Posts Tagged ‘giving back

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!

15
Dec
15

The millennial mantra: give

GivingTuesday‘Tis the season for giving!

Retailers consider Black Friday the official kick off to the giving season, but many nonprofits consider #GivingTuesday – the Tuesday after Cyber Monday – as the start.

And millennials are taking note.

According to the plethora of research on millennial behavior, Gen Y embraces social responsibility. Doing good is just what this generation does. At the same time, millennials believe in giving back – but not necessarily with money.

At Event Garde, one of our core beliefs is giving back. That’s part of the “network” in our new tagline: Learn. Network. Transfer. We give back, both personally and professionally, as responsible contributors to our community, and we welcome opportunities to partner and co-create with industry colleagues.

And so the new study by Achieve, a research and creative agency for causes and The Millennial Impact Project, caught my attention.

#GivingTuesday 2015: Attracting Millennial Donors looks at the behaviors of millennials during #GivingTuesday, which was Dec. 1. Millennials now outnumber baby boomers, according to Achieve, so their behavior can be key to creating a successful #GivingTuesday campaign.

The researchers studied nine organizations to learn how they engaged millennials in their campaigns. One thing is clear: Millennials value giving their time and skills and leveraging their networks as much as – if not more than – monetary giving.

All the nine research partners employed social media and electronic communications vehicles – such as websites and blogs – to build support. Some supplemented their efforts with printed materials and some used grassroots efforts to raise awareness and build excitement.

The organizations reported varying levels of success, but after analysis, there are some clear takeaways.

First, businesses and nonprofits should plan early. Identifying tactics, metrics and a timeline early allows them to strategically engage key audiences. This can happen through social media and electronic communications, but also through networking and during events.

Millennials giving backThe most successful organizations were those that leveraged their networks of millennials via social media and ambassadors – those who can use their partners and passions to recruit support. Engagement is key, Achieve says, because millennials will respond much more favorably to a call for action than to an request for money.

And this means thinking beyond digital engagement. While social media was an effective tool, those organizations that supplemented digital efforts with engagement strategies – such as peer-to-peer or personal challenges, events, ambassadors and incentives – were the most successful.

“By planning early and strategically, interacting with millennial audiences long before #GivingTuesday and thinking broader than just digital tactics, organizations can learn to better understand and harness the power of this booming generation,” said Derrick Feldmann, lead researcher for The Millennial Impact Project and president of Achieve. “And as both this generation and this giving movement continue to grow, organizations can seize the possibilities of #GivingTuesday 2016 and beyond.”

So what does this mean for you?

#GivingTuesday is quickly gaining traction, so now may be the time to think about how your organization can join the cause.

Now is the time to plan for 2016, so start researching your networks and community partners. Engage your millennials. Beef up your social media strategy. Start researching community causes – locally or nationally – that align with your core messages and beliefs.

For ideas, review the case studies in the report – especially the social media tactics. And remember, videos, even short ones, can be powerful tools for creating inspiration and excitement.

Event Garde is a professional development consulting firm that employs a versatile skill set and a wealth of experience to create well-connected leaders. We’re committed to lifelong learning, for ourselves and for our clients, believing in its ability to produce transformational experiences that advance innovation. Sharing our deep knowledge, we’re dedicated to performance improvement for the professionals we serve and those who attend the events we facilitate.

25
Nov
14

More than turkey and stuffing

thank you noteAnd so it begins.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and soon we’ll be spending the day with family and friends, gorging on our favorite foods, watching football and talking about our many blessings.

Yep. Thursday kicks off the holiday season.

So now what? Try starting with “thank you.”

“This is a great opportunity for organizations of all sizes to show their gratitude for customers,” said John Foley, CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. “With so many businesses taking advantage of the holidays, it can be difficult to create a message that stands out. While many organizations offer sales and discounts during the holiday season, try using a slightly different approach to show appreciation.”

Foley produced a short video offering tips for effective holiday marketing. He suggests rather than promoting your business, promote your giveback efforts. Or, better yet, give some props to one of your clients or members. And social media is a perfect platform.

Foley also suggests sending Thanksgiving cards – not just Christmas cards – to your customers.

If you’re looking for more ideas, Help Scout provides an awesome list of 25 original ways to say thanks. Some ideas: handwritten thank you notes; customer appreciation events at a local coffee shop; surprise office lunches for members; social media love on Twitter and Facebook.

But it doesn’t end there.

volunteer2After Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. This year, #GivingTuesday is Dec. 2. Just two years after launching, more than 10,000 organizations around the globe join forces to do good.

Efforts can be small or large. Coordinate a food drive. Make a financial contribution to a cause you support – and then ask a board member to match it. Host a day of service in your community.

And use social media. Use #GivingTuesday on Twitter to raise awareness. Retweet often. Ask your members to share their giveback efforts.

Whatever your organization does, make sure you communicate your efforts. Take photos and include them in your digital publications and post them on Facebook. Include short write-ups on your website. And most importantly, include information in your member communications.

Big or small, your efforts to say “thank you” and to give back reinforce that your organization cares about more than the bottom line. Your members will jump at the chance to belong to something inspirational, something larger than they can accomplish on their own.

“Letting your customers know you appreciate their business is the right thing to do, besides being good business sense,” wrote Ostari, an IT firm. “Telling your vendors you value them by saying ‘thank you’ is not just common politeness; it gives them a sense of worth to be appreciated, and it makes them try harder to give satisfaction. Show everyone you do business with they matter to you, and you reinforce a good relationship. Common courtesy is not common today, but it’s very much appreciated when it’s shown.”

And so, on behalf of Event Garde, thank you for your continued support. This year, Event Garde has reached some incredible milestones. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.

From the Event Garde team, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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.




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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