Thursday, November 12, 2009

Everything I Need to Know about Fundraising, I Learned in Kindergarten

Most of what I really need to know about how to run an easy fundraiser, what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the board room table, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

So don’t give up on generating the money your group needs, I mean the right fundraiser can be child’s play.  The biggest thing we lose from our kindergarten days it the ability to have an open mind and the willingness to learn and try new things. 

So while all the experiences you or I might have had doing fundraisers or supporting them might not have been that easy, the learning has put us on the path to a new and better approach...

These are the things I learned from kindergarten and fundraising:

Share everything. – I mean what is fundraising really about if not about giving a sharing to help others.

Play fair. – We aren’t out in the corporate dog eat dog world here, it’s a help and be helped kinda thing.

Don't hit people. – No one likes to be bullied into buying your cookie dough.

Put things back where you found them. – I know it’s tough not to eat just one of those wonderfully chocolaty candy bars you have been carrying around all day but you have to put it back. It’s for the good of the cause…

Clean up your own mess. – It’s not much fun, but even after the big all day car wash you still have to clean up. WOO HOO, don’t you just love being a volunteer. (Sorry that was a little cynical. What are we learning in Kindergarten these days!)

Don't take things that aren't yours. – Offer up something people need and want, that way you aren’t taking their hard earned money.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. – Its ok if not everyone can or wants to help your cause, don’t be ugly or hurtful about it. Wish them a great day and move on.

Wash your hands before you eat. – No one wants to buy a candy bar from a grubby little guy.

Flush. – Sometimes you get #%!@ and you just need to chalk it up as experience. Send it down the drain and move on to a better way…

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. – So is the good warm fuzzy feeling you get inside when you know your little contribution will help someone in real need.

Live a balanced life. – All work (and fundraising) and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Shouldn’t you get the chance to actually help those you set out to help and stop fundraising for a little bit?

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. – It all comes back to balance. Enjoy what you have and don’t get so bogged down in the little things that can make fundraising a nightmare. Remember, there is a better way that removes the hard parts of fundraising so you want to sing and dance some...

Take a nap every afternoon.Not sure if this has much to do with fundraising, but after a nice big lunch wouldn’t it be nice to just get your blankie and curl up for a little bit.

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. – I mean selling door to door can be rough so take a friend and look out for each other.

Be aware of wonder. – Isn’t it great to wonder what it would be like to have a fundraiser that ran itself!?!

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup -- they all die. So do we.But the right fundraiser properly set up will never die. It will go on generating money for the cause long after we have petered out.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: look. – Don’t get stuck with what you have always done. Look around, there might be a better way.

If you have ever done a few fundraisers, volunteered for a board position or been the parent of a child in an extracurricular activity you too might have learned a few life lessons about fundraising and its ups and downs.

Don’t despair, there is a better way…

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Cause Marketing Success Story

Finding the right company for your cause marketing campaign can be a difficult task. While a cause marketing solution itself is a great fundraising plan, it can be difficult to find a company willing to work with you; especially if you are a small non-profit organization.

I recently learned of an opportunity to work with a well established company that has been interested in supporting a good cause for over 50 years. They set up a way for all non-profit organizations to start their own cause marketing program and do it with no-cost.

The goal of Shaklee has always been to provide people with a better life – both physically and financially. The leadership of the CEO, Roger Barnett, has helped Shaklee expand its business model and create a way for non-profits to succeed in their generous mission of helping others. Helping non-profits accomplish their mission demonstrates just a portion of Shaklee's commitment to improving the well-being of communities, individuals, and the earth.

Shaklee does more than just talk the talk. Shaklee is involved in partnership with many different charitable organizations including the Wild Dolphin Project, KSE- Kids for Saving Earth Worldwide, Whale Conservation Institute, American Himalayan Foundation, and the Climate Neutral Network. Shaklee also was a key contributor in working with Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai in an ongoing effort to reforest huge tracts of land on this continent, Africa and Asia. They just recently planted the one millionth tree. Shaklee's companywide philosophy of being climate neutral earned them the distinction of being recognized as the first company to totally offset its carbon emissions. This was over 9 years ago and they haven't stopped working to live up to their mission of being "In Harmony with Nature".

The power of a good cause marketing partnership can be seen in this letter from a local non-profit club written soon after they partnered with Shaklee.

"We are so pleased with the experience so far that we wanted to share with you haw we are doing. We really believe this is win/win for all concerned! Our association with Shaklee is only a few months old and we are already recognizing the benefits of this relationship. We received a bonus check of over $170 the very first month, and our bonus checks are immediately growing – nearly doubling in th last month, and this with no effort on our part.
The great part of this is how easy it works! We are always in need of funds for projects in the community, but manpower and financial support is always an issue. Now we even have an opportunity to think about expanding our programs as we watch this new steady stream of passive income provide the funding for additional activities.
The fact that Shaklee is so ethical in its approach, not only to partnerships, bit to its commitment to be a positive influence on individuals, the environment and the world matches our mission. Our members, as well as our community, will benefit from this partnership. We are grateful that (our club) has joined the Shaklee family."
It worked for this non-profit group and it can work for you too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Successful Fundraising Solution Through Cause Related Marketing

(Don't feel like reading?  Watch the video...) 
If you, as a non-profit organization, have done any sort of Traditional Fundraising you know that to be successful you are depending on the generosity of others. Fundraising requires a major effort, can only be run for a limited time and ultimately it usually only produces a modest return.
The reason non-profit organizations have fundraisers at all is to help them fulfill their mission and promote involvement among its members and the surrounding community. With traditional fundraising this message can sometimes get lost and it feels like a huge burden to do the fundraiser. Both from the Non-profits point of view as well as the community it serves. But it is never the intention of a fundraiser to do harm.

So what if there was a better way? What if your fundraiser could provide a consistent stream of revenue for your non-profit group while minimizing the effort required in both planning and staffing? A way to fundraise that would allow the entire membership to get involved and even spread the effort into the community and possibly expand nationally or even globally.

The good news is that this way exists right now. It is called Cause Related Marketing.

Cause Marketing or targeted marketing gets your non-profit organization money every time someone purchases a "normal" product they use every day. All of us currently buy products that we use for our home and to benefit our health. Grocery items are things we buy every week and for some of us every day.  And Poof - a Cause Marketing Solution is born.

To make a cause marketing fundraiser work you only need to change brands. And according to a study done by CONE, 79% of Americans said they would do exactly that, switch brands, if it would help support a good cause.

Just look around and you can see lots of examples of this kind of cause marketing relationship. Just a few of the more famous examples are:

  • Marriot and the March of Dimes
  • Famous Amos Cookies helping Literary Volunteers of America
  • Paul Newman and his Newman's Own products
  • And now the Shaklee Corporation is opening its doors and offering this kind of partnership with every non-profit who wants to take advantage of it.
By choosing to join with Shaklee you can provide your supporters the opportunity to redirect their spending to a large catalog of products they purchase in their everyday lives. Shaklee has products that the average family spends money on each month. In fact, this 'average' family spends around $25 to $100 each month on these products.

From household cleaners and personal care items to vitamins, supplements and weight loss systems Shaklee produces high quality items for all your home and personal care needs. This benefits you as an organization because it allows all your supporters the opportunity to find something they use and can purchase in order to help your group. It benefits your supporters because Shaklee's commitment to quality means they are getting a superior product and not settling for less just to lend their support.

The Shaklee Corporation has been in business for over 50 years. During this time they have grown to be the #1 nutritional company in the U.S. by doing things the right way. They have spent over $250 million dollars in research, testing and clinical trials while doing over 83,000 tests each year to make sure the products that go out their door do what they say they will and do it each and every time. In fact Shaklee has over 90 published peer-reviewed clinical studies. This might not seem impressive until you realize that most companies in this business are lucky to have a few and many have ZERO!

With "Green" becoming the thing to do, it's also nice to know that Shaklee is leading the way. They were the first company to become climate neutral – This means they have a zero net impact on the environment.

And it's not only at the corporate level that Shaklee is committed to protecting our environment. For every person who switches over and purchases a Get Clean home care starter kit hundreds of pounds of waste are kept out of our world. These safe cleaners are natural, nontoxic, and biodegradable. Instead of adding to our pollution problem, they add money back into our wallets. You would save over $3200 by purchasing a Get Clean Starter Kit instead of the equivalent amount of cleaners at the local store.

Just look at how this simple change can affect the community and the world.

If 12 families switched over it would

  • Eliminate 1296 pounds of waste from landfills
  • Reduce greenhouse gases by 2976 pounds
  • Save enough fuel to power your local school bus 924 miles
  • Achieve the same results as planting 120 trees
If this spread nationally, these numbers would grow immensely. In fact if we look at just 100,000 families (one good sized American city) the affects are staggering:

  • Eliminate 10 million pounds of waste from landfills
  • Reduce greenhouse gases by 12,000 TONS
  • Save 1.2 million gallons of gas
  • Achieve the same results as planting 1 million trees
I think you can see the benefits to you, your supporters and now even the environment, but you are probably asking yourself, "How does all this work?"

The next best thing about Cause Related Marketing and especially this one is that it is very easy. Think back to all the difficulties of the traditional fundraiser and then quickly forget about them because they don't exist in Cause Marketing.

There are 5 basics steps to this Cause Marketing relationship:

  1. The Non-Profit enrolls in the program
  2. Shaklee creates a dedicated and secure shopping website
  3. You promote the program to the supporters of your cause.
  4. Supporters and others use your secure online shopping site to redirect monthly spending
  5. Your organization receives income from this redirected spending
Just these 5 little steps create a huge earning potential and it puts you as the non-profit in control instead of the usual situation of the company being in charge.

The internet has created an area where being social means talking with and getting to know people all around the world instead of just next door. It has also automated so many of our day to day tasks. The online shopping portal means you no longer have to deal with inventory, delivery or collection of money. Shaklee and the website do it all. And if your supporters don't have a computer, ordering is just a phone call away. Social networking and internet shopping have opened the world up and now anyone can be part of the community and support your cause.

Shaklee has always been about sharing and networking so their model flows right into modern day communications and word of mouth referrals.

If we take this worldwide potential and put it into numbers, you can see the potential fundraising benefits for your non-profit organization. If 25 people redirected $100 of their spending each month your group could earn around $500 for the month or $6000 in a year. That's a great income for a fundraiser that runs itself!

As you continue to grow and the word spreads you could have more and more people supporting you. If you expand these numbers out to 100 or even 500 families redirecting their spending it would translate into $40,000 up to $200,000 for your organization to use. Just imagine the good you could do with this kind of funding being deposited into your account.

So what's the catch? What's all this going to cost you – the non-profit organization?

The simple answer: Zero, Zilch, Nothing, Nada…

Shaklee truly believes in making a difference and that this partnership will do just that. So they have waived any and all startup costs and monthly web fees for Non-Profit Organizations.

What is required is a level of support from your group, its board members and the membership. People must get on board and be supporters of this effort and of the Shaklee products. They need to redirect their spending in order for the organization to reap the benefits.

Word of mouth, reminders at meetings and newsletters are all great ways to spread the word. Once your group gets a chance to redirect their spending and use the products the Shaklee quality will help them be motivated to spread the word and increase the people supporting your cause by helping themselves with natural, researched, quality products.

Shaklee will match your commitment by maintaining a secure online website and handling all the orders, inventory and delivery tasks. They will supply you with promotional and educational marketing materials to disperse to your group. They will also give you a 'back office' where you can keep track of what is going on with your cause marketing effort. And to back all this up they offer a 100% money back guarantee on all their safe and healthy products.

You can see how this is a Win-Win-Win situation. Shaklee benefits by expanding its customer base and increasing public awareness about its mission. The Non-Profit Organization benefits by increasing its funding without increasing its workload and the Supporters benefit by getting safe natural products that are better for them and better for the planet; finally a plan that makes sense.

Together We Can Make a Difference!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Will the Average Consumer Change Their Buying Habits to Support a Non-Profit Organization?

Cause Related Marketing has been receiving a lot of attention as it becomes the new "in" thing to do. Many companies as well as Non-Profit organizations are joining together in partnerships to create a mutually beneficial partnership.

If you are a non-profit group and are thinking about trying out this new way of generating funds but you are unsure of how it works or if it really does work the following statistics might be of interest to you.

Cause Marketing campaigns really do have an impact on the perception and behaviors of the general public. So not only will you have the opportunity to increase your fundraising capabilities through sales to your group members and those immediately close to you, but you can create sales, and therefore funds, from consumers throughout your area and really expand to a more national and even global scale.
Take a look at these statistics on consumer habits and values:

  • 92% of consumers consider it important for corporations to contribute to nonprofits.
  • Close to 90% of teenagers said they would switch to a brand affiliated with a good cause, if price and quality were equal.
  • 76% of American consumers surveyed have taken part in at least one cause-related marketing campaign.
  • 60% of consumers surveyed planned to buy a product that had a portion of the purchase price being donated to a cause while shopping during the 2004 holiday season.
  • 77% of women and 64% of men considered a company's reputation for supporting causes when purchasing gifts during the 2003 holiday season.
  • 48% of American and British consumers surveyed reported that they had been motivated by a cause-related marketing campaign to change brands, use a product more, try new products, or get information about new products.
  • 20% of European consumers surveyed said they would pay more for a product if it were affiliated with a good cause.
  • Surveyed consumers rated a company more highly in the categories of trust, endorsement, bonding, and innovation when they knew the company took part in cause-related marketing efforts.
  • Corporate citizenship practices are more important than brand reputation or financial factors when shaping consumer impressions, according to an international survey of 25,000 people.
So you can see that people are ready to support a good cause. They want to do their part to help Non-Profit organizations. A Cause Marketing solution gives everyone the chance to do good and support those in need. By redirecting spending to products that are similar in price it doesn't place a financial burden on the average consumer so it creates a win-win situation. Consumers get what they need and they feel good about it because they are lending support and Non-Profits get the support they need without burdening their community.

Now that's the kind of Fundraising I like – One that makes Dollars and Sense!

How does Cause Related Marketing Work?

Cause Related Marketing is quickly becoming a hot topic in the world of good causes and generating money to support them.  As people grow tired of a constant bombardment of donation and fundraiser requests, the concept of cause related marketing has moved into the spotlight.
But how does a Cause Related Marketing Solution work?  Is it something that you can use to help your non-profit organization?
For most not for profit groups Cause Marketing is the perfect plan to increase the funding they desperately need.  It can be used to supplement the current fundraisers they are doing or in many cases replace those fundraisers altogether.
The dictionary defines Cause marketing (or cause-related marketing) as a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a "for profit" business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.
In simple terms, Cause Marketing is a partnership between a company and a non-profit organization.
It is a Win-Win situation for both the company and the non-profit.
The company wins because it gets to do good for the community and by doing this it can create a better reputation for itself and the products it produces.  The company can also increase its customer base and by doing this increase its profits.  Because let’s face it, even the most philanthropic companies still need to make money to survive and be successful.
The non-profit organization wins because it generates the funds it needs and it can do this without bothering people and asking them to ‘give’ money.  With donations and traditional fundraisers, people are giving money but not getting much in return except for the good feeling of helping out.  Cause related marketing allows your supporters to ‘give’ you money by buying products they would normally use on a daily basis.  In many cases it will not increase their monthly spending but it will still get your organization the funds it needs.
You might be asking yourself, “How does this get my organization any money?” 
Simply put, the company has a way to track what people  that is connected to your group.  Every time someone makes a purchase of one of those products a percent of the purchase price is given to your organization.  A good example of this is the Komen Breast Cancer little pink ribbon.  Every time someone purchases a product with the ribbon on it the Komen foundation gets a percentage of the sale.  This is cause related marketing.
The basic steps to set up a cause marketing partnership are:
  1. Find a company and a program that fits your goals and form a partnership.
  2. Publicize the partnership to your members and the community.  Make them aware of how they can support your ‘cause’. (The company can help with this)
  3. Provide your members and the community at large a way to purchase the products. (A good company will do this part)
  4. Go about your daily activities of supporting your cause and let the company handle all the money and inventory and delivery problems. 
  5. Use the funds generated to do the ‘good’ your non-profit was set up to do.
As you can see, as a non-profit organization there is not much work on your part.  Once you find the right company and go through the initial setup your main job is to make people aware.  Let them know how they can support you.  Share the information with your members and let them share it with those they know.  Word will spread and in the process you have created a sustainable, perpetual money generating system for your organization.
 If you need help getting started or finding a company to work with I am here to help.  Contact me and let’s get you started generating the funds your non-profit organization needs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Booster Clubs and Cause Marketing – A Perfect Fundraising Combination

If you have ever been part of a booster club you understand that part of your goals and efforts require you to raise funds for you group or team. The problem – Raising funds is a thankless job that no one looks forward to and one that puts many of us out of our comfort zone.

Recently a new way of generating funds has been developed and used that benefits non-profit organizations such as a booster club and benefits a for profit company. Basically it is when a company is looking to do good for the community and do well for itself financially.

 This new fundraising is called Cause Marketing.

It's a Win-Win situation.

A Cause Marketing solution allows you as a non-profit booster club to attach your cause to a product or group of products. There is a onetime setup to make this happen. From that point forward every time someone purchases one of those products you get a portion of the proceeds.

When compared to traditional fundraisers, this can save you in so many ways.

  • You don't have any direct door to door sales requirement. You just need to let you membership know about the products and they can share with their friends and family.
  • Your members and those they know are no longer pressured to purchase overpriced popcorn or unwanted items just to show their support. Cause Marketing products are things that you use already. So your supporters only have to redirect their spending, not increase it.
  • Some Cause Marketing companies provide you with a personal website for supporters to use to make purchases.
  • And unlike traditional fundraisers, you will not have to worry about handling money or inventory – storing or delivering. The Cause Marketing Company takes care of all that and then just sends you a check each month.
Cause Related Marketing creates a sustainable, perpetual form of income for you non-profit group. It runs year around, 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. And you can still do your other fundraisers if you want to. But after you see how easy this is you probably won't want to go back to the hassles of traditional fundraising.

There are several important things to look for when choosing a company and a cause related marketing partnership.

  • Does the Company have an ethical and stable history?
  • What types of products do they offer? Is it something you want your group to be associated with?
  • Are there any financial requirements for your booster club? (i.e. setup fees, webpage fees…)
  • Do they offer online sales or a webpage for your group to use?
  • Do they provide you with actual human contact in case your booster club or any of its members has a problem or question?
Don't forget that you have a reputation to uphold and a certain responsibility to the group you are supporting. Generating funds is a good thing, but doing it the right way is a better thing. 

If you are ready to get started and would like to know more about a Company that is ready to support your booster club and the team you support, contact me and I can answer your questions and help you present this idea to your board and your membership.

Put you focus back on helping your cause and not on running a fundraiser.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Compare Traditional Fundraising to Cause Marketing

When you compare Cause Marketing to Traditional Fundraising you find that a Cause Marketing Solution has many advantages to it.  It might be just the thing you and your Non-Profit Organization have been looking for.