Crowdfunding for Homeless and Runaway Youth

Helping our homeless and runaway youth is what Ride for New Beginnings is all about, a lively crowdfunding event. Harbor House needs funding for its emergency youth shelter, transitional living program, outreach programs and family crisis intervention services.

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This year their bike-a-thon has 2 options, a 3 day or a 5 day ride starting on June 26. Individual crowdfunding participants are required to pay a $100 registration fee, which is a great idea in deferring logistical costs and raising more funds. Each crowdfunding participant has created a fundraising page and are multiplying their fundraising dollars as they tap into their social networks to raise funds for homeless and runaway youth. They’ve included personalized pictures and videos, a personal statement, fundraising thermometer and goal. There is an online control panel for each biker to email friends, update their fundraising webpage, and manage incoming online donations.

“Harbor House is a non-profit agency dedicated to assisting homeless, abused, neglected and abandoned youth, ages 10-21, throughout Central New Jersey. Our mission is to provide a safe haven and caring environment for vulnerable, at-risk youth to enable them to unlock their potential and learn skills that will empower them to build healthier lives, relationships and futures.”

“We understand that it’s not your fault, and the world when you are unprepared is indeed dark, cold and loud. Harbor House, an IRS certified 501©3 non-profit agency, staffed by caring experts, provides you with more than shelter. We freely give you the full, individualized support you need to begin your healthy, happy and ultimately successful life’s journey.”

Crowdfunding Software offers your organization a cutting-edge, responsive website for
your online peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, such as a bike-a-thon or walk-a-thon. Look for crowdfunding software which provides a complete management experience with the ability to customize your website with ease of design for all platforms – desktop, tablets and mobile.

Orphan Care Fundraising Tips

The AIDS Orphan Care vision is to improve the lives of African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS by providing them with the same things we want for our own kids – food, clothing, a warm bed, an education, health care and the knowledge that somebody cares. In Lesotho, Southern Africa, where 1 in 4 adults has HIV, a whole generation of parents have died of HIV/AIDS, leaving more than 100,000 orphans.

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“We can let an orphan know that she’s not alone. Let her know that on the other side of the world, someone cares.”

Each year they hold the AIDS Orphan Care Walkathon, sponsored by the International Child Resource Institute. Their crowdfunding website shares some great fundraising tips, inspiring their participants to aim high. Through their example and those offered by other successful crowdfunding campaigns, we share their keys to success:

Believe in Yourself

  • Registering to participate in an orphan fundraising crowdfunding event is the first step in believing in yourself – believe that you can make a difference.
  • Create your personal fundraising page and add photos and videos that mean something to you and reflect your efforts.
  • Tell your audience of why you care on your personal fundraising page and share your mission statement and vision for the future.
  • Aim high and set your fundraising goal accordingly, believing that you can achieve it.
  • Make a donation to yourself online. Your gift will set the tone for others to give, as leading by example holds such power.

Write about It

  • Send a letter in the mail to friends, family, and co-workers who are not online, asking for their support. Explain why the cause is important to you and put your heart in your words.
  • Use the same letter in emails to everyone you know asking them to sponsor you.
  • Post your letter to your social media pages. You may vary each letter if you wish…be genuine, put some thought and time into it and reach people with your writing.

Make a List

Make a list of potential donors. Include everyone you know.

  1. Your family
  2. Your friends
  3. Your work or school
  4. Your church, temple or religious community
  5. Your neighborhood
  6. Businesses you support
  7. Your sports team or gym
  8. Your social media contacts – Facebook, Twitter, etc
  9. Other groups you participate in: Alumnae group, Book group, Dance or yoga class, Computer class, Bowling team, Your children’s play group

Ask in Person

  • Take your pledge form and personal web page address everywhere you go and ask everyone you interact with to sponsor you.
  • If you don’t ask, you are deciding ‘no’ for someone who may want to give.
  • Get permission to make a brief announcement at a staff meeting, church meeting, or in class. Then make it easy for people to donate by being available afterward with your pledge form and webpage address.
  • Hold public meetings at your library, school or town hall explaining the needs of orphans and why you’re involved in fundraising through your crowdfunding event. Post flyers for these meetings and pass them out on the street.

Reach out to local media channels

  • Call your local radio station or visit in person to ask for an interview to announce your event. Ask them for an opportunity to explain what the needs are of orphans and how people can help through your pledge event.
  • Call or visit your local TV station and ask if you and your team may appear, or ask them to make an announcement for you.
  • Call or visit your local newspaper office and ask for an interview. Bring them your letters and mission statements that you have shared online.
  • Remember that you are doing global community fundraising to help orphans who deserve the help of your local media channels. You are not asking for yourself.

Double and Quadruple Your Money

  • Many employers offer matching funds programs. Inquire with your HR department.
  • Why walk alone? Form a team and get everybody fundraising together. Teams generate fun and energy while you support each other to charge forward and raise more funds.
  • Ask businesses to match your fundraising dollars earned, dollar for dollar. Offer them the recognition of posting thank you notes on your social media platforms and email. Share with local media channels who your fabulous sponsors are.

Free crowdfunding resources are available online to help you in getting started on the road to organizing a successful walk-a-thon. Whether this is your first time planning a walk-a-thon or you already have an established peer-to-peer event, you’ll find some helpful resources.

Matching Gifts: An Underutilized Fundraising Idea for Nonprofits

There is a way to raise more money from donors without asking them to give more of their own money. It’s a fundraising method that raises billions of dollars for nonprofits every year. The reason that your donors might not give you this extra money is because there is an unfortunate lack of awareness for these programs.

We’re talking about matching gifts, which are a type of corporate giving program that can be one of many strategies to boost all of your fundraising campaigns.

matching-giftsWhat is a matching gift?

When employees donate to nonprofits, many companies will match these donations if the nonprofit is registered as an eligible 501(c)(3) or similar charitable organization with the IRS. Not all companies offer charitable giving programs, so employees need to check either with their HR departments or with the help of a matching gift service.

 

As an example, imagine Cleaver, who works for Texas Instruments:

  1. Cleaver makes a $500 donation to his favorite nonprofit.
  2. The nonprofit thanks Cleaver and kindly asks him to see if he’s eligible to give a matching gift.
  3. Cleaver contacts Texas Instruments’ HR department and discovers that they’ll match his donation at a 1:1 (dollar-for-dollar) ratio.
  4. Cleaver submits a matching gift request through the Texas Instruments online portal.
  5. Texas Instruments approves of Cleaver’s request and writes the designated nonprofit a check for $500.
  6. The nonprofit receives both Cleaver’s $500 gift and the donation from Texas Instruments, doubling a $500 donation into a $1,000 donation.

While a calculator from Texas Instruments can solve calculus problems, matching gifts are much simpler. From fundraising for museums to fundraising for summer camps, matching gifts can provide easy, extra money that nonprofits can accrue simply by asking donors to check if their employers offer corporate giving programs.

What are important facts to know about matching gifts?

If you’re going to ask donors for matching gifts, then it’s important to know the lingo of the land:

  • Matching gift ratio – Most companies match/double donations by giving an amount equal to what the employee gave. Other companies might triple (2:1 ratio) or quadruple (3:1 ratio) donations.
  • Minimum matched – Most companies institute minimum donations. The typical minimum is either $25 or $50.
  • Maximum matched – Companies employ maximum amounts so that there’s enough money to go around to all employees who want to provide additional help to the causes they care about. Maximums vary greatly by company and can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
  • Who can apply? – Full-time employees, spouses, board members, part-time employees, and retirees all may be eligible for matching gifts. The specific eligible employees vary by company, and some employees may be able to apply for more matching gifts than others. For example, State Street permits employees to match higher donations depending on their level of employment status with the company. Other companies allow certain employees to apply for 1:1 matches, while permitting higher-level employees to request bigger matches, such as 2:1.
  • How do people submit matching gift requests? – Most employers make it easy for employees by offering online portals through which matching requests may be submitted. Other companies require that requests be submitted to the human resources department using a paper form, and some companies offer the convenience of both options.

Ever showed up to a party and people were using words you couldn’t understand? Now that won’t happen, so long as you’re attending matching gift parties (which, of course, are awesome, and far too rare…).

How can you promote matching gifts?

Knowing that the bakery down the street makes the most delicious cupcakes doesn’t do anything but whet your appetite. In order to satiate your grumbling stomach, you need to actually go to the bakery, buy a cupcake, and eat that dessert like it’s your mouth’s perfect match.

Marketing matching gifts doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Some simple promotional techniques, especially those geared toward the growing presence of online fundraising, can help to spread the word to eligible donors, so they don’t just think about submitting matching requests, but actually do.

cmta-matching-gift-email-newsletter

Whether you’re running a homeless shelter or a  grateful patient program, one of the easiest promotional techniques is implementing matching gift messaging in your email signature. Email signatures can do a surprising amount of work, as you likely send emails to donors, your staff, and prospects.

Donors who are eligible might see the matching gift appeal and finally decide to submit a request. Staff could see the message and decide to incorporate matching gift asks into their own talks with donors. When prospects are made aware of matching gifts, your nonprofit really stands to benefit.

A test revealed that donation appeals featuring matching gifts earned a 37% higher response rate and raised 54% more revenue. The average gift was also 63% higher. Something about knowing that their money can do more encourages donors not only to give, but to be a little more generous with their gifts.

The text for an email signature can be as simple as one of the following examples:

  • Are you eligible for a matching gift? Find out now if you can double your donation: [insert url to a dedicated matching gift page].
  • Did you know that many employers will match employee donations? Find out if you’re eligible for a matching gift: [insert url to a dedicated matching gift page].
  • Matching gifts help [insert name of nonprofit] to do so much more for the community. Please take a few minutes to see if you’re eligible to double your donation: (insert url to a dedicated matching gift page].

Email signatures take mere minutes to set up and can help to inform many donors about the possibility of a matching gift. 93% of employers with corporate giving programs allow their staff to choose the nonprofits to which they donate. Make sure that as many matching gift eligible donors as possible choose your nonprofit by letting them know how the additional funds help your organization.

Matching gift promotion can be done in a variety of ways, most of which are not time intensive or expensive. Think about how your nonprofit promotes other initiatives and how matching gifts could be incorporated into those marketing schemes or promoted with similar efforts.

What companies offer matching gifts?

Plenty of companies offer matching gifts. You want to know who these companies are, because you likely have volunteers who work for these companies, and the additional funds that corporate giving provides can be a big boost for any fundraising campaign. Matching gifts can be incorporated into seasonal fundraising campaigns, annual campaigns, and are one of the top Giving Tuesday campaign ideas to increase fundraising from some of your devoted supporters.

Companies offer matching gifts for a variety of reasons:

  • Support their employees
  • Support the causes that their employees care about
  • Use the matching gift submission process as a chance to screen nonprofits to ensure that their money is being donated to reputable, reliable organizations
  • Promote the company as philanthropic and dedicated to helping the world

Companies large and small offer matching gift programs. General Electric started the first matching gift program in 1954, Microsoft has the biggest corporate giving program, and Soros Fund Management offers one of the most generous matching gift programs. Online crowdfunding might be the new kid on the block in fundraising, but matching gifts can still be an effective way to raise more money, and even from the people who donate to your crowdfunding campaigns.

The heart of successful fundraising entails a dedication to several important factors, but all successful fundraising results in more money raised to support your cause. Matching gifts are an easy, effective way to boost campaigns through money that companies want to give to nonprofits. You just have to ask for it.

 

Guest Post provided by DoubletheDonation – Matching Gifts Made Easy!

Global Community Fundraising with Walk to Africa

Lighthouse Medical Missions, through their global fundraising event on May 16, has a goal of reaching 1,000 walkers to partner with them in reaching 25,000 people in the next two years in Africa. “Through Walk To Africa we raise money to send doctors and volunteers on short-term medical relief trips, build schools, clean water projects, establish vocational schools and restore thousands of lives.”

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 “For six years Santa Monica pediatrician Bob Hamilton refused to consider Pastor Ralph Bowen’s plea to visit Africa. He was busy with his practice and raising 6 children with his wife. Luckily for everyone involved, Bowen kept nagging.”

Dr. Hamilton and his team of volunteers with Light House Medical Missions have made 21 trips to Africa throughout 8 countries, treating 60,00 people with acute medical care. Pastors help in finding buildings to set up clinics and treat the sick. The volunteers include doctors, nurses and teenagers who want to help. Walk to Africa through online pledges helps them to return, maintaining their commitment to global fundraising. Song lyrics by Audio Adrenaline describes a volunteer’s (Dr. Albert Phillips) experience in saving a 3 month old baby:

I want to be your hands
I want to be your feet
I’ll go where you send me
I’ll go where you send me
And I try, yeah I try
To touch the world like
You touched my life
And I find my way
To be your hands

Their crowdfunding event participants include Rosey Grier and former LA Mayer Richard Riordan. Actress Patricia Heaton and her husband donated enough funds to start a 400 student elementary school. Through their successful fundraising efforts Lighthouse Medical Missions purchases medication, supplies, waterworks and wells.

“Teaming up and fundraising together lets you take an active role in the global community and fosters stronger relationships, and comradery among co-workers, friends and family. Your personal webpage is the key.”  Children 12 and under, along with their parents, are invited to participate in the Children’s Walk To Africa, walking on the first leg of the 4 & 8 mile course. “With your support we can save the lives of children in western Africa, build schools and change the face of their village forever!”

When their beloved African people were fighting Ebola, Light House Medical Missions raised $125,00 through a special campaign to send an ocean going container with food, supplies and protective equipment for the medical workers. “In 1998 the first Lighthouse team went to The Gambia, Western Africa. The needs of the people were clear immediately, but their warmth and appreciation were evident as well. This made an impact on our hearts and our relationships with the African people has kept us coming back.”

You can easily create a crowdfunding website to support your global fundraising community. Free resources are available online to plan a virtual event, walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon. Whether this is your first time planning an event or you already have an established peer-to-peer event you’ll find helpful resources online.

Community Fundraising through Crowdfunding

Leading by example, Boys to Men takes fundraising beyond raising funds for a specific cause. They provide an opportunity to improve an entire community through their efforts and crowdfunding. Craig McClain, Executive Director, had this to say about Boys to Men, a 501c3 mentoring program for at risk boys; “We bring a community of boys and men together to support each other, and by doing so we are able to build a better community. Community, which we are going away from, is so important to our program. Just that one word, community, has so much power.”

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On September 19 Boys to Men (BTM) is holding their annual crowdfunding event, 100 Wave Challenge, during which they’ll take inner city kids out surfing. With 175 participants last year and 30,000 emails sent to spread the word about the organization, their supporters are nearly doubling each year. They expect 300 participants this September to join in the fun, each gaining new supporters. The staff appear on television each year to define the mission of Boys to Men to their community, telling about their event, and the specifics as to what BTM does, asking for support. Last year alone their efforts brought them $330,000.

In the San Diego community BTM holds regular in-school meetings at 33 schools during school hours, working closely with school administrators to help at risk boys, 90% of whom are fatherless. They expect they’ll be serving 50 schools within the next year due to their community outreach efforts – in 2009 they were engaged with just one school. Additionally, after- school meetings and evening groups are held weekly and open to all San Diego boys on a voluntary basis. They have created many strong partnerships by this, which alone presents a model for community fundraising for other organizations – schools and nonprofits working together.

Every week Boys to Men mentors show up at middle and high schools to offer boys:

• A community of mentors and role models who listen, encourage and believe in them.
• A community of men who model integrity, accountability, compassion and respect
• A community where boys are empowered to speak their truth, and encouraged to take responsibility for their choices
• A community where boys feel supported, listened to and valued
• A community where boys see their peers are facing similar challenges, and they are NOT ALONE in their struggles.

Joe, 17, came to BTM at the age of 12 in 7th grade. Within a month of joining the program his teachers all noticed an incredible change in him – he had become respectful. He had been seeking negative attention because he felt alone, and instantly had a support group to talk to about his homework, personal struggles, and problems with family and friends. “They don’t tell you what to do, but they lay out options and say they’ll be there to support your choices.”

Joe is graduating from high school early this year and received a scholarship due to his community service efforts. He has helped in the restoration efforts of Lake Helix, and worked on the event setup of The 100 Wave Challenge. “If I had to pick one word about Boys to Men it would be grateful. I don’t know where I’d be without them…for sure I would have dropped out of school.”

During the 2014 100 Wave Challenge Joe raised $4700. He believes that his efforts were so successful because people could tell he was speaking the truth about the program, and that he was genuine in his conversations and what shared on his personal fundraising page. “They saw a living result of the program right there in front of them. I showed them that my heart is in it.”

it-works1The profound impact Boys to Men has on their community is evident, and their successful community fundraising efforts allow them to grow each year. The University of San Diego found through a case study that BTM kids have improved self-esteem, a more positive outlook on life and engage in less risk taking behavior. By walking examples of their program and their crowdfunding event they continually spread the word through community fundraising.