‘To Write Love On Her Arms’ Raises Funds For Suicide Prevention
To keep you up-to-date on creative and innovative fundraising ideas, we will occasionally inform you about how others raise funds for their groups and how you can apply their fundraising strategies to your own fundraiser:
To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a charity about suicide prevention, started by Jamie Tworkowski in 2006. Jamie himself is a major draw for the organization, as beneficiaries of TWLOHA feel a personal connection with him.
The organization’s strategies for spreading the word include live events and effective use of the internet and have helped to create almost two million dollars in gross receipts. Not every group will be able to produce such stellar results in such a short time, but there are several things you can do to…
Improve your group’s fundraising efforts:
* If your group is a non-profit, sign up with SocialVibe: TWLOHA is a member on SocialVibe, which currently runs a ‘Givapalooza’, a charities competition that will yield an extra $20,000 for the winner. When you go to TWLOHA’s SocialVibe page, you’re asked to do a number of ‘activities': Basically this means that you watch some commercials and when you’re done TWLOHA will get a donation for their cause. We’ve written about SocialVibe before and it’s a great way to give to a charity without actually spending cash, because the funds come from the advertisers. Signing up with SocialVibe is a great way to spread your message throughout the web and earn some extra cash for your organization! If your group is a registered 501(3) organization, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about how to sign up.
* Invite your supporters/beneficiaries to interviews and photo shoots! Jamie Tworkowski of TWLOHA invited his ‘friends’ from all over the country when he did an interview and had photos taken for Rolling Stone Magazine. It’s great PR and a chance to meet your supporters and the people who benefit from your cause.
* Tweak your website: TWLOHA’s website is well organized, kept up-to-date and features a blog. Your group’s website is representative of who you are and how you run your organization. It has the ability to create trust, but it can also portray a lack of vision, or lack of leadership. It also acts as a purely functional arm of your group that provides information to supporters and collects donations. Maybe your website needs some tweaking? To give your website a makeover, click over to Fundraising Website Checkup. If you don’t have a website yet, our article on Creating A Website may be of help.
* Go for transparency: TWLOHA has their finances displayed on their website in a way that’s easy to find. The page also shows their 501(c)3 IRS Approval Letter. Offering up your info in this way creates trust and insight in how funds are spent.
* Offer plenty of options to donate and otherwise support your group: TWLOHA prominently displays Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, ‘DONATE’ and other buttons to sites and services that let you support them in some way.
* Consider selling merchandise: a large chunk of gross receipts at TWLOHA comes from t-shirt and other apparel sales. Use your website to sell well designed products that supporters would like to use or wear and give away as gifts. One or just a few products is all it takes to earn some funds for your group, while also spreading the word about your cause.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of ordering and shipping products, consider signing up with sites like CafePress or Zambooie which let you create your own online store; they also manufacture and ship products directly to the buyers. This means there is no product for you to order, store or ship – the service takes care of everything.
* Sign up with the major social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook. Use the accounts for quick updates, for answering questions, info on events etc.; also link your blog through Twitterfeed to automatically update your social networking sites with your latest posts. (More about social media marketing.)
Creating a marketing and fundraising strategy that includes both, online and live events will give your group maximum exposure to different demographic groups while offering plenty of options to support your cause!
PS: Does your group use different channels online and ‘offline’ for marketing and fundraising, or some creative ways to attract new supporters? We’d love to hear about it! Why not drop us a note – be sure to include your website’s URL – and we may feature your group on FundraisingIP.com: We will all learn something and get new ideas for our own fundraisers and you will get free marketing and links back to your site!
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