Posts Tagged ‘American Cancer Society

01
Nov
16

Give back on #GivingTuesday

11-29-2016It’s hard to believe today is the first day of November. How can that be?

Today kicks off what many of us consider a month of blessings. Check Facebook and you’ll see lots of people posting about things for which they’re grateful. And later this month, we’ll spend time with family and friends giving thanks for our blessings.

Then comes another day, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that encourages everyone around the globe to give back.

This year, #GivingTuesday is Nov. 29. Always celebrated the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it’s a global day of giving perpetuated by social media and collaboration. Often, organizations incorporate the day into their yearend giving campaigns. But that doesn’t mean giving can’t be done on a smaller scale.

Last year during #GivingTuesday, 700,000 people from 70 countries participated, raising $116 million.

According to a recent study by Blackbaud,:

  • #GivingTuesday has had double-digit, year-over-year growth in online donations since 2012.
  • Large organizations have received the most donations on #GivingTuesday but this trend is shifting.
  • Faith-based organizations now receive the largest percentage of #GivingTuesday online donations.
  • Online average gift amounts exceed $100 for most organizations on #GivingTuesday.
  • About 17 percent of online donation form views on #GivingTuesday 2014

“Unlike 15 years ago when online giving first began to emerge, today’s donor embraces and expects a digital option for their charitable contributions,” Blackbaud said. “The online donation has matured even if organizations aren’t utilizing all of the established best practices. There are undoubtedly going to be lessons learned from #GivingTuesday successes that will be promoted and adopted by other organizations.”

GivingTuesdayInfographicAt Event Garde, giving back is sewn into our fabric. Individually, all team members volunteer and/or contribute to organizations about which they’re passionate. For me, it’s the food bank in my area, my kids’ PTA, Boy Scouts, American Cancer Society and the Humane Society.

Collectively this year, Event Garde has given to Children’s Miracle Network and Kalamazoo Strong and we also participated in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Those are prime examples of causes and organizations to which companies can give on Nov. 29.

But even though #GivingTuesday is right around the corner, it’s not too late to plan. Those interested in giving can download toolkits and browse resources on the #GivingTuesday website.

In addition, MobileCause offers some strategies to help organizations get started.

Some tips:

  • Create a branded, mobile-friendly platform to help your members and stakeholders participate.
  • Collaborate with local businesses to match #GivingTuesday donations.
  • Add a “donate” feature to your website or social media platforms.
  • Organize a volunteer project in which employees and members can join together to make a difference.

Is your organization participating in #GivingTuesday? Tell us about it!

10
Jun
14

Post-Relay reflection: passion and public relations

The Event Garde-ians

The Event Garde-ians, from left to right: Jenny Hill, Ashley Jones, Cally Hill, Aaron Wolowiec, Kristen Parker and Sara Mller. All are employees of Event Garde, LLC.

It was 3 a.m. Sunday and I’d been up since 6 a.m. Saturday. By now, the midnight coffee was wearing off and I was punchy.

But the jokes were rolling as Aaron Wolowiec, president and founder of Event Garde, LLC, and I sat in the glare of stadium lights trying to stay awake. We’d been at East Lansing High School for the East Lansing Relay for Life since early Saturday morning. Our team, The Event Garde-ians, decided a year ago that we would do our part to help find a cure for cancer.

Wolowiec sat on the committee and chaired the luminaria event, while I served as a team captain.

So why did we do it?

Because a sleepless night is nothing compared to the battle of cancer. And because each of us on the team has been affected by cancer. I lost my dad and my father-in-law to lung cancer eight years ago. For our team, “Cancer Sucks” is more than a bumper sticker or a magnet – it’s reality.

Our team raised nearly $3,500 and placed fourth out of 20 teams. We walked hundreds of miles, sweated buckets, wore silly costumes and participated in three-legged races in the middle of the night – all in the name of cancer. During the luminaria ceremony, we cried as we remembered loved ones who lost the battle to cancer and celebrated the survivors among us.

Overall, the East Lansing Relay for Life raised more than $44,000 for the American Cancer Society. And while The Event Garde-ians were inspired by personal stories of loss and triumph, we also realized the importance of giving back.

As you may remember from previous blog posts I’ve written, giving back and community engagement are wonderful ways to say “thank you” to the community that supports your organization. And people notice: If a member is trying to decide which association to join, your organization’s commitment to social responsibility could make that decision a bit easier.

“The association community is founded upon the passion, integrity and commitment of members,” Wolowiec said. “As consultants, industry partners and association staff who understand the complexities of volunteer management, it’s incumbent upon us to use our considerable knowledge and expertise to help our local communities organize around and raise money for causes that are poised to imagine a better tomorrow – in this case, one that is cancer free.”

Relay for Life sign

Event Garde was a bronze-level fundraising team for the East Lansing Relay for Life event.

In addition, participating in such events is good – and easy – public relations. In our case, Event Garde was listed as a supporter and a bronze-level fundraising team on an American Cancer Society web site. Event Garde was included in promotional material and mentioned in word-of-mouth conversations. As a committee chair, Wolowiec networked with key community leaders and vendors to earn support.

That’s not all. Event Garde was tagged in social media posts and we engaged media. In fact, I did an interview with WLNS, one of Lansing’s main news outlets, talking about the importance of rallying together to some day find a cure for cancer.

So the next time an event such as Relay for Life comes to town, consider signing up. Your commitment doesn’t have to be expensive; you can easily start a social media campaign. If you choose a well-established organization like American Cancer Society, chances are, vendors will cut you a break – especially if you cross-promote their services.

Poll your members and staff to learn which causes they support and about which issues they’re passionate. If you can, donate to those organizations. Become a sponsor. Form a team and walk at midnight wearing your swag.

And get in front of the camera. Talk about your efforts to support your members’ causes. Don’t be afraid to get personal, because those are the stories your members – and potential members – will remember.

In closing, thank you to everyone who supported The Event Garde-ians’ crusade against cancer. Keep fighting, and we’ll do the same.

Luminarias spell hope

Luminarias spell the word “hope” on the East Lansing High School bleachers.

26
Nov
13

Just two little words

Throughout the last couple weeks, my kids have been making cute turkeys. We made them in my daughter’s Daisy troop with pinecones and feathers. Then she made one at school and wrote for what and for whom she was thankful on each feather. Also at school, my boys wrote thank you poems and sang Thanksgiving songs.

It touches me to hear how thankful they are for simple things like pouring their cereal, or as my daughter wrote, “my brothers and drinks, like pop.”

Granted, as adults, our blessings may not be so black and white. But just think what a difference the words “thank you,” and the simple gestures that go with that phrase, could make in the lives of your customers.

O.K. So you’re not going to make pinecone turkeys or sing songs, but saying “thank you” can be as simple as a coupon, a Christmas card or, on a larger scale, a food drive.

Destination Michigan believes that giving back to the communities in which we hold our events is an integral part of the meeting experience,” said Kim Corcoran, general manager. “If you’ve been in this business long enough, you’ve seen ups and downs in the economy.  You realize that meetings are dependent on the economy surviving, innovating and saving.  So to be able to give back to those in need is a great way to showcase the ways that meeting professionals contribute and persist in today’s world.”

Food drive items

On Nov. 6, Destination Michigan held a food drive at its showcase, donating 425 pounds of food to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

At its showcase on Nov. 6, Destination Michigan collected 425 pounds of food, which it donated to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. It asked each vendor to bring an item to donate as part of Destination Michigan’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

According to Wikipedia, CSR is “a process with the aim to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere who may also be considered as stakeholders.”

In other words, it’s striving for social good. Making a difference. Giving back. Saying “thank you.”

Last week, I wrote about #GivingTuesday, which will occur on Dec. 3. And food drives are some of the most common ways in which companies will participate.

From food drives to volunteer opportunities to sponsorships, CSR is becoming an increasingly important factor when customers decide with whom to spend their money. Not to mention, it’s an incredibly effective way to advertise. One of the most popular places CSR shows up: Relay for Life events.

Each year, more than 4 million people in more than 20 countries participate in Relay for Life events, which has proven to be an incredibly powerful fundraising mechanism for the American Cancer Society. The opportunities for corporate sponsorships are endless: T-shirts, signs, giveaways, food.

What better way for your association or nonprofit to emphasize its commitment to CSR?

On June 7, Event Garde will be participating in the East Lansing Relay for Life event. Our team, Event Garde-ians, is looking for sponsors. Sponsorship amounts run from $100 to $15,000. For $1,000, Relay for Life will place a sign with your company logo on the track and on its corporate sponsorship banner.

Relay for LifeAs your organization budgets for community engagement and explores corporate sponsorship opportunities, I hope you’ll consider contributing to Event Garde-ians’ efforts to fight cancer. As a bonus, I’ll be writing about the companies, organizations and/or nonprofits that sponsor us, so we can help you say “thank you” to those who matter most.

In the meantime, Event Garde would like to thank you as we approach our two-year anniversary. As Thanksgiving approaches, we give thanks for all of you.

From Event Garde to you, Happy Thanksgiving!




meet aaron

Association learning strategist & meetings coach. Founder & president of Event Garde. Passionate about cooking, running, blogging, old homes, unclehood & pet parenting (thanks to Lillie the pup).

meet kristen

Writer, editor, public relations professional. Digital content manager. Proud mom of three. Total word geek. Spartan for life.

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