Raising Money Without Asking for It

During these winter months, giving can decrease as people prepare and recover from holiday shopping and gift giving. A report by Campbell Rinker shows that 7 in 10 Americans say they will give more sparingly to charities in the coming months.  But there are ways to help your donors help your organization without making them give you money.  Here are some ideas from Guidestar:

  1. While there is something special in going to a store and picking out a gift personally, many people choose to do their shopping online.  Register your organization with GoodShop and direct your supporters to start their online shopping trips there before going on to any of the more than 2,500 stores which offer to percentage of almost every purchase to your organization. Plus, GoodShop has more than 100,000 coupons listed to save your supporters money.
  2. Hold a gadget drive at your organization for old electronics and turn them in for cash.  Gazelle for Good is a great resource for setting up a gadget drive fundraiser. They even let you personalize a webpage for easy online promotion. 100% of the value goes to your cause.
  3. American Express and Citi Card offer cardholders the chance to turn their credit card points into charitable donations.
  4. GoodSearch.com is a Yahoo!-powered search engine and it donates about a penny per search. It works just like any other search engine but a donation is made each time someone searches on it.

There are a few more ideas on GuideStar here.

This article was featured in the December 2011 issue of our monthly newsletter, CDP Press.
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5 Ways to Show Respect

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me.”

Aretha Franklin proudly spelled out the word in song, but how do you show respect to others you encounter in your daily life and workplace?  Many non-profits may try to show respect for their employees and volunteers, but may mistake genuine respect for being polite and considerate.  Here are five tips to keep in mind.

1. Listen.

I mean, really listen.  Of course you might be busy, but find a time when you can intentionally listen to the person and share their problems for a bit.

2.  Make eye contact.

Looking someone in the eye while they are talking shows that you are engaged in the conversation.  You can react to their facial expressions and quickly convey what you are feeling about what they are saying.  It lets them know that they have your full attention.

3. Be on time.

Nothing says “Your time is valuable to me” like being on time to a meeting or appointment.  You know how it makes you feel when someone is late to meet with you. Apply the golden rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

4. Be encouraging.

For some people, it takes a great deal of courage to share an idea.  It can be easy to shoot down an idea that someone is very excited about or make them feel unimportant.  Genuinely encourage others to show that you truly value them and their ideas.

5. Create a learning environment.

Building into people shows that you respect them.  Giving them the materials they need to learn something new and then showing them how to do it are both important in creating the atmosphere to learn.

Of course, there are many more ways to show respect.  How do you show respect to others?

For more tips, check out the full article here.


This article was featured in our monthly newsletter, Bridgeworks Connect.
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November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Homeless YouthEach year more than 1.5 million children are homeless at some point in their lives, and that number is increasing.” That quote comes from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and shows just how big an issue  Youth Homelessness is.  Whether the child is a runaway, an orphan or hitting hard times with their family, being on the street exposes them to many dangers – increased likelihood of substance abuse, early parenthood, impulsivity, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a vulnerability to being trafficked.

Almost 40% of those who are currently homeless are under the age of 18, according to Covenant House.  They also state that in the United States, as many as 20,000 kids are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.  With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that the month of November has been designated as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, when temperatures are dropping across the nation.

Here are some great sites with information for various groups to get involved and help stamp out homelessness:

National Homeless Youth Awareness Month (November 2011)NCTSN

What Is Family Homelessness?The National Center on Family Homelessness

National Alliance to End Homelessness

If you are a shelter, this would be a great time to reach out to your supporters and enlist them to help.  Break down the need into bite-sized chunks to encourage involvement as focusing on the big picture can be overwhelming.  Be specific about what your shelter needs.  Maybe you have enough food donations, but not enough clothes.  Maybe you have the workers/volunteers, but not enough money to buy beds.  Maybe you have enough size 1 diapers, but not enough size 5’s.  Also, make it a family affair.  Brainstorm ways for parents AND their children to get involved and come serve.

If you are not a shelter, or an organization offering homelessness assistance, here are some ways that you can get involved:

  • Find a local shelter that works with homeless youth and learn about what is being done in your community to fight youth homelessness.
  • Volunteer your time by serving food at these shelters.  Many teens who are homeless are not getting the education they need to succeed in life once they reach adulthood.  Volunteer as a tutor to help these youths get or stay on track to a high school diploma or GED.  Proper job training can be vital to helping kids interview for a job and keep that job to meet their basic costs of living like rent.
  • Volunteer on a search group to find homeless youths and help bring them to the shelter where they can get assistance and be provided with resources to help get and keep them off the streets.
  • Donate much needed materials to shelters.  As winter creeps ever closer, homeless shelters struggle to keep enough blankets, towels and coats in their facilities to meet the needs.  Other items needed are shampoo, soap, new socks and undergarments and much more.  Contact your local shelter and ask what their biggest need is, then coordinate a drive with your workplace, place of worship and community.
  • As a non-profit, you may have a related service you provide. Have you thought about working a collaboration with a local shelter? Sharing resources in this economy is a great way to continue to meet needs without going over budget. For example, a community garden program could donate their fresh vegetables to the shelter for healthy dinners.  A women’s quilting club could come together and donate their finished blankets.  The possibilities are endless.

This article was featured in the November 2011 issue of our monthly newsletter, CDP Press.
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National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is coming up April 10th-16th, 2011. Organizations across the country are taking this time to promote projects led by volunteers and to show their appreciation for those who give their time and energy to volunteer with them. Hands On Network publishes a significant amount of material of resources for organizing volunteer projects, showing appreciation and maintaining volunteer support. Here are some highlights:

  • Recognition is a key component of volunteer management. it makes volunteers feel appreciated and valued.
  • Recognition can take many forms: a simple thank-you card, a free lunch, or a large annual event.
  • The kind of recognition you give to volunteers may depend on the kind of volunteer. Try to match the recognition with the type of volunteer: Achievement-oriented volunteers, Affiliation-oriented volunteers, and Power-oriented volunteers.
  • Recognition should also vary based on whether the volunteer is a long-term or short-term volunteer. Short-term recognition should be immediate and from the group leader. Long-term volunteers should be honored by the whole group and from a person in authority, such as the Executive Director.
  • Give recognition frequently. Once a year at a banquet is not enough.
  • Give recognition honestly. Praise someone only if you mean it, and don’t praise substandard performance, or praise for good work will not be valued.
  • Give it in an individualized fashion and to the actual persons volunteering, not to the work being done.

For more information, visit the Hands on Network Library page.

We have more posts about Volunteers on our blog.  You can find them by following this link:  Volunteers on CDP’s Blog


This article was featured in the April 2011 issue of our monthly newsletter, CDP Press.  
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The Point, Groupon and G-Team

The Point

Give money or do something – but only when it matters.

Have you sent out an email request to your supporters, asking them to donate for a specific cause? Or to help with a particular event like folding newsletter mailings or making sandwiches for the children you serve? When the time comes, it can be a toss-up as to whether you have enough help or not.

The Point seeks to guard against that. On the website, campaigns can be created and then have a “tipping point” set – meaning that people pledge to help only if enough people sign up, or if enough money is pledged. This way, you can be sure to make an significant change because you have what you need.

And The Point is non-exclusive, so it can be used to raise money to clean up a local park or to buy a ping-pong table for the staff room.

The Point Website
Learn More
Starting Campaigns video


If you spend any time online, you’ve probably seen advertisements for Groupon. Groupon features a discounted offer each day to a different place in your nearby major city. However, not just anyone can get the coupon when they feel like it. First, there has to be enough people to say they want the deal. Then, once enough people are on board, the deal “tips” and those people are then charged the discounted price and sent the coupon.

Groupon has been heralded as the “fastest growing company ever.” But Groupon has its roots not in the business world, but in social action. We talked about The Point, Groupon’s mother site, if you will. But The Point, with much less exposure and branding than Groupon, has been left chugging along at a canter while Groupon has raced forward like a speedskater.

The founder of both, Andrew Mason, decided to get back to the foundation of The Point and use the powerhouse of Groupon. This union is called G-Team and is currently being tested in Chicago. Here is how it works: A Groupon is set out (*ex. $35 for an $80 Bike Tune-Up) and then a Point campaign is attached to it (ex. If $1,000 is raised, a local bike cooperative will fix up 100 broken bikes and donate them to disadvantaged youth).

They are already seeing great results in Chicago and will soon be looking to expand it to some of the 88 other cities in which Groupon currently deals. You can find more information on the Groupon website here. Also, be sure to check out The Point to see if it could help you make an impact on your community.

*example taken from the Groupon website.

Volunteering Families

“A growing number of charities are responding to the emerging demand for family-friendly volunteering.  Nonprofit leaders note that parents today often grew up volunteering and want their children to have that same experience.”
The above is a quote from an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, discussing the burgeoning interest in parents wanting their children to get involved in charities and community service.  One parent mentioned in the article is Heather Jack who went on to found Volunteer Family when she couldn’t find a charity willing to take her and her 5 year old daughter on as volunteers.  Here are some highlights of the advice to non-profits from the rest of the article.
  1. Take an incremental approach to bringing on young volunteers.  Time is a precious commodity, not only to you and your organization, but also to the families volunteering.  Start them out small and simple, with maybe an hour’s-worth of service.  Provide several options, too, so people can pick and choose things that fit into their schedules.
  2. Offer age-appropriate opportunities.  Young children may not be allowed to be physically involved in certain projects, like construction sites, but there are a lot of complementary things they can do.  Children can be involved in planning and designing (especially if it’s a children’s facility), helping with landscaping, and even painting murals.  Be sure to have a long-list of age-appropriate activities for kids so they feel they’re involved and safe at the same time.
  3. Recruit volunteers where families congregate.  Church would be the first place many would look for service-minded families but you can also try youth sports venues, school family events and boys and girls clubs like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and American Heritage Girls.
  4. Let young volunteers serve as spokespeople.  Let kids talk about issues that are important to them.  Kids respond to other kids.  When a child knows someone involved in a cause, they will likely want to get involved themselves.  Your young volunteers could be your best support-raisers.
  5. Don’t count out teenagers.  Even with a growing amount of high schools requiring a certain amount of community service hours to graduate, GenerationOn shows that 55% of people between 12 and 18 years of age took part in volunteer activities in 2005 but only 5% of those attributed it to required hours for school programs.  If it is easy for teens to volunteer, the program will become self-sustaining.  It may take a lot of staff coordination, but the payoff is worth the investment.
GenerationOn has made a list of tips and tools for organizations wanting to use young volunteers available on their site.  Organizations wanting to make themselves more family-friendly can post activities and projects on a couple different websites:


“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
Rudyard Kipling

Hans Christian Andersen, Central Park, NY

Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of art. No matter how the story is told, the conveyance of some personal happening, human feeling or fundamental of life is something that everyone is drawn to and is relatable. The best storytellers capitalize on these basics to spark the listeners’ interest and bring them into their world.

 If you are wanting to bring in new supporters to your organization or re-ignite passion in your current supporters, there are some pointers you can take. Whether you decide to go for a typical written story, a “photo-mentary”, or a video-log on YouTube, you can take these ideas and add some flavor to your website, newsletter, and blog. People have so many things vying for their attention that press releases and mundane announcements get lost in the shuffle. Liven things up with some of the following:

  • If your organization has been around for a while (and even if it hasn’t), consider giving a quick but comprehensive history of how it got started. This can open the door for discussion on the major obstacles you faced and how you overcame them.
  • Interview your staff. Ask them about themselves and why they chose to get involved with your organization. Don’t stop there, you can create a montage of quotes and photos of volunteers who come faithfully.
  • What about a particular success story? Testimonials are a great way to bring your cause closer to someone’s heart.
  • If you are working on a particular project, follow it with frequent updates. For example, you are holding a week-long camp for children with disabilities. Catalog the highlights of each day and include photographs.
  • When you have a special event with lots of guests coming through, try setting up a “photo booth.” This is easily done with a black or colored backdrop and a camera on a stand. Invite your guests to stop in for some fun and quirky pictures and provide a book for them to log their names and comments about the event. Then, set up an online photo album or on Facebook with the comments under the pictures.

People want to know that you are real and care about them and why they should/are supporting you. Providing a face to attach to the organization and another way for them to interact with you will make them much more than an interested person or a donor; they will become a supporter and partner, integrated more closely with your organization.

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