Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

August 13, 2012

Keep Up a 24/7 Momentum for Charitable Giving

Jean Butler, Executive Director, Toy Industry Foundation
The holiday season is often the time of year when many charitable organizations receive the bulk of their donor contributions, but most non-profits and foundations realize that it’s important to keep the fundraising momentum going throughout the year.

As the philanthropic arm of the North American toy industry, the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) knows that any day can be a holiday when a new toy or game lights up the face of a deserving child. Year-round at TIF, we rely on a steady stream of product donations from toy companies and monetary contributions from supporters to sustain our mission of making play possible for disadvantaged kids, bringing a sense of normalcy and fun to their lives.
For organizations that may also be struggling to maintain the momentum for year-round giving, we’re pleased to share some tips and suggestions used by TIF to keep donors engaged:

·         Reach Donors “Off Peak” When your messaging reaches a potential donor during a time when they aren’t being inundated with other charity solicitations (think summer vs. holiday), they are more likely to “hear” what you are saying.
·         Make a Connection Stay true to your mission, but consider how working with other organizations or donating where there is an extreme need can help make your undertaking part of a larger story.

TIF’s Play Comforts partnership with Boys and Girls Club Military Services, for example, has taken us to dozens of U.S. military bases – focusing first on those with the highest deployment rates – to deliver toys to children dealing with the stress of having a parent in the military. A strong emotional connection to our troops drives the outpouring of support from the toy industry and from others who want to know how they can help us say “thank you” to the soldiers and their families.
·         Develop a Personal “Call to Action”
Give people the opportunity to actively get involved in your organization and it will help them feel like they’re personally making a difference.

For toy companies – who are in business to make kids happy – this has been incredibly special because they know that the toys they donate are going directly into the hands of children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play.

For the public, TIF recently launched “Make a Stand for Kids” to encourage children (and communities) to set up and run their own lemonade stands. Proceeds are donated to support the Foundation’s efforts to get toys into the hands of deserving kids – empowering kids to help other kids.
·         Leverage Other Gifting Occasions Encourage donors to give a gift that gives back. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and holidays are all great opportunities for a contribution to be made in a loved one’s name to a charity they’re passionate about … and much more appreciated than the extra kitchen gadget or tie that mom and dad don’t need.
·         Don’t Be Shy Whether it’s through updates on your website, mailings, e-newsletters or through social networks, it’s important to communicate with donors – and potential donors – about the successes and struggles you’ve had throughout the year. Remind your donors that their contributions are making an impact. Detail the milestones, quantify your impact, and post press coverage you may have received. And remember… a picture or video is worth a thousand words.

There are many ways for nonprofits to connect with their donor base throughout the year. Some of the techniques that work well for your organization won’t work well for others, and vice versa. But one common thread runs through all our organizations … it’s vitally important to remain connected with your donor base, to keep a conversation going with your supporters, and to let them know just how important their support and involvement is in advancing a cause where you share a mutual passion.

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