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The countdown clock on the Giving Challenge website tells me we have less than 3 days until the 24-hour giving “extravaganza” we’ve been waiting for officially begins.

Here are some closing thoughts about exploring new possibilities in giving, brought to you by the letter “r.”

  1. Represent community. 
    Be an active role model in creating community. Be complimentary of what others are doing. We’re all in this together. See another organization doing well in the Giving Challenge?  Imagine what its success will mean for the people, places, or animals that benefit from its mission.

    Two people who have been particularly active on The Giving Partner’s Facebook page sharing positive commentary about other organizations: Carisa Campanella of Neuro Challenge Foundation and JoAnne DeVries of the Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota. What nice examples they have set for building community online.

  2. Respect that donors are all different.
    It’s true that some donors choose to give to animal causes rather than those serving people. Some give to education, some to the environment. Some donors give to the same organizations year after year. Other donors give to a different organization every year, depending on where they can maximize their dollars. One reason philanthropy works in our community is because we have so many diverse interests when it comes to social causes. Respecting these differences will lead to more giving for all of the missions we care about.

    As you see the Leaderboard fill up with donations, remember that each one is there because one person deeply cares about making the world better in a certain way. We should celebrate that.

  3. Resist the urge to compare your campaign to others.
    Be proud of what your organization is accomplishing. Money for your mission is good! But so is bringing your team together, building an online community around your work, making more people aware of the services you offer, growing the fundraising participation of your board, appreciating your volunteers…

    Have you moved the needle in any of these areas? That’s success. If you set your target too high, that’s okay too. You learned what’s possible and what to tweak in your future fundraising efforts.

  4. Recognize your people.
    I bet you didn’t do it alone–we hope you didn’t do it alone. Donors will give. Social media ambassadors have been liking and sharing your posts on Facebook or Twitter.  Others have helped you plan and execute your campaign. Whether you celebrate digitally or at your office, take the time to thank people for being part of your organization’s success, and most importantly, share what this success will mean for the people, special places, or animals you serve.

  5. Reveal yourself as a new donor!
    What if each nonprofit staff member, volunteer, or board member gives to her own organization and to an organization she hasn’t supported before? You too can be part of The Patterson Foundation’s generous matching dollars, up to $250 when you give to a nonprofit as a new donor! Go to http://www.GivingPartnerChallenge.org to find the 449 participating nonprofits.

See you on September 1 & 2 from noon to noon!

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

 

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john

With all this time preparing for the Giving Challenge, you may just be sitting around during the actual event with nothing to do.

Or you could stay supercharged on September 1 at noon through September 2 at noon and be a driver of new possibilities in giving.  This year 450 nonprofits are participating, and you can be sure that excitement will be running the show.

If you want to make the most of the 2015 Giving Challenge, be sure not to do these things:

  1. Ignore the the Leaderboard on your laptop, iPad, desktop, or mobile phone. Some have described the Leaderboard as “addictive” and “hard to ignore.” It will update every 60 seconds to reflect the dollar amount of gifts received, the number of new donors who give, and other important stats that keep you tied to your seat.

  2. Sleep from 12:00 a.m. on September 2 through 3:00 a.m. on September 2. Do you remember that two random donors who donate on www.givingpartnerchallenge.org between the hours of 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. will be selected for a $1,000 grant added to their donations?

  3. Stay away from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. It’s going to be fun here. Food, a photo booth, an interactive and soothing Giving Challenge painting, entertainment, special mission focused hours. We hope you can stop by and enjoy our Donor Lounge made possible by our friends at Home Resource.

  4. Talk excessively about how tired you are. This campaign requires a great deal of energy! The week after the Giving Challenge is a three-day weekend. We can make it.

  5. Wait until you receive your Giving Challenge funds to email your donors and thank them for their gifts.
    The beginning of a beautiful relationship is an immediate, heartfelt thank you. Why not thank your donors in “real time” since you can see their gifts come in with updates every 60 seconds?

  6. Ask everyone else what’s going on instead of following #GivingChallenge15 on Facebook and Twitter.
    There’s so much you can see and enjoy out in our community on September 1 and 2, but you can also use the hashtag #GivingChallenge15 to enjoy the campaigns and activities of your nonprofit friends and colleagues. We have been enjoying the excitement building every day.

If you have taken part in the Giving Challenge in past years, let us know what we missed on our list!

The 2015 Giving Challenge is made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

bert-ernie-rubber-duckyI just read a fun piece on Next Avenue called “5 Sesame Street Lessons We Need Again As Adults” by Bryce Kirchoff. Loved it. And of course I thought about our community’s online day of giving on September 1 and 2 from noon to noon.

Here are Kirchoff’s five big Sesame Street lessons with a little Giving Challenge commentary added. (Click here if you need some Sesame Street video time.)

1. Put down the ducky if you want to play the saxophone.
Kirchoff reminds us that on Sesame Street, Ernie actually has to put down his favorite rubber ducky if he wants to play the saxophone. It’s not always possible to do something new or to do something well until we make the space for it, right? Consider what you might need to put down in the next couple of weeks to promote a Giving Challenge campaign with the results you’re seeking. Better yet, can you combine it with an existing goal or effort to concentrate your success?

2. A sense of adventure never gets old.
Adventures cover new territory and give us new experiences. So put on your field boots and a hat. Bring your butterfly net. The Giving Challenge is a chance to be adventurous with philanthropy.  Plan thoughtfully but be flexible. Dress right for the occasion and lay the ground work, but build in a sense of excitement about the unknown!

3. Friends Matter.
Looking for new donors to give to your nonprofit for the $250 matching opportunity from The Patterson Foundation? Social campaigns are all about your friends and their friends. Your friends are your volunteers, board members, clients, vendors, family members, media partners. Reach out to them. Invite them to share your posts, host a gathering, follow the Leaderboard, make an appeal to 5 people they know, share, give, be a vital part of your campaign. When you let friends know how much they matter, they really want to help.

4. Celebrate Yourself.
September 1 and 2 is an AMAZING time to celebrate the good things your organization makes possible in this community. It’s not about what you do, but what impact you are making. To celebrate yourself, use your Giving Challenge messaging to tell stories about the lives you have improved and to share some data about positive changes resulting from your work.

5. When All Else Fails, Dance.
Think about movement and music. Consider how contagious they are. We’ve said it before, but when you have some fun with your campaign, and when everything is orchestrated with planning in mind, things flow. At the end of that 24-hour period on September 2 at noon, we hope you dance. Be thrilled with what you accomplished, whether it’s more funding, more Facebook fans, a more engaged board, a new partner, or a team effort that brought your volunteers together around your mission.

The 2015 Giving Challenge is made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Follow the Giving Challenge using #GivingChallenge15 and online at http://www.givingpartnerchallenge.org.