Archive for June, 2009

We can Change the World Challenge

Monday, June 29th, 2009 | Permalink

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, and the National Science Teachers Association came together to put on a challenge to students to create solutions to environmental problems. Well done.

And thanks to web video, we can sit back and watch a short video about the winners. To find out more, visit

Excuse me while I forward this link to my old, grade school.

Ebay auctions and fundraising, a match made in heaven

Monday, June 15th, 2009 | Permalink

So you don’t want my money, you just want me to sell the old bicycle in the garage that no one uses?

Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

Rather than donating to a nonprofit, sell something you no longer want on ebay and designate the nonprofit to receive all or part of the selling price. Or if the nonprofit is setup for it, you can donate unwanted items and they can auction them off themselves. A win-win.

In an article by Sports Stuff they outlined the advantages of using ebay auctions for “cause” fundraising. The most notable advantage is the sheer size of the ebay community. On this note, if a nonprofit is the seller or identified recipient they are being introduced to new potential donors. Also, in comparison to the last event they’ve organized, there is no space to rent, no tickets to sell, and no staff to pay.

There are two methods to choose from when selling on ebay for a cause: direct and community. Direct selling is when the nonprofit auctions off the donated items, bringing 100% of the proceeds to the organization; however, the nonprofit must handle the auction. On the other hand, community selling is when a seller designates all or part of the selling price to go to a nonprofit and handles the auction. The beauty of this approach is that it is a passive source of donations for the nonprofit.

Either way, ebay is a viable way to diversify fundraising and encourage donations during these financially difficult times.

Happy auctioning.

Online collaboration is versatile indeed, just ask musicians

Monday, June 8th, 2009 | Permalink

Recently the YouTube Symphony Orchestra combined the talent of artists from all around the world into a single performance. When people are brought together with a common interest, the results can be staggering.

The global audience is so much more than a concept. It is a reality. A YouTube channel with over 40,000 members and near 9 million views. Yeah, that’s real alright.

I personally love videos of the musicians simply having fun while practicing or after hours. Their passion for music is so very apparent in that uncontainable smile while they play.

Online donors are here to stay, let’s not scare them away

Monday, June 1st, 2009 | Permalink

Online donors have established their presence in the last few years. So if the party is happening with or without us, the golden question is, “How do I join the party?”

Ok, there are many answers to that question and everyone has an opinion. So, rather than putting in my two cents about websites, blogs, web video, and everything that is social media, let’s reflect on the article by Rich P and discuss the things we should NOT do.

1) Do NOT make anything hard to find. When establishing a web presence make sure transparency is key. If you have your books open for all to see, make them easy to find along with your nonprofits’ contact information. Donors give to those they trust. It’s that simple.

2) “We are not set-up for online donations, our website is not equipt for it, our bank accounts were set-up years ago before ‘all this’, so we are just going to wait for online donors to contact us and we can get donations the old fashioned way.” How can I say this politely… No. This is sadly not the case. Online donors are called online donors for a reason. If someone wants to donate online, make it a painless process. Do NOT make donating difficult.

3) Donors like to be thanked. The greatest thing you can say to the Chef who cooked the magnificent meal is “thank you, I really enjoyed it.” Donors delight in the same sentiment. Priscilla, a Chicago-native donor, donates to multiple organizations. She illustrates this point by saying a fast way to lose her as a donor is to offer no engagement and only contact her with a pledge reminder once a year. So, do NOT ignore online donors.

4) Justify the donation for which you are asking. Explain that you can “feed a child for a day with your $5 donation,” do NOT simply ask for a dollar amount.

5) Personalize it. If you send out a mass thank you, it will be greeted as a mass thank you. So do NOT offend the Chef, thank him by name and thank him for the specific meal he prepared.

6) Online donors are part of the web 2.0 which is all about community engagement. So be involved, take part, and engage people. Nothing ends a party like the lack of a host, so do NOT be absent.

The internet likes you. It really does, so befriend it. Spend some time together. You’ll be amazed at what you can collectively accomplish.