The Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center is currently running an online auction with us and has two stays at the Hotel Leger up for bid. The Hotel Leger is a historic hotel located in Mokelumne Hill, CA that will be featured on the Travel Channel’s show, Hotel Impossible. The show revitalizes hotels that are not reaching their full potential and are in need of some expert help.
Hotel Leger’s revamping was a truly special one as it called for over 200 local volunteers to step in to help. Donna Vial, auction administrator for the Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center, was one of those volunteers. She lent a helping hand by painting for several days for 4-6 hours stretches, and also by answering phones in the hotel's office. When I spoke with her she described the experience as creating: “A real feeling of community with so many friends and everyone working together with such lighthearted, helping moods. It was a very uplifting experience. Energy was high. Volunteers worked into the wee hours of the night. Everyone banded together “ Donna was also an especially popular volunteer as she brought beer for the workers! She explained to me that: “Moke Hill (as the locals call it) is a very small community and is known for its cohesiveness. It is really in the spirit of the community to help one another however and whenever they can.”
Hotel Impossible’s Anthony Melchiorri was giving the manager of the hotel guidance on how to revitalize the hotel, but the volunteers were needed to make that vision a reality, and to preserve an important historical landmark that was in financial trouble. With the help of the volunteers the hotel was only closed for a short period of time and business has already improved greatly! Business will no doubt continue to flourish when the Hotel Impossible episode airs in early 2013.
Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance and Resource Center is helping to support a very small, rural community community with a very high unemployment and under employment rate. The Resource Center provides food, clothing, wifi, computers, and classes. Classes range from social media to healthy eating and cooking. They are working to expand the organization to include a community garden of about 5,000 sq ft , and also to have a medical and dental clinic. They offer a number of events ranging from a Holiday Home Tour to a Murder Mystery dinner as well.
So here’s your chance to support a great cause and to win a stay at a hotel that will be featured on the Travel Channel. A fun fact about the hotel is that is believed to be haunted! If you are a winner of one of these hotel stays you may walk away with your own ghost stories to tell…you’ll also be helping a great organization.
I recently had the pleasure of attending an event for Beth Kanters’ new book Measuring The Networked Nonprofit, Using Data to Change the World. If you are a person interested in nonprofits, you have probably heard of Beth, sometimes known as “The Queen of Nonprofits.”
I interact with hundreds of nonprofits a week. A common theme is that they all want to have a bigger positive impact in this world, in one way or another. Inspired by Beth’s talk and book, I want to share a few thoughts that might inspire you. One thing she said was that technology changes fast, people change slower, and organizations change at a glacier rate. A funny thought to some, but one that resonated with me very much. I know that when many of us feel stuck in the middle of a project and do not see change or progress happening fast enough, we often want to give up. Beth and her co-author Katie Paine stress the idea that “incremental success is not failure” and encourage us to “not give up in the middle”. This point was made specifically in regards to social media. Their point is that many nonprofits experiment with this social media, but when they hit an obstacle in the road, the organization often sees it as failure and gives up on the new strategy. They remind us that “everything looks like failure in the middle.”
Does this theme seem familiar to a project or campaign in your organization? Perhaps it hits a nerve for you personally? Has there been an event or campaign that you finished that did not bring you the desired results? I speak to a handful of clients every month that have tried our auction management platform for one year and then, because it did not produce the expected results, the organization decides to call it quits. Social media and auctions have something in common. The more you share, listen, and build them through small caring steps the more powerful they can become over time.
Beth and Katie would recommend that you should not give up on your next social media campaign at the half-way point if it is not yielding results. I would also encourage you to not give up on your big campaign or personal goals because they have not produced the immediate results you wanted. Be patient, practice, measuring what you can and improve upon it again and again and again. Nelson Mandela said it best "it always seems impossible until it's done."
Beth Kanter (@kanter) is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits. She co-authored the book titled “The Networked Nonprofit” with Allison Fine (published in 2010) that received Honorable Mention for the Terry McAdams Award. Beth has over 30 years experience working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, capacity building, evaluation, fundraising, and marketing. Her second book, “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit”, with co-Author Katie Paine, will be published in October 2012.
I am a huge camp person. Anyone who knows me knows this about me. The picture on this blog is an example of what a crazy camp person I am. I actually convinced my husband and son to build me a camp-like tent in my yard in Vermont. This is the place that I rest and read and watch the birds and my chickens. Sometimes I even think up blog topics. It is a truly magical place. Ok- but back to camp.
So this weekend, I was at a chapel service at camp. It was Parents Weekend in the middle of the season at the boys camp called Lanakila where my son is a counselor. The place was crawling with kids and their parents. We had a near mystical chapel service in the woods, complete with beautiful music and wonderful storytelling about the things that are really important in life. And then.. it was time for the offering.
The Assistant Director talked about the cause that we were supporting with our offering- Village2Village, a village in Africa that Lanakila has adopted. There are a number of ways that the camp supports this village. A former counselor has taken groups of kids there to do service. They have even bulit a re-creation of the castle that is one of the iconic landmarks at camp.
But here's the point of the story. During the chapel service the camp folks were asking for our support of this cause through our offering. They were asking for support for this place on the other side of the world. They had some pictures that were great and helped people connect with the cause. But then, the Assistant Director, Bryan, told us that two young women from the village were there on Sunday. They had come thousands of miles and were willing and happy to talk to us. They were introduced and stood up to great applause. It turns out that these were the first two girls from this village who had actually enrolled in college. And suddenly, the ask became much more real and much more personal. This was not just a place on the other side of the world, but this was a place with real people who cared enough about our gifts and our commitment to them that they had traveled up to the woods of Vermont.
I don't have the numbers but I'm willing to bet that the offering on Sunday were more bountiful and generous than usual. When you tell compelling stories, when real people speak from their hearts about the need, people are moved to generosity.
Our clients are raising money every day on our platform. And we know that when they are able to tell a compelling story about their organization and their impact, they are more successful. That's why we launched the feature on our home page called Goodness in Action. If you are an organization doing good work and having impact, we want to share your story.
So here's to compelling storytelling in fundraising and in life. And I can't help myself.. here's to camp. May every child away at camp this summer have the same magical, mystical experience that I had.
Since I have started with BiddingForGood, we have often discussed the childhood obesity issue in the United States, specifically as it relates to school/kids fundraisers. Just check out my article on candy fundraisers from July of 2009.
Bakes sales and cookie fundraisers have been around for so long that it has taken time to educate the public on the health risk associated with them. Raising funds for schools should not inflict upon the health of anyone.
Our pitch has always been; use an online auction instead. Why not? BiddingForGood has raised over $150 Million for schools and nonprofits – with schools making up about 40% of the business.
Fortunately, it appears we are no longer alone in this fight. Just this week, the State of Massachusetts has been addressing the topic of banning bakes sales in schools due to the rise in childhood obesity. Although the ban has been lifted and the decision to run bake sales will be left in the hands of the individual communities, the State did a great thing by shedding light on this issue. New nutritional guidelines for schools will take effect this August, so progress has been made. In New York City, districts have successfully implemented bake sale bans that have now been in effect for over two years.
The topic of ditching bake sales has received national media coverage in the past, including an article from Lauren Silverman at NPR. Bakes sales are not just a part of childhood obesity, they are not effective forms of fundraising as others may be. People are just used to running bakes sales and they are comfortable doing them, so they continue to do so.
I’m not necessarily saying the state should dictate whether or not we can bake brownies for our kid’s school, I am just happy that there is awareness at a high level. Childhood obesity is real and it will not go away unless drastic changes are made within our kid’s schools. We cannot change what people choose to eat in their own homes, but as a tax payer, I would expect my community to act responsible with the food they serve my kids. Pink slime, need I say more?
Want to get more weigh in on this topic? Check out Brett Berk’s post on MomLogic and Sharon Otterman’s article for the New York Times.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there should be healthier ways of fundraising?
Kentucky has won the NCAA Tournament and we get to crown a BracketsforGood winner! Kara, who picked Kentucky second overall in our draft gets to donate all the proceeds to her charity of choice.
She has selected the One Angel Foundation, which is an organization created after her friend Jenna passed away. The One Angel Foundation's mission is to help international communities from the many countries that Jenna visited on her mission trips. They try to improve homes, water supply, education and environmental issues for families that can really use the help.
You can help out the One Angel Foundation by donating HERE to their 'Hike a Mountain Day', which came about from Jenna's love of the outdoors.
The original BracketsForGood also had a very successful first annual fundraising tournament. They raised a whopping $34,000 for 8 different charities in the Indianapolis area. We are so happy to have found such a great friend in the fundraising world, simply by coincidence of a name.
The employees that took part with the BracketsforGood tournament here at BiddingForGood had an exciting couple of weeks. We all enjoyed learning more about our fellow employees through the special organizations that are important to each of us.
Congratulations to Kara and the One Angel Foundation!
The first weekend of the tournament was a thrill! However, due to two big early upsets of #2 seeds (Duke and Missouri) our BracketsForGood group has been reduced by 4. We now stand at 10 employees remaining. The video below recounts the first two rounds of games. We also get to speak with BiddingForGood employees about the charity they chose and why it is so special to them.
The stories we captured are fantastic and emphasize the connection that one individual can have with an organization. These groups are so important, and we are all proud to support them at BiddingForGood. So learn more about Valeria's Hoboken Historical Museum, Thomas's Arthur Ashe Youth and Tennis Education, Wendy's A Benefit for Jacob Cuff, Kara's One Angel Foundation, Jason's The Samaritans, and Mark's AFC Mentoring.
Don't forget to check out the updates of the original Brackets For Good here.
This week we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and remembered his work as an early champion of social consciousness. With the New Year in full swing, 2012 is showing promise as THE year of socially conscious shopping and business. We’ve collected a few stories for you here in our weekly round up that demonstrate the consumer and corporate mind-shift toward social consciousness.
A recent study mentioned in AOL Daily Finance revealed that “87% of American consumers surveyed believe businesses need to place at least as much weight on society's interests as they do on business interests.” We couldn’t agree more and are embracing the idea of Creating Shared Value for the emphasis it places on the connections between causes and companies. This concept digs deeper than CSR and challenges companies to be inherently good. At BiddingForGood, we just learned this week that each of our employees has personally raised almost $738,000 for good causes over the last year. Talk about inherent goodness!
Smartphones have changed the way we consume content so it makes sense that charities are increasingly their emphasis on mobile initiatives in 2012. In a blog post on Huffington Post, Gingerbread, the U.K.’s national charity for single parents, discussed their decision to harness mobile technology in order to reach more single-parent families. Smart charities and fundraisers are getting smartphone-friendly for 2012. Could mobile push social consciousness into mainstream? We think so and are excited to get our own In-Room Mobile Bidding started.
The final article we’d like to share this week speaks to social consciousness at the highest level – the White House. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, President Obama this week appointed a former nonprofit leader, Cecilia Muñoz, to be his top domestic-policy adviser. The article states that Ms. Muñoz will oversee the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, the White House unit that has the most contact with nonprofit leaders. Congratulations to Ms. Muñoz, and we look forward to seeing your work promoting innovative social projects to advance social consciousness.
It has been a busy week here at BiddingForGood. On Fridays, we usually deliver you a wrap-up of the stories that have been reported in the world of philanthropy and non-profits. But today the tables have turned. We have been the one’s making news.
With the biggest shopping days of the year upon us, we’ve read a lot about how holiday shopping makes people feel guilty. Not with BiddingForGood. With us, you can buy once and give twice – and we’ve been all over the airwaves talking about it.
On Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to talk with Elizabeth Hopkins on Fox 25 (see video here) about some of the hottest items up for big right now including:
- Four Patriots Tickets in clubs seats, with free parking to benefit the Jordan Boys and Girls Club. The game is on Christmas Eve. Now, what sports fan wouldn’t want that?!
- A luxury ostrich handbag to benefit the Worcester Horticultural Society. This was a bit of a hint for my guy.
- Gorgeous celebrity designed dog bowls to benefit PawsLA.
The dog bowls have been generating so much buzz. Everyone is talking about them, including the queens of morning talk Katie Lee and Hoda. This week, the Today Show’s girls of gab showed off our bowls and were kind enough to mention us not once, but twice in two days!
To round off our great week, we also sponsored the Social Good 2.0 breakfast this morning in Boston. It was great to hear from some amazing organizations that are bringing the latest in technological innovation to the nonprofit world. A big thank you to Space with a Soul for hosting!
One of the special things about Boston is the passion and intensity of our sports fans. I learned this firsthand a number of years ago when I worked for Sports Illustrated and sold advertising to these folks. I know the intensity of the Boston fans is annoying to die hard sports fans in other cities, particularly New Yorkers (read Red Sox and Yankees rivalry). But the passion is not confined to just baseball. There are rabid Celtics fan in this town too. So as we all sit and wait and wonder if the two sides in the NBA negotiation can ever come together, it is not just the fans who suffer. Consider the number of nonprofits and schools who will lose out on hundreds and even thousands of dollars of charitable support.
The Celtics are one organization that makes a very significant commitment to a number of charitable organizations in the Boston community. Their players donate their time to all kinds of charitable events and fundraisers. I'm sure this is true across the country for all of the teams in the NBA. It is what good sports team do. And then there is the vast number of generous folks who donate their sports tickets into auctions. We see this everyday. Tickets to sporting events are one of the most popular categories of items in our auctions. A sweet set of tickets in a box with VIP privileges can often go for hundreds of dollars, sometimes more.
So what is the cost in this stand-off? How much will the deserving nonprofits out there have to make up from the loss of this important source of donations. Let's hope that generous donors will continue to donate their football, hockey, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf tickets into deserving auctions until the tall men of the NBA can come together.