable Superhero! (queue superhero music)

Al Zeise goes into training with his new "life coaches". Can he win the coveted golden hard hat and become Mr Habitat 2013? Vote Now, Vote Al! bit.ly/VoteAlZ

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Jody Vanwassenhoven and Green Bay West High School

This Charitable Superhero wants students to learn the importance of giving.

For eight years running, students at Green Bay West High School have learned about the importance of

cancer prevention from the Breast Cancer Family Foundation (BCFF). Last year, the students and faculty decided to find a unique way to thank BCFF and show support for a faculty member who was battling cancer, and the annual fundraiser/ head shaving event began.

It’s a competition. Two students are selected from each grade. Participants collect donations from friends, family, and anybody who will put a few dollars in their donation jars. A few faculty members also participate, and the competition culminates in a group head-shaving. For those outside Wisconsin, shaving your head is a pretty brave thing to do at the beginning of winter, and most everybody will agree that shaving your head when you are in or teach high school is a brave act in itself.

Jody Vanwassenhoven teaches at Green Bay West, and heads up the annual BCFF event. She’s proud of her students
“West high school has 70% of students on free/reduced lunch, but the kids who don’t have a lot to give, always give much whenever we hold a fundraiser for any cause. Our kids and staff are just so generous.”

It’s true. Students annually participate in fundraisers for many organizations, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an art supply drive for child oncology patients at a local hospital, the student council volunteers at an annual telethon for cerebral palsy; there is an annual clothing drive, and a Christmas Giving Tree.   

Jody wasn’t alone in the event- there are several other Charitable Superheroes who donated, raised money, and shaved their heads. All in all, it seems that this week’s Charitable Superhero isn’t one person… it’s an entire school of students, staff, and faculty who make giving party of their daily lives. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Is it really your job to help board members stay engaged?

This is a really fantastic post about helping board members be engaged. It offers simple ideas like providing lunch so members will attend meetings and giving them a ride if you want them to attend an event with your development director. I would add that respecting their time and running meetings accordingly goes a long way. After all, they are taking time out of their work day to volunteer for the organization. But providing lunch, picking them up, helping keep their meetings on task... who is responsible for these things? Aren't board members there to help YOU do your job? Shouldn't they be responsible for their own activity and engagement?

Well, really, no. Like organization staff, board members are there to help the organization succeed in its mission. They are responsible for helping staff achieve that goal, but so are staff responsible for helping board members achieve that goal. The difference is, board members don't get paid, meaning they volunteer their time, treasure, and talent to support the organization. Way too often, we treat board members as if they rank higher than staff, and we treat staff as if they rank higher than volunteers. The problem with this way of thinking is that board members are volunteers and everybody has the same goal: to further the organization's mission.

When staff members become discouraged and disengaged from the mission, it is up to the board to help
them problem solve and reconnect. This goes both ways. The fact that they are volunteers often makes it easier for them to disengage, especially if they feel that other board members and staff don't value their contributions. Being an active board member can be tough work, especially in small organizations that need all hands on deck to meet their goals. While the board is busy keeping staff morale up, it helps if the staff reciprocates. Making it easier for board members to lend an extra hand means more support for staff, and a better chance the organization will meet its goals.

In short, it is your job to help board members stay engaged, because that relationship works both ways.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Keep It Personal-- A word about this guy

So much of running a nonprofit is about relationships, and you can't build relationships without keeping it a little personal. 

The HuTerra Foundation was started by Al Zeise, a businessman who wanted a way to do more good in the world beyond donating money. He figured out that he can use his technical knowledge and business skills to help nonprofits do more by cutting technology costs, raising more funds, and reaching more supporters. As one HuTerrian put it,
"We don't build houses. We help Habitat for Humanity build more houses. We help them reduce the crime rate in more low-income areas. We help them shelter more families. Our impact isn't just what we do for the organization; it's the lives of the additional people they are able to help because we helped them." 
Al believes that everybody has it in his or her heart to help others, and that, by making giving fun, more people will open their hearts. That's why he agreed to run for Mr. Habitat 2013 and, if he should win, to accept his award while wearing high heels, just for fun. 

Join Al in proving that giving can be fun by supporting Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity and voting for Al to be crowned Mr. Habitat 2013! Donations go to Greater Green Habitat for Humanity and are tax deductible.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Post, Like, Share your way to a larger donor audience

Asking for what you need (beyond donations) is a great way to engage supporters. In your nonprofit's
social media communications, remember to ask followers to Like, Share, and Retweet important information and calls to action. It gives them a way to support the cause beyond taking out their wallets.
Social media engagement is measured in Likes, Shares, Retweets, and comments. The more your followers engage, the higher your content ranks and the larger your audience becomes. Plus, it helps supporters feel that they are important to the organization, which is key to recurring donations.

Was this helpful? Please Share this article to help more nonprofits!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's not too late to implement peer-to-peer fundraising in your end-of-year fundraising strategy

Most year-end fundraisers consist primarily of mailing out letters with a holiday plea for donations during the most charitable time of year. Most of those letters go to existing donors and do little to introduce your organization to new donors at a time when peoples’ awareness of need and urge to help makes them prime candidates for becoming new supporters of your organization. You likely already have your year-end campaign planned out, but it’s not too late to turn your year-end fundraising campaign into an opportunity to introduce new donors to your organization.

Adding a peer-to-peer fundraiser to your strategy is simple and leads to a great start to the new year. Begin by deciding how you’re going to incentivize your supporters to participate. Contact existing supporters through social media and email and encourage them to participate. Share these tips for quickly creating an online fundraiser and get the giving started. Run your campaign through December and remind supporters that asking for donations in lieu of gifts is a great way for people who “don’t need anything” to participate in holiday giving and receiving.

A couple weeks into the new year, sit down with the compiled donor list and start making phone calls and writing thank-you notes. There’s a good chance that most of the donors will barely remember that they gave, or what the organization does. Reaching out after the holidays will let them know that their donation is meaningful and has positive impact long after the holiday season. You’ll start your year off with a long list of new supporters for your organization!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week, Wade Yeoman

This week’s Charitable Superhero wants his industry to give


Wade Yeoman became a Champion for Best Buddies Kentucky as a way to give back to his community. He learned about the organization from Wes Auberry, founder of Beauty for a Benefit, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for charities. Wade had been looking for a cause that his law firm could support, and Best Buddies fit the bill:

“I have worked with multiple children that have sustained mental and physical injuries and disabilities. I quickly learned that one of the main services I was providing was simply being a friend. Not only listening about the client's case, but also spending time with them to truly understand what they are going through. It doesn't take long to understand that children that are different are ostracized. As an attorney representing these individuals we can help them pay for much needed healthcare, but we cannot provide the companionship that an organization like Best Buddies can.”
He was hooked, so he asked Auberry to put him in touch with the organization. As it turned out, it was perfect timing, as BBKY was getting ready for their annual Champion of the Year campaign. As part of his campaign, Wade is asking members of the personal injury law community to step up and support Best Buddies.

“I’m asking personal injury attorneys to donate money, raise awareness, and champion the cause. Have the brochures and literature available in your offices, and tell people about the program. It’s a way for us to give back and to offer emotional support to some of our clients.”
Wade also feels that giving back to the community has personal benefits:

“It’s very fulfilling. The old phrase is true, it’s better to give than receive.”

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Morning-After Call, or How to Connect with Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser Donors

In an article for Huff Post Impact, Gary Laermer offers "5 Ways to Land-- and Stay-- on a Donor's Top-5 List." Each point provides sound advice, it's worth a read. In the introduction, Laermer asks a critical question:
"if an individual donates in a passive manner -- like a friend's online personal giving page to support involvement -- can you really count on that gift being renewed next year?"
 Herein lies the problem with the new ways people give. Text-to-give programs offer little in the way of donor data for nonprofits (NPOs) to capture. When individuals give to a peer-to-peer fundraiser, they are basically supporting their friend more than the organization. Laermer offers five ways to help get on their annual giving list. Here's one more:

#6 Reach out individually.   

Think of peer-to-peer fundraisers as a great networking tool. It's like a professional networking event, where you are introduced to a lot of people, but it's up to you to follow up with them the next day. You don't send an auto-generated email to those people. You thoughtfully reach out to each on an individual basis. Your organization should do the same when casually introduced to new donors. 

Go beyond the printed "thank-you for your donation, this letter is your tax receipt" mailer. Hand-write thank-you notes and mail them separately. Even better, call these new donors! It's a great opportunity to thank them personally and it offers a chance to share with them the ways their generosity is helping the mission. Plus, it makes a great impression that they'll remember when they get a fundraiser ask in their mailboxes in six months. 

Relationships take time and resources, and many organizations (both nonprofit and for-profit) tend to want to cut down on relationship building efforts. But it's one area where every organization should be adding resources. In today's market, the competition is fierce and building good relationships with donors, supporters, and customers is the key to growth.   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Combine automation and personalization when receipting donors

Jeff Brooks recently made the argument that donor receipts should go out within 48 hours. Most online
fundraising platforms automatically send receipts to donors as soon as the donation is processed. Many nonprofits assume that the electronic receipt buys them time for acknowledging donors personally. Not so.

An electronic receipt tells the donor that you received their gift. But a letter with a hand written note tells the donor that they are a priority for the organization. Think of it like your nephew's birthday gift... you smile when that crayon-drawing thank-you comes in the mail a week after his birthday, but you question whether your brother is a quality parent if the note doesn't show up for three months. Timeliness makes a difference.

Brooks suggests getting the entire organization on board with the fast thank-you turnaround, but just getting people to agree doesn't make things happen. Consider setting up a dedicated station for thank-you note writing. Assign one or two people the task of printing out thank-you receipts every morning before the day gets hectic. From there, it takes just a couple minutes to personalize the letters with a hand-written note in the margin or at the bottom, sign it, seal it, and put it in the outgoing mail.

Creating a designated work space for thank-you writing will streamline the process, and it will take just minutes a day to strengthen relationships with your best supporters. It's a key ingredient to keeping your organization sustainable. Whatever you do, don't use automated receipts as an excuse to ignore even the smallest online donations.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Get Gutsy with Your Next Fundraising Theme

Fundraising event theme created by The Karma Group

We all know that creating a good fundraiser theme takes creativity, but don't leave your sense of humor out of the process. People like to laugh and often go online just to find a good chuckle (see Pinterest's Humor category for proof of concept). Plus, people love to share humorous content, so using your sense of humor to create a fundraiser theme increases your chance of the message going viral. The question is, why are so many nonprofits afraid to be gutsy with fundraiser themes?

The obvious answer is that they are afraid to lose donors to what some may see as offensive. Underlying this fear is the challenge of reaching a new generation of donors while maintaining quality relationships with existing long-time supporters. And, small nonprofits may have a single person charged with creating fundraiser themes. Siloing work in that way can cut creativity, or worse, the individual may have a sense of humor not shared by society at large. For example:

Not a fundraiser, but it fits the example. This photo was snapped by a Reddit user. The offending employee has since been fired, and the establishment has made formal apologies. 
You can imagine the backlash over that sign. The point is, you can be gutsy in your fundraiser theming without being offensive. Start by relying on mainstream jokes, like the first example. It works because really... who among us hasn't blamed it on the dog? Still at creative loss? Never forget that you have a built-in resource for ideas and feedback-- your supporters! Try asking your Facebook followers to come up with themes for your next fundraiser. You might be surprised at how appropriately creative people can be. Not sure if a concept goes too far? Why not ask that volunteer who is in the office every week for her opinion? She's likely to give you an honest answer because she's invested in the organization's success. Plus, she's exactly the audience you're aiming your campaign at so her perspective is particularly valuable.

Sure, being gutsy and staying on topic is challenging. Taking a little time to test a concept on existing supporters can save headaches down the road. But if you do it well, gutsy theming can make your message go viral in a good way, and be lots of fun in the process.

What's the gutsiest fundraiser you've created or seen? Share your gutsy ideas in the Comments!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week, Marlena Docter

This Charitable Superhero had no idea what her neighbor is up to. 

When Marlena Docter was introduced to Best Buddies Kentucky (BBKY) Director Chris Head, she was surprised to recognize him as her neighbor from down the street. When he described the organization to her, Marlena decided that becoming a Best Buddies Champion was the perfect way to increase her community involvement and put her sales skills to great use, spreading awareness for the organization.

Marlena is enjoying being a Champion and plans to continue her support of the organization long after the Champion program ends.
“It’s not about the prizes; it’s about raising awareness and support for BBKY. I’m really enjoying meeting new people and spreading the word. It’s such a great program and more people need to be aware of it.”

Her neighborhood connection to the organization wasn’t the only surprising thing. Marlena says,
“Something that surprised me, is how generous everybody in Louisville has been toward BBKY, donating funds and auction items. It’s been amazing to hear of so many people who are excited to give back to such a great organization.”

Marlena looks forward to the Murder Mystery Dinner, and has collected some really great items for the silent auction. Her auction list includes: a University of Louisville basket with a t-shirt, coffee mugs, a voucher for 4 football tickets, 4 basketball tickets, and an autographed football by coach Charlie Strong; a family package for Christmas at the Galt House and a one-night stay in a deluxe suite; a Brown-Forman basket with  a selection of products; and a framed picture of the Louisville Legends, complete with autographed matte featuring Legends Denny Crumb, Pat Day, and Joe B Hall, among others.  
Those are auction items any Louisville native would be excited to win. But the real winners here are the children and young adults whose friendships those auction items will support, and two neighbors who've joined forces for a great cause.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

A gift for World Habitat Day

Today is World Habitat Day, a day to celebrate the work of volunteers, donors, and employees who make Habitat for Humanity one of the most relied on, most critical nonprofits worldwide. Safe, affordable housing has far-reaching effects in every community. When Habitat for Humanity moves into a neighborhood, the area is on its way to sustainability.

To celebrate World Habitat Day, the HuTerra Foundation is extending our custom-designed Habitat for Humanity website application. This project is growing quickly. Habitat affiliates across the nation are adopting it and experiencing increased support and interest. Check out the Habitat for Humanity website here. Or, you can help a Habitat affiliate get a new website by donating to the HuTerra Foundation and joining our mission to make nonprofits more sustainable through technology.

Friday, October 4, 2013

This fundraising idea cuts down on sugared-up students while raising money for your school

There seem to be two truths to every Halloween:

  1. Many people over-spend on candy
  2. It's difficult to stay focused on learning the day after a candy binge

Rather than dreading November 1 this year, turn Halloween into an opportunity for your school community to support eating healthy and to support the school! The concept is really simple and this fundraiser is fast and easy to pull off. Here’s how:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Brian Coxon

A lifetime of friendship led this Charitable Superhero to become a Champion

Brian Coxon is no stranger to the importance of friendship for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). As a child, Brian had a good friend who was diagnosed with autism. In fact, he still does. The two are lifelong pals, but Brian was surprised to learn of a resource that could have provided more support for his friend at a young age.

“As important as he is to me, I’d never heard of Best Buddies before I was approached to become a Champion. I found out that my friend’s family hadn’t heard of Best Buddies before, either. This isn’t a particularly young organization. The point that drives home is just how important it is to spread awareness for what Best Buddies Kentucky is doing, what an asset it is to our community.”

In addition to raising funds and awareness, Brian wants people to understand that becoming a Buddy positively affects both members of the match.

“Friendship is so important for everybody. Best Buddies matches aren’t just about being nice right now. It’s about making a friend for life.”

Brian has a special event planned to raise awareness and funding for the Best Buddies Kentucky program. He’s teamed up with Louisville local favorite, Gerstle’s, for a day of great food, great drinks, great music, and cornhole-tournament fun. Join Brian and Best Buddies starting at 3p.m. on Saturday October 19 to support a great cause!

Brian is seeking donations of food, paper plates, plastic forks, etc. for the event. Contact media@huterra.com if you can help with the event. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Taylor Brown

This week’s Charitable Superhero is hooked on philanthropy and friendship

Little did Taylor Brown realize that it would change her life when a coworker signed up to become a Champion for Best Buddies. But, when something came up that made it difficult for her coworker to complete the 2013 Champion program, Taylor decided to take her place.
Champion for Best Buddies Kentucky
“It was the first I’d heard of Best Buddies, but once I learned about what they do, I felt compelled to raise awareness for the organization’s work. It’s something easy for people to be part of, and being a Buddy isn’t a huge commitment-- it’s just making friends and being a friend to somebody.”

Taylor says that she’s most exciting about raising awareness for the organization. She recently learned that there is a Best Buddies chapter at her alma mater, the University of Kentucky, that most students aren't aware of.
“This is the first philanthropic activity I've ever done. I’m really excited! When I’m explaining it to people, it’s such an easy concept and I wish I’d known about it in high school and college. People need to know about it so they can contribute.”

Taylor has a strategy for winning the Champion of the Year award. We don’t want to give it away to her competitors, but it involves spreading awareness to her sizable family and social network. She plans to stay involved with Best Buddies after the competition, regardless of who is crowned ultimate Champion.  
“Simply being a friend to somebody is the easiest, yet most selfless thing a person can do.” 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Five Steps to achieving your three biggest goals

HuTerra's Charitable Superhero of the Week program celebrates volunteers and helps nonprofits engage more supporters. 

As a nonprofit administrator, you know the importance of celebrating volunteers. From manning events to helping children learn to read, volunteers are the workforce that makes so many things possible. We all know that a disgruntled volunteer can be a real problem, especially when they cause the organization to lose support. Volunteers are in it for the cause, and because their hearts are in the work, a little gratitude can go a long way. A little gratitude helps make volunteers part of the organization, and offers them ownership in a way that opens donor wallets and the hearts of others. Ideas abound on how best to thank volunteers, but many take time and money that nonprofit workers don't always have an abundance of. 

HuTerra's Charitable Superhero of the Week (CSW) program is the easiest, fastest way to celebrate your volunteers and help your mission message go viral. It doesn't cost anything, and actually works as a fundraiser for your organization. When you honor a volunteer, that person's friends and family are more likely to support your work. 

Here's how to nominate your volunteers to be honored as Charitable Superheroes (no limit on how many):
1. Go to www.HuTerra.com, find your nonprofit organization, and claim your Community (you must be a nonprofit admin or be a permitted representative of the organization). 
2. Create a Fundraiser for your nonprofit organization. 
3. Put us in contact with your nominee. We recommend letting your nominees know in advance to expect our email or phone call. 
4. Follow HuTerra on Facebook and Twitter
5. Share the article link when we alert you that your volunteer is the Charitable Superhero of the Week! 

That's it! In just 10 minutes, you'll increase support for the organization and generate revenue, all while getting your message to more people and reminding your volunteers how needed they truly are. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: London Ann Arbuckle

This Charitable Superhero has a soft spot for philanthropy

As an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay, London Ann Arbuckle spends a lot of time empowering others. Philanthropy is important to her, and London Ann regularly finds ways to combine a passion for charity work with her passion for Mary Kay. When tornadoes destroyed most of Henryville, Indiana including the schools in 2012, London Ann’s Mary Kay unit took up donations for the Henryville prom, and were able to donate prom dresses, shoes, and makeup looks for the girls at the school, helping them to enjoy a little bit of normalcy in the wake of disaster. In speaking about the Henryville prom project, she says
“It was just amazing to see how many people reached out to help during that disaster. It was amazing to see people respond to that. I remember one of my consultants got a postcard in the mail and it was this beautiful thank-you postcard from the students we helped. You can make something beautiful even out of a tragedy, if you work hard and try.

Another project that we did that was really cool was Pampering with a Purpose. We took up donations to put together overnight bags for the women who have sick children at Kosair Children’s Hospital. So we put together little overnight bags with things like body wash and face wash so they could keep it in their car and always have them, because in a situation like that, you never know when you’ll be able to get away for a little while to take a quick shower. We were also able to do an auction and raise money for Kosair along with that project.”

Similarly, they raised money for storm victims in Moore, Oklahoma through a special “Mascara for Moore” sale earlier this year. Now, London Ann is using her professional and social networks to generate support for Best Buddies Kentucky. She learned about the Best Buddies Champion program from a fellow member of Business Networking International, and felt immediately drawn to it:
“I felt very called to BBKY. I was doing a personal bible study and one of the questions it asked was “when is my heart ignited?” It said when your heart is ignited, that’s an area where God can use you, and I wrote my heart is ignited when I’m around people with special needs. I just have a soft spot in my heart… that everyone should have friends and feel important. Whether it’s an elderly person, or someone with special needs, everyone should have friends and be loved. The BBKY Champions program speaks to that soft spot, and allows me to share my compassion and passion for helping all people feel loved and important.”

London Ann says that raising awareness is the most important aspect of being a Best Buddies Champion:
“Raising awareness of other people and getting them involved in some way, to have an impact on how people see people around them. I feel like I’m called to do this, it’s a life changing experience to get to have such a positive impact, and I’m excited to see what God has in store for me through this experience. This is something I care about deeply: it’s so important to have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

You can learn more about Best Buddies Kentucky by joining them on Facebook and Twitter.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Amanda Betts

This Charitable Superhero is setting a great example

Best Buddies of Kentucky (BBKY) facilitates friendships. The mission of Best Buddies is to help individuals form lifelong bonds that break down barriers and create opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Every year, BBKY holds a fundraising and awareness program, where local philanthropists and business people sign up to become Champions. Those chosen spend several weeks raising money and awareness for the organization. Highlights of the program include special events that connect the Champions to their cause. The entire program culminates in one candidate being crowned Champion of the Year.

The Charitable Superhero of the Week is BBKY Champion, Amanda Betts. The Champions program is Amanda’s first experience with the organization. She says that she’s drawn to help spread awareness of BBKY and IDD because
“Unfortunately we’ve all seen instances in school where kids with disabilities are outcast or made of fun, and I think it’s important to support them. Spreading awareness and supporting Best Buddies is a great way to support people with disabilities and create an environment where they aren’t outcast or made fun of.”

Becoming a Champion isn’t Amanda’s only Charitable Superhero endeavor. She’s also very involved with breast cancer awareness and participates in a lot of awareness walks for organizations like the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Walk, and the National MS Society’s annual walk. She usually takes her four year old son along in his stroller. Amanda hopes that participating with her in charitable events will help her son become aware of important causes and encourage him to be engaged in volunteerism when he grows up.

“I like sharing it with him because volunteerism is something I’m drawn to and would do more of if I had the time.”

Amanda’s son isn’t the only child she shares her love of volunteering with. She’s also a regular volunteer with Junior Achievement, an organization that teaches children about financial and business intelligence.
As for volunteering with BBKY, Amanda says she’s most looking forward to getting to know the people the organization serves, and being able to support them through the program and in the community.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nonprofits Working Together Get Big Results

Several months ago, we at HuTerra were introduced to a Director at a Habitat for Humanity State Support Organization. State Support Organizations (SSOs) are Habitat organizations that are formed in each state (though not every state has one yet) with the mission to strengthen and support all the Habitat for Humanity affiliates, ReStores, and groups in their respective states. Like each Habitat affiliate, SSOs are independent nonprofit organizations. Unlike affiliates, SSOs don't build homes. They are tasked with creating a collaborative environment to strengthen Habitats and Habitat efforts in their states.

The Director we had the pleasure of meeting is Sara Kierzek, of the Wisconsin SSO. As we got to know her, we learned that one thing many Habitat organizations struggle to maintain is technology, specifically websites. Helping nonprofits is kind of our thing, and we just happen to have technology resources available that we could use to solve this problem for Habitat organizations. Before we knew it, HuTerra started working with Habby Habitats for Habitats, that fosters collaboration among all participating Habitat organizations while allowing each to maintain independence and autonomy. It does this through group forums, news feeds, and free webmaster training, along with great features that are just what Habitats want and need.

Habitat SSOs and affiliates in Wisconsin, Kentucky, and North Carolina to create a website application designed

The first one to launch was the Wisconsin SSO's site. Within days of the new site going live, they experienced a marked increase in information requests, donations, and event registrations. 

Everybody was pretty excited. So, they asked if we could make it available to all Habitat organizations nationwide. We added some more functionality, and said sure. Then, before we offered it to all Habitat organizations in the United States, we got funding from the HuTerra Foundation to cover the setup costs for Habitat affiliates and ReStores, because helping nonprofits is what we do.

It's available now to all Habitat for Humanity organizations across the United States. Check it out here: http://hfh-wi-template.huterra.com/content/site-could-be-yours

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Ezra Nash

This boy has heart. 

When the American Heart Association's annual fundraiser launched at Ezra Nash's school last spring, he sprung into action. According to Ezra,
"It's important to help this organization because some kids don't have healthy hearts and people need to help fix their hearts so they can grow up strong." 
Help indeed. Ezra worked tirelessly on his fundraiser and raised over $450 in just three days! He was the top fundraiser in his school, and enjoyed the experience so much, he's set his sights on helping raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. As Ezra puts it
"Some kids get cancer, and that just sucks. They can't go to school, and they can't go out and play. We have to help end cancer so those kids don't have to be in the hospital any more."
Ezra's goal is to raise $500 to help find a cure for cancer. You can support this young Charitable Superhero's efforts by making a donation and sharing his story with your friends and family. Way to go, Ezra! You're a true Charitable Superhero!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

5 Ideas for encouraging supporters to fundraise for you

There’s a rule of thirds in fundraising that says your fundraising campaign will receive one-third of donations from the top 10 donors; one-third of donations from the middle 100 donors; and one-third of donations from a lot of little micro-donations. For small organizations struggling to restore giving to pre-recession levels, attracting enough micro-donors to the cause can be time consuming, and left until the end of the campaign after the big donors are secured. The problem with putting off getting the micro-donations is that the last third of your fundraising goal often takes the longest to obtain.

Instead, create a fundraising strategy that starts with a firm plan for communicating the need for the smaller donations and mobilizing existing supporters to bring in the micro-donations while organization staff focuses on the upper two-thirds of the fundraising goal. HuTerra’s online fundraising platform makes it easy to create a fundraiser then have supporters create their own supporting fundraisers under it. Consider creating rolling campaigns that each last a month and have different themes. That way you’ll appeal to more people and keep the campaign going.

Thing is, even the most dedicated supporters need a little incentive to fundraiser for your organization. You can do this by offering incentives for the biggest fundraisers. This works well if you create a three month strategy where each month has a different fundraiser theme for supporters to fundraise under. Three months means you’ll need three prizes for the three top fundraisers. During the campaign, use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to cheer on your fundraising team. A little recognition goes a long way with supporters, and they’ll respond by working harder to spread your mission message and bring in more donors.

Here are five ideas for prizes that will get your supporters energized to fundraise for your cause:
  1. Ask local businesses to donate gift certificates. Lots of people will share Facebook posts to get donations if they might get a free massage out of it.
  2. Find out who in the organization, including regular volunteers and donors, is crafty and ask them to each donate an item.
  3. Use what you have around the office. The Fund for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky ran a fundraising campaign where donors were entered into drawings to win random items out of the President and CEO’s office. Like many nonprofit leaders, Barbara Sexton Smith had accumulated a lot of mugs, shirts, and desk toys. People gave daily for chances to win random stuff, and her office got a good cleaning out. Win-win.
  4. Hold a luncheon for the top fundraisers. This doesn’t have to be expensive, just take the top three fundraisers to lunch along with some employees and people your organization helps. It will help your top fundraisers feel part of the organization and they’ll want to help again in the future.
  5. Crown them as your organization’s fundraising champions and feature them on your website and social media communities.
Finding incentives really can be as easy as getting into the old storage closet where your organization’s vintage event t-shirts have been long forgotten. Offer them up and ask supporters to help you fundraise. You’ll make progress on the one-third of your fundraising campaign that comes from micro-donations, while spreading the mission message and freeing staff up to bring in the top tier donors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Patti Ciak of The Einstein Project

This Charitable Superhero is a hands-on advocate for hands-on science. 

When the phone rang six years ago, Patti Ciak wasn't thinking about Alexander Graham Bell, or sound waves, or even electricity. She was finishing a term on the Board of Directors at a local nonprofit, and was wondering what her next adventure would be. The phone call was for Mr. Ciak, asking if he would consider joining the volunteer Board of Directors for The Einstein Project, an organization that provides hands-on science experiences for teachers and students. Mr. Ciak’s schedule didn't allow him to sign on, but he suggested they ask Patti.

Patti was familiar with The Einstein Project and knew that her daughter, a teacher, used their materials in her classroom and was a big advocate for the organization’s work. It was the perfect timing to try something new, so Patti agreed to join The Einstein Project.

That was six years ago. Now Patti is The Einstein Project’s volunteer, volunteer coordinator, among other roles. She says the organization has a small staff, and she doesn't mind helping out in any way possible because "I just think it's vital that hands-on science stay part of the curriculum. I think The Einstein Project’s strong commitment to their mission to hands-on science, and their customer service focus to their end users is unique. They are a constant resource for the teachers and the students. They offer training sessions for teachers who use their kits, to ensure quality of experience and education, and they are always working to incorporate technology resources to support the teachers and students."

Executive Director Kelly Ellis says, “Patti is one of those volunteers that every nonprofit needs. She is on our Board of Directors, four committees and countless ad hoc groups. The Einstein Project is not just a place for Patti to stop in and give her two cents. She gives us her time, talent, and treasure, but more than that, she brings a ray of sunshine when she visits our office or shows up at an event. Patti is a great champion for our cause.”

Patti is currently helping The Einstein Project prepare for one of their largest annual fundraising events, Wild about Science (previously Butterflies on Parade). Learn more about how The Einstein Project is keeping hands-on science in classrooms at www.einsteinproject.org/

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The best idea in school fundraising? Stop sending kids door-to-door.

Memes Help Little Girls School Fundraising
This girl's parents got creative when it was time for school fundraising. 

Happy August! As the hottest days of summer set in, the new school year is just around the corner. In preparation, parents are getting hit with long, expensive school supply lists; teachers are organizing materials; and parent groups are planning fundraisers to supplement this year's education spending cuts. It's a resources grab on many levels that leaves educators and parents alike frazzled and fretting before the first starting bell rings. 

There is a host of school fundraising ideas out there, and most of them are pretty good. Parents and teachers can be a really creative bunch, especially when education is on the line. Recent years have seen a change in willingness, though. Parents are weary of buying stuff they don't need and doesn't hold up, and are leery of sending their kids out as a door-to-door sales force to hawk company wares. Teachers and parent volunteers are weary of trying to keep up with orders that may or may not have been placed, and payments that may or may not have been sent. The effort involved in many school fundraisers is a strain on already tapped out resources, and parents and teachers still end up supplementing classroom supplies from their pockets anyway. 

The girl in the photo is onto something. Rather than using the same old school fundraising sales, why not tap into social media and hold fundraisers that 1. have higher earning potential, 2. keep kids off the sales-streets, and 3. minimize confusion over orders and payments? Free fundraising platforms simplify school fundraising, take less time to create and manage, and tap into a larger donor audience. Plus, it allows for creativity and illustrates to the students how they can make a positive impact. 

Here's a super-simple school fundraiser plan:

First, make your free HuTerra member account. It takes mere seconds. If you are a school administrator or a parent group administrator, search for your organization and "Claim your Community." HuTerra does have a verification process that takes a couple days. We're hands-on like that, and we want to be certain that nonprofit organizations are properly represented. 

If you're not an administrator, but would like to create a fundraiser, you can do that too. Create your member account then find your school or parent group General Fundraiser, then "Create a Supporting Fundraiser."
Fundraiser tips:
The general idea here is to get school families to fundraise and spread the word for you. Encourage families to get involved by creating a fundraiser with a fun theme that students can get creative and build upon. Here's an easy one for early in the school year: Why We Love Our School. Then families can create their own supporting fundraisers off the main one. Students can create images, write poetry and stories, and do all kinds of wacky things to share the many reasons they love school. It's fun, and it reinforces a sense of Community.
Provide a couple prize incentives. Perhaps the student who raises the most money can shadow the Principal for a day. The student with the most creative fundraiser can earn a coloring set. Prizes can be donated by parents, or even by local businesses. It never hurts to ask if a great restaurant will donate a gift card so the top-fundraising family can enjoy an evening out. 
Once the fundraiser is setup, you need to use the school's website, email, Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, even old fashioned notes home to let families know about it. Share the link to the main fundraiser you created and tell them about the plan (go make your own supporting fundraiser), and the incentives. Point out that if you raise enough money, you won't have to send their kids door-to-door with wrapping paper in the fall. Many parents will spend a few minutes just to avoid fundraising sales. 

Remind families daily through electronic communication means, and weekly by backpack messages to keep fundraising and to have fun with it. A good school fundraiser length is two weeks. They'll need to share their fundraiser links with all of their friends, family, and colleagues. Many coworkers will gladly make a secure online donation if they know they won't have to buy wrapping paper from you later. Remind families that they can share their links on Facebook, Twitter, and through email as well. By doing so, your fundraiser will reach way more people than door-to-door sales can possibly reach. Now, your fundraiser has more earning potential than just how much wrapping paper Grandma can stuff in her closet. 

Once the two week period is over, let everybody know what a great job they did, and how proud you are of your students for creating a positive impact on your school. Follow through with promised incentives in a timely manner. Enjoy that you just fundraised a bunch of money, everybody had fun doing it, and nobody had to keep up with cash and check donations. HuTerra will send a secure check for the donations to your school or parent organization. 

Want a little help? We love to hear from you and we love to lend a hand! Visit www.HuTerra.com, and use the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page. Good luck fundraising, and let us know how it's going! We love to share ideas. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Jean Kurth of the Bay Area Humane Society

This volunteer doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty 

Anybody who has ever worked or volunteered in an animal shelter knows just how nasty the laundry can be, and how quickly it piles up. This week’s Charitable Superhero tackles one of the grossest shelter tasks, and amazingly shows up to do it every single week—and has for years.

Jean Kurth’s weekly laundry tackling is a fundamental part of the Bay Area Humane Society’s work. Tanya Zwick, CVT Program Manager at the Bay Area Humane Society explains just how much the shelter relies on Jean:

“This dedicated, hardworking lady has been coming to the shelter every week for longer than we've had a computer to track volunteers. She washes, dries, and folds the mountains of laundry that the shelter animals create. BAHS is very lucky to have a wonderful volunteer like Jean.”

The Bay Area Humane Society provides many services beyond helping animals find forever homes and people find the joy of adding furry friends to their families. The organization also provides access to low-cost services like vaccine clinics, and reuniting pets with their lost families. The broad range of services offered makes the Bay Area Humane Society as much of a cornerstone of the local community as Jean is to the organization.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Create Sustainability with Community-centric Fundraising

Donor-centric fundraising is outdated. 

We all hear a lot about donor-centric fundraising and the importance of nurturing donor relationships, of having a customer-service attitude when it comes to financial supporters and volunteers. The problem with this attitude is that it’s outward facing. Donor-centric fundraising keeps supporters at arms-length, in essence telling them that they are apart from the organization. Though many of the same ideals of donor-centric fundraising apply, there is a better way. Community-centric fundraising builds on the best practices of donor-centric fundraising, but makes supporters part of the organization, rather than apart from it.

Let’s admit it: we often don’t want our supporters too close to our work because we don’t want to have to listen to their ideas and criticism with a smile. What we often forget in the daily grind is that we likely couldn’t continue our work without these supporters. We forget that they are just trying to help because they care about the work the organization does and they see us as their teammates in meeting the mission goals. Community-centric fundraising turns supporters into teammates, growing the bond between them and the organization, all while creating sustainability, generating revenue, and lowering operating costs.
Just like donor-centric fundraising, community-centric fundraising begins with an attitude shift to viewing every contact with every supporter as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship. You’re not after a one-time donation, you’re after a lifetime of contributions. Those contributions don’t only come in the form of money. Volunteers and people who will spread your message are as vital to the mission as financial contributors.

Remember to update your supporters as often as possible. Newsletters are a great way to communicate longer pieces of information, but using social media like Facebook, Twitter, and HuTerra to share news puts your message in front of supporters with little effort on either part. Don’t wait for the big announcements. Let your supporters know what the organization does daily to work for the mission. Small daily updates provide transparency, and make supporters feel like they really know the organization and the people who work for it.

Get to know supporters by name, and get them to learn the names of the people working at your organization. Donors give more when they make a human connection, and volunteers are much more likely to show up if they feel welcome. An empty smile when they come in and a mumbled thank-you when they leave does not create a sense of community. Take your time and nurture these relationships—you’ll get more from supporters for the effort.

Perhaps even more important than individual contributions is turning supporters into advocates for your organization. You want them to know about the organization and the work it does so that they can spread the word. Educate supporters on the data so they can answer questions. Prepare them to speak on the organization’s behalf, then ask them to help you spread the word.

You can use social networks to ask for help. Offer your supporters some information about the organization, like a great infographic, and ask them to share it with their friends and families. Ask them to share their testimonials about the organization. Ask them to take a few minutes to fundraise on the organization’s behalf.
Too often, we focus on asking the individual donor for money. We should also ask them to share links to the fundraisers. Community-centric fundraising goes beyond that. It gives supporters the tools to get imaginative and create fundraisers that support the organization. Enabling existing supporters to fundraise on the organization’s behalf, in their own way, gets your mission message out to a much larger audience than the one your development director can access. It also creates revenue with little work on the organization’s behalf.

By making supporters part of the organization, rather than apart from it, you mobilize an untapped workforce for the cause. Free onlinefundraising tools allow supporters to create their own fundraisers for you organization, and they never have to touch the money. That means that the more your supporters fundraise, the more donations show up, and the more resources you have available for building donor relationships so more supporters will fundraise on your behalf.