Friday, June 28, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Nominate Yours!

Your nonprofit has volunteers it just couldn't do without. Or perhaps you have a friend who is always giving, giving, giving to a great cause. Nominate them for Charitable Superhero of the Week! We'll write an article about their efforts, highlight the causes they care about, and send them a Superhero certificate and their very own safety-green Superhero t-shirt!

To nominate somebody for Charitable Superhero of the Week, send HuTerra a direct message on Facebook or Twitter, or visit and use the Contact Us button at the bottom of the screen. Make sure to tell us how to get in touch with you so we can follow up on the nomination!

It's a great way to say "Thank You"!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Voice of Student Leadership: Passion, Initiative, and Youngsters, Oh My!

Alex Burgraff offers insight to managing student volunteers

Alrighty, so I’m not going to say I’m an expert in this stuff but I do have some experiences under my belt that I can share with you all so we can schmooze over the incredible rewards in the field of student leadership, mentorship, and overall growth. The topic I’m going to cover today is about inspiring students to take initiative… which can either make you pull your hair out and eat it or give you the incredible reward of watching a youngster find their passions and achieve it in the way that suits them.

Key word here? Passion. Passion = initiative. Find a student’s passion they’ll run a marathon when you only asked them to meet you at the end of the block. Force a student to complete something they HATE in a timely fashion and you may end up feeling more like you’re the one running a marathon while pushing them in a broken wheel barrel… barefoot… on gravel.

Now how are you supposed to figure out this kid’s passion and help them let it all out? Well I think my life’s philosophy would come in handy here: don’t over-complicate things. So step 1) ASK THEM. Step 2) find correlating opportunities with answer to number 1. Step 3) Provide coaching and guidance for how to manage passion with deliverables. Step 4) Step back and admire.

Initiative is a key component of success, and highly valued by employers. Helping a student learn how to take initiative through their passions is incredibly rewarding and has the potential to allow our society to grow and expound like never before. Let’s make it happen!

Until next time HuTerrian superheroes… peace! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Ms. Elissa Brunette

This Cats Anonymous volunteer is the cat’s pajamas of animal rescue

When Elissa Brunette met Jack the kitten, she had her work cut out for her. Jack was born without a
diaphragm, though it would take Elissa and the vets a year to reach that diagnoses. Saving Jack became a family cause, and Elissa’s son did fundraising to pay for a life-saving surgery when Jack was a year old. Jack’s struggle to survive was an inspiration to the whole family, and that tiny, sickly foster kitten became a permanent member of the family.

Elissa has always been passionate about animal welfare, but the addition of Jack to her life turned that passion into a way of life. Now, Elissa volunteers with Cats Anonymous, an animal-welfare organization that Trap-Neuter-Returns feral cats in order to humanely reduce the size of feral cat colonies in Wisconsin. Lisa Kay Peters, Cats Anonymous Director, relies on Elissa to help with a particular need,
“Elissa certainly gets "superhero" rank in my book. Not only was she one of the very first volunteers with Cats Anonymous, but she's long been a "go-to" gal for fostering orphaned kittens. Her specialty is "bottle babies" -- those kittens who were orphaned before being weaned and need to be bottle-fed on the hour. It's hard to find volunteers like Elissa who will commit that kind of time and energy (and sheer loss of sleep). I can't even guess at how many lives she has saved in her years of animal welfare work!”

Elissa recently helped save many lives by canvassing neighborhoods to find pets lost in a large apartment fire. The effort has taken weeks and is ongoing. Victims of the Allouez apartment fire lost pets, without knowing for sure if they were lost or died in the fire. Elissa’s close connection to Jack means she understands what these pet owners are going through. She’s worked tirelessly to find lost pets and return them to their families – a true gift for heartbroken pet lovers.

Elissa’s efforts are proof that you can make a difference in the (nine) lives of others. To support Elissa’s efforts, visit Cats Anonymous on HuTerra

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Using Social Media to Dispel the Overhead Myth

Social media offers an effective method of dispelling the Overhead Myth and building donor trust. Get employees involved to maximize efforts.  

Many organizations are still trying to figure out where they stand on social media use by employees. Should you create a social media policy to govern how employees use social media during the workday? Yes. Should you ban social networks from the office entirely? Not so fast…

Whether the organization is nonprofit or for-profit, allowing employees some use of social networks during work hours can be beneficial to the bottom line, especially when employees are encouraged to post positive insights into the organization and industry. This is especially true for nonprofits seeking to engage supporters, and especially important in dispelling the Overhead Myth.

By now, you've probably heard about the Overhead Myth and Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk, wherein he makes a most compelling argument for allowing nonprofits to use funds for marketing to gain more support, and to use funds to maintain a highly-capable workforce. Pallotta’s talk caused a stir among nonprofit organizations and supporters alike. GuideStar, BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator teamed up for a campaign to dispel the Overhead Myth and provide more stability for nonprofits in the global marketplace. Social media is central to the campaign. So much so that the alliance created a social media toolkit to help nonprofits spread the word faster.

While the organization’s executives and social media managers are busy posting about the great work the organization does, and sharing posts from the Overhead Myth toolkit, encouraging employees to help spread the word can make a big difference. Of course, you’ll want your existing supporters to retweet and share posts, but employees have a definite stake in spreading the word as well. Moreover, employee posts can offer insight into just what overhead spending really accomplishes.

The key here is in how the posts are written. It doesn't help for employees to post things like “Gee, I love spending 20 mins around the water cooler #holler!” However, if those 20 minutes were spent brainstorming innovative ways to use a new fundraising platform, a post by an employee can illuminate what it takes to get a fundraiser off the ground. That post would read something more like “Great #idea session on launching our upcoming @HuTerra fundraiser to raise $ to vaccinate more children in Uganda $1=1 vac”.  As a supporter, this post tells me how an employee spent part of the day, alerts me to an upcoming fundraiser, and tells me how my donation translates to real-world impact.

The employee can post to her own social network account, and the organization can share the post, perhaps with a reply like “@Kathy always has great ideas that really work out!” Now Kathy’s post has reached her own connections and the organization’s followers, all while educating supporters and potential supporters about the way stuff gets done in the organization. Overhead doesn't seem like a bad thing when I understand that Kathy deserves to get paid for her work because she brings value to the organization’s efforts to save children in emerging countries.

Call employees together and ask them if they are willing to help the organization thrive by sharing a few tweets and status updates. Some may not, and that should be respected. Many decide to create professional accounts where they only share professional insights, and keep their personal accounts private. That option allows them to separate work and home, and still helps the organization. If done well, it can help the individual to establish more authority in his or her field of expertise. Getting employees trained and onboard with using social media to help the organization helps employees’ bottom line as well. After all, doing away with the Overhead Myth will allow nonprofits more freedom to keep the best talent engaged with better compensation packages, and to improve sustainability. Social media is a great way to work together to better the organization and employees. At the end of the day, it’s the people you help that will get the most benefit when the organization is stronger and more sustainable.

Note: If your organization is new to social media, check out TechRepublic’s Social Media in the Enterprise blog for tips on creating a social media strategy and managing social media content. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Charitable Superhero of the Week: Mr. James Paterson

Saturdays just wouldn't work without him.

There is hidden treasure in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and you don't need a shovel to find it. Door County Habitat for Humanity has a thriving ReStore where shoppers can find amazing treasures for home renovations and 'feathering their nests'. Door County ReStore Manager, Leslie Boden has an eye for DIY that has turned the ReStore into a thriving endeavor. She hasn't had to do it alone. The Door County ReStore has many dedicated volunteers. This week's Charitable Superhero makes Saturdays happen for the store.

Mr. James Paterson of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin is a retired teacher and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for many years. He got involved with the ReStore a couple years ago when he wanted a change from long, hot days on build sites. That was a lucky switch for the ReStore. The shop is open three days a week- Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and Mr. Paterson is there nearly every day.

Like Ms. Boden, Mr. Paterson has a love of restoring old things and finding fun ways to fix items up and give them new purpose. His home features some of his favorite ReStore finds ranging from comfortable leather furniture to unique oil paintings. Stop by the Door County Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and you're sure to find great items and hear some great ideas on what can be done with them. And, thanks to Charitable Superhero James Paterson, you can shop the Door County ReStore on Saturdays too.

We want to see YOU in safety-green! Let us know how you help out your community and you might be honored as a Charitable Superhero of the Week! In addition to the world's gratitude for being so super, you'll also receive a HuTerrian t-shirt and Charitable Superhero certificate of recognition! Visit and click Contact Us in the bottom toolbar to tell us your story today!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Five Tips to Creating a Highly Effective Online Fundraiser

HuTerra makes it easy to setup an online fundraiser that tells a compelling story and shows the impact your organization can make with help from supporters. Here are five top tips to get more donors and larger donations:

1.      Show it—Use compelling images that illustrate the need your organization is addressing and evoke emotional responses to the issue.
For example, if your organization operates a shelter for people experiencing homelessness, which image should you use on your fundraiser?
A. The outside of the building

or B. The homeless person

The second image is attention grabbing and visually shows the need the organization is addressing.

2.      Say it—HuTerra Fundraisers provide a place to include the organization’s mission statement and a place to include information about the Fundraiser. Use this space to write a paragraph or two that describe the need and the organization’s impact on the community. Include data on the problem and data on how the organization has a positive impact. Take your time and include emotion-invoking language that gets readers’ attention. Double check for spelling and grammatical errors. You want your content to shine. End it with a clear ask.

Which statement is more impactful?
A.     Our organization provides a safe place for homeless families to sleep.
       B.     There are an estimated 500 homeless people in Green Bay on a given night. Lack of nighttime shelter puts people at risk of illness and physical harm. Our organization shelters 200 people experiencing homelessness every night. We provide hot meals, counseling, and access to healthcare. A donation of $50 will provide shelter for one night for a person experiencing homelessness. Become a Charitable Superhero to hundreds of people who rely on our organization for warmth and safety from the cold night streets.

Option B provides facts that tell the reader how big the problem is, and the impact the organization has, then gives a clear call to action in a positive manner that makes the reader feel like they really are doing an amazing thing with even a small donation.

3.      Link it—Connect your free online Fundraiser in HuTerra to existing social network pages. This will be useful when it is time to share the link and Fundraiser progress with existing supporters and personal contacts.

4.      Date it—HuTerra Fundraisers do not have to include Start and End dates, and many general Fundraisers will remain active indefinitely so supporters can quickly donate to the general funds for the organizations of their choosing. Research shows that including Start and End dates for Fundraisers creates a sense of urgency that promotes more giving, sooner. When does the organization need the money? Consider the timeline of the need and set Start and End dates accordingly. Refer to knowledge on your organization’s existing supporters’ donor activity to determine how long the Fundraiser should last. Too short, and you miss opportunities to connect with new donors; too long, and giving declines because there is no sense of urgency. Consider the time commitment necessary for different Fundraiser lengths. Can you sustain a lengthy campaign, or is it a better use of resources to do a shorter campaign with a lot of messaging out? Also consider the amount of money needed. It takes less time to raise $5000 than to raise $30,000.

If the homeless shelter’s van broke down and the mechanic says it’s on its last legs, the shelter can estimate that it will have to replace the van in autumn. They know they have to raise $30,000 to purchase a new van. Should they set the Fundraiser for the van for:

           A.     30 days
           B.     Three months

Setting the Fundraiser for three months instills a sense of urgency to donors, but allows a reasonable amount of time for this small organization to raise the necessary money.

5.      Share it—Now that the Fundraiser is setup, it’s time to share, share, share the link and the information to the organization’s existing supporters and personal contacts. Email the link directly to email contacts by copy/pasting into an email message. Include images and information that get attention and end the email message with a direct request that supporters click the link and make a donation. Use similar storytelling and direct asks when posting to Facebook and Twitter. Remember to post as the organization’s Facebook page if you have Admin capabilities, as well as to your personal connections. You’ll be surprised by how many people will help out, simply because they support what you do! Remember to Share the link often, and update supporters on the Fundraiser’s progress so they can see the need and the impact they are making.

Find out just how easy it is to setup an online fundraiser for the causes you care at

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Sweeter Way to Give: Cookie Auctions to Benefit Feed the Children and Victims of the Oklahoma Tornadoes

These Cookie Artists Give All New Meaning to Charitable Superhero

*Update: Donations should be made to Feed the Children -- The Cookie Auction Fundraiser, as HuTerra is able to provide lower bank processing fees so more of your donation will go directly to Feed the Children. HuTerra never receives a cut of donations.

When Shannon Heupel of Artfully Delicious Cookies heard about the tornadoes in Oklahoma, her heart ached for the victims. There was so much damage, so many lives lost, so many children displaced. But what could one cookie artist do to make a big difference in the lives of the victims?

"Over the past few weeks I have watched news reports flood in involving the destruction and devastation in Oklahoma as tornadoes have ripped through. The tornado destroyed homes and families, taking the lives of men, women, and children. As my heart broke at the thought of losing a loved one, not having a home to go to, being trapped in constant turmoil, I knew I had to find a way to help."

Shannon started talking to other cookie artists about the problem. Sending cookies to Oklahoma didn't seem like the answer. The Community of cookie artists wanted to help, but they had to devise a way to turn cookies into donation dough in a timely manner.  

"As I told a group of fellow cookie artists that I wanted to help, they showed their complete support and desire to join me in finding a way to lighten the load of those in Oklahoma. However, we had no idea where to begin in our quest to support Oklahoma, or even how to support. As we were contemplating ideas I heard a commercial on the radio for the charity organization Feed The Children. After listening to their mission I realized how we could help. The cookie artists and I would hold auctions of our cookies with all proceeds going to Feed The Children’s Moore, OK Relief Fund."

Shannon took her idea back to the cookie artist Community and was overwhelmed by the number of people willing to participate. She set about creating a strategy to get the project moving quickly.

"An overwhelming amount of support flooded in as cookie artists volunteered to auction off their cookies without any hesitations. Once we established all those who wanted to help, I set the starting amount to bid and the order that the auctions would be held in. After confirming the plan with Feed The Children’s donation system, we were set to go and on June 1st at 7 am the first auction began." 

Using what they had available, the cookie auctions are held via the artists' Facebook pages. Donations can be made to Feed the Children through The Cookie Auction Fundraiser. The cookie artists have been overwhelmed by the response. The auctions are set to run June 1 - June 6 and by June 5, they had already raised over $6000 of their $10,000 goal. 

Today is the final day to experience just how sweet giving can be! Here's the lineup. Get giving, and good luck!

7-11 am. (Central) -- Lorraine's Cookies
11-3 pm (Central) -- Twins Plus One Goodies to be hosted by Shannon's Artfully Delicious Cookies
3-7 pm (Central) -- Artfully Delicious Cookies will be on the auction block
7-11 pm (Central) -- Sugar Cravings

Remember, your bid is a donation to Feed the Children, so even if you don't win the cookie auctions, your day will still be sweet knowing you made a difference in the lives of Oklahoma tornado victims. 

Charitable Superhero of the Week, Shannon Heupel, cookie artist and Charitable Superhero extraordinaire!