Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving

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!

31
Oct
15

Bonus content – Event Garde e-news – November edition

Tracy King

Tracy King, chief learning strategist, InspirEd LLC

Editor’s Note: This is our Thanksgiving edition of Event Garde-ian of the Month!

Q & A with Tracy King, chief learning strategist, InspirEd LLC

Q: For what are you most thankful?
A: I am so thankful for my four beautiful children, family and friends – sharing love, laughter, good food and shenanigans!

Q: Are you a Black Friday shopper or sleeper?
A: Sleeper! I’m more of a Cyber Monday shopper.

Q: Which Thanksgiving dish do you most crave, and why?
A: Turkey, gravy and garlic smashed cheesy potatoes. I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family and incorporate their favorite sides. These are our fundamentals!

Q: Tell us about one of your holiday traditions.
A: Our family likes to put up our Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend, pulling out all of our favorite ornaments and the stories they represent. I pick up an ornament whenever we travel someplace special and each year I tuck an individualized picture ornament in my kids’ stockings. Our tree has become a photo album of memories celebrating our family.

Q: Looking ahead, what do you hope for 2016?
A: I hope to complete the first draft of a book I’m working on and take a “real” vacation!

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.

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!

19
Nov
13

A Tuesday ‘thank you’

GivingTuesdayEditor’s Note: As Thanksgiving approaches, we all start thinking about our blessings. So it seemed appropriate to dedicate this week’s blog post – and probably next week’s – to the topic of saying “thank you.” For next week, I’d like to write about how you thank your customers and/or give back to your community. So please drop me a quick note at Kristen@eventgarde.com!

But for now, one way to give back and say thanks: #GivingTuesday. This week’s guest blog post is from Kate Olsen, vice president of strategic projects for Network for Good, a technology platform that facilitates online fundraising and giveback opportunities. She tells us how your association/organization can participate in #GivingTuesday.

For more information, check out the #GivingTuesday Facebook page and the Twitter feed and use #GivingTuesday and @GivingTues.

Kate Olsen

Kate Olsen, vice president of strategic projects for Network for Good.

#GivingTuesday occurs on Dec. 3 this year and is an opportunity for companies, nonprofits and individuals alike to get involved for the greater good.

For those not in the know, #GivingTuesday is a campaign to add a national day of giving to the lineup of shopping days Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. It’s a prime opportunity for nonprofits and companies (and individuals) to collaborate for the greater good. Here are four steps to ensure your partnership’s success.

1.  Seek mission and values alignment.

There are many reasons to form cross-sector partnerships: promotion to a bigger audience, inspiration from new ideas and approaches and access to additional skills, more resources and knowledge. And there are also just as many reasons not to partner: Support can come with strings attached, lack of trust, conflicting goals and mission creep.

To ensure you create a winning partnership, take the time to make sure there’s a good fit between your mission and the corporate partner’s brand identity and goals.

Luna’s Pure Prevention campaign provides a great example of nonprofit-corporate alignment. As a provider of nutrition for active women, Luna teamed up with the Breast Cancer Fund to find and eliminate environmental and preventable causes of breast cancer—a major health issue for women. It just makes sense.

2. Leverage complementary assets.

Assets are any resources that you and your corporate partner bring to the table. In addition to funding, assets can include people, skills, audience reach, relationships and technology.

A partnership is not just about getting access to corporate philanthropic dollars: It’s about true collaboration. Think about what assets your nonprofit has that will be of value to a corporate partner, and vice versa.

You have invested in a brand, program portfolio, supporter base and other resources that will help make the partnership a success. Never discount what you bring to the table.

3. Design the right partnership architecture.

Thinking through the goals of the partnership and designing a measurable campaign will help ensure transparency and focus, especially if you use those measurements to tell stories with impact. How can you engage supporters in relevant and meaningful ways? How will you measure their participation and communicate results?

One framework to help structure the partnership is the ladder of engagement. Offer your audience multiple ways to participate with your partnership based on their level of passion and commitment to the cause.

The No Kid Hungry campaign, led by Share Our Strength, does a great job of offering multiple ways to take action: donate, advocate, sign a pledge, spread the word and raise money for your cause.

How can you offer a ladder of engagement for #GivingTuesday? First, understand where your supporters congregate online; then design calls to action that leverage those channels. Here are a few ideas:

  • #GivingTuesday Twitter chat (Encourage corporate sponsors to pledge $1 per tweet.)
  • Random Acts of Kindness Facebook campaign (Have supporters share acts they performed or  witnessed.)
  • Inspirational generosity pins on Pinterest (Have supporters share what generosity means to them.)
  • Kind deeds caught in the act on Instagram (Feature photos of generous acts and giving.)
  • Messages of hope and generosity on YouTube (Feature testimonials about how giving affected their lives.)

Network for Good 4. Measure and communicate accomplishments.

Evolving a partnership requires taking the time to understand where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished and how you can keep improving. Communicating impact to partnership stakeholders is a vital piece of that process. It’s also important to communicate that to your donors, and never forget to say thank you!

If you need inspiration, just check out the A Day Made Better thank you video for a refresher on powerful storytelling and expressing gratitude. You can also see how Phoenix House recapped its 2012 #GivingTuesday campaign and closed the loop for campaign participants with a heartfelt response from program beneficiaries.

Remember: Corporate-cause partnerships are all about relationships, collaboration, execution and impact (and fun!).




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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