Archive | February, 2013

Universal Tchotchkes

26 Feb

universally expensive

universally expensive

February school vacation.  Time to get outta the snow in New England and head to warmer places.  We took the family to Universal Orlando, so our kids would have the opportunity to complain about their crappy life in a different location.

Before stepping foot in Florida, we had already shelled out some serious money to secure flights, hotel and park tickets.  So what was left to pay for?  Food and a few trinkets, I thought.  I hoped.  Not so.  Universal made it VERY easy to leave my money at their amusement park.

I counted more stores than actual rides.  I counted more places to eat than actual rides.  So smahhht!

Once you disembark from a ride, you must follow the exit signs to get out.  The exit signs lead you to the ‘gift shop’ of theme merchandise matching the ride you just exited.

Shrek show – meet the Shrek shop.  Minion Mayhem – meet the Despicable department store:


ET.  Phone your credit card company and raise your spending limit:

ET. Extra Tchotchkes.

ET. Extra Tchotchkes.


So how does my expensive vacation relate to your walkathon?  Many of you will sell tshirts or hats or bears or bracelets to raise some extra cash at your event.  You may remember my previous post about Tchotchkes.  I always liked to make sure that my walkers had to walk by my merchandise tent to get to registration or the start line.   Now I’m not suggesting that you have the same, gigantic selection that these apres-ride stores have.  I’m suggesting that your walkers and volunteers should have another opportunity to leave more of their money with you by strategically placing your merchandise tent in their path.

Just like the amusement parks do.

Here is a photo of Fire and Gasoline during a rare moment of affection:



Online Fundraising Fun Fact

19 Feb




Guess what percent of total fundraising happens online? 5%?  10%?  20%?

How about 7%.  Yep. That’s it.

What does it mean?  To me, it means that most of the charitable contributions happen when a donation is personally solicited. Mail, phone, or in-person.  Interpersonal relationships rule when it comes to asking for money.   Once upon a time I worked on a couple of walkathons in the pre-online-giving days.  We raised over $3 million at each of those walks.  We raised the money by speaking to a person that has an interest in the issue.

During my final years of being a walk manager, online giving was introduced.  Everyone thought that the money would exponentially roll in.  Nope.  We had a small uptick, but nothing to indicate that the online giving was going to significantly replace humans speaking to other humans.  Even now, the walks I once managed have hit a financial plateau.  Online giving is not the financial savior.  I’ve written about this a bunch so I will not bore you with another speech.

I read this article that outlines the Blackbaud 2012 Charitable Giving report.  Blackbaud is the company that created the online giving program that most events use to raise money. Many of the answers are very surprising, especially the amount of money that is donated online.  I was shocked to see it is only 7% of total giving.  Single digit!

Now I’m not poo-pooing online giving.  It is a great tool to acquire new donors, just like a piece of direct mail.  I just hope that the organizations are staffed properly to cultivate the relationships with these online donors.  That way, the usual under-$100 online donations eventually progress to a major gift, a planned gift from the estate or hopefully – a building named after them.


93% of charitable giving DOES NOT happen online.  Shocker!

93% of charitable giving DOES NOT happen online. Shocker!

Empty Saturdays

12 Feb



bye bye saturday mail

bye bye saturday mail


This August,  the USPS will no longer deliver mail on Saturdays.  Will this affect your walkathon mailings?  It shouldn’t.

Why?  Hopefully most of your walkers are coming from companies – and they usually do not work on weekends.  Ideally, you want mailings to arrive on their desks on Tuesdays, Wednesday or Thursdays.   So, the Saturday stoppage should not affect you.

What will affect you is the latest price increase on mail.   Here is an article in the NonProfit Times about how nonprofits will be hurt with the new postal rules.

I asked Adam Lewenberg, President of Postal Advocate, Inc., what he thinks about the new changes:

“I think that the change will not impact many people and after the initial shock they will just get used to it.  The major news agencies have done polls and about 70% of the respondandants are for the change if it helps the USPS be financially stable.  People will still be able to access counter service and packages will still be delivered.  The ones that will be the most effected are the following:

  1. Organizations that are trying to get solicitations open on weekends when people are home and have time to respond.
  2. Organizations trying to get paid because it will slow mail getting delivered until the following Monday.
  3. Periodicals who will now have to wait until Monday.

Overall, I expect us all to get used to the change and find ways to work around it.”

Personally, I’m OK with the changes as long as I still receive my People magazine on Fridays!


we had 30 inches of snow and our mailman still delivered!

we had 30 inches of snow and our mailman still delivered!


$uper $ponsors

5 Feb


super bowl!


Oh what a night!  The Super Bowl had many memorable moments.  I was amused to see that every aspect of the Big Game was ‘brought to you by” or “sponsored by” or “presented by” a company paying millions for the privilege.

What’s the diff?  What does it mean to be “a sponsor of the Super Bowl”?

There is allotta money to be made that day, and allotta layers of sponsorship to accomodate all the companies that want to open their wallets.

I found a bunch of good stuff on the official NOLA Superbowl website page on sponsorships.  They had 37 corporate sponsors raise $6 million (The Louisiana government kicked in another $6M+) to help pay for all the hosting responsibilites.

In addition to the 37 Host Committee Sponsorships, the CBS Network sold several broadcast-related sponsorships (The Half-time report brought to you by…). Here are some other sponsorships that the Host Committee sold:

Volunteer Program Title Sponsorship   FYI: The Super Bowl needed 8,500 volunteers for the ramp-up. Under the FAQ page it was noted that volunteers should not bother to come to the Mercedes Benz Superdome on game day.  Did they really think they would be attending the game?  Volunteers were given a commemorative shirt and hat.

Environmental Title Sponsorship .  This lucky sponsor gets to figure out how to manage all of the trash and recycling efforts.  I wonder if they really had to pay to have their company logo on all the trash receptacles.

Host Committee Sponsorship  Cash only.

They did not list the prices, but it appears that if the sponsors wanted tickets to the game, then the package would be customized. (Read:  Alot more money).

The 2014 Super Bowl Host committee already have their sponsors  lined up for the Meadowlands.

How about that blackout?  What happens if you lose power at your event? So many logitical questions were mowing thru my mind while watching.  I also want to know how all those kids wearing credentials got on the field and who they belong to.  Good genes.

I doubt that Beyonce and her fabulousness will be invited back.  Unless, of course, they bring their own power supply.

Sasha Fierce shut it down!

Sasha Fierce shut it down!