The Fundly community is full of everyday people doing incredible things. Each week, we see great campaigns that grab our attention and touch our hearts. Here’s what stood out this week:
Maggie is raising money to help a school in India continue educating 200 kids per year. For the Bhatti Mines kids, education makes immediate impact as an alternative to child labor.
The Epsilon Phi chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta is raising money in honor of their sorority sister Kathleen, who was disgnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The money raised will go towards cancer research and treatment.
This year the Haight Ashbury Merchants Association is inviting the community to help them light up the trees on Haight Street.
Need to raise money? Try it and you could be featured in next week’s campaign spotlight.
Many student organizations or charities are going social, finding creative ways to raise money and awareness for their causes. Because the groups want to improve education and opportunities for youth, they are turning to modern technology and digital communications to spread the word and incite interest across the nation.
Bringing in students from abroad: One such student group is known as Jusoor, or Bridges, which is a network Syrians and supporters looking to enhance educational opportunities through development projects. The organization has established a membership program for students in Syria who want to come to the United States to study. The initiative has garnered 46 grants for emergency tuition to support participating students who cannot pay for the education. Most of the students in Syria who join the network are already enrolled in a university and are coming to the United States for diversity and cultural experiences.
The Illinois Institute of Technology is working with Jusoor and providing partial scholarships for 50 Syrian students totaling $1.2 million. The organization is hoping through the use of social media it can reach out to other educational organizations and student groups to raise funds and awareness.
Authors boost fundraising efforts: One student at Kent State University felt inspired to do her part to help those affected by the tsunami in Japan, turning to Twitter to gather information and create awareness. Famed author of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” E.L. James, saw what Alexandria Rhodes was doing and wanted to help her reach her goal of $5,000. In just three months, the social media fundraising campaign generated $70,000 in donations toward tsunami relief. With the addition of James’ support, Rhodes and her friends were able to collect donations from other students as well as 218 authors. The organization used Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to reach out to famous and not-so-famous donors to surpass their goal.
Retreat calls for funding: A religious group in Saraland, Alabama, is also using social media and Fundly.com to raise funds for student opportunities. The student ministry of Pentecostals of Saraland has an annual youth retreat for local teens that aims to guide young adults through challenging years while providing support through the organization. The nonprofit religious organization has launched a social media fundraising campaign to spread the word to local teens who may want to participate as well as community members interested in supporting the cause.
Running for learning: Many marathon runners select a cause they wish to run for, and then fundraise to meet a certain goal before partaking in the event. One athlete looking to run in the Columbus Marathon in Ohio has selected the Robinson Community Learning Center as her cause, encouraging friends, family and community members to give what they can toward the center.
The runner holds a special place in her heart for the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend, Indiana, as she used to work there and help run after school programs, field trips, counseling and tutoring activities. Seeing what a difference the center can make in a student’s life first-hand encouraged the runner to support the organization after leaving her position.
Investing in awareness: A group at Virginia Tech known as PRISM (Pampling ReInventing Social Media) was first started by the Pamplin College of Business, which was looking to reshape its image. The organization decided to invest time and energy into creating a social media presence to improve personal communications with students and the community. PRISM aims to leverage social media channels to interact with the student body to achieve fundraising and awareness goals. The end result is a self-made media organization that provides a communication network within a college community that works toward agreed upon initiatives and projects. The group has teamed up with several nonprofit organizations such as Relay For Life, encouraging students to get involved and help make a difference.
|Fundraising campaigns engineered by kids and for kids hit the news this week, along with other individuals raising money through social fundraising.|
Non-profit organizations aren’t the only groups taking advantage of the benefits of social fundraising. Individuals and communities have been finding success with this kind of fundraising as well.
This week, news emerged about a campaign to benefit kids in New York, and campaigns undertaken by children in Massachusetts and Washington. Across the pond, a new study came out showing the powerful ripple effect of big-dollar donations. Here’s a roundup of the most recent events in fundraising.
Cyril van der Haegen – The friends and colleagues of Rhode Island-based illustrator and conceptual artist Cyril van der Haegen have launched a fundraising campaign on Fundly.com to raise money to pay for his cancer treatments. In addition to soliciting online donations from friends and family across a variety of social media outlets, Haegen’s many artist friends donated original works to an auction that was held at Comic Con in San Diego from July 11 to 15.
The Commune Cares – After his insurance company rejected payments for end-of-life treatments, the friends of Wash Pratt-King banded together to raise money to help him and his wife, Tashi, through their difficult time. At just 23 years old, Wash was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. Now 25, the money raised through his friends’ Fundly campaign is going to defray the cost of his medical bills and day-to-day living expenses. Friends were so successful in their efforts, they have doubled the goal from $10,000 to $20,000.
Stepping Stones Learning Center – This organization provides care and education for children both with and without special needs in Rochester, New York, and set an ambitious fundraising goal of $350,000 to purchase a new facility and expand its space. The group has so far raised $155,000, and Stepping Stone leaders are optimistic that a Monte Carlo night and an annual 5k run/1k walk in August will bring in even more money.
The Pathway Home – Another group with an ambitious goal is well on its way to reaching it. The Pathway Home has so far raised more than $256,000 of its $600,000 target on Fundly.com, and with a deadline of September 30, it appears well positioned to achieve its goal. The non-profit residential treatment group is dedicated to serving veterans who received traumatic injuries, including amputations, PTSD and brain injuries.
Driving Mrs. M – Amputations aren’t limited to veterans, however. Recently, a third-grade teacher in Massachusetts, Anne Mekalian, lost both arms and legs to a blood infection contracted while in the hospital. Her students, moved by the plight of their teacher, embarked on a crowdsourcing fundraising campaign to help with her treatment and recovery. In addition to the online campaign, students set up lemonade stands across the town to raise money.
Good Cheer Food Bank – A food bank on Whidbey Island in Washington is getting a boost from a young local, according to reports from the Whidbey Examiner. JaNoah Spratt, 12, has been collecting money for the Good Cheer Food Bank in the town of Langley since the age of 7, and has so far raised more than $20,000 by soliciting matching donations from local businesses, enlisting his friends to help raise money and, in his latest venture, writing a book about community involvement.
Peer Effect Research – A new study from researchers at the University of Bristol in England has illustrated the “peer effect” of social fundraising. The researchers found that large donations tend to increase the size of subsequent donations. In their example, researchers said that a single “donation of £100 typically shifts average donations from £20 to £30,” and the effect lasts for roughly 20 subsequent donations, according to phys.org.
So far, 2012 has been a good year for fundraising at educational institutions around the country. Many have set new goals, while others have shattered records with the help of social networking. Whether it’s to support operations, aid students in obtaining school supplies and learning materials, or to help colleagues in need, schools and colleges have been raising money like never before. Here’s a roundup of some of the week’s developments:
Urban Montessori: Urban Montessori, the nation’s first public Montessori, Design Thinking and Arts Integration school, is looking for donations to help pay for materials not covered by state funds, and the school’s leaders have taken to Fundly.com to garner support. The school needs classroom furniture, library books and supplies for art, design and music projects. With a deadline of August 1, Urban Montessori is already more than halfway to its $50,000 goal.
University of Wisconsin: Biomedical engineering students with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Standing Paraplegic Operating Room Device Group have kicked off a Fundly campaign to raise money for a project they hope will have far-reaching benefits. In 2010, Dr. Garrett Cuppels, an orthopedic surgeon, suffered a spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The Madison team is hoping to raise $10,000 to help fund a new device that will not only help Dr. Cuppels return to his work at the operating table, but will help paraplegics around the country to gain increased mobility.
University of Southern Mississippi: Fundraising records for all previous years were shattered recently when the University of Southern Mississippi announced that it had raised $20.3 million during the 2012 fiscal year, the Hattiesburg American reported. While alumni donations and gifts from foundations registered in the millions of dollars, USM’s Vice President for Advancement told the source that the real outstanding success of the fundraising campaign was the $435,000 raised through independent student and faculty efforts.
Jefferson School City Center: Located in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, the Jefferson School City Center will be the new home of several different groups dedicated to health and education. One of those groups, Common Ground Healing Arts, hosted a unique fundraising event to raise money to complete its therapeutic health facility: a sit-a-thon. The non-profit’s organizers enlisted the help of friends and colleagues in their fundraising efforts, according to C-Ville, Charlottesville’s news and arts magazine.
Oakland Public School Board: Over in California, the Oakland Public School system is gearing up for election season, but not the one most people are thinking of. Four seats have opened up on the local school board, and Great Oakland Public Schools is looking for $10,000 to help fund the candidates it supports. The Fundly campaign has so far raised more than half its goal.
Fundraising for the Arts: Recently, Agnes Gund, president emeritus of the Manhattan Museum of Modern Art, challenged her peers in the arts community to improve their online and social fundraising initiatives to keep up with fundraising in other sectors, reported Nonproftit Quarterly. Speaking to attendees at the Crain’s Arts and Culture Breakfast, she said: “We are late adapters of social media, of the interactive ways of dealing that are now common among the young,” according to the source.
We are getting asked some great questions from nonprofit leaders pertaining to online fundraising during our weekly Tweet Ups. Here are the expanded answers that will hopefully help with your social media fundraising goals.
Q: When sharing my story with potential donors, which works better: videos or pictures?
A: Both are great tools. Video can often captivate donors with a greater connection through music, voices, images, and words. It can give more depth to a story, show your personality, and create a stronger emotional pull. While having a professionally made video is great, it is also costly and time consuming. Depending on your cause and the size of the organization, an amateur piece that is interesting and sincere can be just as effective. (Consider the immense number of videos on YouTube.) On Fundly we have a broad spectrum of videos that are uploaded to fundraising pages which range from kids raising money for their schools to large organizations raising tens of thousands of dollars for their cause. While not every visitor to the page clicks on the play button, I’ve never known of a promotional video that hinders donations.
With that said, pictures are also extremely important for that reason: not everyone has the time or interest to watch a promo video. I believe that having some images are a must to grab attention and create a stronger emotional tie. Fundraising is about creating relationships and knowing who you are giving to, both the organization and the patron of the charity, which allows the donor to form a touchstone of who they are helping. In this fast paced and visual society, you need to grab attention and get your point across the fastest way you can.
Q: What is the best avenue to get people involved with my cause? Social networks, email, or street teams?
A: Email is definitely one of the most effective ways to communicate with supporters and has the capacity for the most information. Think about how you compiled your e-mail list in the first place; it was probably through an interest that a person had in your cause and gave a donation, volunteered, or filled out an information card at an event. With e-mails, you are communicating with people who care about your mission which is half the battle!
Social networks are also valuable for getting people involved with your cause. It casts a broader net than e-mails alone. While e-mails are reaching specific people you know, networking sites can advertise your cause to friends of your supporters therefore attracting potential donors.
Q: I have recently decided to run for office, what is the best way to jump start my fundraising campaign?
A: Tell your story, why you’re running, reach out to everyone you know, and encourage them to create personal fundraising pages. The best way for a candidate to get support is word of mouth. Generate interest on social networking sites and have your voters “Like” you on Facebook or tweet about your campaign. Advertise events, where to get signage, or how to volunteer using Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.
Q: What do you find more effective: suggested giving levels or open donation forms?
A: Utilize both! Suggested levels help donors determine need and make the process easier, open forms give more freedom. Generically speaking, I would take the average donation amount and start a giving level at 50% of that amount then work up accordingly. For example, if the average gift was $50 I would increment the giving levels at $25, $50, $100, $150, and $200. I would also certainly leave a space for whatever the person could give emphasizing that no gift is too small. I would also consider the project that the donations are being used for and the supporters which you are including in your campaign. If you are raising money for school supplies for 100 kids, you wouldn’t necessarily ask for $200. If you are sending letters to your top donors to sponsor a new wing to your building, $200 is a miniscule amount. You may also want to use the formula that if 10% of your donors give to your project, how much would that average out per person and work from there.
Q: We are throwing a school fundraiser, is there a way to get students involved?
A: Getting students involved is always a good idea. Encourage them to create personal fundraising pages and set goals! What grandparent could resist little Johnny in a video asking in a squeaky voice “Could you please donate to my school’s library so we can have some new books?” (Check out this post for a great example used on Fundly.) Also, what kid doesn’t love a little friendly competition? You could have a contest and give a prize to the kid with the best video. You could have each class create a webpage and post how much each has raised. You could send e-mails to the parents to get them on board. Take a ton of pictures and post them online to keep the momentum going and to have inspiration for next year’s fundraiser. The possibilities are endless!
Due to the Fourth of July we will not be having our Tweet up this week. However, if you have a question about online fundraising that you want to ask one of our Fundly professionals, we would love to hear from you for our next Tweet Up! Please leave a question in the comment section below or follow #fundraisingtips on Twitter every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time.
Innovative schools in Silicon Valley pushed the limits of school fundraising with Fundly this Spring. Equipped with Fundly’s social fundraising platform and professionally developed collateral, they brought school fundraising into the 21st century.
Parents were able to create a personal fundraising page for their student, personalizing with photos, video, and a message to supporters. With this tool, they could reach family and friends around the globe to support the arts, technology, and teacher development with a simple online donation.
School fundraising is not new, but with budget cuts, larger class sizes, and a variety of student needs that need to be met, it has become an important part of ensuring success with both academic curriculum and extracurricular activities. While many teachers are overwhelmed with the daily duties of running a classroom full of kids and parents are filling in the gaps with volunteer hours, they don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to complicated fundraisers. Online fundraising has proven that schools can find greater success using the internet without investing more resources.
Fundly recently held the 12 Schools in 12 Weeks Online Fundraising Challenge to prove that schools could raise more money using social media than with traditional methods alone. Guadalupe Home and School Club, the parent-teacher organization supporting Guadalupe Elementary School, was one of the participating schools. While they had successfully held their walkathon fundraiser online in the past, Fundly was appealing because it came with communication tools to motivate families to sign up and built-in social media to make it simple to “share” the chance to support the school. The Home & School Club was given a Fundraiser’s Toolkit including a vinyl banner, fliers, posters, give-away items, and exclusive online features to promote their annual walkathon.
Going online can be a great way for parents to reach more people, but keeping the students engaged in the process is a must. That’s where student videos come in to play.
To emphasize this point, Fundly held a “Best Video” contest, in which its employees voted for their favorite student-created video. The staff was surprisingly passionate about their favorites and after much discussion and analysis, Fundly’s VP of Marketing, Tom Kramer, visited Guadalupe School to present “Best Video” winner, Alex, with an iPod Touch in front of all his classmates. Now Alex can practice his video-taking and -making skills all Summer to get ready for the next walkathon!
See Alex’s video for yourself (don’t worry, his mom approves):
With Fundly’s personal fundraising pages, being a part of your school fundraiser is as easy as typing a personal message and uploading pictures. Adding a video for maximum impact, and bringing the message of support back to the students makes all the difference. With links to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the ability to use credit cards to donate, and access day or night, it’s no wonder that schools are finding greater results when annual fundraising events are combined with the benefits of technology.
Fundraising is a must for many schools and organizations, but does it have to be so difficult?
I played softball when I was nine and we had to sell beef sticks for $1 to raise money for our league. The first ingredient listed was beef hearts… yuck. When I was in first grade we had a Jog-A-Thon and had to run around the parking lot as many times as we could. It took days of scrubbing to wash the Sharpie tick marks off my graffiti-ed arm (not to mention my stick legs didn’t carry me too many times around the lot). In fifth grade we had to sell tins of cookies that were miniscule in size and grandiose in price. My mom gasped when we received our order due to the discrepancy of the picture in the catalog verses the product in reality.
As we try to provide wide and varied experiences for our children to learn responsibility, coordination, and self-worth, we pollute their bodies and minds with byproducts, chemicals, and cost inflation. While I’m all for students working to support their school, there must be a better way to raise money.
When my niece was selling Christmas wreaths to fund a trip to winter camp, I asked how much of the price actually went towards her account to pay for the trip. Regardless of the size (which cost anywhere from $15 – $40), she only made $5off of each wreath. Instead of buying a decoration that will die in a couple of weeks, I now just give her the cash.
Online fundraising is a great new concept that eliminates the hassle of coordinating orders or locking people in to buying overpriced goods that they don’t really want or need. And on the topic of Teacher Appreciation Week, this is one less duty that teachers will have to worry about. Don’t they have enough on their plates?!?! A well designed website can clearly state your goal, stir emotions in the viewer to act, and make donating fast and easy.
One way to incorporate this new idea into your school fundraising strategy is to create an awesome video of your school and encourage the students to participate and share why they need a new library, P.E. equipment, or text books. Upload the video to your webpage, share the link with parents, and have them pass it on to relatives and close family friends via e-mail. If grandma is on a tight budget, she can give at a level that she feels comfortable with.
With budget cuts and larger class sizes, fundraising isn’t an option for many schools. However, how you fundraise is! Fundly can make your online fundraising easy with a website template that only takes a few minutes to complete. Every time a friend or family member donates, it gets posted on their Facebook page to encourage others to do the same.
I’m not saying that you should throw away your catalogs and bake sale signs. (What would the world do without Girl Scout cookies?!) It’s just time to try something new that can bring great results without all the hassle.
I just had one of those “aha” moments (Thanks, Oprah!). My personal quest to connect schools with supporters through online fundraising seems right on track. This past week, I managed to catch the organizer of a Fundly campaign for a few minutes to hear first-hand about his high school soccer team’s goal of giving at least 5 players an experience with a community more challenged than their own. The team’s Fundly campaign kicked off just recently.
Coach Russell and the boys soccer team of Robert E. Lee High School of Jacksonville, Florida have their sights set on a mission (of sorts) to Haiti this Summer. Coach Russell is planning a trip with Many Hands For Haiti, to assist with soccer camps during the day and to teach English at night. This one-week trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these high school student athletes.
The team had spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, already at the $1,800 mark of their $5,000 goal when we caught up over the phone. Realizing they had not tapped the full potential of Fundly, we decided to encourage personal supporter pages for the players. Sure enough, the first player to jump on the opportunity raised $400 on his own right away. That’s a significant portion of the cost to send one boy on the trip.
It occurred to me, in a world where big dollar signs drive major nonprofits and businesses to move mountains, all it takes to change the life of a child in this way is a few hundred dollars. And the personal connection of that boy to his community facilitated through online fundraising via popular social media networks gives family, friends, and community members around him the empowerment to help to change a life with one simple act of kindness.
Best of luck, Lee High School Boys Soccer Team!
The recent controversy surrounding women’s choice to stay home or pursue a career brings to mind something I’ve observed and embraced these past few years as a mom of school-aged children. Regardless of each person’s own choice, it takes that proverbial village to raise a child and to provide the support needed to bolster that child’s school experience. There’s not only room for but need for both the moms who stay at home and the moms who work, within the school support ecosystem.
As a Kindergarten parent I found that, overwhelmingly, parents wanted to be involved in their kids’ education. Families with one parent at home tended to have more time but less money to give to support the school. Families with both parents or a single parent working tended to have less time but more money to give. Each parent had value, which served the school and its students best when pooled.
But the idea of combining forces for good broke down to a degree because we weren’t reaching both “sects” of the school’s families.
Communication within the school’s Home & School Club (a non-association version of a PTA) was not doing a proper job of making the most of what every family had to offer. The main methods of communication in play, drop-off/pick-up time conversations, posters on classroom doors, and a paper flier envelope system, kept the moms who were regularly at school the most in the loop. This wasn’t in any way a premeditated approach but one of convenience. Key parent organization roles were held by moms who either stayed at home or worked part-time, allowing them more time to be present at school to plan the next school fundraising event or lend a hand in the classroom. Parents whose work schedules required their kids be in after-school care were uninformed of many opportunities to help the school simply because they weren’t where the information was.
It was the beginning of tough economic times in the US, 2008-2009. Fundraising and volunteerism needed a kick-start, and making sure the whole school community was tuned to the needs was key. Change was in order.
We expanded the reach of Communication.
As families took to online communication, the stacks of paper that once accumulated on the kitchen counter dwindled to a few sheets highlighting key information. Overall, parents became better informed and more involved. Both stay-at-home parents and those commuting to work everyday focused on the communication method that best suited their lives. Not just because we went online, but because we gave parents better and more succinct information in a form relevant to their world of chaos(!).
We expanded School Fundraising. When it came to the increasing challenge of funding school programs, online fundraising made greater fundraising possible.
While still a work in progress, three years later our school is better in sync and able to handle growing volunteer and funding needs because we’ve taken the care to address and welcome the value of both stay-at-home moms and working moms (and the dads who also deserve credit!).
And since, I’ve had the fulfilling experience of guiding other schools to successfully navigate the shift to online communication and online fundraising.
I’m particularly excited to be a part of Fundly’s 12 Schools in 12 Weeks Challenge to give schools the chance to increase their walkathon (and other a-thon) fundraising with one-on-one support and professionally-developed communications.
Every mom is valuable, not only at home but at school. The key is to embrace what each brings to the table, whether time, experience, skill, resources, or money, and create an environment where every parent is in the loop on their kid’s education. Just for kicks, calculate your mom’s work worth and remember that everything you make the effort to give makes a difference at your local school.
In high school I locked myself in my bedroom with Gone With the Wind and a jar of Jelly Bellies and finished both in three days. Last year I received a Kindle for my birthday and thought the heavens had opened up and granted me a tangible miracle. With today being Read Across America Day, this is probably my version of Mardi Gras.
The National Education Association (NEA) came up with Read Across America Day in 1997 and it is annually held on March 2 because that is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. “Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.”
As a former high school teacher I had the privilege of being the Literacy Coach for the Social Studies Department and fully agree with the NEA’s emphasis on the importance of reading. Every Thursday the kids would groan at the thought of the half hour silent reading time on this adjusted schedule day. I would relish the moment that I would have a peaceful room of teenagers, most reading and some sleeping, all having books cracked open upon their desks. I would get a break from being both entertainer and disciplinarian and could lose myself in the pages of a novel.
From a nonprofit’s perspective, the NEA has implemented some brilliant strategies for gaining support and attention highlighting this cause. First of all, they partnered with the company behind Dr. Seuss who is obviously well-known and loved by kids of all ages. Secondly, this year their timing coincides with the release of the movie “The Lorax,” which is also gaining a lot of publicity. Finally, this year’s corporate sponsor is Mazda who has pledged up to $1 million in support of the nation’s public school libraries through a unique test drive program. This is brilliant marketing aimed at both kids and adults!
Now I know that every charity can’t put on the calendar a day to honor their cause, but reading is a broad enough topic for many schools, afterschool programs and children’s organizations to piggy back on. Send out a Facebook post, Tweet your friends and e-mail your donors to challenge them to read. Fundly is the perfect way to reach out to your supporters online and to encourage them to involved their friends. The important thing is to maintain your relationship with your donors and to stay in the forefront.
Does your child have a school fundraising campaign coming up? If so, set up a free fundraising page in minutes with Fundly and begin fundraising online right away with the support of other parents and teachers too!