Fundraising Tips

We’ve run over 2000 silent auction events. Let us share what we’ve learned with you!

Ace Your Auction: Unique Items for School Auctions

Ace Your Auction - School Lunch Box Banner

Ace Your Auction: Unique Items for School Auctions

Very specific groups of people attend school fundraisers and bid on their auction items. It’s a good idea to pinpoint items that will entice these groups, which include parents, teachers, alumni and members of the community at large. Our fundraising experts have put together a list of items that have performed well at school events.

This list first appeared in a Gesture blog post on January 14, 2016:

  • Prime Parking Spot – Parking close is a commodity for most schools who have limited parking spaces for students and/or faculty.
  • VIP Pickup Pass – Being treated like a VIP for the day or year is something worth bidding on for parents and students alike.
  • Pre-Planned Parties – A class party is one of more exciting parts of school that students look forward to and winning one in an auction makes for a fun way to reward fundraising.
  • Student Artwork – Parents love to display their kids’ artwork. Make this an instant buy item or part of your silent auction.
  • Bikes (for all ages) – Promotes healthy activity and being outdoors, two things schools are constantly trying to find a way to promote more.
  • Sign-up parties – Sign up parties are instant buy items that generate a lot of interest! From spa days for moms to golf outings for dads to pool parties for students, sign-up parties get are some of the most popular items we’ve seen. 
  • Teacher’s Day Off – Bid to help your favorite teacher get an extra day off.
  • Dinner with the Principal or President – Instead of being sent to the Principal’s Office for some type of misbehavior, your family can join the Principal of your school for a fun meal.
  • Homecoming & Prom Package – Everything your child needs for a safe and memorable prom night. This could include a coupon for a dress, a spray tan, a post-prom activity and more.

Additional items our fundraising experts have seen do well include:

  • Dress Down Days – Schools with uniform requirements can let parents bid on a dress down day for their children.
  • Front Row for School Play/Concert/etc. – Getting the front row is always an experience, especially if a parent’s child is the star in the play. 
  • Principal for a Day – Give a student the chance to spend the day in the principal’s office – and not because they’re in trouble.
  • Experience with Favorite Teacher (pizza party, movie, etc.) – Ask your teachers to come up with an activity – like a pizza party or after-school gym class – that parents can bid on for their children.
  • Graduation Package – Anything that could come in handy for graduation day, from front-row seats, a premium parking pass, free cap and gown, or even a coupon for a hair salon so the graduate can look their best on their big day.
  • Major sports tickets – These always do well! Not only will this appeal to all of your event attendees, but parents love spending money on their kids, and this is a great family activity. Find links to your local teams in our regional Corporate Donation Guides (NortheastWest and Southeast; Southwest and Midwest coming soon!).
  • School Sports Package – A package with school spirit wear, season passes to football and basketball games, and more!

Learn how Gesture can help with your next auction by contacting us today!

Read More exclusive content in our School Lunch Box!

View Post

Tip

Corporate Donation List Southeast

At Gesture, we value the work you do, and are ready and excited to work with our charity partners to raise $1 billion dollars in the next five years. In our efforts to help you raise more, we’ve compiled our 2016 Corporate Donation Guide. Get access today!

To further help, we’ve broken out some regional and local chains into regional donation lists. Use the list for your region to bring items with a local flair to your silent auction!

Corporate Donation List Southeast Logo

What’s your first & last name? (Required)

Email address? (Required)

What is your zip code? (Required)

What’s your organization? (Required)

Would you like to learn more about Gesture's mobile technology services related to fundraising at events? (Required)

*by saying "Yes", you are consenting to be contacted by a Gesture team member.

If so, Phone Number? (If Yes)

Which Features Would you like to Learn more about?

Corporate Donation List Southeast Logo

corporate donation list southeast mapThe Corporate Donation List for the Southeast Region of the United States is a great list to use when looking to bring a local flair to your silent auction. The following corporations only offer donations to organizations that fall into the states listed below.

States Covered: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

We have also included corporations from our National Corporate Donation List with headquarters in the southeastern states!

Next to each corporation, we have listed which types of nonprofits can request donations to save you time. Jump ahead to auction items/raffle prizesdonations, discounts, grants or sponsorships!

Get access to our national Corporate Donation List now!

Corporate Donation List Southeast Auction/Raffle

Gift Cards

21c Museum Hotel – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Bentonville, AK; Louisville, KY; Durham, NC; Lexington, KY; Oklahoma City, OK; Goshen, KY – click on the location nearest you for the closest donation page

Andy’s Frozen Custard – Children’s education organizations in Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee

Boar’s Head Inn – Accommodation gift certificates – Open to all nonprofit organizations, with top priority given to those located near Charlottesville, VA

Booksamillion – Schools, churches, organizations and charities that encourage and promote reading, literacy and education

Bravo Brio Restaurant Group – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Crabtree Valley Mall – Organizations that serve the local community near Raleigh, NC

GW Fins – Children’s educational, recreational and art endeavors near New Orleans, LA

Heine Brothers’ Organic Fair Trade Coffee – Open to all nonprofit organizations nears Louisville, KY

IP Casino & Spa – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Jason’s Deli – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Lettuce Entertain You – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Virginia

Mi Salon Spa – Open to all nonprofit organizations within 20 miles of Florence, KY

The Original Oyster House – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Alabama/Gulf Shores area

Raising Canes – Education, active lifestyles, feeding the hungry, pet welfare, chamber or professional organizations in Louisiana

U.S. Beef Corp (Arby’s and Taco Bueno) – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Arkansas and Oklahoma

War Eagle Mill – Food & nutrition, sustainability organizations in Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma

Item or In-kind Donations

In-kind gifts are contributions of goods or services, other than cash grants. This list includes corporations that will donate Kindle devices, food, tickets for things like amusement parks and airfare, hotel rooms, clothing, toys, etc.

Abita Brewing CompanyProducts, merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Abita Springs, LA

Adventure Landing – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida and North Carolina

Alabama Chanin – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Alabama Gulf Coast ZooZoo passes – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Allstate Beverage Company – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama and Florida

American Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Apple Blossom Brewing Company – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Fayetteville, AK

Atlanta FalconsFalcon merchandise – Organizations that support youth and focus on one or more of the following areas: health, arts, athletics, physical fitness or education in Georgia

Atlanta HawksMemorabilia, tickets – Health, physical fitness, arts or education within a 75 mile radius of the Phillips Arena in Atlanta

Barter TheatreTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Abingdon, VA

Bike BeatGoods – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Williamsburg, Newport, Hilltop North, and Chesapeake, VA

Brown Hotel – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Louisville, KY

Busch GardensTickets – Environmental protection and conservations programs, youth and families, health, education and the community in Florida, or organizations planning a Florida travel package

Carnival Cruises – Arts/culture, community affairs, education, health & human services

Carolina HurricanesTickets, signed hockey memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in North Carolina

The Carolina Inn – Organizations focusing on health & welfare, children, arts & education, sports near Chapel Hill, NC

Carolina PanthersMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofits organizations in North and South Carolina

Carolina RailhawksTickets, team memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Cary, NC

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida

Charleston Harbor ToursPasses – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Charleston, SC

Charlotte HornetsMerchandise – Education, hunger, military and wellness in North and South Carolina

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Braselton, GA

Chattanooga Zoo2 adult & 2 children tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Cheekwood Art & Gardens – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Nashville, TN

The Children’s Museum of the UpstateAdmission passes – Organizations focusing on families, children and/or education efforts near Greenville, SC

Churchill Downs Incorporated – Organizations that focus on industry-related initiatives, public health & welfare, or art & education near Louisville, KY

Community CoffeeCoffee produts – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Lousiana

Crayola ExperienceTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Orlando, FL

Creation MuseumTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Petersburg, KY

The Dali MuseumTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida

Devils Backbone Brewing CompanyDevils Backbone gear – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Virginia

Dinosaur WorldTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Plant City, FL

Disney World – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Durham Performing Arts CenterVIP Amenities to a show, including parking, drinks and guaranteed seating in the first 15 rows – Charities have to buy their own tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Durham, NC

The Florida AquariumGeneral admission tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida

Florida Hospital Zephyrhills – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Zephyrhills, FL

Florida PanthersAutographed memorabilia, tickets – Organizations that benefit children’s healthcare, education and cultural needs in Southern Florida

The Founders Inn & Spa – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Virginia Beach, VA

GatorlandTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Orlando, FL

Georgia AquariumTickets – Nonprofits, educational, cultural and children’s organizations in Georgie, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida

Greensboro Grasshoppers – Organizations making a different in the community near Greensboro< NC and the surrounding North Carolina triad area

Greenville ZooRegular admission tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in South Carolina

GW FinsFood – Children’s educational, recreational and art endeavors near New Orleans, LA

Heine Brothers’ Organic Fair Trade CoffeeBrewed coffee, ground/whole bean coffee, merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations nears Louisville, KY

Hershey – Organizations with a focus on providing basic nutrition to children to help them learn and grow near Memphis, TN

Hollywood Wax MuseumAdmission tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations within 100 miles of Pigeon Forge, TN

Horses Help!General admission tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Lexington, KY

Husk Restaurant – Products – Open to all nonprofit organizations

iFly Virginia BeachEarn your wings package, 50% discount on larger packages – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Virginia Beach, VA

Jacksonville Armada Memorabilia, ticket packages – Children’s health, youth soccer and military services in the greater Jacksonville, FL area

Jacksonville Jaguars – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Jason Dufner’s Charitable FoundationAutographed memorabilia – Organizations that supply food to those in need

Jason’s Deli – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline ParkBounce passes, fun passes – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee

Kennedy Space CenterTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida or who are putting together a “Travel to Florida” package

Kentucky Science CenterAdmission passes – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Kentucky

Lanier Island – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Buford, GA

Legoland Florida Resort – Organizations that promote creativity, fun, development, play and learning where the child is empowered in Central Florida

Lexington LegendsTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Lexington, KY

Lexington Opera House – Tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Lexington, KY

Little Rock Zoo – General admission, family memberships – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Little Rock, AR

Louisiana LotteryMerchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Louisiana

Lucky Ladd FarmsFamily four pack tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Eagleville, TN

Maker’s Mark – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Loretto, KY

Malco TheatresTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Memphis, TN

Margaritaville Resort & Casino – Economic development, charities which their employees are directly involved, charitable organizations and those that focus on the core values of the business near Bossier City, LA

Marquee CinemasTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virgina and West Virginia

Memphis GrizzliesMemorabilia – Priority given to organizations that serve youth in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee

Memphis RedbirdsTickets, items – Organizations with a focus on education, sports, youth & family, health services & wellness near Memphis, TN

Miami Dolphins – Health, education and youth football in Southern Florida

Miami HeatSports memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations within 75 miles of the American Airlines Arena in Miami

Miami MarlinsCollectible items, tickets, autographed merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Southern Florida

Mid-America Science MuseumTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Arkansas

Mississippi Braves – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Mississippi

Mortimer’s Pub – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Charlotte, NC

Nashville BalletTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in central Tennessee

Nashville Predators – Disadvantaged youth, development, educational, wellness and youth hockey programs in the middle Tennessee communities

Nashville Shores Lakeside ResortTickets to the waterpark – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Nashville SymphonyTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Nashville, TN

Nestle Purina – Pet welfare

New Orleans Pelicans – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Louisiana

New Orleans Saints – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Newport AquariumTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in northern Kentucky

North Carolina Symphony – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Raleigh, NC

Northwest Arkansas NaturalsMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Arkansas

Old Bust Head Brewing CompanyBeer for event, raffle/auction items – Special consideration given to local organizations that support trails, historic resources, land preservation, and sustainable agriculture. Extra special consideration given to efforts that support clean water, clean air and the environment. Organizations should be located near Warrenton, VA

Omni Hotels & Resorts – Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Atlanta, GA

Orlando Magic – Organizations supporting education, hunger relief and health & wellness in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties

Perfect North SlopesActivity vouchers – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Kentucky

Raising CanesGift basket – Education, active lifestyles, feeding the hungry, pet welfare, chamber or professional organizations in Louisiana

Raleigh BrewingBeer, merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Riverbanks Zoo & GardenAdmission passes – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Columbia, SC

Royal Caribbean – Children & families, education and marine conservation

The Scott Family Amazeum – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Bentonville, AR

SeaWorld Orlando – Open to all nonprofit organizations and schools

Six Flags Over GeorgiaTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Snowshoe MountainMid-week recreation vouchers – Organizations with a focus on health & welfare, children & families, arts & education or recreation near Snowshoe, WV

South Carolina State MuseumFamily four-pack – Open to all nonprofit organizations in South Carolina

South Carolina Stingrays – Open to all nonprofit organizations near North Charleston, SC

South Florida Science Center and AquariumTickets – Education, youth or families, and building strong communities in South Florida

The Southern NashvilleProducts – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Tales of the CocktailTickets, gift item – Open to all nonprofit organizations in New Orleans, LA

Tampa Bay BuccaneersMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Marion, Citrus, Lake, Sumter, Hernando, Orange, Seminole, Pasco, Polk, Osceola, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Hardee, Highlands, De Soto, Sarasota and Charlotte counties

Tampa Bay LightningMerchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations, with priority given to those in west central Florida

Tampa Bay RaysMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Florida

Tennessee Performing Arts CenterTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Nashville, TN

Tennessee Titans – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Tennessee, northern Alabama and southern Kentucky

Treetop QuestAdmission – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Buford, GA and Dunwoody, GA

Trek Bicycle Store Raleigh – Organizations or events with a bicycling focus or a charitable and/or education focus on benefitting youth near Raleigh, NC

Trek Bicycle Store South Carolina – Open to all nonprofit organizations in South Carolina

U.S. Beef Corp (Arby’s and Taco Bueno)Food and paper products – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Arkansas and Oklahoma

Universal Studios Florida – Organizations that educate youth and strengthen the community

University of MississippiHead coach autographed ball – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Mississippi

Virginia Air & Space CenterTwo exhibit admission passes – Organizations and schools that align with their mission to educate, entertain and inspire the next generation of explorers through STEM

VIRginia International Raceway – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Alton, VA

Virginia Repertory TheatreTicket vouchers – Open to all nonprofit organizations in central Virginia

Virginia ZooFamily fun four-pack of tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia

Walton Arts CenterTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Fayetteville, AK

War Eagle Mill – Food & nutrition, sustainability organizations in Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma

West Virginia Black Bears – Open to all nonprofit organizations within 50 miles of Morgantown, WV

Wheeling IslandRestaurant or hotel coupons – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Wheeling, WV

Wild River County – Daily admission passes – Open to all nonprofit organizations near North Little Rock, AK

Wilderness at the SmokiesWaterpark passes, overnight stay packages – Organizations that make lasting, positive change in the community and that aid in the improvement of the well-being and happiness of families & children near Sevierville, TN

Wintergreen ResortMid-week recreation vouchers – Organizations with a focus on health & welfare, children & families, arts & education or sports near Wintergreen, Va

Wyland GalleriesArtwork – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Zoo AtlantaGeneral admission tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Atlanta, GA

Corporate Donation List Southeast Direct Donations

Alabama Chanin – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Alabama Outdoors – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama

Allstate Beverage Company – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama and Florida

American Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Apple Blossom Brewing Company – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Fayetteville, AK

Arvest Bank – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Arkansas and Oklahoma

B&B Beverage Co. – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Bliss Cupcake Cafe -Open to all nonprofit organizations near Fayetteville, AK

BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama – Health, wellness and education organizations in Alabama

Busch Gardens – Organizations with a focus on advancing educational and environmental initiatives, and children in the communities closest to the parks, from Richmond to Virginia Beach, VA

Churchill Downs Incorporated – Organizations that focus on industry-related initiatives, public health & welfare, or art & education near Louisville, KY

Culligan – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama

Delta Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Virginia

Dollar Tree – Organizations that improve the quality of life for socio-economically disadvantaged families

Family Dollar – Programs that provide basic necessities of life, including food, clothing and shelter, to low-income and low-middle income families, including senior citizens, minorities and at-risk youth

Golden Nugget – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Lousiana

Hershey – Organizations with a focus on providing basic nutrition to children to help them learn and grow near Memphis, TN

Hertz – Education, environment, safety and travel with an emphasis on children & families

Hilton Worldwide – Creating opportunities, strengthening community, celebrating cultures and living sustainably

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama

Jo-Ann Fabrics – Arts & education, health & wellness and military support

Margaritaville Resort & Casino – Economic development, charities which their employees are directly involved, charitable organizations and those that focus on the core values of the business near Bossier City, LA

Mortimer’s Pub – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Charlotte, NC

Pearl River Resort – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Choctaw, MS

Pinnacle Entertainment (hotels and casinos) – Spreading love through food, serving those who served (veterans and active military), supporting efforts in finding a cure for cancer, strengthening communities, or caring for senior citizens near Bossier City, LA; New Orleans, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; and Lake Charles, LA

Raleigh Brewing – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Royal Caribbean – Children & families, education and marine conservation

Scott Crump Toyota – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama

Serra Mazda – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alabama

Serra Toyota – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Birmingham and central Alabama

Tales of the CocktailTickets, gift item – Open to all nonprofit organizations in New Orleans, LA

Whole Foods Miami – Environmental preservation and preventative healthcare through nutrition, hunger relief, organic farming/sustainable food resources, or education on any of the above

Corporate Donation List Southeast Grants

Bank of America – Workforce development and education, community development, basic needs

Carnival Cruises – Arts/culture, community affairs, education, health & human services

Carolina Panthers – Nonprofits with a focus on educational, athletic and human services needs of communities throughout North and South Carolina; resources are also made available to arts, science and civic organizations in the Carolinas (Please note, the deadline is March 1 every year)

Coca-Cola – Water stewardship, active healthy living, community recycling and education

Georgia Power – Organizations that improve the quality of life for the state’s residents, with a preference given to Georgia-based organizations

Home Depot – Veteran housing and community repair

Nestle PurinaFor pet shelters – Pet welfare organizations

Office Depot – Disaster relief & recovery, schools, libraries, government agencies and nonprofits

Royal Caribbean – Children & families, education and marine conservation

Virginia Repertory TheatreTicket grants for those who can’t afford them – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Richmond Metro area

West Virginia Wine & Jazz Festival – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Corporate Donation List Southeast Sponsorships

Alabama Chanin – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Arvest Bank – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Arkansas and Oklahoma

B&B Beverage Co. – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Bank of America – Art exhibitions, events and performances

Bliss Cupcake Cafe – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Fayetteville, AK

Carnival Cruises – Arts/culture, community affairs, education, health & human services

Churchill Downs Incorporated – Organizations that focus on industry-related initiatives, public health & welfare, or art & education near Louisville, KY

Coca-Cola – Water stewardship, active healthy living, community recycling and education

Delta Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Florida Hospital Zephyrhills – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Zephyrhills, FL

Golden Nugget – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Lousiana

Hilton Worldwide – Creating opportunities, strengthening community, celebrating cultures and living sustainably

Louisiana Lottery – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Louisiana

Margaritaville Resort & Casino – Economic development, charities which their employees are directly involved, charitable organizations and those that focus on the core values of the business near Bossier City, LA

Nestle Purina – Pet welfare

The Original Oyster House – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Alabama/Gulf Shores area

Pearl River Resort – Open to all nonprofit organizations near Choctaw, MS

Pinnacle Entertainment (hotels and casinos) – Spreading love through food, serving those who served (veterans and active military), supporting efforts in finding a cure for cancer, strengthening communities, or caring for senior citizens near Bossier City, LA; New Orleans, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; and Lake Charles, LA

Raising Canes – Education, active lifestyles, feeding the hungry, pet welfare, chamber or professional organizations in Louisiana

Royal Caribbean – Children & families, education and marine conservation

Trek Bicycle Store Raleigh – Organizations or events with a bicycling focus or a charitable and/or education focus on benefitting youth near Raleigh, NC

View Post

Tip

In the News: Savvy nonprofits raise awareness and donations via social media

MultiBriefs included advice from Jim Alvarez, Gesture’s CEO, in an Exclusive article at the beginning of the month. His advice is geared towards nonprofits and how they can raise awareness and donations via social media.

Find the full article on MultiBriefs, or read it below. Contact us to see how we can help you raise more at your next fundraising event!

Savvy nonprofits raise awareness and donations via social media

ceo shares how nonprofits raise awareness & donations via social mediaNonprofit organizations are driven to provide meaningful support to those they serve. Many nonprofits have unique and compelling stories that illustrate the impact of what they do.

Savvy nonprofits embrace social media to highlight stories, punctuated with engaging images along with video and audio clips to evoke emotional responses from supporters. Adding a distinct call to action puts nonprofits in the driver’s seat to increase revenue opportunities.

Social media offers multiple ways to make an impact. How do you unlock the mystery of social media to reach your audience, drive actions and increase donations? Careful, thoughtful research and planning are essential to help you stand out.

Planning posts

Establish clear objectives. Who are you trying to reach? Why do you want to reach them? What clear-cut action you are seeking to achieve?

These answers will help determine whether Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest or a combination would be the best platform for your purpose. It’s possible you will use multiple social media outlets yet tweak your approach with timing and content to best suit each audience.

The timing of posts across social media should be taken into consideration. Support date-centric activities. Work backward and determine how far in advance you need to begin. Focus on your targeted social media audience and determine how often you’ll want to post — daily, weekly, bi-weekly and so on.

Develop a task list that includes a variety of posts, identifying when to repeat themes. Layer ideas and actions leading up to your activity whether it’s an appeal, open house, volunteer drive or special event.

Link your social media campaigns to actionable goals. For example, to support a major capital campaign, create messages that tell the story about what you do and how additional support will increase the positive impact on those you serve. Include images or brief video clips to highlight your content.

Choosing a platform

Keep your donors in mind, and tweak messaging across social media. Matching your desired donor with the right message and platform helps drive up the revenue stream.

If you are seeking major donors, LinkedIn’s network for professionals may be the best format. LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to capture the interest of current and potential major donors, such as creating a group and contributing to the discussions.

Use LinkedIn to post relevant information, yet be mindful to follow group rules in regards to promotion. Sharpen your donor intel by checking out supporters’ LinkedIn profiles to learn what groups to they belong to and learn who else they support.

If you are targeting mid-level donors, consider Facebook. Facebook has more than 1.6 billion users, ranging across multiple demographics.

Build a presence by uploading tailored photo albums that may also include words. Create special event pages to promote specific fundraising activities. Videos may also help capture your audience providing more details in an engaging informative style. Add a call to action. Facebook also allows nonprofits the option of “Donate Now” to help drive donations directly to your cause.

Twitter’s 140-character limit makes posts seem more conversational. Twitter remains popular with users between 18-29 but has also gained traction amid the 30-49-year-olds. Stay on top of Twitter by replying to supporters in a timely manner to better engage and encourage more sharing. Retweet posts to gain more followers and spread your message to a broader group.

Both Facebook and Twitter are helpful tools to promote fundraising events. Be sure to understand your specific goals such as driving attendance, increasing raffle sales, advance auction bids or to spread the word.

Pinterest provides a flow of information with a creative flair targeting female supporters — 42 percent of women on the internet use Pinterest. Think of ways to visually share your message combining images of both words and pictures, and increase exposure to both special events and sponsors. If one of your sponsors is a local clothing store, salon or jeweler, use Pinterest to show off a few dresses, hairstyles and/or jewelry that can be worn to the event, offering both your sponsors and attendees value.

Videos have grown in popularity and greatly increase social media impact. Videos can be housed on YouTube, allowing organizational tools into playlists and homepage customization that helps nonprofits stand out to share their message. Keep videos short — two to three minutes can say a lot. Snapchat is helpful for sending both impactful photos and short videos that can remain live for 24 hours helping to create some timely “buzz.”

Tracking posts

Always be sure to monitor posts across all social media so you can quickly engage supporters who comment or reshare your posts. This helps build rapport and expand exposure through their social media networks, increasing your overall reach. Learn how your supporters use social media and add to your plans for future posts.

Developing a clearly defined strategic plan for social media unlocks the mystery and potential profits.


About the Author

Jim Alvarez: ceo shares how nonprofits raise awareness & donations via social media

Jim Alvarez is the founder and CEO of full-service mobile bidding company Gesture. Gesture has helped nonprofits across the country raise over $300 million since 2011 through the use of technology. Alvarez is the recipient of the Chicago Innovation Award and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award for his innovative idea and launch of Gesture. Alvarez drives the growing company to make hope happen for nonprofits developing innovative ideas that embrace technology.


Find the full article on MultiBriefs!

Article originated on September 6, 2016.

View Post

Tip

Go Big and Go Home: Host Your Event on Campus

host your event on campus lunch box banner

Go Big and Go Home: Host Your Event on Campus

There’s no better way to get in the spirit of raising funds for your school than to host your event right on campus! You can show off new school features and play up the nostalgic feeling among alumni and current/past parents that might motivate them to give a little more than planned. Let’s not forget you’ll save on cost hosting in-house.

We know planning an event can be a daunting task so here are some ideas you need to keep in mind as you begin to plan your on-campus event:

The Necessities

  • Caterer: This is one of the most important vendors when holding an event on-campus. Finding a caterer that will also provide servers (if a plated dinner) would make your work easier.
  • Bar services: Your donors will be expecting to have something to drink – both alcoholic and nonalcoholic – at your event.
  • Florist/Decor: Flowers are the traditional centerpieces used at gala dinners, but buying items that you can reuse, such as decorative lanterns or vases with floating candles, would save you money in the long run. Another option is to prepare to auction or raffle off the centerpieces!
  • DJ/Band: Keep your guests entertained and the atmosphere up.
  • Photographer: Whether it’s a staff member or a professional photographer, you’ll want to make sure someone is there solely to capture pictures of the event.
  • Designer/Printer: To design and print everything from your invitations to your event signage.
  • Mobile Technology: Offer an easy way for everyone to support you from anywhere. Contact Gesture for more information!

Fun Additions

  • Servers: If the caterer does not provide servers, you may want to hire a company who will do so. To save on cost, student volunteers are always a great route.
  • Lighting: Set the mood by renting an uplighting system. This will help transform your gym or cafeteria.
  • AV team: If you don’t have volunteers or staff to help with your audio and visual needs, hiring a company will help make your event go off without a hitch.
  • Room block at a local hotel: If you know people will be traveling for your event (i.e. reunions), book a block of rooms at a local hotel, and provide a transportation option to and from.

Learn how Gesture can help make your on-campus event a success by contacting us today!

Read More exclusive content in our School Lunch Box!

View Post

Tip

Your Fall Event Study Guide

Fall Event Study Guide - School Lunch Box 1

Your Fall Event “Study Guide”

The 2016-2017 school year came fast, and so will your fall fundraiser! The Gesture team has prepared a fall event study guide to help you remember everything you’ll need to bump your fundraising grade from an “A” to an “A+!”

Fall Event Study Guide - 3 Months Out

□ Pick a venue

□ Determine seating/table availability and sponsorship opportunities

□ Pick a menu that caters to all of your guests needs – note allergies, vegetarians, etc.

□ Prepare program agenda for event

□ Create an appeal video to show your guests how their donations will make a difference – reserve AV equipment as needed

□ Finalize your auction items and have some fun promoting them on social media, in email campaigns and on your website

□ Send your special guests a personalized invitation – from your biggest donors to your speakers to your board of directors, a personalized invitation will go a long way

□ Put together committee

□ Decide on ticketing process/platform (Gesture announced an enhanced ticketing and registration process in August 2016!)

□ Impress your guests with awesome auction items by using Gesture’s 2016 Corporate Donation Guide (Remember that most corporations need at least 6 weeks notice!)

Fall Event Study Guide - 1 Month Out

□ Pick a theme – create a printed brochure and event signage to match the invitation

□ Bundle your silent auction items into themed baskets, and have fun coming up with clever names for each (examples: Movies, to match event theme, etc.)

□ Begin selling tickets

Fall Event Study Guide - 2 Weeks Out

□ Do a “run-through” with all of your volunteers and employees

□ Print Gesture display sheets for your auction items – current Gesture partners can do so by going to Items -> Manage Items -> Item Sheets, where you can customize your header and footer and generate the display sheets for all of your items

Fall Event Study Guide - Post event

□ Send appreciation letters to speakers, sponsors, donors and volunteers

□ Use Gesture’s dashboard, full of stats and easy-to-read charts, to help you complete your expense reports and evaluations

□ Review & pay bills

□ Send handwritten thank you’s

□ Get feedback from donors, guests and volunteers

□ Reconcile payments

□ Start brainstorming for next year!

Learn how Gesture can help you prepare for your next event by contacting us today!

Read More exclusive content in our School Lunch Box!

View Post

Event

Corporate Donation List West

At Gesture, we value the work you do, and are ready and excited to work with our charity partners to raise $1 billion dollars in the next five years. In our efforts to help you raise more, we’ve compiled our 2016 Corporate Donation Guide. Get access today!

To further help, we’ve broken out some regional and local chains into regional donation lists. Use the list for your region to bring items with a local flair to your silent auction!

Corporate Donation List - West Logo

What’s your first & last name? (Required)

Email address? (Required)

What is your zip code? (Required)

What’s your organization? (Required)

Would you like to learn more about Gesture's mobile technology services related to fundraising at events? (Required)

*by saying "Yes", you are consenting to be contacted by a Gesture team member.

If so, Phone Number? (If Yes)

Which Features Would you like to Learn more about?

Corporate Donation List - West Logo

Corporate Donation List - West MapThe Corporate Donation List for the West Region of the United States is a great list to use when looking to bring a local flair to your silent auction. The following corporations only offer donations to organizations that fall into the states listed below.

States Covered: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

We also have included corporations from our National Corporate Donation List with headquarters in the western states!

Next to each corporation, we have listed which types of nonprofits can request donations to save you time. Jump ahead to auction items/raffle prizesdonations, discounts, grants or sponsorships!

Get access to our National Corporate Donation List now!

Corporate Donation List - West Auction/Raffle

Gift Cards

Big Sky Resort – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Costco – Children, education or health and human services

Grand Wailea (A Waldorf Astoria Resort) – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Honolulu Cookie – Organizations that support the arts in Oahu and Maui

Lettuce Entertain You – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California or Nevada

The Metropolitan Grill – Social services, medical/health, school, arts, or environmental

Minted – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Napa Valley Wine Train – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Star of Honolulu – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Hawaii

Item or In-kind Donations

In-kind gifts are contributions of goods or services, other than cash grants. This list includes corporations that will donate Kindle devices, food, tickets for things like amusement parks and airfare, hotel rooms, clothing, toys, etc.

8 Feathers Distillery – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Idaho

Amazon – Schools

American Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the great Los Angeles area

Anaheim AngelsItems or tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Southern California

Anaheim Mighty Ducks – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Southern California

Anchorage MuseumTwo tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations and schools near Anchorage, Alaska

Chateau Montelena WineryAuction items or wine for your event – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California

Colorado AvalancheAutographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Colorado

Colorado RapidsAutographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Colorado

Colorado RockiesAutographs  from Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez or DJ LeMahieu on items of your choosing ($25 per autograph, but can be included in auctions and raffles) – Open to programs focusing on youth baseball & softball, education & literacy, and the prevention of drug & alcohol abuse in the Denver area

Costco – Children, education or health and human services

Denver BroncosSigned memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Colorado

Denver NuggetsAutographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Colorado

Diamond BakeryProducts, door prizes – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Hawaii

Disney Land – Open to all nonprofit organizations

EMP MuseumTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Seattle area

Four Seasons Hotel Seattle – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Glacier Park, Inc. – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Montana

Golden State WarriorsAutographed memorabilia and promotional items – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Habit Burger – K-12 schools, youth, community groups and organizations benefitting the local community

Honolulu CookieCookies – Organizations that support the arts in Oahu and Maui

Island Air – Tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Hawaii

Joseph Phelps VineyardAuction certificate, bottle of wine – Open to all nonprofit organizations

LA ClippersTickets, merchandise or autographed memorabilia – Organizations benefitting children in Southern California

LA Dodgers – Open to all nonprofit organizations

LA GalaxyMemorabilia – Organizations assisting children in the greater Los Angeles area

LA Kings – Organizations that have a positive impact on the lives of children in the greater Los Angeles area

LA Lakers – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Southern California

LA Sparks – Organizations that promote basketball, education and health & fitness in Southern California

Meadowood Napa ValleyHotel rooms – Open to all nonprofit organizations

The Meritage Resort & Spa – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Mokulele AirlinesTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Hawaii

Mt. AshlandTwo lift tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Nestle Purina – Pet welfare near San Diego, CA or Denver, CO

Nike – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Nutiva – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Oakland A’sMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Bay area

Oakland RaidersMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Oregon SymphonyTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Otterbox – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Pacific Science CenterFour tickets – Organizations that promote or emphasize STEM education are given priority

Plump Jack Group – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Portland Trail BlazersSigned memorabilia, a clinic to be hosted at your school, discounted tickets or a speaker at your event – Organizations that benefit kids where they live, learn and play in Oregon or southwest Washington

REI – Supports efforts to get more young people, including youth from diverse populations, into nature

Sacramento Kings – Open to all nonprofit organizations

San Diego ChargersMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Southern California

San Diego Padres – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the greater San Diego area

San Francisco 49ersMerchandise and/or memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Alaska, Hawaii and most of California

San Francisco GiantsSigned memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Bay area and Northern California

San Jose EarthquakesTickets, tours, fan packs, signed memorabilia and player cards – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California

San Jose SharksAutographed merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Bay area

Seattle MarinersPromotional items, tickets or autographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Seattle Seahawks – Organizations for youth athletics and education in the Pacific Northwest

Seattle StormTickets, merchandise and memorabilia – Nonprofits that serve women/girls and/or promote education & literacy or health & fitness in the state of Washington

SeaWorld San Diego – Youth and families, animals or the environment/conservation

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (San Francisco/Sacramento)Two tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Vallejo, CA

Six Flags Magic Mountain (LA)Two tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Southern California

South Coast Winery – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California

Teatro ZinZanniTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

The Toggery – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Triple Play Family Fun Park – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Universal Studios HollywoodTickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California and Nevada

Utah JazzMerchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming

Western Wyoming BeveragesProducts – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Wyoming

Whitney Peak Hotel – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Northern Nevada

Zoo Boise – Four tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Corporate Donation List - West Direct Donations

Commerce Bank of Wyoming – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Wyoming

Costco – Children, education or health and human services

Dr. Pepper/Snapple – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California

Idaho Central Credit Union – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Idaho

LA Clippers – Organizations benefitting children in Southern California

Oakland A’s – Open to all nonprofit organizations in the Bay area

South Coast Winery – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California

Trader Joe’s – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Whitney Peak Hotel – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Northern Nevada

Corporate Donation List - West Discounts

Honolulu Cookie – Organizations that support the arts in Oahu and Maui

Minted – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Corporate Donation List - West Grants

Amazon – Literary partnerrship for helping writers tell their stories and find their readers

Colorado Rockies – Organizations in youth baseball or softball, education & literacy and the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse in the Denver area

Costco – Children, education or health and human services

Google – Open to all nonprofit organizations – To be used for Google Ads

LA Lakers – Organizations that support youth through education, health & wellness and sports in Southern California

Nordstrom – Programs and organizations that care for kids and empower youth

REI – Supports efforts to get more young people, including youth from diverse populations, into nature

Safeway Foundation – Hunger relief, education, health & human services, and assisting those with disabilities (All California, Nevada and Hawaii requests must be sponsored by an employee)

Union Bank – Affordable housing, community economic development, education, environment, human services

Wells Fargo – Local and national nonprofit housing organizations

Corporate Donation List - West Sponsorships

Idaho Central Credit Union – Open to all nonprofit organizations in Idaho

Plump Jack GroupWine or food sponsorship – Open to all nonprofit organizations

South Coast Winery – Open to all nonprofit organizations in California

Union Bank – Affordable housing, community economic development, culture and arts, education, emergency services, environment, health and human services

 

View Post

Tip

Corporate Donation List Northeast

At Gesture, we value the work you do, and are ready and excited to work with our charity partners to raise $1 billion dollars in the next five years. In our efforts to help you raise more, we’ve compiled our 2016 Corporate Donation Guide. Get access today!

To further help, we’ve broken out some regional and local chains into regional donation lists. Use the list for your region to bring items with a local flair to your silent auction!

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Logo

What’s your first & last name? (Required)

Email address? (Required)

What is your zip code? (Required)

What’s your organization? (Required)

Would you like to learn more about Gesture's mobile technology services related to fundraising at events? (Required)

*by saying "Yes", you are consenting to be contacted by a Gesture team member.

If so, Phone Number? (If Yes)

Which Features Would you like to Learn more about?

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Logo

corporate donation list northeast region MAPThe Corporate Donation List for the Northeast Region of the United States is a great list to use when looking to bring a local flair to your silent auction. The following corporations only offer donations to organizations that fall into the states listed below.

States Covered: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont

We have also included corporations from our National Corporate Donation List with headquarters in the northeastern states!

Next to each corporation, we have listed which types of nonprofits can request donations to save you time. Jump ahead to auction items/raffle prizes, direct donations, discounts, grants or sponsorships!

Get access to our National Corporate Donation List now!

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Auction Items

Gift Cards

CVS – Schools, PTOs, youth sports teams, veterans organizations, and walks/runs

StaplesYou must request information on gift card donations from the store nearest you – Education (schools, GED program, mentoring, tutoring, college prep) and job skills (job training/placement, resume building, interview skills, career exploration) 

Total Wine & More – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Item or In-kind Donations

In-kind gifts are contributions of goods or services, other than cash grants. This list includes corporations that will donate Kindle devices, food, tickets for things like amusement parks and airfare, hotel rooms, clothing, toys, etc.

American Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Baltimore Orioles – Autographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations, schools and civic groups

Baltimore Ravens – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Boston BruinsAutographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Boston CelticsItems or group tickets – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Boston Red SoxAutographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Budget Rent a Car – Community services

Buffalo Bills – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Buffalo SabresAutographed merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Carnival Cruises – Organizations focused on arts/culture, community affairs, education, and health & human services

Disney World – Open to all nonprofit organizations

DC United – Memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Emergen-C – Sporting and charitable events – great for 5ks!

Hershey – Organizations that provide basic nutrition to children to help them learn and grow

Jason’s Deli – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Keurig Green Mountain – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Nestle Purina – Pet welfare

New England Patriots – Open to all nonprofit organizations

New England Revolution – Open to all nonprofit organizations

New Jersey DevilsAutographed items – Open to all nonprofit organizations

New York GiantsMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

New York IslandersMemorabilia – Organizations that improve the quality of life for youth in education, health and hockey

New York JetsAutographed items – Open to all organizations

New York KnicksAutographed merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

New York Liberty (WNBA)Autographed memorabilia – Organizations that help make dreams come true for children facing obstacles

New York RangersAutographed merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

New York Yankees – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Philadelphia 76ers – Organizations that improve the livelihood and future of our youth

Philadelphia EaglesSigned & unsigned merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Philadelphia FlyersAutographed memorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Philadelphia Phillies – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Pittsburgh PenguinsMemorabilia – Organizations that improve the quality of life by educating youth and supporting the underprivileged

Pittsburgh PiratesTickets or ticket vouchers (if applying in offseason) – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Pittsburgh SteelersMemorabilia – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Portland Art Museum – Focus on arts education

Six Flags – School groups, youth/scholarship programs, and nonprofit organizations

Starwood Hotels – Workplace readiness, community vitality, human rights

Total Wine & More – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Toys “R” Us – National charities with a focus on children’s issues

Washington Capitals – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Washington Mystics – Merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Washington Redskins – Merchandise – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Washington Wizards – Memorabilia and promotional items – Preference to nonprofit organizations that serve youth, where the funds go directly to those in need

Wawa Foundation – Health, hunger and everyday heroes

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Direct Donations

American Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Barnes & Noble – Literary, Arts or Educational Organizations ONLY (K-12, and higher learning)

Budget Rent a Car – Community services

Dick’s Sporting Goods – Leagues, teams, athletes and outdoors enthusiasts

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Farm Fresh – Hunger relief, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter, military or education

Giant Food – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Hershey – Organizations that provide basic nutrition to children to help them learn and grow

Marriott International – Shelter & food, environment, readiness for hotel careers, vitality of children, embracing global diversity & inclusion

McCormick Corporation – Education, health & wellness, environment & habitat, culture & the arts

QVC – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Wyndham Worldwide Hotels – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Discounts

Total Wine & More – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Grants

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation – Community & ally outreach, leadership development, constituent empowerment & decision-making, popular education, root cause analysis, power analysis, campaign development, mobilizing constituents & allies, coalition building

Carnival Cruises – Organizations focused on arts/culture, community affairs, education, and health & human services

CVS – Health & wellness for children, veterans and/or senior citizens

JPMorgan Chase & Co. – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Nestle Purina – Pet welfare

Pepsico – Organizations that encourage healthy lifestyles, improve availability of affordable nutrition, expand access to clean water, enhance sustainable agriculture capability, enable job readiness and empower women & girls

StanleyBlack&Decker – Construction of safe, decent, and affordable housing for those in need; STEM education; Healthcare; Emergency & disaster relief services; Veteran support; Building communities in another way

Staples – Education (schools, GED program, mentoring, tutoring, college prep) and job skills (job training/placement, resume building, interview skills, career exploration)

Starwood Hotels – Workplace readiness, community vitality, human rights

Tiffany & Co. Foundation – Stewardship of natural resources, i.e. focused on respnsible mining, coral conservation and urban parks

Toys “R” Us – National charities with a focus on children’s issues

Wawa Foundation – Health, hunger and everyday heroes

Corporate Donation List Northeast Region Sponsorships

Barnes & Noble – Literary, Arts or Educational Organizations ONLY (K-12, and higher learning)

Carnival Cruises – Organizations focused on arts/culture, community affairs, education, and health & human services

Dick’s Sporting Goods – Leagues, teams, athletes and outdoors enthusiasts

Nestle Purina – Pet welfare

Starwood Hotels – Workplace readiness, community vitality, human rights

Wawa Foundation – Health, hunger and everyday heroes

View Post

Tip

Using Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising: A How-to Guide

In an ideal world, your donors would give solely out of the goodness of their hearts.

Actually, in an ideal world, there would be no need for nonprofits. But let’s focus on what can really be done to improve the state of things.

As we were saying, most people don’t have a natural inclination to give without expecting anything in return.

That’s precisely why we’ve picked out these 6 easy-to-follow strategies for incentivizing donors to give:

#1. Let Donors Customize Their Prize.
#2. Plan FUN-draising Events.
#3. Make Holidays Extra Special.
#4. Make Incentives a Part of Every Day.
#5. Post Social Media Shout-Outs.
#6. Thank Donors Sincerely and Often.

Let’s start at the beginning with letting donors customize their prize!


Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Idea 1

#1. Let Donors Customize Their Prize.

These days, it seems as though you can customize just about everything: from your burrito to your phone (and so much more).

One of the best ways that you can incentivize your nonprofit’s donors to give more this year is to jump on the customization bandwagon.

You can start by choosing an incentive (or prize) to be sent out or handed out to event participants or donors.

A fairly common choice for a lot of nonprofits is T-shirt1 fundraising.

T-shirts are among the easiest product fundraisers to customize, and they’re incredibly affordable as far as incentives go.

Depending on the shirt company that you choose, you’ll probably only end up spending a few dollars per shirt.

Think about it this way: You may spend, let’s say, $10 on each T-shirt. But over the lifetime of that shirt, your donor will probably wear it a hundred times.

Every time that supporter wears your organization’s shirt around town, you can rest assured that someone will ask them about it. Your donor will likely give a spiel about how awesome your nonprofit is and everyone should look into donating their time or money to your cause.

And not only is it a great talking point because it was an essentially free shirt, the shirt is also a fantastic lead-in because your donors will have customized their shirts themselves.

They’ll probably brag about how they donated to your nonprofit and were able to create a custom shirt because of it.

It really is a win-win scenario — not to mention a great way to prime your fundraiser for success2 in the long run.

And T-shirts aren’t the only items that you can let your donors customize. They can also design their own:

  • Custom ice scrapers,
  • Flavored lip balm,
  • Frisbees,
  • And so much more!

The more agency you give your supporters, the more likely they’ll be to sing your praises.

Takeaway: Giving your donors the ability to customize their own incentives increases the likelihood that they’ll spread the word about your nonprofit to their friends and families.

Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Idea 2

#2. Plan FUN-draising Events.

Another great way to incentivize your supporters to donate more is to host an engaging fundraising event.

A FUN-draising event, if you will.

There are dozens upon dozens of ideas for hosting an event, and there are even more ways to spice up a fundraiser3 that you’ve already hosted year after year.

For instance, if you’re hosting a silent auction, there are a ton of creative ways to display your items4 so that they get the most traction (and raise the most money!).  

You can try:

  • Creating tiers to show off your most intriguing items,
  • Punching up your description cards to entice donors,
  • Elevating the items to eye level.

If you’re not hosting a silent auction anytime soon, then you can absolutely still incentivize donors with any other type of fundraising event.

Some classics that really work well to get supporters excited about your nonprofit are:

  • 5K fun runs, especially those that are themed.
  • Casino nights (who doesn’t love a good game of blackjack?).
  • Dinner galas — any excuse to dress up and have a grand time!
  • And raffles, which are perfect for schools as well as nonprofits.

In any case, the key is to make your donors feel as though they’re really a part of something special.

Takeaway: Hosting an exciting fundraising event is one of the best ways to get your donors more involved in your organization — and boost your overall fundraising efforts.

Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Idea 3

#3. Make Holidays Extra Special.

It’s no secret that the end of the year is the best time for raising a ton of money from your supporters.

In fact, over 30% of all donations are made in the month of December alone.

But the year-end holidays aren’t the only time to warm up5 to your donors.

You can boost your fundraising efforts across the board throughout the year, if you get a little creative with your asks.

As we mentioned earlier, fundraising events are a perfect opportunity to engage with your donors.

That being said, the year-end holidays are a hectic time already. There are too many parties and functions to count.

Don’t get lost in the sea of well-meaning invites in early December.

You can stand out by hosting an event in October — or better yet, host an event in the summer.

Common practice dictates that summer events are less favorable because people like to go out of town in June and July.

While that’s still true, you can easily combat that issue by framing your event as a “stay-cation.”

For example, if you know you have a lot of golf aficionados, you could host a golf fundraiser.

Golf tournaments also pair really well with auctions — especially on Father’s Day.

Hosting a double-whammy like a golf tournament side-by-side with an auction is a great way to let all the dads involved with your organization know that their time and hard work are appreciated.

And of course, it’s not just about the dads. You can host an event to celebrate:

  • Mother’s Day,
  • Veterans Day,
  • Labor Day,
  • Halloween,
  • And more.

There are also so many lesser-known holidays that your nonprofit can capitalize on now. The most well-regarded of all for nonprofits is #GivingTuesday. It’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and it’s the perfect opportunity to encourage your supporters to give back.

Takeaway: Making the holidays (year-end and year-round) more enticing at your organization will undoubtedly increase engagement among your donors.

Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Idea 4

#4. Make Incentives a Part of Every Day.

Just as you want to engage with your donors during major — and not so major — holidays and events, you also need to be able to incentivize them during everyday fundraising efforts.

We all know that having a solid annual fund strategy7 is one of the most important things you can do to sustain your organization.

So, how exactly do you make the ordinary extraordinary?

The key is in giving back a little every time you receive.

You may end up spending a little more money this year on prizes and incentives, but the rewards will likely be so much greater.

Sending out a stuffed animal with your organization’s logo on it to your loyal supporters is not going to break the bank. What it will do, however, is touch your donors’ hearts.

And let’s face it, we could all use some more sunshine and positivity in our lives.

Another concrete way to incentivize participation within your organization is to offer up branded products (think: T-shirts, car magnets, mugs, etc.) whenever a new member8 joins.

Whenever your members glance at their branded paraphernalia, they’ll reflect on the fact that it means they belong to something greater than themselves.

Who doesn’t want to feel that way?

That’s why it’s important to send gifts like that to your everyday supporters — to make them feel as incredible as they truly are.

Takeaway: Sending out branded incentives to loyal supporters and new members alike ensures that you’ll have a happy bunch of donors!

Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Idea 5

#5. Post Social Media Shout-Outs.

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine not being plugged-in 24/7.

The fact of the matter is: there are more than a billion monthly active users on Facebook. There are over 400 million Instagram users and roughly 320 million Twitter users. Therefore, it’s safe to say that a lot of your supporters are on at least one form of social media.

One of the chief reasons that there are not only a ton of users, but so many active users, is that social media provides its own incentives.

Every time that a person hits “Like” on your status, your brain pings, and you get the same rush of excitement that you might get from a physical high-five.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see how a social media shout-out could translate to a very positive incentive for your donors.

Even when you can’t be there to high-five them in person for a job well-done at your latest fundraising event, you can toss them a “like” — or better yet, you can post a personalized shout-out on your organization’s page.

Choose at least one donor every other week to highlight on your page. Give them their proper due by:

  • Posting a picture of them volunteering with your nonprofit,
  • Captioning said picture with a sincere message of gratitude,
  • And tagging them, so that everyone can see the shout-out!

Of course, before you post a shout-out, you may want to check with the individual to get their permission to brag about them.

In addition to giving your supporters a shout-out on a biweekly basis, you might also consider looking into donation buttons for your organization’s Facebook9 page.

Letting your followers give easily through Facebook is a guaranteed way to drum up more interest in your organization.

They won’t have to go through the motions of clicking out of their favorite social media site to give to your nonprofit.

Not only that, but they’ll also have the option to brag instantaneously about their donations.

And there are few greater incentives than being able to humbly brag about oneself.

Takeaway: Posting social media shout-outs is a wonderful way to recognize your supporters and encourage them to donate more in the future.

Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Idea 6

#6. Thank Donors Sincerely and Often.

Speaking of recognizing your donors, it’s incredibly important to acknowledge your donors as soon as possible in order to keep them invested in your organization.

Truth be told, you should be thanking your donors within 48 hours of whatever event they participated in.

Whether the “event” was simply donating $10 online or a fundraising gala where there were major donors10 who contributed thousands, it’s equally crucial to thank those donors quickly.

Luckily, with modern technology, you can get in touch with any and all of your donors at a moment’s notice.

Especially when you’ve employed mobile fundraising technology11, you can send out automatic “Thank you” texts and emails. It takes almost all of the guesswork out of acknowledgements.

But how is thanking our donors an incentive?” You’re probably asking yourself right now.

It’s a fair question.

The answer is all in the numbers.

53% of donors, when surveyed, cited “lack of acknowledgement/communication” as their motivation for discontinuing support of an organization.

These donors had no incentive to keep reaching out to a nonprofit that they felt didn’t appreciate their goodwill.

Don’t let that happen to your nonprofit. It’s an easily avoidable mistake— one that can be remedied simply by keeping tabs on your contributors and remembering to engage with them.

Thank them for their generous gifts to your organization.

Tell them how much their contributions mean.

Give them concrete examples of the work that their donations are put toward.

At the end of the day, the most rewarding incentive that you can give a donor is the knowledge that their gifts really meant something.

Takeaway: Thanking your donors in a meaningful way (and in plenty of time) is truly the best incentive to boost your overall fundraising.

That’s all, folks! We hope you enjoyed this article and gleaned some useful information from it.

Carry that knowledge with you and make good use of it in your endeavors!

Author Bio

 Incentives to Boost Your Fundraising Author BioKerri Moore is the Director of Marketing at Booster, Created by CustomInk. She and her team help create content aimed at maximizing organizers’ fundraising potential and furthering their mission to raise awareness for the cause or passion that means the most to them.

 

Links Referenced:

  1. https://www.booster.com/
  2. http://gesture.com/blog/prime-your-fundraiser-for-success-donorsearch/
  3. http://blog.booster.com/booster-tips/pta-fundraiser-ideas/
  4. http://gesture.com/blog/7411/
  5. http://gesture.com/blog/a-simple-gesture-warming-up-your-donors-for-the-holidays/
  6. http://gesture.com/blog/itsteetime/
  7. http://www.donorsearch.net/annual-fund-strategies/
  8. https://www.neoncrm.com/membership-association-management-guide/
  9. http://gesture.com/blog/fundraising-tips/add-donate-now-facebook-page/
  10. https://doublethedonation.com/major-gifts/
  11. http://gesture.com/blog/a-simple-gesture-why-mobile-technology/

 

View Post

Tip

A Simple Gesture: Make Your Charity More PIN-teresting

Gesture Logo - PIN-teresting

A Simple Gesture: Fundraising Tips for Charity Events

Make Your Charity More PIN-teresting

 

Pinterest offers an incredible opportunity to market your nonprofit in creative ways. Unlike your organization’s website, Pinterest allows you to have fun and use your imagination. Think of it as your online playground, whereas your website is the classroom. 

It might be hard to believe, but Pinterest is the second-highest social media site to drive traffic to Gesture’s website. It trails closely behind Facebook, and far outranks other well-known sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. We definitely think it’s worth your time and energy. So let’s get started!

Whether you already use Pinterest or not, it’s a good idea to come up with a strategy. The top 5 categories used to organize content on Pinterest are listed below. We also included a couple ideas on how you can craft content specific to your organization that will fit into each category. Use these ideas to start your own brainstorming session! 

Home

This category includes cool furniture, interior design ideas, home improvement projects and more.

  1. Do you build or fix up houses for those in need? Showcase the progress of the houses you’re working on, or post step-by-step instructions, complete with your own pictures, on home improvement projects, like how to re-tile a kitchen floor.
  2. Have a resale shop? Set up some knick knacks on a bookshelf and give a couple tips on how to make your shelves more interesting. You could also use donated living room furniture to mock up various floor plans and give tips on how to make your living room cozier.

Arts & Crafts

This category covers DIY projects, gifts for friends and family, and so much more.

  1. Do you work in an animal shelter? Create a board with step-by-step instructions on how to make pet toys, bedding, homemade snacks… the list goes on! If it’s allowed, include a note letting your followers know they can make these items and donate them to your shelter.
  2. Work at a cancer foundation? Pin instructions on how to knit or sew blankets or hats, and encourage your followers to give them as gifts to friends with cancer or other illnesses, or donate them to your organization.

Style/Fashion

Including everything from hairstyles to clothing inspiration, for men and women.

  1. Have a big gala coming up? If one of your sponsors is a local clothing store, hair salon or jeweler, show a few of their dresses, purses, hairstyles and/or jewelry as ideas for what to wear to the event.  
  2. Have a resale shop? You can have fun in this category, as well! Pair some of your donated clothes together to show your followers how they can be fashionable and support a good cause.

Food

Recipes galore! You can find anything from healthy eating to the most decadent desserts.

  1. Have a food pantry? Find items that were donated that week that could be put together to create a delicious entree or side dish. Snap a picture, and then share the recipe!
  2. Are you in the sports industry? Post family recipes from athletes invested in your organization, pin meal ideas for growing athletes, or even release “secret” recipes for items you sell in your stadium or ballpark. 

Inspiration/Education

Lesson plans, classroom decorations and activities.

  1. Do you work for a school? Post fun lesson plans your teachers actually use, take pictures of cool bulletin boards in classrooms, and more!
  2. Work for a museum? Pin a list of questions teachers can give their students to answer when they visit for a field trip, or highlight specific exhibits and include projects or lesson plans for each one that teachers can use before or after their field trip.

Now it’s your turn to brainstorm! Test out your ideas, and watch your nonprofit become more PIN-teresting!

Don’t forget to take a break from brainstorming to learn how Gesture can help you raise more for the causes you care about. Take a look at a demo today!

View Post

Tip

Corporate Donation Guide 2016

At Gesture, we value the work you do, and are ready and excited to work with our charity partners to raise $1 billion dollars in the next five years. In our efforts to help you raise more, we’ve compiled our 2016 Corporate Donation Guide. Get access today!

Whether you’re looking for donation items for your next fundraising event, hoping to provide more choices for your silent auction, or looking to fund a new project, you’ve come to the right place. From restaurants to airlines, companies have programs specifically designed to support nonprofits through donations, sponsorships, grants, and even discounts on services required to run an event. This Corporate Donation Guide will help you prepare for your next event!

What’s your first & last name? (Required)

Email address? (Required)

What is your zip code? (Required)

What’s your organization? (Required)

Would you like to learn more about Gesture's mobile technology services related to fundraising at events? (Required)

*by saying "Yes", you are consenting to be contacted by a Gesture team member.

If so, Phone Number? (If Yes)

Which Features Would you like to Learn more about?

CorpDonList_3

At Gesture, we value the work you do, and are ready and excited to work with our charity partners to raise $1 billion dollars in the next five years. In our efforts to help you raise more, we’ve compiled our 2016 Corporate Donation Guide.

Whether you’re looking for donation items for your next fundraising event, hoping to provide more choices for your silent auction, or looking to fund a new project, you’ve come to the right place. From restaurants to airlines, companies have programs specifically designed to support nonprofits through donations, sponsorships, grants, and even discounts on services required to run an event. This Corporate Donation Guide will help you prepare for your next event!

Included in the 2016 Corporate Donation Guide

Chapter 1: Corporate Donation List
Find a list of corporations that donate to nonprofits across the country, with a convenient link to their application requirements. *Please note that we have no affiliation with these companies, and therefore cannot guarantee that you will receive a donation.*

Chapter 2: Tips from the Trenches
Some useful tips and advice from our experienced Account Managers on all things fundraiser prep!

Chapter 3: Writing a Donation Request Letter
Don’t forget about your local businesses when looking for auction donations or event sponsorships. Take a look at some sample request letters and use our tips to help you get started on writing your own!

Chapter 4: Additional Helpful Resources
The Gesture blog is full of good tips and advice as you prepare for your next fundraiser. Take a look at some of our helpful posts for inspiration.

Chapter 5: Regional Lists
The Corporate Donation Regional Lists are great to use when looking to bring a local flair to your auction, or find corporations who offer sponsorships, grants or direct donations to local organizations. Click on the relevant link below.

Corporate Donation Guide 2016 Map


Untitled-6-01

To make sure you’re finding the information that’s most relevant to you in the quickest and easiest way possible, you will find a corporation’s name and link under each section that applies to their giving considerations. For example,  if a corporation offers sponsorships and direct donations, you will find their name and link under both sections. This way, you don’t have to do additional research.

We have also indicated next to each corporation which types of nonprofits can request donations to save you time.

Jump ahead to auction items/raffle prizes, direct donations, discounts, grants or sponsorships!

Untitled-6-05

Gift Cards

  • Booksamillion – Schools, churches, organizations and charities that encourage and promote reading, literacy and education
  • Costco – Children, education or health and human services organizations
  • Minted – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • StaplesYou must request information on gift card donations from the store nearest you – Education (schools, GED program, mentoring, tutoring, college prep) and job skills (job training/placement, resume building, interview skills, career exploration) 

Item or In-Kind Donations
In-kind gifts are contributions of goods or services, other than cash grants. This list includes corporations that will donate Kindle devices, food, tickets for things like amusement parks and airfare, hotel rooms, clothing, toys, etc.

  • Amazon – Schools
  • Binny’s Beverage Depot – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Budget Rent a Car – Community services
  • Costco – Children, education or health and human services organizations
  • DisneylandMust be located in western USA – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Disney WorldMust be located in central or eastern USA – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Emergen-C – Sporting and charitable events – great for 5ks!
  • Intercontinental Hotel Groups – Environment, local economic opportunity, disaster relief
  • Kimberly Clark – Community events, local & international causes and diaster relief efforts
  • Nike – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Nutiva – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Organic Valley – Organizations working to create a better food system
  • Otterbox – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Pentel – Education, Health & Human Service, Arts
  • Royal Caribbean® Cruises – Children & families, education and marine conservation
  • Southwest Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • StaplesYou must request information on gift card donations from the store nearest you – Education (schools, GED program, mentoring, tutoring, college prep) and job skills (job training/placement, resume building, interview skills, career exploration) 
  • Starwood Hotels – Workplace readiness, community vitality, human rights
  • Toys “R” Us – National charities with a focus on children’s issues
  • Wawa Foundation – Health, hunger and everyday heroes

Untitled-6-06

  • Barnes & Noble – Literary, Arts or Educational Organizations ONLY (K-12, and higher learning)
  • Best Western Hotels – Environment, combating poverty
  • Budget Rent a Car – Community services
  • Costco – Children, Education or Health & Human Services
  • Delta Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – Leagues, teams, athletes and outdoors enthusiasts
  • Enterprise HoldingsMust contact your Enterprise account representative – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Fairmont Hotels – Water and community development & support
  • Family Dollar – Organizations which provide basic necessities of life to low-income and low-middle income families
  • Hertz® Car Rental‎ – Education, environment, safety and travel with an emphasis on children and families
  • Hilton Worldwide – Creating opportunities, stregthening community, celebrating cultures and living sustainably
  • Intercontinental Hotel Groups – Environment, local economic opportunity, disaster relief
  • Jewel Osco – Hunger relief, health & nutrition, environmental stewardship
  • Jo-Ann Fabrics – Arts & education, health & wellness and military support
  • Marriott International – Shelter & food, environment, readiness for hotel careers, vitality of children, embracing global diversity & inclusion
  • McCormick Corporation – Education, health & wellness, environment & habitat, culture & the arts
  • Organic Valley – Organizations working to create a better food system
  • QVC – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Radioshack – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Royal Caribbean® Cruises – Children & families, education and marine conservation
  • Trader Joe’sMust work with Donations Coordinator at your local store – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Walgreens – Access, outreach and education geared toward health; national nonprofits focused on research & treatment of a single disease; civic and community outreach
  • Waste Management – Environment, environmental education, causes important to the areas where they operate
  • Whole Foods Market – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Wyndham Worldwide Hotels – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Untitled-6-07

  • Binny’s Beverage Depot – To receive discounts on products for your event, you must visit your local store – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • CVS – Apply for CVS gift cards that you can use to purchase items to help your organization’s work, such as school supplies, personal care items, water and sunscreen – Open to schools, PTOs, youth sports teams, veterans orgs & walks/races
  • Minted – 50% discount towards your Minted order (for nonprofits wishing to use their printing and design services) – Open to all nonprofit organizations

Untitled-6-08

  • Amazon – Nonprofit literary organizations
  • Bank of America – Workforce development & education, community development and basic needs
  • Ben & Jerry’s Foundation – Community & ally outreach, leadership development, constituent empowerment & decision-making, popular education, root cause analysis, power analysis, campaign development, mobilizing constituents & allies, coalition building
  • Best Buy – Nonprofits, schools & libraries to support tech education programs for underserved teens 
  • Coca- Cola – Water stewardship, active healthy living, community recycling and education
  • Costco – Children, education or health and human services organizations
  • Enterprise HoldingsMust contact your Enterprise account representative – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Google – This grant is for Google AdWords – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Nordstrom – Organizationss that care for kids and empower youth
  • Office Depot – Disaster relief & recovery, schools, libraries, government agencies and nonprofits
  • Pepsico – Organizations that encourage healthy lifestyles, improve availability of affordable nutrition, expand access to clean water, enhance sustainable agriculture capability, enable job readiness and empower women & girls
  • Royal Caribbean® Cruises – Children & families, education and marine conservation
  • Safeway Foundation – Hunger relief, education, health and human services, and assisting people with disabilities – All California, Nevada and Hawaii requests must be sponsored by an employee
  • Sony – Organizations that support the encouragement of the creative, artistic, technical and scientific skills required of tomorrow’s workforce
  • StanleyBlack&Decker – Construction of safe, decent, and affordable housing for those in need; STEM education; Healthcare; Emergency & disaster relief services; Veteran support; Building communities in another way
  • Staples – Education (schools, GED program, mentoring, tutoring, college prep) and job skills (job training/placement, resume building, interview skills, career exploration)
  • Starwood Hotels – Workplace readiness, community vitality, human rights
  • Target – Education, the arts and public safety
  • Tiffany & Co. Foundation – Stewardship of natural resources, i.e. focused on respnsible mining, coral conservation and urban parks
  • Toys “R” Us – National charities with a focus on children’s issues
  • Union Bank – Affordable housing, community economic development, education, environment, human services
  • Walmart – Opportunity, sustainability, community
  • Wawa Foundation – Health, hunger and everyday heroes
  • Wells Fargo – Housing organizations

Untitled-6-09

  • Bank of America -Art exhibitions, events and performances
  • Barnes & Noble – Literary, Arts or Educational Organizations (K-12 and higher learning)
  • Best Buy – Nonprofits, schools & libraries to support tech education programs for underserved teens
  • Best Western Hotels – Environment, combating poverty
  • Coca- Cola – Water stewardship, active healthy living, community recycling and education
  • Delta Airlines – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – Leagues, teams, athletes and outdoors enthusiasts
  • Hilton Worldwide – Creating opportunities, strengthening community, celebrating cultures and living sustainably
  • Home Depot – Nonprofits funding veteran housing or community repair
  • Nikon – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Radioshack – Open to all nonprofit organizations
  • Royal Caribbean® Cruises – Children & families, education and marine conservation
  • Starwood Hotels – Workplace readiness, community vitality, human rights
  • Union Bank – Affordable housing, community economic development, culture & arts, education, emergency services, environment, health & human services
  • Wawa Foundation – Health, hunger and everyday heroes


Untitled-6-02

Gesture Account Managers work closely with our charity partners as they set up their online auction websites, and work more than 100 fundraisers each year. After attending more golf outings, galas and happy hours than they can count, they have a strong pulse on the do’s and don’ts of fundraising.

Don’t be afraid to ask your board or other prominent members of your organization to bring in a sponsor or item for an auction. 
Ask the questions – they might have a lake house, but might not realize they could offer it as an auction item.

When all else fails, bundle, bundle, bundle.
Packages like date nights, which, for example, could include a restaurant gift card, tickets to a musical, and stay at a hotel for the night, will raise more money than if you tried to auction off each of those items separately.

Know your crowd.
For your silent auction, make sure you have a variety of different items and price points that cater to a wide array of your guests. That way there’s something for everyone! For a fund-the-need, if you know that the highest donation you’ll get is $5,000, don’t start the asking price at $10,000. It would be better to start at $5,000 and have someone surprise you by wanting to double their donation and make it $10,000, than hoping someone will pledge at that level and being wrong.

Limit the number of consignment trips to 20% of the trips offered in your silent and/or live auction.
Consignment trips are a great opportunity, but it’s better to get as many trips donated as possible to avoid restrictions consignments might have. You’ll also raise more money!

Items that relate to your cause will do the best.
For example, an arts organization likely would raise more money when they have an entertainment artist come to their event and paint a picture to auction off than a hospital might if they did the same thing. Also, sports foundations raise more on sports-related items. “Give the people what they want.”

Peer pressure doesn’t disappear after grade school.
If you do it correctly, the paddle raise is a great way to set up your fund the need. Your supporters will be pressured to give more when their peers are doing the same.

Strong item descriptions lead to more bids.
Make sure item details are clear and to the point. Guests are much more likely to bid if the description is kept brief but also includes all pertinent details, including black out dates, venue locations, etc.

Be creative.
If you bundle a package, or even if you’re just selling tickets to a baseball game, name the item something fun to get your supporters more interested! Instead of calling it “Food Gift Card & Hotel,” you could call it “Downtown Date Night,” or instead of “Cubs/White Sox Tickets,” you could call it “Crosstown Classic.”

Always be aware of what could be a good auction item/opportunity.
Here’s an example. If everyone is talking about trying to get tickets for the hit musical, Hamilton, which will be in town from September 2016 through mid-March 2017, those tickets would go for a high price in an auction. Even if your event isn’t until December, it’s not too early to find someone to donate tickets for your auction, or try to buy them yourself when they go on sale. If you don’t do this right away, you’ll miss your chance.

As a rule of thumb, keep your auction items close to a 1 item to 5 attendees ratio.
Anything smaller (1 item to 2 attendees or 1 item to 3 attendees) is too much. You’ll have items left over. One way to work around this is to bundle items together to create a fun package for your supporters to bid on!


Untitled-6-03

Our corporate donation list is a great place to start as you prepare for your event, but don’t forget that there are plenty of local businesses that would be happy to support your cause!

While most of the corporations on our list include links to online request forms, local businesses accept requests through in-person visits, phone calls and personal letters. Even when meeting in person or calling (which we recommend), a personal donation request letter is an important piece.

Meeting in person? Leave it behind so your contact has all the important information.

Calling a business? Mail the letter or drop it off to make sure they remember what you spoke about.

Read through our sample donation request letters to help you get started, and be sure to use our tips as you start writing your own.

Writing Tips

  1. Do your research and address the letter to the appropriate person. Showing that it was worth your time to find the right person and send a personalized letter, will show them that your request is worth their time.
  2. Play to their emotions when you introduce your organization. Letting them know how you make a difference in your shared community, and how their contribution can help make an even bigger impact, is a good way to inspire them.
  3. Remember that, unless they ask to make an anonymous donation, they’re looking for recognition for their contribution. Let them know how you’ll recognize them before, during and after your event (i.e. in the event program, on the event webpage, in email communication).
  4. If you’re looking for a specific donation (i.e. gift cards or products), feel free to ask for it directly in the letter, and use the letter sample that best represents your request. Otherwise, let them know that any contribution they can make would be gratefully accepted.
  5. Remember to thank them for their consideration!

Sample Letters

In these letters, all of the information you need to fill in is in purple.

Auction item Request 7-21-16 Donations for a Specific Program 7-21-16 General Donation 7-21-16 Requesting Sponsors 7-22-16


Untitled-6-04

Take a look at the Gesture blog for some more tips as you prepare for your next fundraiser.

How to Display Silent Auction Items

How to Drive Donations to your Event Site from Facebook

Unique Charity Event Venues

Increase the Bids

10 Blogging Ideas for your Nonprofit

5 Tips For a Successful Donation Appeal

 


View Post

Tip

A Simple Gesture: How to Make Your Summer Event Shine

gesture-logo-tag

A Simple Gesture: Fundraising Tips for Charity Events

How to Make Your Summer Event Shine

Make your supporters go “Oooo” and “Ahhh” during your next summer fundraiser! After partnering with thousands of non-profits across the country, the Gesture team has witnessed some great event ideas that added a bang to our partner’s fundraisers. Consider these tips when planning your next summer event to give it an extra pop!

  1. Keep the kids entertained. For events that bring out the whole family, like a 5k walk/run, it’s a great idea to have activities for the kids. Hold a mile race, have a craft tent, offer face painting, rent a bounce house, or even a rock climbing wall!
  2. Take advantage of the nice weather. Plan something a little more unique, like a block party with a live band and local food and drink vendors or a picnic with local food trucks. These additions to your event are sure to draw a crowd and generate positive PR for your organization.
  3. Partner with local companies. Don’t have a lot of time to plan a summer event? Piggyback off events already going on! For example, contact your closest minor league baseball team to see if you can sell tickets and receive some of the proceeds or throw out the first pitch. The event is already planned for you – all you have to do is market it!

All of these events can be paired with an online auction hosted by Gesture! Contact us today to start planning; we’re here to help.

 

View Post

Event

Gesture Talks Nonprofits using Tech with Blue Sky

Gesture’s Marketing Manager, Brandon Stec, shares his insights on the nonprofits using tech in order to advance their causes.

Find the article here or read it below. Contact us to see how we can help you raise more at your next fundraising event!

How are nonprofits using tech to advance their causes?

From Blue Sky, June 24, 2016

13312688_885091221634516_3279902828349351207_nNEW FEATURE: Blue Sky has teamed with Chicago startup Hearken, an audience engagement platform for newsrooms, to find out what you want to know about startups and technology. We’ll answer simpler questions in “Ask Blue Sky” and report others in longer stories. Let us know what you want to learn! Here’s our latest question, from Anonymous via Hearken.

Nonprofits are using technology and data to reach more diverse donors in different ways, said Brandon Stec, marketing manager at mobile bidding company Gesture.

The Westmont-based startup provides technology to nonprofits that brings their silent auctions and ticketing platforms online. That can give people the ability to easily donate and bid on their phones, or reach people who aren’t even at an event.

But these days, nonprofits tend to go further than that, Stec said.

They’re using social media to tell their stories and reach donor bases in ways beyond just asking for money. That builds strong relationships with donors, he said. Just sending an email doesn’t cut it anymore.

“Email is almost archaic these days,” Stec said. “Everything is communicated through social media or text messages.”

Chicago Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo’s Family Foundation is an example, Stec said. The foundation, which raises money for cancer research and support for families, tweets often about its events and campaigns. Rizzo not only retweets the info from his account, but also shares the story about his own battle with cancer.

Nonprofits tend to adopt new technology slower than other companies, Stec said, partially because they have restrictive budgets. But the ones that move quickly have seen greater increase in donations and activity from new donors.

Charities have tapped into tools like Facebook’s “Donate Now” button, and have learned what platforms to use to reach certain demographics. They’re also learning to read data and put it to work.

“Data is at our fingertips now. Everyone is using it a little bit,” he said. “The ones who are using it effectively are the ones who are digging into who’s giving and why they’re giving.”

The work in nonprofit data analytics often lies in understanding people, said Christine Campigotto, applied data science manager at data analytics startup Civis Analytics. That could mean volunteers, donors, activists or the people receiving the charity’s service.

Nonprofits that already know a lot of information about their donors can analyze the data to better understand what kind of geographic and economical trends are driving them, she said.

Those without much data can gather information through surveys, and use that to find where their services are needed, she said. For example, Civis conducted a survey for a nonprofit that helps those without health insurance. The survey results told the nonprofit where people that lacked health insurance lived.

Most organizations track return on investment through multiple channels. Pulling those together allows nonprofits to make more informed decisions on the best ways to spend their money, and identify the most worthwhile donors to target.

View Post

Tip
Gesture Products

Make Hope Happen
is more than just a motto.

People want to act on what’s important to them, to contribute to the success of something that matters. But often the business of charity interferes with the experience of giving. Since 2011, we’ve partnered with organizations to capture each helping hand, each friendly smile, and each round of applause by turning inspiration into action.

Meet Our People

1,000+ Organizations have trusted Gesture nationwide

Read What Our Partners Say
Gesture partners with many different nonprofit and charity groups all across the country

Reach Out

Let’s make hope happen!