Archive for the ‘Fundraising’ Category

The pink Bottini truck raises money in Dutchess and Orange Co. NY for Hudson Valley breast cancer patients

The pink Bottini truck raises money in Dutchess and Orange Co. NY for Hudson Valley breast cancer patients

Hudson Valley Life just featured an op-ed from Pari Forood, executive director of the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation, which helps breast cancer patients in the Hudson Valley.

The foundation is now receiving help from another local company. The Bottini Fuel Pink Truck  benefitting the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation hit the road this week delivering fuel throughout Dutchess and Orange Counties. Bottini Fuel will donate one cent from every gallon sold, to Miles of Hope plus if a new customer signs up because of the pink truck or breast cancer support, Bottini will donate $50 to Miles of Hope as well.

“When Bottini came to us with this idea, we were thrilled,” said  Forood.

“It is an innovative way for businesses to help not only their employees and their families affected by breast cancer but also to show the community that they have a stake in the overall quality of life in the Hudson Valley.” (more…)

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Orange County still has many bucolic roads, and there is no better way to enjoy them than cruising on your bicycle, and no better time of year than fall. As fate would have it, the Orange County Bicycle Club realizes this:

Save the Date: Oct 3, 2010

Country Roads Fall Foliage Bicycle Tour

The Orange County Bicycle Club and Occupations, Inc., join forces to bring you to the 2010 Country Roads Fall Foliage Bicycle Tour, the ride with the camels, celebrating open space in Orange County, NY. Take any of four choice routes on uncrowded roads the varied landscape of Orange & Ulster Counties in the Hudson Valley. Proceeds benefit the Orange County Land Trust for open space, the Sanctuary for Animals, for animal rescue, and Occupations, Inc., for children with special needs.

Choose from:
1) 14 mile route for older children and once-in-a-while riders
2) 24-mile offers pleasant day trip through the countryside
3) 48-mile routes offers a longer pleasant day trip through the countryside
4) 69-mile ride goes through rolling farmland and over forested ridges

Register Now: Active.com Pre-registration is $30 and goes toward the causes listed above.

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fundraising can be a hoot!

I was involved in fundraising at the temple that my children attended. It was a lot of work but great fun working with the other women in the group. We did fashion shows, pot luck suppers and dinner dances. But I will never forget one spring, much like the one we are having now, that I decided our group was going to sponsor a fashion show with a twist. Women would model fashions they designed and sewed.  I held sewing sessions at my home, and we had a blast. So that part worked great.

The food was going to be simple – some type of pasta, plus salad and a great chocolate dessert. Some of us made large pans of pasta at home and brought them to the temple to be warmed in the large commercial ovens the temple had.

The tables were set. Everything looked beautiful with colorful spring flowers. Out came the rolls and salad. No problem. Now it was time for the heaping plates of pasta. But wait…some of the pasta was cold. Why? It turned out the some of the oven burners didn’t work, so the top layers warmed but the bottom was still cold.

Here we are with 150 women waiting for their meal. You know the old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” My girl friends said they knew we were in trouble when I rolled up my sleeves and washed my hands. And they definitely thought I had lost my mind when I pushed my hands down to the bottom of the first pasta pan, which was cold, and mixed it with the hot pasta on top. I figured mixing hot and cold pasta together would produce something warm and I was right. It saved the day but it is not something I want to experience again.

If you are looking for a unique fundraising idea that does not involve making pasta or sponsoring a fashion show visit www.TheUndercoverKids.com and signup to be a Community Partner.

Share your funny fundraising story by sending it to publisher@excitingread.com

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We are all hearing that the economy is in a slump. I was curious how community organizations are handling the downturn. After all, they provide valuable services. Read this community group’s story and then see the tips I offer that should increase revenue.

I was a big sister for six years, so I decided to give Big Brothers Big Sisters exec Nancy Kosloski a call and get her take on fundraising and the economy. Nancy has been the executive director for many years, and she says this is the worst downturn she has experienced. Many of her staff has begun to work a four-day week to control payroll costs.

“Previous year’s fundraising dollars moved us ahead and allowed us to introduce new programs,” says Nancy. “Now our fundraisers fill in some of the financial holes we are experiencing.”

Recently they held their annual bowl-a-thon which has always been wildly successful. The bowling event raised $31,000 this year. Last year’s take was $36,000. “But we had 350 people bowl – which I considered great.” Nancy made sure to congratulate the staff on the huge turnout. So what went wrong? Apparently, corporate donations were down. “We have a golf event planned,” continues Nancy. “This year the golf outing will fill in the gaps that the bowling event didn’t earn.”

The organization plans to do more events, but it is touch and go because they have fewer staff who are working fewer hours. “This year we will have our motorcycle ride fundraiser with V Force Customs coordinating the event. We have to look at other events but will try not to repeat events that other organizations are conducting.

What are the major challenges Big Brothers Big Sisters are experiencing and how are they being addressed?

One major challenge for this community group has been the loss of their director of resource development – a key person. According to Nancy, another group offered her more money than Big Brothers and Big Sisters could afford. Because of their limited funding this year, they could only hire a part time staff member for that position.

“In terms of foundations, the help we usually count on has come through at 50% of last year’s levels. We thank them for what they are doing now and hope as the economy turns the foundation money will be restored, admits Nancy. “Also the challenge of getting grants is greater than ever, and there is more competition for the same dollars.

How are you integrating social networking into your fund development planning?

Nancy tells her story:

“We are just starting to do that. For example, people can donate through our website. Those who participate in the motorcycle ride can sign up online. And people who bowled could form their teams online.

“We are looking to set up a Facebook page for special causes. I don’t know the first thing about Facebook, and it requires additional staff time, which we don’t have. I signed up for my own Facebook page just to see how it works, but I don’t have time for more friends. This social marketing is a steep learning curve for me. “

Based on their limited funds what is the best direction for them?

Community organizations have the greatest difficulty moving out of their comfort zone. They know their programs, their staff and their kids. But do they really understand what others think about their program and what would encourage more people to get more involved?

How many of the current 350 bowlers, who they were really proud of, would become team leaders next year? How do they keep in touch with them? Did they collect email addresses? How often do they touch base and with what materials?

Create a blog (or short articles that can be emailed) that is sponsored by local bowling allies. Have the ally manager write about the best bowling techniques? If I only bowl once a year, I would be lucky to break 90 points. But if you send me coupons from local bowling lanes, and give me the needed tips, I may begin to enjoy the sport and get more involved with Nancy’s group.

If bowling is an annual event, have bowling articles on the website and encourage me to sign up for your newsletter or your email blast that offers discounts and information. Encourage me to sign up my friends. Become a bowling resource.

I know this is counter intuitive. Why should I promote bowling when our goal is to offer mentoring programs for kids? First, you need to walk in your bowlers’ shoes and second, you may get more new mentors than you realize.

So collect emails (they are very valuable) and use them effectively so people who participate in your events become engaged based on THEIR interests.

If you are seeking a fundraising  raising idea that doesn’t cost you any money or staff time, visit The Undercover Kids and sign up to become a Community Partner.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County

253 South Williams Street

Newburgh, NY12550


Big Brothers Big Sisters

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When I speak to local community leaders, they tell me how difficult things are right now. They want to continue offering quality services but are finding that times are changing. Read one group’s story.

Meet Carole Wolf.
A woman with a passion for her job. Well connected in her community. And she has an extensive knowledge of how the arts can benefit us all. But is that enough to stave off firings, cutbacks and fewer fundraising dollars? Apparently not. Carole is the successful executive director of the Mill Street Loft, an arts group in Poughkeepsie. They are managing their budget month to month. They track everything very carefully. “Now, more than ever we are looking at where we spend our money and how it is working,” she emphasizes. 
But they, like many groups I have spoken to, had to cut staff positions and limit staff hours. (With hopes to restore them, she says quickly). She knows that unless their current revenues pay for the costs they won’t be in business too long. Sometimes we forget, not for profit businesses have to run on a profit model. For these community groups, the profitable dollars go into raising salaries, running new programs and expansion, rather then towards dividends or higher returns for the owner. But, like all of us in business, we must make money to stay in business.

When asked how fundraising is going, Carole talks about their recent Friends of the Arts Awards. Over 300 people showed up and they raised about $75,000. (But she quickly assured me that it was not all profit.)  “The event was not only about money but about building new audiences”, says Carole. “Acknowledging people in our community. Building new partnerships. Creating visibility in the community to other arts groups, cultural organizations and human service agencies.” Carole’s instincts are sharp. That’s what has allowed her organization to grow in this community, but again I ask, “Is that enough in this new environment?”

I would love a peek at Carole’s database…or her cell phone directory…or where ever she keeps those valuable names, phone numbers and email addresses. Here’s an insider tip: if you get an email from Carole it may help your bottom line.
How? Carole can help you make your staff more productive by using creative techniques. Does she use this talent? No.
Many of us are too focused on us and getting our message out about how wonderful we are. In my experience, it doesn’t seem to matter whether it is a for profit business or not for profit. We are all making the same mistakes. When, in fact, if we focus on using the new technologies to help others, they in turn will be more likely to help us in the long run.

How does it work?
1. If you have a large contact database (and what exec doesn’t) separate the names into groups: business, community, political etc. You decide the groups based on their needs, how they operate, and their importance to you. The key word in the past sentence is “them” and “they”. This model is not about you, but it’s about them: those key constituents you would like to reach.

2. Review what knowledge you process that you can easily offer that will benefit others. To business executives, Carole could email a weekly tip that would enhance the creativity of their staff at their next staff meeting. I would subscribe to her email.

3. Now she needs to include a promotion for her email newsletter on her website to encourage sign-ups. She should promote it…promote it …and promote it again. These tips should be archived on her website so that we can access the tips we may have missed. And the trick here is that businesses should have to sign up with a name and email address to gain access. (For Carole, email contacts = new business.)

4. Each newsletter has a pitch. This is key to this project working. I bet you think she should ask for money. Maybe or maybe not. How about this: “If my creativity tips are working for you, think how much more creative you could be if you attended one of our class series.” Link them back to your website for the class schedule.

Interested in learning more about this premier art group? Give them a call or take a peek at their website. And sign up for their newsletter.

Mill Street Loft
45 Pershing Ave
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

If you liked the idea I discussed,  take some time to think about your community group and what you offer. Then determine how you can use the new technology to promote your skills more effectively. It may be what carries you through this crazy transition time.

Want another fundraising tip? If your organization works with kids in your community, we just created a new fundraising program. It  doesn’t cost you any money or staff time. And helps kid’s creativity at the same time. Visit us online at www.TheUndercoverKids.com.
Become a Community Partner.

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