Archive | September, 2012

Pink Ribbon now appearing on…

27 Sep


Wow. It is not even breast cancer awareness month and soooo many products are already using the pink ribbon to shamelessly promote their products.

Here are a few that use the pink ribbon and do not even indicate an organization they may, or may not be supporting.

Bounty    I see nothing mentioned on the packaging or the website.   Just using the pink ribbon for decoration, I guess.

CharminNothing mentioned on their website either.

Pantene   Looks like they have partnered with the American Cancer Society on hair/wig donations but I do not see any monetary donation information.










Pink Poof.   Really?  No information on their website, but it appears that American Sales Company is owned by Ahold, which owns Stop&Shop, etc..

Who gets the money, honey?

25 Sep


I love a good quote.

I was given the Bartletts Book of Quotations by a pal in college and I love to poke thru it for inspiration.

These are my fave for this post – guess who said these:

“Good intentions work better with good planning” and

“Mo’ money, Mo’ problems”.

There are oodles of fundraisers out there that want to raise money for fantastic causes like a family in need, an organization, club or program.

Many large-scale special events raise millions to support programs, services and educational materials for specific diseases.

So, you wanna do a walkathon to raise awareness and money?

My previous post provided information about obtaining the proper documents to become an official charity so you can receive tax-deductible donations.

There’s still some things that need to be done before arranging for the sexy stuff – like tents. toilets and tables.


You need to figure out how, and why, you will spend the donations.  The money.

Are there current programs you want to support?

Is it a one-time gift or annual contribution?

Are you starting your own program or service?

Will you provide support for a tangible resource?

Is there an end-date to the financial support?

Will the program or service always depend on you financially?

What happens when you stop financially supporting a service or program?


Lot’s of questions to help you figure out what you will do with the money, honey.

You can read about the Komen debacle when they stopped supporting Planned Parenthood.

As you will see, things can get nasty in a relationship when the financial support ends.

I’ve had discussions with sponsors that clearly state that they plan to support the event one year only, so that the walk

does not depend on the corporate sponsorship to raise money year to year.  Looking back, it makes sense to be up-front with the financial intentions so the expectations have been declared.

Raising money for a cause is a good deed, indeed.

You should be prepared to answer the questions about where, specifically, the money goes before asking for donations.

Rest in Peace, Biggie.

get your Docs in a row

19 Sep


Hey! Let’s do a walkathon and we can raise money for (your deserving cause here)!

Most of the large, national walk events started as a small, grass-roots effort with a bunch of families and their friends trying to raise awareness and money for their cause.

One of those large-scale special events is celebrating their 40-year anniversary.  Other walks are celebrating 20 years!

So let’s do it!   Let’s do a walkathon!  Wahooooooooweeeee!

Easy – right?

MmmmmmmmNo. But, I can help.

First things first. Get your docs in a row.  Paperwork!

Before you start on the journey of creating a walk and hopefully receiving tax-deductible donations,  you need to register as a non-profit and file some paperwork with your state and the IRS.  Filing and document fees have gone up so be prepared to spend some money to make this happen.

Choose a name.  Do your research and make sure no other organization owns it.  This is a good place to check.  While you’re at it, you should probably acquire your web domain and twitter handles, etc…

When the docs are done and you are official – you should open a bank account so you can write checks for expenses and distributions to your cause.  A few housekeeping questions include: Who will have access to this money?  How many signatures do you want on each written check?  What, exactly, are you going to spend the money on?

So much to think about before planning the actual event.  Good luck!

Forms, filings and fees:

I live in Massachusetts and here is a link to our Attorney General’s Office:   Check with the AGO in your state for the proper forms.

Federal guidelines on how to apply to be tax exempt:

Info on becoming a 501(c)(3)

Good Read of the day

15 Sep


Why Can’t We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume?

Great article by Dan Pallotta in the WSJ today about letting charities operate like businesses.  Enjoy!

Stage Fright

11 Sep


Thankfully,  The shameless and self promoting political conventions are over.

I watched some bits during the commercials of my fave reality programming and was intrigued by the flow of the production. Speaker, music, speaker, music etc.

One stage.

Do you ever wonder what goes on backstage during a performance –  whether it is a speech, concert or a fundraising event?

Me Me ME!! I do!

Speaking from a stage to your donors, walkers or volunteers is usually a one-shot-to-impress deal.

Sponsors, survivors, leadership staff, clergy and dignitaries may be asked to get up to the podium to speak on behalf of your organization and share all the great things you do.

Hopefully, they are scripted, have directions to the venue and you have provided the important messaging (call to action!) and talk points they are to share.

You have a finite amount of time to educate and motivate your constituents.


When organizing a stage program, I always assigned a staff person to each speaker to act as their shadow, or handler.  I like to make my speakers feel like a VIP!

This shadow makes sure that they know where they are sitting, when they are speaking, who is speaking before them, who is managing the stage, and most important – an escort to the restroom 20 minutes before they need to speak. I want my speaker to be empty and in queue near the stage 10-15 minutes before they go up. The shadow is to make sure all the above happens in a timely manner. Stage programs need to be a well-oiled machine.

Need water? Here is a 4oz cup to wet your whistle.

Drinking a venti delight? Take it away – unless they are wearing a catheter.

Most savvy podium-peeps will tell you the three B’s when asked to speak are:

1. Be gracious

2. Be brief

3. Be seated

As an event manager, my three Bs for preparing a stage program are:

1. Be rehearsed

2. Be EARLY. (Ask me to tell you the story about the media MC that showed up to the wrong hotel ballroom!)

3. Be rehearsed!

Just in case my speakers were not comfortable with their speech and started to stumble, I always taped some talk points to the podium, or floor for them to read in a pinch:

Event Date

Event Goals



Oh, and don’t forget to put a sign on the front of the podium (or stage, or microphone) for the photo-opps!

Most type-A control freaks like me get anxious thinking about all the moving parts of a stage presentation to my constituents.

There are things you can control, and thing you cannot – like Mutha Nature.

You can always BE prepared!


9 Sep


Great article about how you should Think before you pink.

Pink Ribbon now appearing on a… Watermelon!

6 Sep



Now there is yet another produce company using the pink ribbon to market their merchandise and hopefully raise money for breast cancer.

This article from The Packer has some deets. I wonder how much was spent to create and print the sticker vs the total donation to the intended organizations.

Tchotchkes = trouble

4 Sep



tchatchke (chäch-kə) or tchotchke

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

A Knick-knack or trinket

(Origin) Yiddish tshatshke trinket, from obsolete Polish czaczko

Definition from the Urban Dictionary:

A small piece of worthless crap, a decorative knick knack with little or no purpose.


Why do humans lose all sense of dignity and manners when there is a table full of samples or gratis merchandise?

What is it about a 2-inch magnet, a comb, a sticker, a lip moisturizer or any other mindless tchotchkes that make people lose their shit?

Watching the latest Shark Week extravaganza with my kids made me think about how giveaways at events are like a shark feed.

That is why I am not a fan of allowing my sponsors, or my event, to give unrelated event stuff away. 

Why?  Because you will NEVER, EVER have enough.   If you have a walk with 500 people, and have 5,000 shameless-self-promoting pieces of whatever (tchotchkes) – you will never have enough.  Imagine a walkathon with 40,000 people…

It must be part of human nature to grab, handfuls at a time, for anything considered free.   Oh – you want to distribute it? One per customer?  Good luck with that.  Make sure it is an intern and that they have health insurance.

Here are three (of many!) reasons that free stuff is a logistical nightmare at walkathon events:

1.   If it is wrapped, then the wrapping becomes a trash issue for you.

2.  How do you handle the crowd when you run out?

3.  How do you determine who gets one?

If it is a free-for-all, then back that thang up.  Here they come!

Stop the madness before it begins!   Once you open the big, ugly precedent door it will be hard to close it.