Friday, November 14, 2014

Participate in #GivingTuesday with HuTerra

We’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as days dedicated to spending following Thanksgiving. Despite the bad rap these pseudo holidays receive for encouraging greed immediately after a day of centered entirely around giving thanks, they certainly serve a purpose. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the busiest and most profitable time of the year, but the kick off of two days dedicated to large scale spending are the most notable.

Similarly, the nonprofit realm receives the most donations of the year during this month, with a dedicated day to start off the season of spending. In 2012, Giving Tuesday was born and became the Black Friday of nonprofits.

Whether your participation in Giving Tuesday is to balance out a 4 a.m. shopping excursion, or because you want to help those in need experience a truly memorable holiday season they may not be able to otherwise have, your donation will make a difference to your favorite charity. Just last year, this dedicated day of giving helped nonprofits raise $27 million. In fact, every year since its inception, Giving Tuesday donation amounts have doubled, which is great news for nonprofits. 

On December 2nd, the hardest part of your participation should be choosing which organization you would like to donate to. HuTerra’s unique platform makes the rest of the process a cinch with an easy and safe donation process. Simply go to HuTerra.com and either login or sign up to create a profile.


Search for your favorite cause through “Find Communities,” to find the charity or through “Find Fundraisers,” to find a specific fundraiser the nonprofit is running.



Click “Donate” to fill out your contact and donation information.



Share your activity on your social networks and encourage your friends and family to participate in Giving Tuesday.



Who will you donate to on December 2nd, 2014? Leave your answer below in the comments!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Increase Awareness for Your Fundraiser

When there is a large fundraising goal to achieve, it can be easy to put all focus into obtaining large donations. While these large contributions are crucial to reaching your goal, smaller-scale donations deserve just as much focus. In order to get these donations, people need to be aware of the fundraiser and its purpose. The following tips will help your fundraiser gain the awareness it needs to be successful.

Partner with a well-known business

Partner your nonprofit with a well-known local business that will offer discounts, with the proceeds supporting your cause. These services could be performed either at a one-day event or long term with coupons or discounts towards specific services or products. This benefits the business with more foot traffic, and your nonprofit with greater awareness and donations.

Partnering with the local business should not stop with the event or discounts. Partner with their social media team to really pool your resources. Put your heads together to create new content to raise awareness and promote the event. Make sure to really interact with each other on different social media platforms. Share, Like, Comment and Retweet posts related to the event. Sharing an audience with your business partner allows for a much greater reach and increases potential for customer interaction.
 
Salon CTI employees and Salon Professional Academy students
pose before the Cut-A-Thon.
Image Credit: on.fb.me/1ndb3Vk 
For example, HuTerra recently partnered with SalonCTI and Salon Professionals Academy - Appleton for a Cut-A-Thon. The Cut-A-Thon offered haircuts at a discounted rate of $15, with the proceeds being donated to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Collaborating with both the salon and the academy on Facebook and Twitter through tagging the companies in posts and sharing, liking, and retweeting content more than doubled our audience reach and customer interaction.

Develop a specific social media campaign

Collaborating with another company’s social media team is great for the cause and the fundraiser. A higher reach equals far more awareness to the cause. However, without an action plan, this newly gained audience is irrelevant. The first thing to decide is the purpose for the social media push. Are you trying to drive traffic to an event? Are you looking to develop awareness for your cause? Do you want to increase site traffic? Or are you trying to solicit higher donations for your fundraiser?

You will also want to develop unique, shareable and easy to remember content to get recognition. Create relevant hashtags and post pictures to get your audience interested. Reach out to anyone with a large following to share your content or use your hashtag. Good ideas for this are local celebrities and public figures such as radio or TV hosts, athletes and/or their spouses, politicians and big business owners.
 
Salon and Academy owner Josif Wittnik promoting the Cut-A-Thon with
his #OrangeThumbie
In a joint effort with the Cut-A-Thon, we also launched the #OrangeThumbie social media campaign.We challenged people to paint their thumb nail orange (the color for hunger awareness), upload a “thumbie,” a selfie showing off their painted nail, with the hashtag #OrangeThumbie and encouraged them to donate to the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin fundraiser. The campaign started with HuTerra employees and the owner of Salon CTI. The salon employees and academy’s students posted their “thumbies” to their pages as an event kick-off and our team also had a connection with a local news anchor who joined in on the thumbie fun as traction started growing. 






What kind of awareness have you raised for your cause through partnering with a local business or through a large social media campaign? Share your experience below in the comments!



Monday, September 15, 2014

Keep Your Students Safe with Online Fundraising

Online fundraising offers schools and students alike numerous benefits, with safety at the forefront. At HuTerra, we understand just how important student safety is. Our online fundraising exhibits this in four meaningful ways.
  1. No more door-to-door fundraising
  2. Sharing information via social media
  3. Easier for parents to stay involved
  4. Option to have products delivered individually

Online stores mean that students no longer need to walk up and down their street knocking on neighbors’ doors or entering busy companies asking people to purchase from their fundraiser. This aspect is particularly significant to students who are actively involved with extra-curriculars and don’t have time to fundraise until later in the evening, when it’s often already dark outside.

Eliminating the need for door to door fundraising does not mean that students no longer need to ask for purchases. We provide easy-to-share links and templates for both email and social media platforms. Sharing their fundraiser via social media means students are only asking people they already know, mainly family and friends they and their parents trust.

The times parents feel most uneasy are those when they are not given all of the relevant or essential information. With post templates and easily shareable buttons, parents can see exactly what information their student will be sharing. This also allows the parents to be more actively involved with the opportunity to share the fundraiser on their own pages as well.

An online MarketPlace exhibits safety even through delivery of the products. Some of our stores offer the option to have the products delivered right to the individual purchaser, which eliminates the need for students to drop off the products throughout the neighborhood or city.


To learn more about our online fundraising for schools, or to check out the available stores, visit http://marketplace.huterra.com/

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Use Community Resources to Improve Your Nonprofit

There are so many valuable resources available for nonprofits and small businesses, but they are
often under-utilized. Being aware of and using community resources can not only offer needed solutions to existing concerns, but can also broaden the organization’s reach and build their network. When your nonprofit collaborates with these programs, the consulting organization may give you a shout-out or share your posts on social media. These mentions can easily grow your following or educate people about your cause. To learn what resources are available to you, try searching “Main Street Communities” in your area, or “small business resources” in your city. This may take some digging, but will be worth the effort. Another good place to start is to look through your city or county’s official website. The following organizations offer a glimpse of what is available in the Green Bay area.
Collaborations offer many benefits to small nonprofits
  • Definitely De Pere offers several committees, which focus on economic development and business services, community beautification, design review and enhancement projects and community events, among others. 
  • On Broadway, Inc. brings together businesses in the Broadway District through events and promotions. 
  • Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce caters to both individuals and small businesses. Current for Young Professionals connects young professionals to the business world through education, leadership programs and networking events. Their business programs offer consulting services and assistance in addition to finding ideal locations for businesses. 
  • Green Bay SCORE offers Northeastern Wisconsin entrepreneurs guidance and mentoring and provides workshops and tools for entrepreneurs to succeed.



What community resources have you utilized to improve your small business or nonprofit? Share your experiences below in the comments!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

3 Ways to Use Social Media for Your School Fundraiser

We all know that social media is easiest and quickest way to access information. But have you considered using social media to support your school’s fundraiser? Using social media for a fundraiser is beneficial to both the organizers and the supporters. By using these tips, you are sure to get the most out of your fundraiser.

Greater Reach

Sharing the fundraiser page on various social media platforms allows both students and the school to expand their reach. When the students share the fundraising page on their social media accounts, they are reaching far more people than they would going door to door or calling extended family members. Anyone who follows their page will have the opportunity to see what the student is selling. Likewise, by the school sharing the fundraiser on its accounts, the school is able to reach and involve more of the community. People often purchase from fundraisers in their school district, even if they don’t have children enrolled, because they want to support the students in their community. Seeing a social media post on their own time also allows supporters flexibility. If they see the fundraiser when they are busy, they can always come back to it, instead of needing to order immediately when a student calls or is at the door.
Using social media allows your fundraiser to reach more people
with far less effort.


Accessibility

Sharing a fundraiser on social media is easy, especially for students who are constantly on their accounts anyway. As long as they have a Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus account, they are able to share the information. It only takes a quick share of a link and a brief description written for all of their followers to see the information they need. As long as the supporters have an account on these sites, it doesn't take them any extra effort to purchase from a fundraiser while they are already scrolling through their newsfeeds.


Higher Engagement


Using social media to promote a school fundraiser allows for much more personalization. Students can make the posts be as fun and creative as they want. If they choose, they can add relevant hashtags or upload pictures to get the post more visibility. This is a chance for them to have a lot of fun with the selling. The more interesting and unique a fundraiser appears to be, the more supporters will interact with them, and ultimately, the more they are likely to purchase.


What success have you had using social media for your school fundraiser? Share your experience in the comments below!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Importance of Writing Donor Thank Yous

It’s no secret how much nonprofits rely on donors. Nonprofits appreciate both the donor and the
donation, but often forget the importance of letting them know. It is easy to get bogged down by deadlines and reaching goals, however, thanking your donors is just as crucial as acquiring funds. Writing a thank you will leave your donors with a strong and lasting impression. If their efforts go unacknowledged, why would they consider future donations?

Appreciation and gratitude

You know what a donation means to your cause, so make sure your supporters know it too. Writing a thank you is an excellent opportunity to show the donor the organization’s appreciation and gratitude. However, simply stating that you appreciate the donation isn’t enough. You need to truly show them the importance. Explain what the funds will be used for and how that impacts the organization. This shows the donor that their contribution, no matter the size, made a difference to the cause. When a supporter feels appreciated and knows what kind of impact their donation made, you are more likely to build a lasting relationship. These relationships can lead to future gifts in addition to volunteer support. Considering how costly and time-consuming acquiring new donors can be, you don’t want to hurt yourself doubly by losing any current donors.

Maintain legitimacy

The importance of thank yous goes even beyond expressing gratitude. It proves your nonprofit is legitimate and organized. Putting forth the effort of a thank you shows supporters the same amount of effort will be exhibited throughout other aspects of running the organization. Not only does it show that you are organized, it keeps you accountable to actually be organized. Thank yous help keep your records clean and up-to-date. This is an easy and effiecient way for your nonprofit to always know who has recently donated.

Content and Details

Taking the time to thank a donor can go a long way.
While half the battle is completing the thank yous, the second half is backing up what you say. Your letters must be sincere and personalized. The very first to-do of your letter is to address the person individually. There is nothing worse than hearing how much of a difference you made when the letter-writers can’t even bother to include your first and last name instead of “Dear Friend.” This shows your donors that he or she, as a person, matters just as much as they money. It is also just as important to send the letters in a timely manner. Within days of receiving the donation, a thank you should be sent. Going too long without acknowledgement shows that you don’t care about the funds received. Donors may also wonder if the donation was received, or even forget
they donated if too long has passed.





What tips do you have for writing donor thank yous? Share your comments below!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Amp Up Your Membership Program

Many nonprofits heavily depend on donations. The easiest way to increase donor loyalty and to keep donations recurring is to implement a membership program. However, creating enough incentive for supporters to pay for a membership may be daunting. The following tips will help you
Offering small gifts with memberships
will keep your donors loyal.
amp up your membership program to be more attractive to your supporters. 

Start with the basics and build up

Before you can create an extravagant membership program with plenty of perks, you need to first create the basics of what a membership to your organization entails. The most important aspects to consider are how long the membership will last, whether it is meant for individual or family use and how much the membership will cost the supporter. Once the basics have been decided, more exciting details can be planned. However, the actual memberships also need to start with the basics and build up. The membership program should have multiple options available, with the benefits growing with the donation amount.

Minimum package level must-haves

This package should start with free admission if your organization (such as a zoo, park or museum) charges guest visits. This will be the best way to get a supporter to continually frequent your organization. The more they interact with what they are supporting, the more important they will view the cause. Chances are, their visits will bring in other guests as well. Since you are encouraging them to visit more often, the membership should also include discounts towards anything else that the venue charges. For example, a percentage off at the gift shop and/or classes or programs offered by the venue. For the minimum membership level, this discount should be around 10-15%.

If your supporter cares enough about your organization or cause to become a member, chances are they will want to be kept up-to-date. Add them to your mail or email newsletter list. It is important that your members are kept in the loop so they know exactly what their support is doing for their cause. If they don’t know what happens with their money, what is the point of their donation? This communication is also a great way for your members to feel connected and truly a part of the organization. When they can tell they are making a difference, they are more likely to stay involved.

Mid-level packages

Mid-level packages should contain everything the minimum-level package does, but with additional benefits. Start by raising any discount prices another 5-10% and include extra communication from the organization. Sending a different picture each month from your venue with a statistic or piece of trivia could go a long way. For example, a zoo could send a picture or postcard of a different exhibit with a fact about the animals living in it. Another option to include in mid-level packages is member-only invites. This could be as formal or casual as fits your organization, from a formal dinner to an outdoor concert to private walking tours. An animal activist may want to get a “meet and greet” to see the animals that their money helped rescue, while a nature enthusiast may appreciate an outdoor concert at the community garden that their donations helped flourish.


Top-level packages

Like the mid-level membership packages, the top-level packages should offer everything the previous packages do, with even more benefits. Discount levels should be raised to a significant amount and extra “freebies” should be offered. At this point, their membership offers should really leave an impression on them. For interactive venues such as museums or zoos, free admission to similar or partner venues around the country could be offered. This is also a good opportunity to send gifts that will really resonate with the member. For example, venue stickers and coloring books could be sent to family memberships. Millennials often appreciate t-shirts and printed or embossed silicone bracelets from their cause. A nature enthusiast may also appreciate seeds or seedlings to plant from an arbor society or botanical garden, while animal supporters may enjoy the chance to name new animals in zoos or shelters.


What special perks do your membership programs offer? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Charitable Champion: Alyssa Thomas

Alyssa Thomas is a college intern working to make positive changes in Kenyan communities through Kenya Works.


Kenya Works is a US-based nonprofit that develops educational workshops for communities throughout Kenya. Since its inception in 2004, the organization has worked towards decreasing gender-based violence, increasing the amount of school attendance in girls and building floors and desks in schools to minimize the health risks that come from children sitting solely on dirt floors.

Alyssa’s role with Kenya Works is to promote what the organization is doing through videos and written articles. By converting and condensing pre-written articles, she is able to keep everything on the website looking uniform. Alyssa has also written four articles herself, as well as the summer 2014 newsletter for Kenya Works. On the visual end of her work, she clipped and edited pre-recorded material into a video about a workshop Kenya Works facilitated on positive parenting and gender-based violence. She also matched the film with music and slides to bring the project to completion.

The most rewarding part of the internship to Alyssa is hearing success stories and how people have been impacted by Kenya Works. Alyssa says she enjoys hearing about Executive Director Julie Schaller-Schmdit’s visits to Kenya and looks forward to continuing working with her throughout the school year.



If you know someone who donates, volunteers or otherwise supports charitable causes, nominate them as a Charitable Champion.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Organize Fun Team-Building Activities

A big role in every team leader’s responsibilities is to develop relationships among his or her team. Relationships among team members or employees need to be built beyond assignments or projects, and separate from the daily work environment. By using the following three tips, you can ensure that your team has a positive, enjoyable experience.

Partner with another organization

By partnering with a similar organization in your community, your team will be able to get the most out of the experience. Not only will they be interacting with their own team, but will be able to meet other like-minded individuals who are working towards a similar goal. This creates a sense of community and is also a good networking opportunity.
Image Credit: My Team Triumph on.fb.me/XgLKFX 

For example, HuTerra recently partnered with My Team Triumph – Wisconsin Chapter for the Packers 5K. My Team Triumph is a national organization that pairs handicapped adults and children (Captains) with adults (Angels) in the community to accomplish a physical goal, such as a race. My Team Triumph approached HuTerra through the re:find program, which partners area businesses to run as Angels with the Captains to promote team-building. One of our participants said that meeting people from other businesses was one of her favorite aspects of the activity. 

How do I find the right kind of activities for my team?

The first and most important thing to look for when planning team-building activities is to make sure it will be something your employees will actually take interest in. Partnering with My Team Triumph for this race was a natural fit for our employees, as many of them are Packers fans who also appreciate physical activities such as distance running. This race was also an activity that our team could truly get something out of and left our participants feeling very appreciative. One team member said “You don’t recognize what you have until you work with people who can’t do the same things you can physically and/or mentally.”

If you are partnering with another organization, it is crucial to pick an organization that will be both professional and easy to work with. Look for companies that are well-known in your community, well organized, and can effectively communicate with you. The better the communication lines are, the easier it will be for you.

Get Feedback from your team

To gauge the effectiveness of your activities, it is important for you to find out how your team felt about them. Reach out to your employees for their honest opinions. The only way to get accurate feedback is to openly engage with them. Really listen to what they say and encourage them to be honest, whether their experience was favorable or not. Using this feedback, you will be able to determine what direction to take for further team-building.

After the Packers 5K, one of the participants said he enjoyed working with My Team Triumph and would again in the future because it was well-organized, information was easily accessible, it helped him get into shape and pushed him outside his comfort zone.


What experiences have you had organizing team-building efforts? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Charitable Champion: Abby Habeck

This college student is making a big impact in her community. 

Abby Habeck is a summer intern with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin who is working towards some positive changes within the organization.

Feeding America is a national food bank that also raises money, all of which goes to pantries across the country. Feeding America also consists of regional branches, including the Eastern Wisconsin chapter. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distributes more than 20 million pounds of food to 330,000 people in 27 counties.

Abby’s role with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is fundraising for their campaign to get a new food distribution center in the town of Little Chute. This distribution center will provide Northeastern Wisconsin residents in need access to more food and resources. Most of Abby’s fundraising work is in the form of grant writing, but she has also participated in two fundraising events: the Packers Softball Game Homerun Derby and Street Music Week. These two events raised more than $5,500 towards Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin’s ultimate goal of $5,000,000. Abby says that while this amount may seem small in comparison to the end-goal, “it is great to see the community taking action and spreading awareness of the work Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin does.”

Abby’s favorite part of her internship is when she sees her work pay off in the form of donations or mobile food pantries. “Not only does it show the work I have done, but the end result is something that benefits a good cause, which is a very rewarding experience.”


If you know someone who donates, volunteers or otherwise supports charitable causes, nominate them as a Charitable Champion.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Plan a Charity 5K

We recently posted about the work involved in planning a charity picnic. Kicking off the start of the Suamico Firefighters Volunteer Association picnic was a charity run: the Stop, Drop and Run 5K. Using our experience from planning the 5K, we have some tips to help you plan a successful charity run. 

The first and most important thing to cross off your to-do list is to get full cooperation from the city. You will need to get the city’s approval and a parade permit in order to close off any roads that your run will go through. Without having traffic blocked, your participants will not be able to run in a safe and protected environment, so make sure this detail is taken care of right away. Because charity runs are becoming popular in the fundraising world, this first step of planning should take place about six months to one year in advance so your event is not competing with other area fundraisers. This time frame also allows for the proper amount of planning time.

Once your event is cleared by the city, your next focus should be promoting it. The channels of promotion that gained the most attention for the Stop, Drop and Run 5K were radio advertising and paid Facebook ads. After the run started gaining some traction, we found many people also found out from friends and family, so make sure your volunteers and event staff spread the word!

Two things to make sure to have for the participants are t-shirts and water. People like to have t-shirts as a fun souvenir of something participated in and completed. If your run is paired with a bigger event, such as a picnic, you can sell any extra shirts to other attendees for additional profit. T-shirts are also a good way to advertise your sponsors by listing them on the back. Providing water stations for your runners is the best way you can ensure they stay properly hydrated. Remember, it is better to have too many water bottles than to have your participants experiencing dehydration. 
One of the runners crossing the finish line
If you are looking for a way to get more involvement, we suggest including a Kids Run. Parents are always looking for fun and inexpensive activities to keep their children healthy and active. Including a Kids Run is a great way for parents and their children to have an experience together, whether the parent runs alongside their child or separately in the 5K. A children’s portion is also a fun way to make your event stand out from other events. Our children’s run featured firefighters running with the kids, fire trucks and a mascot dog greeting the runners at the end of the race. Parents and children alike loved the interaction and it provided some good photo opportunities.

Two of Suamico's fire trucks 
Rocket congratulates a runner as she crosses the finish line.

Running next to a firefighter was a huge hit!

Kids loved getting their picture taken with Rocket!

What successes have you had in planning a charity run? Share your tips or experiences below in the comments!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Incorporating Your Community into Activity Planning: A Guide for Nonprofits

Whether you are a mentor to one person or running a group program, thinking up new and engaging activities can be tiresome. It’s also easy to find yourself in a rut, planning the same activities over and over if you’ve already had success with them. A great way to find new activities is to immerse yourself in your community. Instead of waiting for community events to find you or your nonprofit, make the initiative to look for them yourself! By using the following three ideas, you are sure to find new activities to enjoy.

Find new establishments in your area

By looking up recently-opened establishments such as restaurants or entertainment venues, you can find new places to frequent. The best way to find out to new places is through word of mouth, so ask around! Chances are someone you know can refer you to their new favorite place or warn you about any poor experiences they’ve had. If you’re not finding much from those around you, head to the Internet. Google can be your best friend when trying to find new places in your community, but also check out city websites and platforms like UrbanSpoon for restaurants. Make sure to check out the company website and reviews first if you’re headed somewhere with children to make sure it will be age appropriate.

Find upcoming events

Through finding new establishments, you may come across events they sponsor or are hosting. These are usually free or low-cost events that you can take your group or mentee to. These are great ways to support any organizations you find that you have an interest in or are relevant to what you do. These events are also a good way for you to learn more about what the company has to offer. If you are having trouble finding events through your new favorite establishments, look up event calendars through your city, local news outlets, libraries, museums, and sports teams.

Odd national holidays

Google “odd national holidays,” and you will be surprised at the amount of holidays that come up. When you find days that appeal to you and your group, use them for your outings. It’s even better if you can incorporate these quirky days into one of the other activities you found. For example, one of our HuTerrians Monica took her Little Sister, matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin, to a local ice cream shop that opened last month to celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month.




Do you have any good ideas for planning activities for your nonprofit? Share your experiences below in the comments!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Planning a Successful Charity Picnic

A successful charity picnic requires a significant amount of prior planning. By using these planning tips, we can help your event run smoothly.

Your first step is to have a pre-planning session in which you develop a purpose for your event, plan for the demographic of your attendees and set a budget. Once you have your purpose, or event “wish list,” set and a proposed budget, you will need to seek sponsorships. The money you spend on your picnic should come from these sponsorships.

While planning a community picnic, an essential thing to keep in mind is providing entertainment throughout the whole day. This event should be family-friendly, with a focus on providing children-centric activities, while still catering to the adult crowd.

Recently, HuTerra Foundation partnered with the Suamico Firefighters Volunteer Association for their annual picnic. For the children, we provided firefighter-themed games, a bounce house, face painting and temporary tattoos. It is important to have games and activities for different age groups and skill levels. For example, we had a Ducky Dip game for younger children to enjoy by choosing a rubber duck in a pool and their prize was determined by the color on the bottom of the duck. Older children really enjoyed a Spray Away game, which consisted of shooting extinguisher-shaped squirt guns at ping pong balls to knock them off their pegs.

One of our guests picking a prize after playing Ducky Dip

Do you think you could knock off the whole row?

The bounce house was a huge hit with the kids
A children’s run is also a great way to engage your youth guests. Our picnic started off with a children’s run in which the children could run alongside firefighters and were met at the finish line by a mascot fire dog. We also included two game tickets in each runner’s post-race bag to encourage them to stay and enjoy our other activities.

Parents and children alike loved running next to the firefighters

Runners were congratulated by Rocket upon completion of the race

When planning entertainment for adults, it is important to appeal to those attending with and without children. We booked several local bands to perform throughout the day, offered raffles and advertised affordable beverage prices as strong draws to our adult crowd.

The Cougars during their performance

Some of our staff members taking a break to catch a few songs by The Cougars
While planning your picnic, you may find that you are stretching yourself thin amongst everyone reporting to you. One way to ease some day-of stress is to send out instructions to all of your volunteers prior to the event. This way, your volunteers will know what they are responsible for and where to report to upon arrival without searching for you first. This will also relieve some responsibilities for you day of so you can focus on other aspects of coordination. It is also important to know who your volunteer audience is so you can prepare how to most efficiently communicate with them.

Another key thing to remember is your “thank yous.” After your picnic is completed, make sure to send a personalized thank you to each of your sponsors. This personal connection will create a lasting impression and your sponsors will be more likely to sponsor future events. You will also want to make sure you genuinely thank your volunteers for their time and effort. Building a strong relationship with your volunteers makes them feel connected to your organization. When they feel they are a part of your cause, they are more likely to volunteer again.


If we could leave you with one lasting piece of advice, it is to always stay calm and to go with whatever comes your way. Anything that can go wrong, probably will. You can’t always plan for which difficulties will arise, but your event’s success will be determined by your reactions. You can find a solution to any hurdle you come across, as long as you’re willing to work through it and you have a strong team backing you.



What tips and tricks do you have for planning events like a charity picnic? Share your ideas below in the comments!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How Crowdfunding Isn't Stealing Your Job

We occasionally hear from nonprofit development directors that have significant reservations about crowdfunding. Among are the top are:
made with usechisel.com

  1. Crowdfunding is a fad 
  2. You can't raise much with crowdfunding
  3. Crowdfunding may eventually replace development

These are valid concerns, but allow me to put your mind at ease.

1. Crowdfunding is a fad. 
Crowdfunding by name might be a fad, but it is the natural evolution of peer-to-peer fundraising that development directors have used and encouraged for years. While micro-donations can't take the place of those big endowments that come from relationship building, it's unlikely that in today's uber-connected world, getting people to frequently donate small amounts and ask their friends to support the causes they care about is going to change. We might call it something else, but crowdfunding as a practice is here to stay.

2. You can't raise much with crowdfunding.
While we think of crowdfunding in terms of microdonations, small things can add up to big things. At HuTerra, we've had individuals create creative fundraiser that raised thousands for their favorite charities-- money the organizations weren't expecting! What could you do with an extra $10,000?

3. Crowdfunding may eventually replace development.
Crowdfunding offers a great opportunity to get younger people involved in your cause. But it still takes development and relationship building to move those people up the pyramid of giving. Crowdfunding can't replace a great development director. It is another arrow in your quiver, but only you can make your next crowdfunding campaign great, and only you can build relationships that make first-time supporters turn into endowment supporters.

We created HuTerra to help connect nonprofit development to crowdfunding in a way that builds your nonprofit's support community- in short, to make crowdfunding a free tool in your development strategy. So, what other concerns do you have about crowdfunding?




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Free Tools for Creating Images to Use in Social Media

There is evidence that including images with tweets can boost retweets by 150%. That's a staggering amount of reach -- and awareness -- from one tweet. But images cost time and money that many nonprofits just don't have. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you create images in a jiffy...

1. Canva is a free online image creator that is easy to use, and offers premium images for just $1 each.

2. Cool Text allows you to create word art for free.
3. Create infographics for free, no expertise needed with Infogr.am 

Made with Chisel
4. Chisel allows you to put text on images to tell your nonprofit's story.

5. Your smartphone. Desperate for an image to go with a tweet? Snap a photo of the work going on in the office. Followers love seeing how you actually create good in the world!

Do you use free online image tools to create content for social media? If so, what's your favorite?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't Let Your Next Crowdfunding Campaign Fail

TechImpact recently published The 5 Reasons Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail. Topping the list is lack of planning. We couldn't agree more! In fact, the other four items on that list can really be addressed with better planning.

We find that many nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns are put together too hurriedly to work well.

Even then, most organizations manage to bring in a few hundred more in donations than were originally planned for. But imagine having the opportunity to take your time and plan a really great campaign that both drives donations and grows your support community!

Even if you are getting started with a campaign now, go ahead and start planning your next campaign. That way, you'll have time to think through all the details so the campaign runs smoothly and effectively when the time comes. Download our free crowdfunding planning guide to get started.

Friday, May 16, 2014

What's in a #HashTag?

Hashtags are those things you see around the internet that are used to categorize posts. Facebook and Twitter both use the standard # symbol to create hashtags, and Google+ uses a + before the tag (you know, because learning all the intricacies of social media isn't hard enough). The algorithms used by social networks to sort who sees what rely on hashtags, so it's a good idea to use them as much as possible, where appropriate.

HuTerra Foundation's #ImpactInspired
hashtag is used when we talk about
things that inspire people to give, volunteer,
and donate to the causes they care about. 
A couple notes about using hashtags:
  • Please don't go overboard. Not every post needs a hashtag.
  • Don't use too many in a single post. #It #gets #annoying #and #hard #to #read.
  • Stick to hashtags that are relevant to your topic or post. Using irrelevant hashtags is spammy and nobody will like it. 

Now that we have that all cleared up, let's consider how to create your own hashtag:
  • Get creative and be meaningful. You want your hashtag to reflect your organization in a way that resonates with a large audience and conveys something about what you do. 
  • Do your research. Be thorough in checking the internet for other uses of the hashtag. Avoid any that are already in use or that are too generic (unless you have a campaign planned around an existing hashtag, like Water is Life's ingenious use of the #FirstWorldProblems tag). 
  • Tap into your network and ask for feedback. Does the hashtag resonate? Can anybody think of any negative connotations that could be associated with it? We often don't see the other side of what we're trying to convey. Learn a lesson from McDonald's hashtag nightmare
  • Create posts that tell the story of what your hashtag means. Otherwise, you just have a hashtag that won't resonate a message because there is no message behind it. 
Have you created your own hashtag? Share it with us in the comments!






Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Tips for Talking about Social Media with Your Boss

It can be difficult to explain social media to the boss, especially when he or she doesn't use it. But when you've been charged with handling the social media for your nonprofit organization, conversations about it are necessary. Here are three tips to helping your boss understand social media:

1. Run the metrics and present them as pie charts. It's especially important to use Google Analytics to determine how your social media efforts drive traffic and donations to your website. Pie charts are a great way to make the information accessible. Plus, Google Analytics does it for you.

2. Draw the connection between social media and crowdfunding. Run a short crowdfunding campaign and then show your boss how that brought in donations that otherwise wouldn't have come in. Unexpected income = ROI for your social efforts.

Getting your boss online
will give your organization an advocate.
3. Offer to help them get online. The best way to get your boss on board with your social media Facebook account, and show the boss how to use it. Who knows? They might become your biggest online advocate.
efforts is to get them online. Offer to help him or her create a

Have you struggled to get your boss to understand your organization's social media efforts? What have you done to shed light on the confusing world of social media for crowdfunding?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Add free credit card processing to get more out of your fundraising event


The HuTerra Team running checkout at Prevea Runway for Life 2014

A good crowdfunding platform offers more than a way to accept online donations. Creating a special fundraiser to collect donations at fundraising events allows you to easily accept credit card payments for auctions, and add additional donations when supporters want to give more.

At the 2014 Prevea Runway for Life, Breast Cancer Family Foundation tapped into the ease of online giving to increase ticket sales, auction purchases, and additional donations. Because supporters weren't forced to rely on cash and checks, they were able to dig a little deeper and make additional donations to support the organization's cause. Because the HuTerra Foundation doesn't charge for our service, Breast Cancer Family Foundation was able to keep more of the money raised by the silent auction - over $14,000!

It's easy to add credit card processing to your fundraising event. Staff needs computers or tablets with internet access- most event venues offer free internet access. If not, a WiFi hotspot can do the trick for very little cost.

Before the event, create a fundraiser specific to the fundraising you'll be doing at the event. You can see an example of what Runway for Life (a 501c3) did here. During the event, assign staff to the checkout. They can enter donors' credit card information into the secure system, and donors will get email receipts. You can then download the donation details from the crowdfunding site, and not worry about keeping up with cash and checks.

Have a special need, or want some help? Contact us and we'll help you get set up. Helping your nonprofit is what we do!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Engage with Other Organizations to Boost Your Nonprofit's Social Media

Facebook continues to lower post reach as they encourage pages to pay for reach. While corporations moan and groan over that, it's often nonprofits that feel the pinch the most. There is no budget to pay for post reach, and without it, how to you continue to spread the word beyond a handful of established followers?

One trick is to engage with other organizations and their followers online. Have your page Like pages of other nonprofits in your area and in your field. Local businesses are also good to follow on Facebook.

You can see your page's newsfeed by clicking Home next to your page's name in the upper right corner of your page's Facebook profile. Scroll through, and look for posts that:

1. Would be of interest to your followers. Share these posts with a note that adds value and be sure to tag the original poster.

2. Are relevant to what you do. Comment on these posts as your page- but be sure to leave a comment that is relevant and useful to the existing discussion.

Engage with relevant, fun posts.
3. Offer an opportunity to humanize your organization. Sometimes you can find opportunities to
leave comments and engage in the discussion on a more personal level, even as your page. For example, if you work for an animal welfare organization, your page might leave a comment on another animal welfare organization's post that asks for photos of pets. Snap a pic of your own pet, and share it, maybe with a comment like "Georgia dog loves to help around the office! - Nicole". One important note- if you leave a more personal comment, sign your comment with your first name or initials. It shows the humanity behind the organization.

Getting your page to be an active participant on Facebook provides more value to followers and your organization alike. After all, you wouldn't just show up and say things in your personal status but never comment or Like your friends' posts. Why should an organization's page be any different?