Posts Tagged ‘non-profit organization’

Three Tips For Raising More Money At Your Fundraising Events

September 25th, 2012

As a volunteer or leader for your non profit, you may be doing your research and education to uncover the best new, innovative ways to increase revenue and attendance for your fundraising events. But let’s not forget tried-and-true methods that should continue to be an integral part of your event preparation.

These three tips were offered by The Fundraising Authority in its August 14, 2012 e-Newsletter, and republished by Animal Shelter Fundraising in their newsletter published Sept. 25, 2012.

#1:  Use the Phone

Yes, you should send out event invitations.  Yes, you should send out sponsorship letters to prospective sponsors for the event.  Yes you should use PR, your e-mail newsletter, and every other method at your disposal to raise money for your fundraising event.  But, the most powerful weapon in your arsenal is… the phone.

Many non-profits that would never think of trying to run a $500,000 major giving fundraising campaign without making calls and doing face-to-face meetings will none the less try to raise the same amount for an event simply by sending out letters and invitations and doing a nice event sponsorship package that gets mailed out to donors.

Don’t make this mistake… treat your event like you would a capital campaign.  Start with your prospective sponsors, and after you send out a letter, do calls and one-on-one meetings.  Then move to your prospective event guests – target people who could buy whole tables and/or sell 5 or 10 tickets to the event and give them a call or go see them at their office.

Pick up the phone and use it to generate revenue for your next fundraising event.


#2:  Find Supporters Who Will “Own” the Event

Most non-profits know the importance of putting together a host committee for fundraising events, but very few put together event committees that really move the revenue dial.  Instead, many organizations end up with a committee that spends all of its time discussing the menu and the floral arrangements, and then at event time asks for a discount on the ticket price for host committee members.

Without fail, the organizations that hold the biggest fundraising events (in terms of net revenue, not attendees) put together host committees comprised of supporters  (a) who  understand that this is a fundraising event, and the job of the committee is to raise money, and (b) who “own” the event, taking personal responsibility for meeting the event fundraising goals by working hard to sell sponsorships and tickets.

If your organization isn’t putting together host committees like this, now is the time to start.  This year, for your next event, try to start adding committee members who will own the event, and make it clear to the entire committee that meeting the event’s fundraising goal is priority #1.


#3:  Do One Remarkable Thing at Each Function

The success of an annual non-profit fundraising event grows over time.  If attendees enjoy themselves at your event this year, you can be sure that they come to the event next year and will talk about it with their friends and colleagues, some of whom will likely attend as well.  As the years go by, your event gets bigger and bigger, and in turn, you are able to raise more revenue with each succeeding year.

A great way to accelerate this process is to make sure your organization does at least one really remarkable, water-cooler-gossip-worthy thing at each event.  This could be an simple as having a local celebrity attend as a surprise guest, or as complicated as renting out the next-door pub for an after-party at your annual young professionals event.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, doing something really remarkable will get people talking about your event – and in turn, will make more people want to come to your event next year.



Memorable Day with Muttville and SF Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum

July 3rd, 2012

a special baseball card we made for Muttville's star, Timmy

A special day for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, July 1, 2012, will go down in Muttville history for a once homeless senior dog named Timmy. A week ago he was an abandoned stray. Last Sunday, he became a star! The chosen, long haired mutt now had a special advocate helping him find a new home… SF Giants star pitcher, Tim Lincecum!

I was truly honored to be one of the four Muttville representatives to meet two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. He was a genuine, down-to-earth, animal loving gentleman that won our hearts. And we believe Muttville’s senior dog cause won Tim’s heart.

I created three items for this special day: a unique Timmy baseball card (shown on left), reminiscent of one of Tim Lincecum’s Topps cards ; a 40-sec video that was played on the Giants jumbo screen(!); and a Limited Edition Muttville baseball tee in Giants colors, worn by our proud Muttville volunteers. We gave one to Tim, too. I hope he wears it!!


Read Marie’s blog article for Muttville about Timmy’s big moment, and see the whole day captured in photos in this slideshow:

Muttville voted Favorite San Francisco Charity in 7×7 Magazine: Behind-the-scenes of the Successful Marketing Campaign

December 28th, 2011
7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Our campaign was strategic, structured and relentless! Find out how we ran the successful marketing campaign that drove thousands of fans to vote EVERYDAY (that’s right!) for Muttville and led to being named San Francisco’s Favorite Charity in 7×7 Magazine.

The night that 7×7 Magazine announced the winner of their San Francisco Favorite Charity contest, the Muttville Team Leaders honored to be present at the announcement party, Patty Stanton, Anne Lauck, Caroline Kaps, and myself, along with our mentor, founder Sherri Franklin, were already beaming with excitement and pride to be one of the seven finalists in a room of amazing non profit organizations: Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California, Lyon-Martin Health Services, MYEEP, Minds Matter, Saving Grace Rescue, and the Asian Women’s Shelter.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue announced as winner of San Francisco Favorite Charity Contest in 7x7 MagazineWhen the announcement came and the big 8 foot check had Muttville’s name on it, we were floored, overwhelmed with happiness and joy, and most of all, grateful and honored.

Sherri really did almost fall to her knees from weakness as she smiled and tried to speak into the microphone!

As we look back on the day when we first received the announcement of a contest by 7×7 to win a grant generously donated by PG&E for $10,000, in October, we knew this was an opportunity for Muttville, not just financially but the connection to 7×7 and the potential press in 2012 could really bring us new exposure to a wider audience.

A social media and online email marketing campaign was in the works immediately. Since voting was everyday, we needed to be dedicated to daily posts and multiple daily tweets plus working in a newsletter campaign that didn’t pound our supporters over the head too often, nor did we want to put out too many messages to our subscribers and drown out important messages.

A few things to note about Muttville’s overall marketing strengths:

  • Muttville had a system and schedule in place for blogs and email marketing. Therefore Muttville’s communication with supporters via email and social media was very consistent. Subscribers already looked forward to our regular communication, such as weekly blog series Success Stories and Adopted Mutts of the Week, along with newsletters with stories from founder Sherri Franklin.
  • Our social media is always very active, with every blog post, event, and newsletter being shared to Facebook and Twitter immediately.
  • Our interaction with fans and supporters is also strong. Facebook interaction is on average 90% of posts, and Muttville engages with its fans on Facebook everyday. The Facebook page gains 100 + new Likes every week.
  • Muttville has outreach events every weekend, and is accessible both offline and online.
  • Volunteers interface with people in a variety of ways: events, traditional mail, email, and Social Media. And fosters meet potential adopters throughout the week, which means new folks being introduced to Muttville.

When time came to drive a campaign that required daily participation, we knew our fans would rally for us and we could be in the top 49. With every post reminder to vote, practically every single post was liked and commented. Folks even thanked us for the reminder! We diligently posted on Facebook every single day. We tweeted several times a day every day. We got a suggestion from a supporter, “Why not put it smack dab on your front page?” Why not? So we added it right below our call to action “doggie chain”. We let people know what $10,000 can provide to Muttville: much needed surgery for Timminy, physical therapy for Lady Tara, eye surgery for Casper. We strive to let folks know in detail where funds and donations are spent.

When the announcement that we made the Top 7 was made in November, we knew that we really had do turn on the turbo to maintain another month of daily voting pleas! This was important and we needed our supporters to know!
We launched the email marketing campaign and thanked our supporters for their daily votes, and kept the spirits high. Through the newsletter and the home page, Muttville’s website gave people the option to sign up for daily email reminders to vote. Hundreds of people signed up! So Muttville was reminding people by email, Facebook, and Twitter every single day. That daily activity was reaching over 5000 people with each reminder. That number doesn’t even including others forwarding on to their friends and social networks. We often received messages from our supporters saying that they sent daily reminders to others too!

The key effort in this campaign was simply communication. Our fans and supporters from all over the world were ready to help the senior dogs, we just needed to reach as many people as possible, and reach them EVERY DAY without tiring the message or nagging for support. Scroll through our Facebook page to see different ways we posted the message. Often it was casual, but we always included a personal note, and we tried to always “like” every comment to let fans know that we are always listening and grateful for the support. Interaction and engagement is key in maintaining and building an active social network. We want everyone to feel they are an important part of Muttville.

During this campaign we had other big announcements that launched: Our annual Matching Grant Challenge, plus Muttville’s first ever Pup up Adopt Shop. It was easy for the messages to get muddled or drown each other out, or worse overwhelm supporters. We kept each message and call-to-action separate and gave each its own voice. There was a different tone to each campaign as well as a different focus in its strategic effort.

Of course with all this flurry of voting, it is still a mystery how many votes we were actually receiving throughout the campaign. We were as nervous as the others as we awaited to hear the winning organization.  When we won, we knew who we had to tell first…our fans and supporters. Ready in the wings, Carol, Muttville’s website developer sent out a newsletter and updated the website’s home page within minutes, and we posted to Facebook with a photo:

7x7 Magazine Favorite Charity Contest winner Muttville Senior Dog RescueIt was really amazing to see the number of Likes posted within minutes and throughout the night! We could barely keep up reading the comments. And the 30 shares was just unbelievable! Keeping our valued supporters close to the excitement in the moment with Muttville was very important, and we could feel them right there with us, thanks to Facebook.

I’ve been asked by several organizations to give any advice and insight as to how Muttville got all those votes. I’d love to share social media networking tips with all who contact me. One thing that must be noted: dog lovers and animal advocates are some of the most passionate and dedicated folks I have ever known. Perhaps because the love of animals is one thing we all can relate to and have in common, regardless of culture, status, age, gender, or history. Muttville’s special niche, senior dogs, might also remind us all of our own mortality.

Its not over yet! We continue to thank supporters, keep them in the loop, and share Muttville’s successes with them everyday. We hope to share more news when Muttville is featured in the March 2012 issue of 7×7 Magazine and the organiztion can build new connections with the Bay Area, thanks to this special honor.

What is Compassionate Fostering?

August 5th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios loves this article first published by StubbyDog and written by Micaela Myers. We are proud to be Compassionate Foster Caregivers for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (Read this great article below, then check out our personal story of compassionate fostering, “The Story of Collette”)


Angels of Compassion

original publish date August 3, 2011

Opening hearts and homes to abandoned pit bulls in their final days.

By Micaela Myers

Tera had been at the shelter for two months. An older pit bull with skin cancer and two blown knees, her adoption chances were as low as can be. Knee surgery would cost at least $8,000, and the skin cancer wasn’t going to get better, either. Plus, she was now suffering from kennel stress.

So Tera went to live with Nicole Edwards, a veterinary nurse who welcomes dogs like Tera into her home for what’s known as compassion fostering.

Most foster parents bring a dog into their home knowing that the dog is on his way to a happy ending: a forever home. Compassion fosters have a very different end game: to shower that dog in love until he or she is euthanized. For a dog who is frightened and alone, compassion fosters open their homes and hearts so that dog can leave this world enveloped in love.

Even Chance

Edwards is the president of Even Chance: Pit Bull Advocacy, Resources and Rescue, based in San Diego. In addition to a regular foster and adoption program, her group offers compassion fostering.

“If there weren’t such a surplus of pit bulls,” she says, “maybe people would be into adopting a 10-year-old dog who’s a little gray and a little bit slower, or a dog that has a weird gimp because it was hit by a car and nobody helped. We’re just trying to alleviate the stress on the shelter system because [euthanasia is] all they do, and it’s really sad.”

Tera stayed with Edwards for eight months. “I loved this dog so much,” she recalls. “We took her skin cancer off. We let her live like a normal dog as long as we could, but her skin cancer came back, and her knees became a bigger problem. So she had an awesome eight months. She hung out with my dogs. She slept in my bed. She was like the mama dog of the house, which was very cool. Her favorite toy was a football, and it’s my favorite sport. I have two big baskets of toys. She would always pick the football out and literally throw it around the yard, squeak it a little bit, throw it around the yard some more.”

How compassion fostering works

Approximately 5 million animals are killed in shelters each year. Up to one in three are pit bull types (or labeled as such). Many shelters won’t even put pit bulls up for adoption. For those shelters that do, placing even healthy young pitties can be difficult given the misconceptions, stereotypes and breed restrictions.

In a better world, every dog would find a good new home, but until then Edwards and other dedicated volunteers make sure that no pittie in a San Diego County shelter has to die afraid or alone. The dogs Even Chance accepts into their compassion foster program have medical problems or behavior issues due to past neglect or abuse.

“The dogs pretty much get spoiled as long as we can,” Edwards explains. “That can be anywhere from a week to several months, depending on the case and what we can provide them.”

If there is no room in the compassion foster program, Edwards or one of her team members will spend a day with the shelter dog.

“I’ll take them to Fiesta Island [dog beach] on a long line. They can run around for as long as they want. They can get all dirty, have fun and play on the beach. We go back to the shelter to the outside area that’s set up [for their euthanasia]. We have a rotisserie chicken. They know me by then. They get to sit and eat an awesome meal.”

Focusing on the love

For most of us, the very thought of bonding with a dog we can’t save is too much to handle. Edwards focuses on the love she is able to give these dogs in their final days.

“I try and do everything I can, taking them on lots of walks or letting them smell all the things they didn’t get to smell at the shelter, giving them treats, letting them see the beach and the mountains.”

“I think the way that I’m able to deal with it is that we know this is the end for these dogs, and I feel fortunate enough to make it easier on them,” she says. “That’s my way of coping with it – knowing that they’ll have a full belly before they go, and that they’ll be happy and be with people that they already know and feel comfortable with.”

Edwards has personally welcomed nine compassion fosters into her home in the last few years. Loving seniors like Tera, who were cast off by their owners, are some of the hardest compassion cases for her to deal with emotionally.

“There’s definitely a grieving process after, especially when they’ve lived with you for almost a year. It’s almost your own dog,” she explains, adding that her fellow rescue volunteers are the best therapy during the grieving process. She calls them to reminisce about the dog and also vent about the previous owners who abandoned their pet. “I’m a big talker, so I talk it out,” she says.

Fellow compassion foster Jessica Stone says that showering the dog with love and positive experiences during the time he or she is with her helps during the grieving process after.

“I feel like during the time I have the dog I try and do absolutely everything I can,” she says, “taking them on lots of walks or letting them smell all the things they didn’t get to smell at the shelter or maybe in their previous life, giving them treats, letting them see the beach and the mountains.”

Edwards agrees. “It’s like going to grandma’s house for the weekend. They get to be on the bed. They get to be on the couch. They get to eat food they probably wouldn’t get.”

Eight-month-old Cooper was the second dog Edwards took in as a compassion foster. “He was found on the side of the freeway. He had his ears cut down to his skull. He also had two broken elbows that the vet thought had been that way maybe two months if not longer. He was not a surgical candidate to have them fixed, given the damage.”

Because of his broken elbows, Cooper had to crawl to get around and would tear open his skin in the process. He lived with Edwards for two weeks before he was humanely put down.

“That was a really sad case for us because there was nothing we could do for that dog,” she explains. “He was so young, but I’m sure he endured some pretty crappy situations in his short time.”

Edwards hopes that in his next life, “he can go on and get a new body where his elbows are not broken. He can have his ears back, and he can live with someone who loves him.”

Because in the end, that’s all any pit bull wants: someone who loves them.

Logo and Brand Identity for Not Just Animals!

May 20th, 2010

Logo/Identity for Not Just Animals!

Client: Not Just Animals!

Challenge: Client needed a new identity that would appeal to a wide audience and yet identify with younger demographics.

Switchblade Solution: We captured an urban feel and a complex message using simple iconic figures that are universally recognized.