Why Offer Gold for Your Next Fundraiser

gold fundraiser event ideas

At a time when donors are less open-handed as a result of a tough economic climate, and their willingness to commit to new products or services is curbed; it has become unsmilingly challenging for fundraisers to get by. The sting of the Great Recession can still be felt, can’t it? People don’t seem to give as much for fundraisers (maybe because they don’t have as much to give?)

Alas, it would seem like the spirit of charitable giving has shriveled up like a dead spider in the shadow of irreconcilable government debt, looming inflation, and short-tempered currencies. Boo, hiss.

Consumers and donors are still in a place of tightening their clasp on their finances, being cautious about how they spend and spending shrewdly when they do. Do you suppose this is a change in spending habits that will quickly turn around?

And yet your fundraiser needs funds! You need to keep the lifeblood of your organization flowing, but who to look to in these trying times?

The last thing you want to have to do is to start cold calling (groan). Do you really enjoy asking your strapped, would-be sponsors for money over the phone?

But what else are you to do? Go to another mixer and grease palms like a used car salesman? How do you send off a successful fundraiser in the throes of an erratic economy, with so many people facing rising prices, treacherous currencies and domestic budgets?

Okay, enough scarcity thinking. How about a better way?

How about cooking up fresh and unique ideas, whereby you give value first and in a form where your prospective supporters can benefit? (Novel idea, right?)

Yes, they are still interested in supporting causes they believe in. Many organizations have grown more discerning these days, however, so they won’t just buy into anything anymore. Be that as it may, there are a number of golden opportunities for fundraisers waiting to be leveraged to raise tremendous funds and rally the participation of your sponsors.

And speaking of gold…

Cash-for-Gold Fundraiser Events

Cash-for-gold fundraisers are an increasingly popular way to raise money that involves giving back and improving your sponsors’ wallets.

trade in gold jewelry and coinsFor the occasion, guests are invited to leave their wallets at home and to turn over their unwanted gold jewelries and ornaments for cash. They then get to take home cold, hard cash for their unwanted heirlooms. And the buyer or organization that you cooperate with will make a sizable donation to your cause, based on the value of the exchange.

These cash-for-gold events can be effective at quickly raising a generous amount of funds toward a specific goal, but be sparing with these types of fundraisers! Although the patrons of your worthy cause might be thrilled with the cash they get in return for flipping over their unwanted treasures, you may guess there is only so much they are willing to part with.

Still, there is another way to use gold as a catalyst in your fundraiser event and I bet this idea is more in line with the classy, sassy image you are trying to convey to your sponsors. As in, this next idea actually makes you look innovative and classy as opposed to—well—“pawn shop.” (There. I said it.)

Gold Bullion Cards: A Gold-Plated Idea for Branding Your Fundraiser

What better way to brand your organization and to make a distinctive impression, than to prize your deserving supporters by rewarding them with 999.9 karats of pure-grade gold?

save gold club cardIt is an exclusive way to show your appreciation for your sponsors and to brand your business, charity, or organization. Oh, and it’s also terribly cool.

Gold providers, like PAMP Suisse (Switzerland) and Karatbars International (Germany), supply pure currency-grade gold bullion embedded credit-sized cards for easy handling. More importantly, one of these companies, Karatbars, now allows you to create your own customized cards where your name, logo or other meaningful image may be placed alongside the highest-grade gold available on the market today.

What’s more, since you’re buying small amounts—1 gram, 2.5 grams or 5 gram bullion—these branded cards are an affordable and impressive leave-behind; a terrific way to say to your donors, “You are golden to us.”

How to Use Gold Bullion Cards at Fundraiser Events

Include Gold in Your Sponsor Packages

branded gold cardSo, how to use this marketing magic, right? A great way to use these branded cards is to include them as a sponsor benefit. Certain sponsorship levels would then earn them a gold card (or several gold cards for their executives, holiday gifts, etc.) depending on their level of participation in your fundraiser.

Decide on names for sponsorship levels, and the value in gold bullion that each will receive for their degree of support. For example, a top-tier “Platinum” or “Benefactor” may get a 5-gram gold card (or five 1-gram gold cards) in addition to promoting them to your audience and the other perks you offer your sponsors.

Add Gold to Your Silent Auction

Need more contributions to your silent auction? Likely. Try a gold card branded just for your event. You can even purchase a clear, plastic stand for a few bucks to enhance the presentation. Just make sure the write-up includes information on the quality and weight. Most of your event attendees are unfamiliar with buying gold bullion, so your description will be part education, part sizzle.

Afterglow

Hopefully you see how these types of incentives can be very effective at encouraging your sponsors’ participation in your fundraiser. You could even expand the use of these branded gold cards into other rewards, benefits and prizes for both your supporters and your staff.

Gold is such a resilient and versatile resource. It has the potential to become the cornerstone and the hallmark of any fundraising initiative. Gold is an inflation- and bankrupt-proof medium that has stood the test of time for centuries.

P.S. – Interested in offering gold bullion for your next fundraiser?

I highly recommend Karatbars International for this. They tend to have the best pricing and they have a great designer on staff who helps with your artwork. If you are interested, call me and I’ll answer whatever questions you might have. If you get my voicemail, leave a message and I’ll call you back. Cell: 517-258-4040. You can also get more information at http://savegold.club.

In support of your efforts,

signature

Marketing Idea #127: Silent Auctions

silent auction

Not only do silent auctions bring in money for your cause, they can also be a great marketing idea for nonprofits seeking new donors. Because you’ll need to do a little pavement-pounding to collect the items up for bid, you’ll have the opportunity to forge new relationships within the local retail community, leading to future revenue.

Get Organized

Putting together a silent auction is a lot of work, but it isn’t as hard as you may think. The first steps are to organize your mission statement, write a letter to potential donors, and create a form through which they can submit donations of merchandise or gift certificates. Set up deadlines on when the items need to be collected and when the auction will begin and end. All this information should be in the cover letter handed out to local business owners and managers.

Recruit Sponsors

Next, you’ll need to take a walk. Have two or three of your employees canvas several retail strips within your community. Make sure they can speak intelligently and passionately about your cause. Widen your search for items by advertising the auction on social media and Craig’s List. In your online advertisement, you’ll have the opportunity to reach out to potential bidders, too. As donations roll in, take a photo of each and share them on Facebook, Twitter, or your nonprofit’s website to further entice the bargain-hunters and philanthropists you aim to reach.

Select the Venue

An essential part of a successful silent auction is finding one high-traffic venue willing to host a board of items for a few days to a couple weeks. Small, locally-owned coffee shops and organic grocery stores are both excellent options. Typically charitable, they’ll also be hungrier for cross-promotion.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Once you have a bevy of items, a venue, and a schedule, continue to promote via print and social media. Customers can register online, receiving a bidding identification number in the process. Set up your auction board with attached photographs and space for bidders to write their I.D. number and bid amount. Don’t forget to supply pencils.

Let Them Know Who Won

Once the auction has ended, collect the bids, and notify all winners by the contact information required for registration. Appoint a time and place to pick up and pay–perhaps your non-profit headquarters over the course of a week. After that week, if a winner has not collected his item, default to the next highest bidder. This part of the process usually takes a while, with winners floating in and out over the course of several days.

Now Go Launch Your Silent Auction

A successful silent auction can bring in hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on what type of items you receive and how many you collect. While a fair amount of hard work, it’s an excellent way to spread awareness of your cause and pull in revenue at the same time.

Contact us for more advice on how to make your small business or nonprofit a success.

The One Program Your Nonprofit Needs (and Probably Doesn’t Have)

nonprofit affiliate networks

Are you involved with a nonprofit organization (NPO)? Is your organization looking for a cost-effective way to increase donations, further the cause and grow your management or volunteer base? If you answered yes to these questions, starting your own nonprofit affiliate network may be the right solution for you.

For most nonprofit organizations these are very challenging times. The global economy is worse than it has ever been in our lifetime. While the need for services and support from nonprofits continues to grow, a global economic slump means both sponsor contributions and supporter donations may also be at an all time low.

Now, the good news. As a nonprofit, you have considerable options at your disposal for increasing your outreach and fundraising. One of those options is to start your own nonprofit affiliate network. A thriving nonprofit affiliate network can be leveraged to help sustain your organization’s cause, mission, fundraising and overall growth.

nonprofit affiliate network

4 Great Reasons to Launch a Nonprofit Affiliate Network

While there are many different reasons to launch your own nonprofit affiliate network, here are four of the most common:

Low-Cost Marketing

Online or off, affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing currently being used today. For our purposes, we’ll focus online, but affiliate marketing can be translated to the ‘real world’ (think referral fees, commissions and the like.) The way an affiliate network works is simple:

  1. First, a would-be affiliate marketer signs up to promote your cause.
  2. As the marketer directs qualified donor traffic to your site, a tracking code ensures they get credit for any donations their referral generated,
  3. Through that donation, the affiliate marketer is compensated by receiving a small portion (called a commission) from the amount received.

So you see, creating an affiliate network can provide you with a very quick, easy and cost-effective way of increasing your future donations.

Increased Outreach

Much of the marketing cost involved with driving potential donors to you is shouldered by the affiliate marketers who sign up to help promote your cause. Often, these affiliate marketers already have well-established traffic generation methods. They may be savvy about using search engine optimization (SEO), AdWords (Google’s pay-per-click advertising engine), social media, email marketing and other techniques. This means a well-established affiliate marketer will be able to promote your cause, organization or message, extending your reach into a larger audience than what you would have achieved on your own.

What’s possible with this? At its best, we’re talking global outreach to millions of potential donors sympathetic to your cause. The global nature of the Internet enables you shed local boundaries or territories. This will be especially poignant for you if your nonprofit operates internationally. If you’re more locally-focused, you may want your ‘global reach’ to only extend to your city borders. If that’s the case, no worries. An affiliate program for your non-for-profit may still fit. Your goal is to have your cause promoted to those who are looking for you, whether they live in your town or on the other side of the planet.

Expand Your Volunteer Base

Having your own nonprofit affiliate network will also make it easier for you to find and recruit potential board members and volunteers. You should be communicating to your affiliate marketers regularly. Part of that marketing communication will be in the form of messages for your affiliate network to send to their own audiences. This helps them bring value to their audiences and of course, it gets your word out. In this case, however, it’s not a “buy our stuff” or “donate to our cause” message, but more of a “we need your helping hands” message.

Save Some Dough

By starting your own nonprofit affiliate network, you will be saving on the service and administration fees paid when you join existing affiliate networks. For example, joining an existing affiliate network system could cost you anywhere from $200 to $800 or more per month. This monthly service fee can seem like a small amount initially. Over time, however, those fees may amount to hundreds and even thousands of dollars per year in expense—simply because you joined a pre-existing network.

nonprofit affiliate network

Now let’s take a quick look at the role of the affiliate marketer and the part they play in helping you reach your organizational goals.

Who Will Be Your Affiliate Marketers?

Through your nonprofit affiliate marketing program, you will be able to enlist the marketing genius of website and blog owners all over the world. As you push forward, however, you will want to establish basic guidelines for your affiliate marketing program. This will be established in your initial affiliate agreement.

Typically, your affiliate marketers will be content creators who own and manage websites that publish content related to your charities, organization or cause. In most cases, they have either built up a large online following through regular traffic to their website or they have a large mailing list of engaged subscribers who may be sympathetic or interested in supporting your cause.

How Much To Pay Your NPO Affiliates?

Your payment model should be a performance-based commission founded on a percentage of the marketer’s referred revenues. All other elements being equal, the higher the commission you offer, the greater the interest in your affiliate program. On the other hand, the higher your commission payout, the less you will be able to invest in other necessary activities. Since you’re just getting started, you may want to enter the affiliate marketing foray with the industry standard of 20-30% and adjust as needed. Compare your commissions to what you would have paid in a more traditional advertising model. If you receive a $100 donation and it cost you $20 or $30 to get it, can you live with that?

How Are Affiliate Payments Handled?

Payments to your nonprofit affiliates can be set up to be automatically sent on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis and using a variety of different payment options such as PayPal, ACH or direct deposit. Try to keep this part of the process smooth, automated and easy to understand.

Your Nonprofit Affiliate Network is Launched! Now What?

Once you have your own nonprofit affiliate network established, you can start contacting high-ranking blog owners to let them know about your new opportunity.

(Tip: Make sure your affiliate program compliments their offerings. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time, and yours.)

One of the best ways to find high-level affiliates is to turn to the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) Enter a search phrase related to your type of charity. Scan the top 10 to 50 blog sites listed. Will your nonprofit affiliate program bring value to their efforts? If you think so, simply ask them if they’re interested. Many may say no. There is no need to convince them. Thank them for their time and move on to the folks who want to say yes.

Afterglow

Launching your own nonprofit affiliate network can be a very strategic way to implement an online marketing system. Leveraged properly, an affiliate network has the potential to help your organization reduce marketing costs while growing your revenues, members and outreach. This creates a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.

10 Great Office Fundraiser Ideas

Marketing Ideas Office Game Ideas

1. Create a Recipe Book

Everyone brings in a favorite family recipe which is then compiled into a single document, beautified, and published for resale.

To execute this fundraiser

Send around a sign-up sheet so you can get a feel for the kinds of dishes people would like to contribute. Have the sign-up sheet broken out into categories, such as Appetizers, Salads, Poultry, Pasta, Desserts—be creative. Be sure to include several blanks for ‘Other’ in case you forgot something. (Using categories here will also help you organize the recipe book later.) Make sure the sign-up sheet also describes the goal (this is part of a fundraiser,) the deadline for contributions and the reward for contributing (credits in the cookbook, bragging rights, a discount on the cookbook when it’s ready, etc.)

Once you have received enough recipes, compile them into your word-processing software. Apply a festive template, font-style and high-resolution pictures of the dishes for extra pizzazz.  Don’t forget to pass a draft around for additional suggestions and proofreading.

Finally, take the finished product to the local print-shop and have them printed. Hopefully, you allowed people to pre-order and pay ahead of time. (Tip: Include the option to do this with the sign-up sheet!) Pre-orders and “reserve your copy” reminders will help you pay printing costs and determine how many copies to print.

marketing ideas ebook divider

2. Book Sale

Help employees purge clutter at home by encouraging them to dust off and donate their used books to a book sale. Sell the books at a discount and match them to new homes.

To hold this fundraiser

Most of us have books that have been sitting on our bookshelves, untouched for many years. Encourage teammates to bring in those books and donate them. Collect the books over the course of a week or two. On the day of the big sale, lay the books out to gain maximum exposure. Announce the beginning of the sale and let it go on for as long as you like. The length of your sale depends upon its popularity, since someone must be available to provide answers about prices, make change, etc.

Near the end of your sale, encourage people to revisit and benefit from a steep discount (buy one book, get a second book free, for example.) Your mission is to squeeze as much as you can out of the effort and reduce your inventory.

Once the sale is over, you have two choices: store the remaining books for another sale or donate them to the local library or city mission.

marketing ideas ebook divider

3. Bake Sale

Give your baking teammates a chance to show their stuff by donating through a bake sale. Those who don’t bake can buy baked goods at the local grocery store and mark up the price to contribute to the fundraiser.

To hold this fundraiser

Open the sale just prior to lunchtime and make sure to broadcast a vivid reminder. No need to limit yourself to baked goods either. You can do the same thing with:

  • Popcorn
  • Hot dogs
  • Bakery goods
  • Ice cream
  • Nachos

Twist: Have any gardeners on the team? Expand this concept to holding your own farmers’ market.

Twist: Host a pancake breakfast where organization leaders cook pancakes and fry up breakfast meats and potatoes for the crew. While this can be leveraged as a fundraiser, this is also a great idea for simple employee appreciation.

marketing ideas ebook divider

4. Cook-Off Competition

Target a popular type of dish and have staff compete for high honors. Everyone pays to eat.

To hold this fundraiser

You’ll need a sign-up sheet for this one. Collect the names of would-be cooks and have employees RSVP to the dining event. Each cook prepares a full batch of their delectable dish and brings it in for the lunch rush. Collect employee money at the beginning of the food line. Each employee gets to try as many of the dishes as they like, but all employees are limited to a single vote. Tally the votes after the lunch rush and announce the winner!

Twist: Have team members prepare delicious lunches for auctioning off to co-workers.

marketing ideas ebook divider

5. Announce a Jean Day

Have an office where the dress code is business casual or uniforms? As long as some structure is placed on this (i.e. no ripped jeans, no denim skirts above the knee—whatever is appropriate for your organization’s culture,) a jean day can be an easy, no-muss, no-fuss fundraiser for your office.

To conduct this fundraiser

Announce a Jean Day, where people can pay a small amount ($1-$3) to wear jeans.  Let people know what the money will go toward (i.e. a holiday party later in the year, a local charity, etc.) The likeliest day for this is usually a Friday, when people are often relaxing into their weekends. Studies have shown, however, that holding a Jean Day on a Monday actually shows a boost in employee productivity. (No kidding.)

marketing ideas ebook divider

6. Costume Contest

Get your team mates to show their true colors.

To hold this fundraiser

Charge a low entry fee for participants. Promise bragging rights and free lunch. (Yes, this eats into your revenues. Pun intended.) Since paying money to dress up in a silly outfit and be seen by your co-workers may be a deterrent, you’ll need the incentive of free food. Take pictures of this one and post everywhere. This one often accompanies other fundraisers, such as Executive Auction or Office Raffle/Silent Auction.

Themes might include:

  • Team Spirit Day
  • Halloween Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Argyle Day
  • 80’s Day

marketing ideas ebook divider

7. Office Sports Competition

Game day takes on a whole new meaning when colleagues team up to create adventure courses throughout the office.

To conduct this fundraiser

Establish teams to create courses throughout the office. Charge a low entry fee to participate and win prizes and high acclaim. Courses may include:

  • Putt-putt golf obstacle courses
  • Nerf basketball or ping pong ball trick-shot courses
  • Office Olympics, where mundane tasks are put to a race (make X number of photocopies, collated, 2-sided, stapled, then file X number of documents, then make X number of cold calls or customer service calls, mail cart slalom, etc.)
  • Foosball, air hockey or billiards competitions (if available)

marketing ideas ebook divider

8. Office Raffle

Everyone can chip in and buy tickets. Just be sure to make the prizes enticing, otherwise no one will see the value in playing.

To hold this fundraiser

This fundraiser is all about the prizes, so they had better be good. Lunch with the boss will only work if people actually like the boss, so tread carefully here. Buy your ticket rolls at any office supply store and leave raffle participants with little paper stubs of hope in exchange for their well-earned cash. While the possibilities are endless, raffle prize ideas may include:

  • Wear jeans around the office for a day/week/month.
  • Get a full day off, with pay.
  • Lunch with the boss at a posh restaurant, on the boss’ tab.
  • Tickets to a sports game.
  • Gift cards for restaurants, spas, movie theaters, stores or gas stations.
  • A non-business trip, with lodging and meals covered.
  • Air miles.

Twist: A variation of this would be the silent auction, where prizes can be bid upon directly. This allows for greater diversity in prizes which broadens the appeal.

marketing ideas ebook divider

9. Executive Auction

Participating executives line up for a pageant and the employees are able to bid on them once the dog and pony show is over. The executive purchased then has to do that employee’s job for a day.

To conduct this fundraiser

Set the starting bids on the executives. These minimum bids, when added together, will ideally surpass the fundraising goal so that everything else is cream. If your fundraiser’s goal is more lofty, aim to achieve at least half with the opening bids.

For the auction stage, have the executives perform for the crowd to build the bidding frenzy. Use tasks that humanize and personalize the executives. These segments may include:

  • Give an off-the-cuff speech for two minutes involving a funny memory
  • Tell what they would do if they were President of the World for a day
  • Dance to three very different 10-second music bites
  • Runway model
  • Spelling bee (See “Adult Spelling Bee“)
  • Talk about a personal goal or interest that doesn’t involve the office at all

marketing ideas ebook divider

10. Pin the Tail on the Executive

Well, not really, but as the title implies, this fundraising tactic targets executive authority. The object is to inspire donations at the expense of a well-humored (and hopefully well-loved) executive or manager. People will pay dearly to see their higher-ups lowered to receiving public smirks and jeers with their slice of humble pie.

To execute this fundraiser

Set the office fundraising goal. Then set the incentive for meeting that goal. If the goal is met, fundraising incentives for this strategy may include:

  • Wearing some ridiculous costume (keep it clean and present a picture of the costume ahead of time). The best costumes may ballerina animals, mythological creatures, team mascots, etc.
  • Shaving off beards or mustaches. (This only applies to the whiskered men.)
  • Wearing a competing college team’s uniform all day, singing the competing college’s fight song, or allowing staff to decorate the executive’s office with competing college fanfare.
  • Executive matches the donations or a percentage of the donations for their team, floor, agency, etc.
  • Executive is ‘jailed’ until they reach their donation goals. (Read ”How to be Arrested for Fundraising”)

Twist: If the goal is NOT met, maybe the employees have to take on the same challenge?

Marketing Idea #54: How to be Arrested for Fundraising

Marketing Ideas Arrested for Fundraising

A number of good causes offer a “lockup” program to enlist members of the community in raising funds. The idea is to publicize a mock arrest and jailing (though you may really be handcuffed and driven to the local jail in a police car) in exchange for “bail” (contributions to the cause). The arrested then contacts the members of his own network to solicit for a set amount of funds in return for his freedom. Once bail has been made, you’re set free. If you can’t be away from your job, there’s often a “house arrest” option. Sign yourself up, and publicize it as widely as you can. You’re gaining a life experience, a wonderful story, and good karma.