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:
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
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
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.
Labels: contributions, donors, fundraising, gift, impact, need