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
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 China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid