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