Fundraising Tips

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

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

Common Ground with the Three G’s: Golf, Giving & Gesture

CommonGround

What do golf and giving have in common? Answer: Gesture.

 

We’re hitting the green with our charity partners at hundreds of golf outings this summer. With the warm temperatures officially here to stay across the country, we want to make sure you don’t sweat the small stuff at your event and can focus on what matters most: engaging your donors and raising more money to make hope happen.

That’s where Gesture comes in! With our streamlined ticketing, check-in/out and mobile bidding technology, everything from pre-registration to post-event reporting can be found in one place. Here are some ways we can help you ensure your golf outing is a great experience for your donors and you hit your fundraising goal.

  1. Enhance your sponsorship program by adding sponsor logos and a link to their website to your auction page so supporters everywhere know about your biggest sponsors. This is a great way to get their names in front of all of your donors.
  2. Finding volunteers to man the golf outing can be a huge project, especially if it’s scheduled for a weekday and your usual volunteers are stuck at work. Gesture will help staff the event for you! Our pros will work check-in and check-out, walk around helping your golfers bid on items and take donations on-site. You’ll need to find less volunteers, and the ones you have will be put to better use spreading the good news about your organization as they run specialty holes, sell raffle tickets and network with your donors.
  3. If you’re looking for auction items or raffle prizes, use our 2015 corporate donation list. From restaurants to airlines, major companies have programs where you can apply to request donation items. We put together a list – take a look!
  4. Utilize our real time dashboard, which will detail your registered users, bidding activity and revenue totals. All reports are broken out in easy-to-read pie charts, and can be accessed on the go from your mobile phone. Browse through them during the event or wait until your feet are up in your air-conditioned home – the reports will be ready for you as soon as you want them!

Our charity partner, The First Tee South Puget Sound, used Gesture for their biggest annual fundraiser, The Harbottle Golf Classic. Here’s what they had to say!

First Tee Puget Sound Golf Auction Fundraiser“On the day of the event, check-in was a breeze, bidding went smoothly, and checkout was quick and simple. The user friendly mobile bidding features, as well as the Gesture staff interaction with donors, contributed to an increase in revenue and a positive donor experience. After the event I received follow up reports which were clear, concise, and allowed us to close our event in record time! We are very impressed with Gesture and will be using them again for next years’ event.”

Contact Gesture today to take the first steps in planning your next golf outing or event.

Don’t forget to use #GolfandGive when posting about your next golf outing to be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card.

View Post

Tip

It’s Tee Time – Raise More Money This Summer

TeeTime

It’s Tee Time – Raise More Money This Summer

The golf course is booked, silent auction items are set, foursomes are lined up and you’re ready to kick off your event. Congratulations, the prep work is done, and that’s something to celebrate! Now it’s time to think about the day of and how you can maximize the opportunities to raise money at your event. There’s a lot of down time as golfers wait for the rest of their foursome – or the foursome in front of them – to finish a hole. Here are three easy ways to engage your golfers while they wait.

  1. Bidding – You worked hard on gathering those auction items – let’s make sure the golfers know about them. Set up signs around the golf course reminding golfers about the items available. Using golf carts? That’s prime real estate! Posters can be taped to the cart before they hit the course.
  2. Donating – Encourage your golfers to donate to your organization. Where and how are you allocating the money you raise at the outing? Let them know what the impact of their support will be.
  3. Promoting –Down time is the perfect time for golfers to take pictures they can share on their social media accounts. Encourage them to use your event’s hashtag, tag your organization in their posts, or both. They can even check in on Facebook to let their friends know they’re supporting your cause. Make sure you “like” those posts, or even comment to thank them for attending.

Bidding and donating can be made easier and portable by using fundraising technology, which Gesture would provide when partnering with your charity organization. Contact Gesture today to take the next steps to start planning your next golf outing or event.

 

View Post

Tip

Drive for Show; Putt for Dough – Four on Par Ways to Drive More Donations

ShowDough_Banner1

Drive for Show; Putt for Dough – Four on Par Ways to Drive More Donations

Springtime is here and that means it is golf season around the country! As you dust off your driver and replace your old golf towel for a new, clean one you picked up randomly at a trade show, take some time to make sure your upcoming Charity Golf Tournament has all the pieces necessary to be a huge success. Over the past five years, Gesture has partnered with well over 500 golf tournaments with charity partners dedicated to a variety of unique missions. That is a lot of birdies and eagles!

  1. “Mulligans” – A mulligan is a Re-Do. By offering your golfers the chance to purchase “Mulligans” for the upcoming tournament, you give every golfer the chance to win or poorer golfers the chance to purchase extra shots to keep up with the leaders of the pack.
  2. “Gimmes” – Offer golfers the chance to make that putt which is a few inches short into a birdie by offering “Gimme” packages. Golfers can purchase 1 for $25 and up to 4 per player and you make more money without any extra work and golfers can look like Tiger Woods.
  3. “Closest to the Pin” or “Longest Drive” – Give golfers the opportunity to compete on the par 3 holes or that long par 5 to see who can win a “special prize”. The ability to compete on an equal playing field for a small fee is a great way to get a few extra donations out of your golfers.
  4. “Equipment Rental” – For that tricky sand shot or the mid-iron fairway shot that few amateur golfers carry the best club, allow golfers to rent a unique club for the one shot for a small donation of $100 (or more/less). This allows golfers to try something new and feel like a pro and if you work well with the golf course, you can get that gap wedge or hybrid donated for the event.
  5. (Bonus Shot) – “Celebrity Drive” – Have a local celebrity or golf pro take a drive on your golfers’ behalf in exchange for a donation. This is a great way to involve a known community member or your local course’s golf pro and golfers get the thrill out of someone setting them up for a birdie.

All of these fundraising elements can be accomplished through mobile technology as well, which is just another perk Gesture provides when partnering with your charity organization. Try these out on your upcoming golf outing and let us know how we can help.

Contact Gesture today to take the next steps to start planning your next golf outing or event.

View Post

Tip

Guest Blog Post: Prime Your Fundraiser for Success – Donorsearch

Prime Your Fundraiser for Success

 

Advance research and preparation helps you make the most of your nonprofit’s fundraising event by increasing both funds raised and expanding the donor pool. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your fundraising efforts.

 

1. Advance Prospect Screening

 

Before you begin planning your fundraising event, perform a prospect screening of your current donor pool. Prospect screenings can make the difference between your event being a “night to remember” and a “night to quickly forget.” Carefully review your list of supporters, research the opportunities and uncover key data that you may use from initial event planning to post-event follow-up actions.

 

Prospect screening identifies two key factors — a person’s interest in making a philanthropic donation and a person’s ability to make said donation.

 

Look at data that marks both wealth and philanthropic interest, such as past giving to your organization; involvement with other nonprofits, real estate ownership, and political giving.

 

Use this information to develop a new event or tweak an established event to ensure you  plan the right type of event and attract the right type of donor.  Should you plan a glamorous black tie gala or host an outside fun run or plan an indoor energetic dance-a-thon? Good prospect research helps determine if you are on track.

 

To build a strong guest list be sure to first take a second look at your screening results. Ask yourself which donors best suits the event you’re planning rather than compile the largest group of names. Invite the right targets and encourage them to bring guests introducing more donor prospects to your organization.

 

Special kick-off events to support a major capital campaign require a special approach. According to DonorSearch’s capital campaign guide, these types of events bridge the gap between the quiet and public phases of your campaign. It’s important to build a guest list that strikes a balance of attendees from the quiet phase who are major donors and attendees who may participate in the public phase yet may not fall into a higher giving level.

 

2. Plan Donor Time During Event

 

Know your donors. No matter your purpose or style of fundraising event be sure to identify in advance which high giving donors are planning to attend. Develop a plan of action to seek them out during the event. Review your prospect research and call out potential high-quality prospects. Compile a list. Assign a team member who will find ways to have meaningful interactions with the prospects to further engage their support and understanding of your mission and needs.

 

The benefits of researching well before the first guest arrives helps you better engage donors of all levels.

 

3. Embrace Technology To Raise More Money

 

To help your ensure your team is available to spend quality time at your event, plan ahead and enlist outside vendors to help you make your event the most successful possible. Technology simplifies many tasks typically held by board members, key volunteers or extra staff.

 

Embracing technology not only streamlines the front and back end of fundraising operations but also frees up valuable time for your key board members and volunteers to spend with your guests focusing on engaging donor prospects.

 

Smartphones are increasingly popular making the bridge to incorporate mobile bidding technology into your event easy. Mobile bidding technology can be seamlessly executed throughout the event helping guests use a simple gesture or swipe of a smartphone or tablet to increase support through silent auctions, fund the need or text-to-give. Mobile bidding technology leads to increased funds raised at most events.

 

Text-to-give can also have a powerful impact. Consider conducting a text-to-give ask following an impactful speaker that clearly illustrates your impact and need. Text-to-give offers guest a quick, simple way to act and choose their level of giving. Bonus: Ask for a message of support and watch your guests help increase your awareness along with their monetary contribution.

 

A good mobile bidding platform can also deliver information about your charity adding value to increase awareness before, during and after your event. Invited guests unable to attend an event may participate remotely creating additional opportunity for donations without the extra expense at the event itself.

 

Bonus tip: After the event ends, you can continue to reach your guests through mobile bidding technology with last minute, special items or a general thank you with an option to donate once again.

4. Involve Area Businesses: Ask for in-kind donations

 

Corporate giving accounts for billions of dollars in charitable giving each year. From matching gifts to volunteer grants to annual gifts, there’s no shortage of opportunities to embrace corporate social responsibility.

 

Asking for in-kind donations from local businesses helps secure necessary event supplies while fostering relationships with prominent businesses in your community that may lead to more involvement and support.

 

Advance research helps uncover companies that donate that may lead to attention, larger partnerships down the line.

5. Engage Supporters: Encourage Volunteerism

Nonprofits should actively seek ways to engage their support base; encouraging volunteerism.

Volunteers see firsthand the work that goes into carrying out your mission offering a window into your nonprofit’s inner workings to connect supporters to your cause for life.

 

There are countless ways to get involved including:

 

 

Bonus tip: You can apply a similar donor prospect screening methodology to learn more about your volunteers. Click here to find out more!

6. Post Event Screening of Attendees

 

Post event, you will have a list of new supporters and donors. Again, it’s important to research the list with the same practices used for advance donor prospects.

 

After carefully screening your post-event list, you’ll have a clear idea of the best way to handle follow-up messaging, future communications and more. Post event attendee screenings are an important step to greatly improve your donor list and better ways to handle donor stewardship.

 

Who knows? You might have a new major donor in your midst that needs to be passed along to your major gift officer.

 

7. Update your donor database.

Last, but not least, once you’ve acquired all sorts of valuable donor information, it’s paramount that you ensure your database reflects your new data.

 

Depending on the CRM you’re working with, much of your new data may have already funneled into your database. If not, it’s a critical step to review and update to ensure continued success with fundraising.

 

Best practice is to keep your database up-to-date, or clean, on an ongoing basis. To clean your database, remove any inactive donors, check that all contact information is correct and clear out any duplicates. Create database management procedures. Defined donor base procedures help your team not only expedite the process but also reduce errors and increase long-range support and donor retention.

 

 

 

 

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!