The smart way for Minnesotans to discover, support and engage with charities.
What does the School Outreach and Partnership Coordinator at GiveMN do?
As the School Outreach and Partnership Coordinator at GiveMN, I have the great opportunity to enhance the fundraising capacity for schools as well as engage outreach coverage to schools in the state of Minnesota. My position allows me to explore and learn about the different and diverse school communities in the state. This means that I am able to build partnerships not only with the schools but with their communities. And of course, I meet incredible people along the way that are passionate about supporting education!
What have you observed about schools and their relationship to fundraising?
Whether it’s for a small or large school, for a program or organization, or for the PTA or PTO, I see a trend of students, parents, teachers and staff, organizations, and programs that are in need of relying on fundraising efforts to support what they are doing or what they hope to do. Funding for educational field trips, to sustain school programs, to create new school programs (such as a new theatre department), or to host school activities are but a few examples of the type of fundraisers that schools are supporting. Fundraising is necessary and allows schools to increase access to and give (more) opportunities to students.
What I’ve learned from working with schools is that you don’t have to be “tech savvy” to fundraise on GiveMN. Technology can be scary and intimidating but it shouldn’t limit your options to fundraise. Remember, this is a fundraising tool that can help supplement other fundraising efforts your school is already doing. Not to mention, GiveMN offers resources such as trainings and webinars, technical assistance, and strategic insight to assist you with your fundraising.
Any tips for school fundraising?
Of course! Here are my 5 tips:
Know that you have the option to fundraise year-round on GiveMN!
Keep your school page up-to-date with relevant information about your fundraiser. With that said, simplify your words to highlight what you’re fundraising for (by sharing the school need) and what it would mean or what opportunities it would bring to the students at your school. Hint: Try using bullet points to make it easier to read.
Provide contact information for people who may have questions or need additional information about your fundraiser.
Utilize the suggested donation box to highlight how the amount can help fulfill your school's need(s).
Don’t hesitate to contact Leona Thao (me!), the School Outreach and Partnership Coordinator if you have questions. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651.325.4281.
If you want to explore more tips and ideas, check out our resource center!
The Hard Truth about the way the Facebook Newsfeed Works Now
To Promote or Not to Promote? (…and Is That The Question?):GlobalGiving’s Experiment With Facebook Promoted Posts
What Nonprofits Need to Know about Facebook Promoted Posts
5 Ways to Supercharge Your Nonprofit's Facebook Page
Which Facebook Page Updates Should Your Nonprofit Pay To Promote?
Storytelling is an integral part of fundraising. And, as the technology of storytelling evolves and we learn to use it, the art of storytelling remains central to our lives and work. Storytelling moves people to action and helps connect them to our nonprofit work. So, here are five great ways to improve your storytelling and your fundraising.
Lori Jacobwith is a fundraising consultant who has done lots of work around storytelling, and she suggests focusing on “Mission Moments”. These are the examples of how your organization is making an impact. These should be stories that are told everywhere: at your board meetings, to your volunteers, to your donors, at your events, when you’re making an ask, and even when you’re simply working with your staff. It’s important that everyone involved in your organization has a clear conception of these mission moments and that your board and staff all feel comfortable sharing their own. Try telling stories when you assume everyone already knows the mission and is on board. It’s a great way to solidify your sense of impact and to practice for when you’re talking to donors.
You can also be creative in where you tell your stories. Many people look at their GiveMN page and see only one opportunity for storytelling: the large text box they have below their pictures and videos. This means they’re missing out on ways to enhance their story all over their page, and aren’t showing their donors the real impact they have. Think about the story your pictures can tell: is there someone your organization has helped who is willing to be featured on your page? Can you include a picture of someone receiving services? Look at your suggested giving amounts: are you showing your donors how their money will impact people? Be creative throughout your page so that your donors are inspired. Even your summary should be the briefest version you can tell of your story and your impact. Take advantage of every space available.
In each of these spaces you should think about who can be tell this story. This could be different in different places. The most important question to consider here is who is it hardest for your donors to ignore? Is it your executive director or is it a child who has learned to read thanks to your organization? Everyone in your organization should be telling stories, from donors to volunteers, but consider when each person’s voice should be highlighted. Personal connection is incredibly important when it comes to storytelling, so if you have a volunteer whose life has been changed by your organization consider letting them speak up. If your staff members have great networks, make sure they’re telling your story to their friends and connections. Everyone’s voice is important in the right place.
Storytelling is about reaching the emotions of your supporters. In order to do that you want to tell a vivid story with words that really reach the heart. Tell stories about real individuals with real names. However as you’re telling your story, you want to make sure that your donors sees a role for themselves in the story. Draw a clear connection between your organization and a positive impact for the people you serve and then illustrate to your donor how their donation will help make that impact a reality. As Lori Jacobwith distinguishes, don’t simply explain to your donors what’s happened, but compel them. There should be a purpose driving your story: to show your donors how they can be incorporated into that story. A story is more than a series of facts. It shows how someone has grown or changed.
This may seem counter to the previous point, but the two can work hand-in-hand. Include pertinent details, but keep in mind the short attention span of the human mind. Keep your story short and sweet, and quickly get to the point.
Everyone knows that the beginning of the year is the time to think about what you’d like to do in the upcoming months, but we here at GiveMN are advocating a new kind of resolution: not one for exercising or finishing that novel, but a giving resolution. Ten giving resolutions in fact. The world of philanthropy is changing fast, but here are some ways that you can bring philanthropy, giving, and charity into your life on a regular basis and make 2014 your best year yet!
1. Make recurring gifts
One thing that many of us forget about but that makes a big difference to organizations is to make a gift recurring. Sites like GiveMN offer the option to set up your recurring donation so that you don’t have to do anything: it will continue automatically. Take advantage of the technology available so that you can support your causes hassle free.
2. Move online
More and more organizations are offering the option to give online, and websites like GiveMN make it easier and faster than ever. For the most efficient way to give to lots of organizations, move your donations online.
3. Re-examine your values and find new organizations to support
There are lots of ways and reasons to give, but many of us fall into the same patterns of giving over and over. We give to our school and our church because we were brought up to give back to the places that helped us. There's nothing wrong with the ways that we think about giving, but these aren't the only causes that need your support. When you consider the question of aligning your giving with your values, even more possibilities present themselves.
Do you value news and information? That might translate into giving to support nonprofit media.
Do you value the celebration and preservation of diverse cultures? That might translate into giving to support cultural, linguistic or arts organizations.
Do you value helping the poor and reducing the education/poverty/digital divides? That might translate into giving to support literacy, skills-based, training nonprofits.
This year, think outside the box -- the box of traditional organizations which you support.
4. Game your way into giving
Once upon a time the way to solicit donations for an organization was to do a run or a walk. Unfortunately not everyone with a big heart has the big muscles for a 5k and so some intrepid gamers have started a new way of giving: the tech way. Game-a-thons for charity are proliferating, and sites that incorporate gaming into giving are everywhere, from freerice.com which allows you to answer simple questions to earn money for charity to Humble Bundle, which lets you buy games and send the profit to charity.
5. Get involved socially
Minnesota has a thriving culture of philanthropy, and with that we have a slew of support organizations that give you opportunities to rub shoulders with the high flyers of the giving world. Many organizations put on happy hours, networking opportunities, and speaker events to connect people in the nonprofit world. You can find out about exciting events and volunteer opportunities, learn about new nonprofits, meet some amazing people, and simply have some fun. Good places to start include YNPN and MCN.
6. Research a new nonprofit each month
There are literally thousands of nonprofits in Minnesota. There’s bound to be a hidden gem or two out there that you want to give to but you just don’t know it yet. Why not make it a point to find out about one new one each month? One fun way to do this is simply to spend some time looking through the GiveMN pages, reading descriptions, looking at pictures, and watching videos. Minnesota Philanthropy Partners also has a great web video series featuring “Nonprofits to Know.” Watch now.
7. Talk about your giving
For many people, we give but we don’t talk about our giving. Many people don’t want to be seen as bragging or boasting. Unfortunately this means that oftentimes our friends and family don’t hear about the things that are important to us and don’t learn about why we support the causes we do. Giving can be a community event: you can do it with other people, you can share a Facebook status, you can invite others to join you. The more you talk about your giving, the more you are helping the organizations you support. For many nonprofits, your voice is worth more than a hundred marketing solicitations.
8. Rethink what makes a 'good' organization
It’s been in vogue for a while to research how much of a donation to a given nonprofit goes to its actual mission. Sometimes this is a good measure of the efficacy of an organization, but sometimes you have an organization that provides high cost services (e.g. therapy or health care) and their overhead will simply be higher. Other times, paying employees well makes an organization stronger. Instead of just overhead costs, try looking at a variety of success measures. Try looking at outcomes. Research the field that the organization is in to see how it stacks up to others. Good things to think about are whether the organization has specific goals, the plans they have in place to achieve those goals, or their ability to mobilize people outside the organization.
9. Demand diversity
When we give, we don’t often think about the makeup of the organizations that we’re giving to. However just as important as the mission of an organization is how well they live out values like diversity in their hiring practices and partnerships. Consider finding out something about the policies and practices in place at the organizations that you support. There is still a very real problem with diversity on nonprofit boards and staff, and those of us who support organizations can make our opinions heard.
10. Look beyond the cute and cuddly
We like to give to fuzzy animals. We like to give to cute kids. That’s ok, there’s good reason to give to these causes. But in 2014 let’s also give to a cause that isn’t sexy, that isn’t cute, and that doesn’t set our heart a flutter. Why? Because many of these causes are extremely important. They include things like helping low income individuals with taxes, mobility help, or group homes. These causes are incredibly important and because they don’t get the attention of puppies and kittens, your dollar might go further if you give to these types of causes. Try it out this year.