The Extra Ordinary Give - Maximizing a Communal Giving Day for Your Nonprofit

My nonprofit just participated in The Extra Ordinary Give - a full 24 hour giving marathon that represented 260 nonprofits, schools, and community benefit organizations in the Lancaster County. This year was a hit, raising more than $3.2 million dollars. There are many days of giving around the world and here is are 4 ideas on how to maximize them for your organization.

Lancaster County Community Foundation About Page

Craft Your Ask

Prepare a marketing piece that includes the event, all the particular, and your organizations specific link if provided. Make sure you can print it, post it, email it, and get it where it needs to go. Send it more than once. Create a reminder piece based on the first ask. People are busy and they won't remember your date no matter how much you want them to, so tell them to mark their calendars, remind them, and ask them to share it with friends.

Shout it from the Rooftops

Once you've got an email, give it to everyone you know. Send it to your mailing list of course. But never forget to get your supporters behind you. Tell your staff, board of directors, volunteers, and monthly givers to spread the word to everyone they know. Post it on your social media pages. Put it in your email signature and mention it while you're on the phone with clients and vendors.

Show and Tell

For yearly giving or annual events, it may be enough to just ask. However, days of giving sometimes have extra perks.The Extra Ordinary Give had a $25 minimum gift. That is an easy target to hit, but don't forget to show people what they get for that. Does $25 pay for meals, vaccinations, or hospital stays? Say so! Does each $1 invested in your organization leverage $5 in the community? Say so! And if there is a match being awarded as part of the giving day, you better tell them that too. Knowing that the money you donate could be matched is a great incentive to pull together communities.

Say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Lancaster County Community Foundation Thank You Page

Don't forget to follow up. This is a donation like any other and it requires letting people know that you have received the money and love them for it. It's also the time to give them receipts for their taxes and ask them to join your mailing list. Let them know if you have social media accounts to like and if you have any upcoming events you would love to tell them about.

Bonus: Live Blog The Day

Got the staff or volunteers? Get them to live blogging. Spend some time building up the day the week or two before the event and let everyone know that you will be "live" during the event. Start early and get people pumped. Let them know your progress and how many more donations you need to meet your goal. Thank people for donating and ask them to take one more step and tell a friend. Remember those show and tells you crafted before? Let them know that you've raised half the money for a children's program or you are 80% of your goal to increase safety in the neighborhood. Seeing your progress makes people feel involved and it is more likely that they will give an extra gift to get you there.

5 Ways to Save Half an Hour Today

You've had enough. Long days at work, a sink full of dishes and a houseful of people - you're run off your feet. Isn't it time to relax?

Here's a few tips for moving from work mode to zen that you can do today. These help you focus on priorities and let the small things slide. Leave your own tips in the comments and don't forget to share with someone who could use an extra 30 minutes.

Skip A, Go Directly to B

Do you already know this? Is there a way to cut out steps and still get it done? Do it. I've already covered a lot of my coursework in my MBA by working, so why "refresh" myself when I can learn something new and get my reading done faster?

Ask for Directions

You could probably figure out how to migrate your server, set up your calendar, or set up an event on your own. But why waste more time fiddling with it when you can just ask an expert or go to Google? If you find yourself spending more than 5 minutes trying to figure out a relatively simple problem, drop everything and look it up.

Get to the Point

If you have a main goal to achieve, stop spending time solving or researching ancillary ideas right now. Get to the heart of the matter and let that knowledge inform the rest of your decisions. You will end up making them all faster.

Find Something to Outsource

We all have strengths. If you're like most people though, you spend more of your energy focusing on your weaknesses. If someone else can do it better, let them. Whether you pay for it, swap for it, or beg for it, let them take it off your hands.

Piggyback with a Partner

You are not the only one in the world working on the same project. Find someone else who is in the same boat and work together. You'll get twice the work done in half the time and improve a relationship in the process. Work project, losing weight, internet investing, school work - all things that many people are doing and are much more fun together.

So. You Want to Start a Business? - A Book Review

If you are looking to start a business and really need something to sink your teeth into, I would definitely recommend buying So, You Want to Start a Business?: 8 Steps to Take Before Making the Leap. This is not your typical overview - this is a very in depth look at all the areas you need to think about when deciding whether to start and all the points that need to be addressed. Amazon reviews give it x stars from x people, so I'm not alone. Now let me tell you why.

It covers all the bases including your attitude

Some books focus on whether you have the salt to be an entrepreneur. Some focus on how to open a business in a specific industry or how to write a business plan. These are all great things. However, this covers all your bases, applies to any industry, and provides a lot of helpful insight into how to think about being in business. Many times, this is a mental game and you have to be prepared to think like a success. Get out of your own way, cater to the right customers, don't get blinded by your own products. These are all hit on throughout the book and shine a bright light on them.

It's easy to read and reference

This book is also laid out in a helpful and easy to read format. The chapters are broken into meaty chunks.

  1. Can you be a successful entrepreneur?
  2. Basic rules of business success
  3. What is a good business opportunity
  4. How do you choose the right customers?
  5. How do you design your product?
  6. What is the right price for your product?
  7. How can you overcome customer inertia?
  8. How to manage your business
  9. How do you find and keep good employees?
  10. How do you manage growth?
I think you can immediately see that they have included that some other books miss. These are complemented by helpful Business Rules that pop up throughout the book and all 55 of them are compiled at the end for easy reading. There is also a conclusion section that lists all the lessons learned by chapter. They are serious about you being able to find what you need quickly. 

Top 10 Business Rules

If you are serious about exploring a business, then run to buy this book. It provides timeless advice that you can rely on to help you grow.