News / USA

Charities Get Creative to Attract Donors

Social media plays bigger role in fundraising during hard times

Donors peruse the wares at the 2011 Alternative Giving Market in Moscow, Idaho.
Donors peruse the wares at the 2011 Alternative Giving Market in Moscow, Idaho.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Tom Banse

December is traditionally a season of giving but the current economic downturn has some U.S. nonprofits getting creative to inspire contributions from donors - and that means everything from banding together to an increasing reliance on social media.

In Moscow, Idaho, 27 small nonprofits held a joint fundraiser. They took over a large art gallery for the evening, rechristening it the "Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse."

"We came up with a motto of 'Shop local, buy local, give local,'" says cofounder Dianne Daley Laursen.

The one-stop shop included charities dedicated to the arts, environment, human services, youth and international relief. Patrons could make a donation in someone’s name instead of buying them a more traditional gift.

Fellow organizer Mary Silvernale Shook notes that many nonprofits - especially small ones - are struggling. "Foundations are cutting back. People are cutting back, and nonprofits still have increasing services. This just seems like such a win-win. We can serve a lot of non-profits at very little cost because everything is donated or volunteer run."

Volunteer Ginger Rankin ran the booth for Orphan Acres horse rescue farm. With 27 charities all competing for donor attention in once place, no single one went home with a windfall. However, Rankin was pleased with the format just the same.

"So many people say, 'I didn't know we had a horse rescue,'" says Rankin. "It gets them to think about what we're doing and what they can do. It helps the horses and it's a fun evening."

Getting playful

Just days before the market, a University of Idaho sorority organized a different type of creative fundraiser. Pi Beta Phi held a speed reading contest to raise money for the literacy charity, "First Book." Nineteen teams competed to see who could read a Dr. Seuss story out loud, cover to cover the fastest.

Organizer Samantha Fritz says the playful fundraiser raised money through entry fees and judged it a big success.

"Everybody in the Greek community was really excited about it even as a first year philanthropy.  So I think we'll be able to successfully bring it back year after year."

Fritz says lingering effects of the great recession are less apparent in charity events sponsored by sororities and fraternities.

An app for giving

By contrast, the sputtering economy weighs heavily on the fundraising of many international aid organizations. Now there's an app for that. Washington state-based World Vision is preparing to introduce a smartphone app that connects potential donors with its aid projects around the world.  

Portland, Oregon-based Mercy Corps just trotted out an interactive Facebook app. It's dubbed the "gift-o-matic."

"It basically is an app that will prescribe a Mercy Corps gift for your loved ones based on issues they are passionate about," says Megan Zabel Holmes, an online marketing officer at Mercy Corps.

For someone interested in education, she says, the gift-o-matic might suggest a donation to teach a woman to read, or outfit a classroom. Someone who likes animals might be pleased to know a poor rural family received a milking cow in their name.

"We're looking for a way to engage our Facebook audience and kind of get them thinking about Mercy Corps gifts without just constantly telling them about Mercy Corps gifts."

Zabel Holmes finds that social media channels are not very conducive to direct pleas for money and believes creativity is a crucial ingredient to successful fundraising in this arena, and in this economy.  

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid