Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quick Tips on Raising Money for Charity

Before we begin, you must answer these questions:
  1. So, are you a staff person for a charity or a volunteer? 
  2. Did you volunteer to raise money for XYZ charity or did someone beg you to be on the fundraising committee or chair their gala? 
  3. Did you see a need in your community and want to fill it by helping those kids/animals/earth and just need to raise some bucks to put your 501(c)(3) on the map?
  4. Are you crazy?
No matter what your answers were to the questions above, I guarantee that your answer to question 4 is YES -- and thank God you are crazy because most people don't have the time or guts to do what you're about to do -- and charities need you desperately!

NOTE:  The photo above is of me with two great fundraisers -- Christie Carter and Lynn McBee.  Love them and all they do for Community Partners of Dallas and so many others in our community!

I have been a professional in the non-profit world for many years now (15+ years) and even before that I was a volunteer, so let's just say that I have more than 25 years of experience in fundraising.

You'd think that with all of that knowledge we'd be raking it in at Community Partners of Dallas.  Alas, even with 1,000 years of experience, fundraising takes work.

So, here are my quick tips for fundraising success:
  • Start with a plan.  This sounds simple, but it isn't.  Think about your community -- will they respond to a fundraising event or a mailing or both?  BUDGET!
  • Research is key -- look at other groups and see what they are doing to raise funds.  If their cause is similar to yours, the types of fundraising they do (and the people who give to them) might be a good start for you.
  • How much seed money do you have to start?  It takes more money to hold an event than it does to ring doorbells or phones asking for donations.  Choose accordingly.
  • You must care about the cause or forget it -- you need to have passion in order to inspire others to give.  If your personal story aligns with the mission of the agency (i.e., you are a cancer survivor and you are raising money for the American Cancer Society), you have the perfect way to ask -- tell your story.  This is power with a capital P.
  • You need to ask your friends and family for donations.  If you can't ask them, who can you ask?  But if they say no, don't take it personally.  All you are doing is offering them an opportunity to help a cause.  If they say no, there could be a million reasons why they made that decision.  The next person may say yes.  And no doesn't always mean no -- that no person may come back to you in a week or 10 years later.  Leave them feeling good about you and their decision -- whatever it is.
  • Always be honest.  Tell the truth about how the money will be used and why you need it. 
This is just a start, but I'd love to hear what you think.  One of my very favorite tips is to ask yourself this question:

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

P.S.  That last one works in many situations -- not just fundraising ones...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4 Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 7

We are nearing the end of January -- where has the time gone?  Since December is the month of giving, January always seems like a bit of a let down, but for someone like me who craves alone time (sitting in front of the TV or with a good book, of course), January is one of my favorite months...

The world moves a little more slowly in January (at least for the first couple of weeks of the month), so I really feel like I have time to think and reflect on the past and the future.  So for the Four Faves this month, I started thinking about some stuff that friends told me about, gifted me, etc.
  1. Cucina Coriander and Olive Tree Kitchen Soap -- Lynn McBee gave me this as a gift many years ago and I have never stopped buying it.  The scent is heavenly and you can buy it at Sur la Table or on amazon
  2. Tervis Tumblers -- Yes, I know that everyone has these insulated modern miracles, but my friend and co-worker Ann McCurdy gave me one with my name on it for the office and I drink out of it every single day -- I can't live without iced tea in a Tervis Tumbler.  Neither can Ann!
  3. May Books -- I have an iPhone, and iPad, and write this blog on a computer or one of the aforementioned devices, but I still like to take notes or make lists with a pen and paper.  That is why when Emily Loper found these darling books, many of us ordered them and started writing!  The one pictured above is my 2013 thought book -- for Community Partners of Dallas stuff, quotes, lists of events, places to visit, etc.  This 2013 one has the checker-board pages, but I think I prefer the dot pages I had for my 2012 book.  No matter what, they are great!  Design your own at:
  4. Ina Garten's Oven Risotto -- this is one of my go-to recipes given to me by my friend Ina (like Oprah and Maya Angelou, Ina is my friend -- if only in my mind).  I make a half making about every two weeks and have it for dinner for about 3 nights.  I always keep the stuff to make it, so it can be my dinner pronto.  Here's the recipe:
Ina Garten's Easy Parmesan "Risotto"

  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided (I use store-bought)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I do really grate the reggiano myself on my box grater)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.


    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Advice from a Hero

    Some of the best quotes in the world come from one of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so I am always happy when MLK Day comes around and I am reminded to celebrate him and read some of his wonderful words. Google "Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes" and you'll be amazed too. 

    So today, here's one of my faves:

    “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 

    This is super advice for every one of us and you all KNOW how I love to give advice. 

    Sometimes the weight of trials and tribulations in our home life get us down:

    "What do you mean you erased last night's Project Runway All Stars?"  Normally followed by "You idiot!"

    Or our work life can stop us in our tracks:

    "I can't believe my boss still hasn't decided what she wants me to do with this project!"  Normally followed by "That idiot!"

    Note the change in subject before the word idiot in the examples, of course...

    And just regular life is a drag too. 

    Life can be difficult for all of us at times and my normal inclination is sometimes to just crawl in bed and stay there, but as the Reverend King reminds us, we MUST keep going.  Fight your inclinations and just show up, smile, re-dvr, move forward -- because you have it so much better than so many others right here in Dallas.

    The kids at Community Partners of Dallas would give their right arm to be you.

    Or to be your child.

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    I'll Name My Kid Whatever I Want, Dammit

    Every day I wake up glad that I'm an American.

    NOTE:  Of course, not quite as glad about our leaders as I was 2 weeks ago, as I just got my first 2013 paycheck and DAMN -- so gross.  Bush tax cuts need to return immediately, Mr. President!

    I am glad because I know that every single person I pass on the street is wealthier than 98% of people on the planet -- at least that is what our minister Paul Rasmussen always says at HPUMC.  Let this sink in:  Three billion people in the world live on less than $2 USD per day.

    I am glad because I feel safe walking down the streets of Dallas and we have non-profit organizations to roll up their sleeves and do the tough work for those in our community who need help.

    NOTE:  Community Partners of Dallas is fabulous (of course), but there are so many great agencies doing great work -- contact the Junior League of Dallas (or me) to find out about lots of different agencies focusing on different needs.

    But I was never more glad about being an American than when I was reading the Dallas Morning News the other day.

    On Friday, January 4, 2013, there were two small articles that stopped me in my tracks.  The first was a follow up article about the 23-year-old woman in India who was gang raped on a bus and subsequently died due to internal injuries.  In India rapes are often ignored and women are routinely mistreated.

    I'm glad I'm an American.

    The second article in the same issue of the DMN was about a 15-year-old girl in Iceland who is suing the government for the right to use the name given to her when she was born by her mother.  You see, her name is not on the Personal Names Register -- a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that the government approves.

    NOTE:  Apparently a "handful" of other countries like Germany and Denmark also have rules about what a baby can be named.

    Now, not that I think a bunch of Apples and Hashtags (yes, someone really named their kid this in 2012) running around is such a great thing, but it FOR SURE isn't the government's job to tell me what to name my kid.

    So, please join me in being glad you're an American too!

    Cue Lee Greenwood please...

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Quick Thoughts on Penn State

    I ate a quick lunch alone at the bar at Nordstrom today and happened to look up at the TV above the bar.

    On the screen I saw some ESPN guys talking about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's announcement that he is filing a suit against the NCAA because he feels the penalty against the school for the child molestation case was too harsh.

    It was not too harsh.

    Many people at the university knew or suspected children were being abused and did nothing.

    The NCAA sent a strong message to collegiate sports and to every person in leadership at any business in America that there are some crimes so egregious that no cover up can ever be allowed.

    I think the fine should have been worse.