If Your Fundraisers are Missing These 4 Elements, You’re Making a Mistake

When you work on fundraisers for a philanthropy, it can be difficult to continuously think of fresh ideas. You can only sponsor a 5K so many times because it gets old, especially when every other charity around you is doing the same kinds of fundraisers. It may seem like you only have a limited amount of options when it comes to fundraisers, but there are a lot of events you can do that involve minimal monetary investment from your organization and promise sizeable returns if you correctly market the event. Here are some great creative fundraisers you can implement into your philanthropy.

Art & craft auction

This event is a fairly popular one, but many organizations do not take advantage of it. When planning an art and craft auction, it’ll take a lot of time to organize, because it involves getting donations from local artisans and selling tickets to the event. As long as you’re diligent, you should be able to find a significant amount of people willing to donate items. Then, you just have to attract a crowd willing to bid on the items and use the money raised from ticket sales and bids for your philanthropy.

Talent show

Sometimes, talent shows do not go over well. However, if you market correctly to the local community, you’ll find plenty of people willing to show off their talents (especially children!) and people who want to see their neighbors perform. Hand out flyers advertising the show and find people to volunteer as judges. Sell tickets and ask for donations at the event, then consider giving away a small prize to the best act in the show.

Carnival

Carnivals take a lot of planning, but they’re an immense amount of fun for the entire neighborhood. A carnival will likely require some financial input from your organization, unless you can find a lot of people from the community to donate items and help prepare games and attractions. The cost of tickets could offset the cost, so do some research ahead of time to see if this event would work for you. It’s sure to be one the entire community enjoys, so it might be worth the cost, considering carnivals usually draw large crowds.

Trivia tournament

Trivia has become increasingly popular in the last few years. People flock to bars each week to play with large groups of people. Setting up a trivia tournament is relatively easy; all you need is a location, a list of questions and answers, some food, and possible prizes. Charge a few dollars for entry, ask for donations of food and prizes, and collect more donations while at the event. With some good music (possibly even a live band), you’ll run a great event that is simple to put together.

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Here are 5 Email Resources to Save Your Philanthropy

No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s running your own business, going to school, or working for a philanthropy, you’re going to need to use email. People communicate primarily over email, especially if they’re trying to get into contact with an organization. If you’re in charge of that organization, you’ll be bombarded by dozens, if not hundreds, of emails a day. You likely also send dozens of emails a day, trying to keep track of whether or not someone responded. If this situation sounds familiar to you, it’s time to use some of the fantastic email resources out there that can make your life much easier and more organized. Check out a few of my favorites here.

Touchstone Subject Line Analyzer

As a nonprofit, you’re likely sending out a fair amount of emails, letting people know about events, asking for donations, and searching for volunteers and sponsors. This tool shows you what your projected open rates will be, along with plenty of other stats. You get this information by sharing your email with Touchstone’s database and it gives you an estimate of what your results should be once you actually send the email; if you aren’t satisfied with the estimated results, you have the chance to tweak your email before sending.

The Best of Email

A resource you really need to check out is The Best of Email’s Inspiration Gallery. This gallery provides users with high quality email examples they can use as inspiration when creating their own marketing emails. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a high likelihood you’ll find it in The Best of Email’s Inspiration Gallery.

Flashissue

If you’re sending newsletters about a specific topic, which is pretty common for philanthropies, Flashissue allows you to pull information from all over the web to include in your newsletter. Flashissue summarizes the content and you can then tailor the information to better fit your newsletter. It also provides you with ways to send your newsletter across various social media platforms.

The Hemingway App

I personally find The Hemingway App incredibly useful, since it makes sure the content you’re sending is readable. You can use the app for anything, not just something being sent over email. The Hemingway App helps you make sure your writing is free of grammatical errors and also shows you how to write in a way that anyone can understand it. When you’re working with a philanthropy and are incredibly knowledgeable on the subject, this tool is useful when you’re trying to explain your mission and function to the general public.

Boomerang

Boomerang is a fantastic tool for philanthropies because it helps you sort through the large volume of mail you’re constantly receiving. This resource allows you to schedule your emails to send at any time and re-sends you emails that you do not have time to read when you first receive them. It prevents you from missing emails or forgetting to send them in the first place. You can even set up notifications for when an email is read or if someone hasn’t responded for a few days.

Innovation: The Secret to Success in Business

As an entrepreneur, you want to continually work on new ideas for your business. No matter how successful your company becomes, you always need to refresh your ideas and certain aspects of the business. It’s important that you don’t become too complacent with how you’re running things, even if it seems to be working. Search for new ways to be innovative. While you shouldn’t chase after every new idea because you can’t implement all of them, you need to pick a few that seem very promising and test them out. Always push for innovation in your company. Also, pay attention to trends in your industry and marketing in order to stay up to date with the latest methods.

Greatest time for innovation

One of the biggest reasons you should pursue innovation in your business is that it’s the best time for it. Never before has there been a such a huge market for new companies and ideas. With technology, you can easily reach consumers and investors to test out your ideas, whether it’s a new company or just a different way of doing a task. Outlets like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Shark Tank (along with many others) can provide people with the funds to carry out their ideas. If your idea needs funding and is good enough to get it, it’s that much easier to make it a reality. Innovation is hot right now and people want to encourage those coming up with new ideas.

Gives you flexibility

With innovation, you have the flexibility to change the way you do tasks, which means you never have to feel trapped in a role. Most people are open to innovation, so if you have an idea, you can likely find others who want to help you try it out. If you have plenty of new ideas, you give yourself the flexibility to change your job and routine.

Improve what already is

Since very few avenues haven’t been explored, you can focus on improving what has already been done. Do not get discouraged if you have an idea, but find out something similar has already been created; it gives you the opportunity to build on something and improve it. If the initial work has already been done, it makes your job easier.

Cater to consumers

People love to talk about their opinions. As you’re working to improve something or spread your innovative idea, talk to people who work in the industry and consumers. Find out what people think could be improved in your industry or if there’s something specific they’d like to see. Take this feedback and use it to your advantage when developing new ideas.

Change is constant

Even if you aren’t thrilled at the thought of innovation, it’s going to happen in one way or another. Change is a constant in life, so you might as well participate. Prepare yourself for changes by staying up to date with trends and implementing your own ideas. Instead of letting organic change dictate how you do things, be innovative and make your own path.

Is So Much Philanthropy Sincere?

Lately, there’s been a trend of more and more people participating in philanthropy. While this trend is great and can do a lot of good for many incredible causes, it’s important to consider whether or not the philanthropy trend is actually sincere. It’s likely that you currently, or plan to eventually, participate in philanthropy in some way. Considering philanthropy as a whole is important, but it’s even more important to examine your own reasons for participating in philanthropy and make sure they’re genuine.

Isn’t it good no matter what?

While some people may argue that giving is beneficial no matter what, that’s not necessarily the case. Insincere philanthropy can be beneficial in the short-term, but it needs to be a lifestyle you adopt. Charity means writing a check and donating to organizations you care about and is also a positive thing, but philanthropy is a larger concept. To really make a difference and be a true philanthropist, you need to work on different characteristics and attributes.

Because philanthropy is a way of life, it means you must genuinely commit to making philanthropy a focus in your life. If you push the image of a philanthropist, but do not actually follow through, or only practice philanthropy for a short amount of time, it can be detrimental to the causes you work with. If you do not honestly pursue a philanthropic lifestyle, you will be giving your time and efforts on a short term basis. It’s important that your reasons for participating in philanthropy are to actually make a difference and you’re willing to invest that time instead of only using it to market your business until you are more successful.

How to make sure your giving is sincere

If you’re concerned over whether or not your giving is sincere, take some time to reflect on what you’re doing and why. If you’re participating in philanthropy because you genuinely want to make a difference in the world for some issue, that’s great! That’s the real reason you should put energy into philanthropy. However, if you’re only acting philanthropic in order to market your business or personal brand or because you think it makes you look good, you should re-evaluate your priorities and think about how you can be more authentic with your philanthropic pursuits.

Start making your giving sincere

There’s a possibility that after considering why you participate in philanthropy, you’ve realized that you’re only being philanthropic in order to achieve some end goal for yourself and not because you actually care about the cause or people connected to the philanthropy. However, this absolutely does not mean that you should stop being philanthropic! It merely indicates that it’s time for you engage in more sincere philanthropy.

Find a cause you’re genuinely passionate about and focus your efforts there. Spend time volunteering and finding ways to help out that cause, even if it doesn’t benefit you or is inconvenient. Make an effort to get to know the people your philanthropy works with and the others who volunteer or work at that philanthropy. With some work, adapting a genuinely philanthropic mindset won’t take too much time!

Use Social Media for Your Philanthropy

Social media is incredibly useful for businesses and I’ve already addressed how entrepreneurs can benefit from it, but it can also be utilized for philanthropies. Since so many people around the world use social media, it’s a great way to get the message out about your philanthropy and attract new donations, volunteers, or even just awareness. Follow a few simple tips on how to use social media for your philanthropy and you’re sure to see success!

Create succinct design

As you begin creating your social media sites for your charity you’re using a succinct design across all platforms. While some layouts and other small details differ from site to site, you can control the major aspects. As you create your social media accounts, make sure you use the same username across the sites, so anyone searching for your philanthropy can easily find it. Create a new logo, color scheme, and themes you can use for all sites. You want your social media look to be easily recognized so volunteers and people who are interested in your cause can find your accounts.

Regularly update

Something you certainly want to avoid is creating an abundance of social media accounts and then never updating them again after the first few weeks. Instead of making an account on every site possible, choose carefully which are the most popular and can help your charity out the most. Research when the best times to post on each site are and begin making regular posts. Try to post something at least once a month, ideally every week. The more original content you generate, the more traffic you’ll attract to your sites, but make sure what you’re posting is good quality!

Engage your audience

Even if you regularly update your sites, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t actively engaging your audience. Avoid mindlessly posting and sharing content, because that won’t excite your following. Put thought into what you’re posting and try to make and find unique posts. Consider giving away free raffle tickets to a random social media follower if they interact with a post or just make sure what you’re posting is eye-catching and thought-provoking.

Start a blog

Research shows that charities most commonly use Facebook and Twitter to promote their cause, but there are plenty of other platforms and methods you can use. A great way to generate a larger following and make more people aware of your cause is by creating a blog where you post unique content. Update it regularly; once a month shouldn’t be too difficult to do! Make short write-ups about your events and news for your philanthropy and share events on a calendar. Include important contact information, forms for volunteering, and anything else that might be important on your site so anyone who’s interested can easily access it. You could even create positions for volunteers to run your site; crafting social media skills is useful and there are a lot of people who want to get more experience doing it!

The Skill Most Professionals Lack: Communication

Technology has made it easier to connect with people and discuss business and current issues, but an important skill has suffered. That skill is communication. More and more people find genuine communication difficult since they’re used to using technology to talk with others and lack experience in solving issues. As a professional, it’s important to develop strong communication skills that you can use in your business ventures. Dealing with people is vital in any profession and it’s a skill employers find valuable and can make you stand out. You’re probably wondering how you can improve your communication skills, so read on for some tips to make your communication outstanding.

Know your point

Before you begin trying to convey an idea, make sure you know what your point is going to be. It’s common for people to begin speaking, stating facts, and offering their thoughts, but then trail off because they do not have a clear understanding of what they were trying to say. If you’re going into a meeting or having an important conversation, think about what your end goal is and what you would like to convey.

Gauge your audience

As you’re speaking, gauge your audience. Do they seem engaged in what you’re saying? Is your topic appropriate for the group you’re in? If it seems that no one is listening to what you’re saying, back off or approach the conversation in another way. Consider stopping and asking people for their input to give them a chance to speak.

Keep it short

No matter what you’re saying, if you’re attempting to communicate it to other people, do your best to keep it short, whether it’s a presentation or a speech. No one wants to listen to another person drone on for half an hour about something they may not care much about, so plan out what you’ll say beforehand and keep it as succinct as possible.

Know how to listen

While communication depends on what you say and how you conduct yourself, an awful lot also depends on knowing how to listen and engage with other people. If you’ve been speaking for a while, stop, and see what the other person has to say. It’s vital that you know when to be quiet and listen to others’ opinions or information on a topic. Make a point to sincerely listen to what they’re saying, even if it isn’t well-thought out or is difficult to understand. People greatly appreciate another person who listens well.

Ask questions

Finally, ask questions when you’re having a conversation with someone else. People like when others show interest in what they’re saying and the best way to do that is through thoughtful questions that relate to the topic at hand. As someone’s speaking, make a note of a point you might need clarification on or something you agree with and have similar experiences.

The Importance of Social Media for Startups & How You Can Use It

It’s 2017 and billions of people use social media every day. There are various sites that cater to different niches, some for specific industries like real estate, education, or fashion. Businesses have realized the benefits of creating social media accounts for their brands and gaining a loyal following online. People from all over the world purchase goods and services online and discover new companies. As you create your startup, it’s time to plan how to use social media for your new company as you find your place in your industry. Social media can be an entrepreneur’s secret weapon when it comes to marketing a business.

Why is social media so important to my startup?

Social media is the chosen form of keeping up with communication and news for a lot of people. When someone wants to learn something about another person or company, they often take a look at their social media, where information, reviews, products, and events are listed. By understanding how best to use social media as you launch your company, you’ll generate interest in it before it’s even officially up and running. You can attract followers and customers with well-crafted ads and posts, in addition to generating interest around your product. Properly using social media marketing allows you to compete on the same playing field as much larger companies.

One of the biggest shifts social media has caused is the importance of focusing on what the consumer wants from you as a company. Do your research and learn what attracts consumers and what kind of social media posts your target audience responds to well. People on social media are accustomed to scrolling past ads without giving them more than a quick glance, much less ever clicking on ads that pop-up in their news feeds. Startups face a huge issue when it comes to advertising and getting recognized in such a fast-paced culture, which is why it’s vital to develop high quality, eye-catching social media accounts that attract consumers to your business. To accomplish this goal, you need to know what it is that the consumers like.

How can I best use social media?

Now that you understand the importance of using social media as an entrepreneur with a new business, you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to use it to help your business. Most people use social media without a full understanding of how to do so effectively. The first step to take is identifying and understanding your target audience. Once you know your target audience, do some research on what social media networks they use the most frequently and when is the best time to post on those outlets. Keep up with the latest news on social media platforms so you know how to use the features, what consumers think of the different features, and what styles or methods are trending on those platforms. Check out this social media guide to find even more ways to utilize social media platforms for your small business.

Marketing Entrepreneurs: the Next Big Thing

The traditional advertising industry is rapidly changing, thanks to the development of new media and the fast-paced environment of business today. In decades past, a company focused large sums of money on their huge marketing department and it usually led to nearly instantaneous success. Now, there are so many companies competing with similar products for the same consumers and it takes more than money and lots of people to lead to marketing success. The best way companies can achieve marketing success is through an up-and-coming trend known as entrepreneurial marketing.

What is entrepreneurial marketing?

Entrepreneurial marketing is a new development in the marketing industry that has occurred with the rise of entrepreneurship. Within business, entrepreneurship has taken on its own industry and style, with people in any industry striking out on their own as entrepreneurs. The general impression of entrepreneurs is they’re resourceful individuals who work hard, organized, and know how to achieve a goal. These traits are irreplaceable when it comes to marketing in the new media age, when consumers are constantly being hit with messages from companies trying to sell a product or know how to block ads as they browse the web. Marketers need to channel the entrepreneurial spirit and find innovative ways to get their message to consumers.

What are the benefits?

If you attempt to market your business in the traditional sense, there’s a chance it might work. However, there’s a higher chance that you won’t encounter success and other marketers will take away your customers. With entrepreneurial marketing, you have the opportunity to attract new consumers and the security that your team is developing innovative methods for attracting business. This new method of marketing often leads companies handling risks and failures better, because the entrepreneurial mindset takes risks, but also understands how to jump back if the risk fails to accomplish the original goal.

How to emulate entrepreneurial marketing

The most important part of attempting entrepreneurial marketing is making sure you have the correct mindset. Emulate the attitude of an entrepreneur by approaching a problem with determination and getting ready to institute new ideas and methods. Instead of staying stuck with traditional marketing methods, utilize new media and technology that can help you reach consumers. Social media is a great resource, because it’s more difficult to block ads and people will follow company accounts that market incredibly well. Take time to understand your consumer and what they like, then market your product and company accordingly.

Children are the Future: Teach Them to Be Philanthropic

People focus on what we should and should not be teaching children so often and how best to prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow, but teaching them about philanthropy is unfortunately not a common part of these discussions. Philanthropy is a mindset that more and more people are adopting, which is made easier with how technology has connected people across the world. Teaching children the importance of empathy and philanthropy provides them with the tools to truly make the world a better place.

Donate frequently

One way to donate is by going through the possessions already in your home. You’re sure to have a significant amount of unused clothes and items sitting around the house, so take a day or two to go through different rooms and gather up the items you no longer need. Take time to do the same thing with your children and their rooms, then sort through the items. Anything in good enough condition can be donated to a donation center, plus you have the added bonus of more room in your home.

Another way to teach your children the value of philanthropy through donations is by buying items for local shelters or drives and dropping them off. If your kid is an animal lover, go out and buy some pet food then take it to your local animal shelter. Maybe even stay and give a few hours walking dogs or helping socialize the animals; most kids would love it! You can also donate food or toys to drives by local philanthropies. Keep an eye out for events and the lists they provide for what they need.

Volunteer together

A great way to show your children how to be philanthropic is by teaching through example. When you have spare time, volunteer at a local organization for a cause you feel passionate about. Most philanthropies will allow parents to bring along children to help in some capacity. You can also encourage them to participate in charity events at their school, whether it’s a fundraiser or simple donations or a larger event.

Teach them kindness

If you teach your children the importance of kindness, you’ll teach them how to be philanthropic. Teach kids that everyone deserves kindness, no matter what their circumstances may be. By teaching your children to treat others with respect and kindness, you’re raising them to be good adults who will go out of their way to help another person. Even smiling at someone and greeting them could make their day; it’s important children know that they can always make a difference with kindness.

Help out a neighbor

A simple way to help your child become involved in philanthropy is through helping out a neighbor. You might not know your neighbors well, but it’s always a nice gesture to offer to rake their leaves or shovel snow. Ask if there’s any other way you can help out, even if it’s something simple like pet-sitting while they’re on vacation or stopping by with some food. It’s good to know your neighbors and even more important to help them out.

Turning Your Startup into a Powerhouse

A business isn’t started with stagnation in mind. A business is started with expected growth and rising success. Whether your business is running smoothly or struggling to survive, have no fear. You can turn your startup into a powerhouse by following these steps.

Evaluate your Consumer Demographics

Who are your target customers and who are your actual customers? You may not actually be connecting with the audience that can spring your business on the fast track to success. Pinpoint the demographics your business strives to reach. This will help you create a plan of action to gain their attention.

Demographics require some research. Depending on the service or products your business provides, you’ll want to evaluate how your target audience decides to purchase what you have to offer. Adjust your company to be more visible to your target audience through demographics.

Expand your Audience

Don’t set unnecessary limits for your startup. There are only so many consumers that need your services or product so find opportunities to expand your target audience. Marketing to consumers will show them why they need your services or product. The same consumers may not purchase from you over and over again. In order to gain growth, you need to reach more people.

Keep in mind the best way to do this. Social media and SEO are great ways to reach people that may not know you by association or by your location. Keep your website user-friendly and always make your consumers feel appreciated by sending them a thank you email when they do business with you.

Identify your Setbacks/Opportunities

Always admit to your faults. Businesses have successes and failures during their startup process. If you’re looking to expand for success, you need to realize what areas of your startup could be improved. Improvement could be found through both setbacks or opportunities.

If you see an opportunity within your company, improve it even more for success. Any setbacks in your company are clear signs of what you can either cut out or improve as well.

Compare to Competitors

Don’t be afraid to look around. You need to know what you’re up against and how you can beat it. Competition is nothing to fear, it only shows you how far your business has to go. Research what your customers are also being offered. To see what your competitors are doing and plan to be one step ahead of them; you need to understand your competition. Do you think Pepsi and Coca-Cola ignore each other?

Seek Partnerships

An aggressive powerhouse strategy is finding the best partnerships for your business. Partnerships will benefit your business is many ways. Thriving businesses are all about implementing the best ways to provide a great experience for their consumers. Partnerships combined great deals with means of the same mission. Find a mutually beneficial partnership for your startup.
You want your business to develop and promote growth. Rapid business growth doesn’t happen overnight. With the right plan and implementation, you can turn your startup into a powerhouse.