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The Most Rocking Races We’ve Seen

June 23, 2011

For some of us, running a marathon and raising money for a cause is a huge achievement. (Heck, for some of us, running a 5K and raising money for a cause is a huge achievement.) Working the fundraising circuit for the last six months, helping various run walk ride participants raise cash for their cause, we’ve seen it all. So we thought we’d take a couple of minutes to tell you about some of the coolest athletic events you can participate in, all while fundraising for a cause you believe in.

  • The Muddy Buddy: If dirt’s your thing, this is the event for you. Pair up with a friend (hence the buddy piece) and traverse a six or seven mile course on foot and bike. Along the way, you’ll be taking on five different obstacles, finishing by crawling through a mud pit to the finish. Getting down in the dirt means that all the money raised goes to The Challenged Athletes Foundation.
  • SSRunners: You may know it as the Santa Speedo Run. You don’t need to have speed for this one, you just have to have a sense of humor. Throw on your speedo (no thongs, please!) or other holiday gear for a 1-mile jaunt through Boston. Participants have to raise $300 for a charity that’s announced each year. That’s one way to get into the spirit.
  • Fight For Air Climb: We can’t think of an event that better makes you appreciate the cause you’re working so hard for. Fight for Air Climbs happen all over the US and benefit The American Lung Cancer  Association. Some people call these events “vertical road races,” but whatever your perspective on them, they mean the chance to climb the stairwells of some of the country’s coolest (and tallest) buildings, like The Presidential Towers in Chicago (climb 1, 2, 3 or ALL 4 towers if you’re completely nuts and have really well-developed quads!) or the Renaissance Tower in Dallas.
  • Stiletto Race for Kids’ Sake!: Benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters, this Seacoast New Hampshire race has everyone sprinting in stilettos down the streets of Portsmouth. Training for this one: nights out breaking in your big girl shoes! We picked the Portsmouth one, coming up in August, but we’ve seen ’em across the country, including Run a Mile in Her Shoes, a men’s only race in North Carolina.
What races are you doing to raise money? And which ones did we miss?

Insights from the Giving USA 2010 Study

June 22, 2011

Earlier this week, Giving USA released its 2010 study, which not only tracked the charitable giving habits of Americans last year, but also adjusted the estimates for previous years to reality: in fact, giving was less than they originally believed. While giving last year was up about 2% from 2009, the overall drop from 2008 is still around 11%. That’s a tough pill to swallow for many nonprofit organizations and a reality they live every day. Still, the authors of the study said it best when they wrote:

“Despite personal and economic hardships, Americans remain steadfastly committed to each other and their communities.”

As a fundraising platform that takes a different tact than most nonprofits we know, we are heartened by this quote. The entire point of GoodTwo is to making giving a little more fun, to motivate people to engage, and to reward people for doing good. We know that most people have a hard time turning down a chance to both give and receive at the same time, and that’s why we’ll be making an impact within charitable giving.

In the meantime, there have been some great posts and articles written on the Giving USA stats in the last couple of days, so we thought we’d provide you with a little round-up. Let us know if you’ve seen other great insights, and we’ll add them to the post!

SmartMoney: The Important Charities You’re Ignoring 
Kelli B. Grant talks about what the trends say about our giving habits, and why places like homeless shelters are seeing a dip.

Marketing for Nonprofits: Is This The New Normal?
Joceyln Harmon takes a look at the stats and asks what’s next for nonprofit giving.

Huffington Post: Making a Difference
Lisa M. Dietlin talks about how consumers can combat the lapse in donations by planning ahead.

Nonprofit Quarterly: What Giving USA Numbers Reveal in 2011
This editorial from NPQ takes a good, hard look at the data and breaks down the reality.

What about you? What are your thoughts on the stats, and who do you think has been writing some good analysis of the study?

 

 

Making the Ask

June 1, 2011

This morning, leaving my house and climbing into my car, I spotted movement in the fence next to my car door. Upon closer examination, I found a small sparrow, fluttering its wings as hard as it could. I remembered my husband mentioning that birds had built a nest in the fence last night, but quickly realized that what he’d mistaken as a nest was actually a tangle of weeds and string that this tiny bird had been caught in. My stomach sank as I realized that if I got in the car and left, there would be a dead bird when I came home. I didn’t know what the state of its foot was inside the string, but I did know that injured animals freak me out. I didn’t have any idea how to free it. I stood there like an idiot in my driveway, on my cell phone first with my husband, then my father, both of whom were sympathetic but who kindly told me they were not planning to leave work to come rescue the bird.

I had a couple of choices. I could leave the bird, go to work, and try to pretend like it wouldn’t die in the six or seven hours til my husband got home. I’d be an unproductive wreck all day worrying about the stupid sparrow stuck in the fence, so I nixed that. Or, I could figure it out myself, and since I wasn’t going to be able to stomach getting the bird out of the gate, that meant finding help.

To put this in perspective, I live in the city. I believe in the best in people, but I once locked myself out of my house in socks in the rain, and when I went next door to use my neighbor’s phone, she told me no, clearly hesitant to let me (at the time a 25-year-old woman with no more lethal weapon than wet feet on her floor) in. So it’s no wonder that relying on the kindness of strangers wasn’t my first thought. But I had seen a crew of workers doing construction two doors down. I figured these were the least fraidy-cat people I was going to find at 10 am on a weekday morning, so with the bird’s life hanging in the balance, I marched over.

“Hello,” I said, somewhat embarrassed to play the damsel in distress but willing to do it for the sparrow. “There is a bird stuck in my fence. I am afraid of animals and I don’t really know how to get it out. Can one of you help me?” Within thirty seconds, I had a co-liberator. Within five minutes, he had gotten the bird away from the fence and we worked together for ten more, using scissors to remove every last bit of string from its foot. Its leg was badly injured, but the second my buddy released him, the bird flew off. By the way, the sparrow’s savior didn’t even speak English, so more than likely he had no idea what he was getting into when the crazy lady stomped onto his construction site waving her arms around. He just came and helped anyways.

Working with nonprofits and reading all the appropriate nonprofit blogs, I see posts about “making the ask” all the time. It’s a tough thing to do, asking someone to support you, to support your cause, to open their wallet or take precious hours of their time to do a necessary job. When our fundraisers set up a GoodTwo campaign, we admittedly make the ask just a little bit softer thanks to the fact donors are getting a great deal along with their donation. But my sparrow experience this morning taught me a few valuable lessons about the ask–whether you’re asking people to support your GoodTwo campaign, to donate money, or to give you a few hours on a Saturday morning–I thought I’d share with you:

  • It’s easy to ask someone for something when there’s no other option. Your organization needs money to operate. You need to meet your fundraising goal for your marathon or you’ll have a hefty charge on your credit card. You can’t stomach the idea of a bird dying a slow death while you order an iced coffee at Starbucks on your way to the office. Whatever the reason, don’t think of the ask as an option–recognize that it’s necessary.
  • People want to help. The more cynical of us may believe that there aren’t a lot of good people left in the world, but the fact of the matter is that our jobs, our missions and our successes often depend on not just the kindness of others, but the kindness of strangers. My co-liberator may have gotten roped into one tough task today, but he left my driveway with a huge smile on his face.
  • Your message doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be clear. When I asked for help today, I didn’t realize that the person I was asking didn’t even speak the same language I did. But the fact I needed assistance was written all over my face. No one wants to fundraise based on desperation, but it’s worth telling your donors how important their contributions are to you–and how much you NEED them to function, fulfill your mission, and thrive as an organization.
Whether you’re running a GoodTwo campaign, organizing a gala or recruiting donors, you’re asking people to support you, your organization, or your mission. Remember why it’s so important to ask them, and make your message strong enough that those who are naturally inclined to help will understand that you need them.
~Kristen

Rising to the (Mass)Challenge!

May 26, 2011

In the six months since GoodTwo launched, our team has been working diligently to create a platform that makes sense for fundraisers, to bring some awesome causes aboard, and to get some great deals for them to run as fundraisers. We feel like we’ve been succeeding, but it’s always great to hear someone else agree. This week, we found out that we’ve been named finalists in MassChallenge. Touted as the world’s largest startup competition, MassChallenge provides finalists with summer office space (overlooking the water, we might add), mentoring, startup bootcamps, networking, and more. It’s a huge honor to be one of the 125 companies chosen out of the original 733 that applied this year.

We also have you to thank. Our supporters voted for and endorsed us, which helped us in the push to the finish. More than that, those of you who are fundraising with us are proving every day that the whole “daily deal” trend can, in fact, be used for great things. The businesses who’ve partnered with us are showing people that businesses aren’t just about bottom line, but they’re also about helping great causes out. In the end, it’s an affordable thing for everyone: great causes are raising money for free, donors are getting great deals made even better by the fact that part of their donation is going to the cause, and businesses are getting to pair up with these great causes and welcome some of the cause’s supporters through their doors, where they’ll surely become loyal customers.

We love this win-win-win ecosystem and we are pretty sure it’s why we’re entering the finals of MassChallenge. We’re excited about the collaboration and mentorship throughout the summer, and we hope you are too. It’s this type of interaction that will bring us great ideas for making GoodTwo an increasingly better way to fundraise.

And of course, we always want to hear from you. If you have ideas, questions or comments, email us at fundraisers@goodtwo.com. This is an exciting time for us all, and we are looking forward to bringing more fundraisers onto our platform, raising money with great deals for their donors!

Press Release: GoodTwo Named a Finalist in MassChallenge

May 24, 2011

GoodTwo Named a Finalist in MassChallenge

Fundraising Tool that Utilizes Deal Rewards for Donors Chosen for
Incubator of World’s Largest Startup Competition

BOSTON (5/24/11)—GoodTwo (www.goodtwo.com), a free fundraising tool that allows nonprofits, community groups and individuals to raise money by rewarding their donors with great deals, today announced that it has been named a finalist in MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup competition. The competition, which began with more than 700 companies from around the world, narrowed the field to 125 finalists that will now join the MassChallenge startup incubator.

“We are thrilled to be finalists in MassChallenge,” says GoodTwo CEO Bill Yucatonis. “For the past six months, GoodTwo has been building a customer base and an innovative product that’s like nothing else in the fundraising market. This opportunity will help us continue to build our business in terms of both our platform and our relationships with nonprofit organizations and merchants. We’re looking forward joining and adding to the high energy of our fellow startups in the incubator.”

Boston-based GoodTwo launched in December 2010 as a spin-off of New England-based daily deal site CoupMe. GoodTwo was conceived as a way to allow fundraisers and nonprofit organizations to take advantage of the group buying/daily deal model.  Since its launch in December, GoodTwo has welcomed approximately 100 fundraisers onto its platform. In the coming month, GoodTwo will be launching programs that allow participants in events such as the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge and the Boston Marathon ® Jimmy Fund Walk to help meet their fundraising goals with GoodTwo campaigns.

GoodTwo provides a win-win-win situation: the cause gets a donation, the donor gets a great deal and the business providing the deal gets a new customer and valuable cause association. GoodTwo: Good Deal. Good Cause.

As MassChallenge finalists, GoodTwo will be afforded the benefits of the MassChallenge incubator, including free office space on Fan Pier, pairing with mentors and a startup boot camp. In October, MassChallenge will award $1 million in prizes to several finalists.

For More Information:
Kristen Elworthy
Director of Marketing & Publicity
kristen@goodtwo.com
978.590.0442 (mobile)

Great news for fundraisers!

May 24, 2011

Over the course of the past six months, we’ve helped nearly 100 different causes raise money by using deals from great brands to reward their donors. GoodTwo has been in a sort of beta stage these first few months, communicating with each fundraiser individually, building their page, and helping them select deals. Today, we’re opening up the floodgates. Our platform is fully automated, meaning that fundraisers can create an account, build their page in real time and, most importantly, return to their pages to change content, deals and even the goals or length of the fundraiser whenever they want. If you haven’t started your GoodTwo fundraiser yet, now is definitely the time.

Here’s what our friends at Hands On Miami and The Ellie Fund have had to say about running GoodTwo fundraisers:

“GoodTwo has allowed Hands On Miami to expand our fundraising efforts while offering amazing deals to our volunteers. GoodTwo gives nonprofit organizations the opportunity to select deals specifically tailored to their clients’ interests. This customization is an unbelievable feature and GoodTwo can serve as an incredible resource for all nonprofit organizations. Having the ability to update your own fundraising page allows nonprofits to really take control of their fundraising campaign.”

– Nathan Reiser, Project Director, Hands On Miami

“The Ellie Fund loves to be able to give back to those who support us. With GoodTwo, they can get a great deal while making a donation. With the popularity of Groupon and LivingSocial, GoodTwo is a brilliant fundraising tool and we are honored to be working with them.”

– Hillary McManama, Development Coordinator, The Ellie Fund

You can start fundraising in minutes by creating an account with GoodTwo. You’ll get to choose three different deals to feature in your campaign, from half off at restaurants to discounts on massages to gym memberships, personal t

raining, psychic readings, gift baskets, gourmet coffee and more! Anyone can fundraise, from a large organization to an individual raising money for a cause. If you have any questions, email us at fundraisers@goodtwo.com and we’ll be happy to help.

Happy Fundraising!

MassChallenge and What’s Up at GoodTwo

May 9, 2011

This weekend, we got the great news that GoodTwo has advanced to Round 2 in MassChallenge!

We owe everyone who voted for us and supported us throughout Round 1 a big THANK YOU. If you haven’t had a chance to check us out and endorse us yet, there’s still time–they’re still counting endorsements as we head into Round 2, where we’re presenting to a panel of judges. Here’s how to do it!

I thought this might be a good time to give everyone an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes at GoodTwo. You may have noticed the blog’s been a little quiet as we get up and running. We’ve been busy getting off the ground and getting some amazing fundraiser partnerships rolling, but as we move into the summer, there’s a renewed sense of blog accountability here at GoodTwo.

Our goals for the GoodTwo blog are two-fold. As a startup on the Boston scene, we’re looking to share our journey, lessons learned and ideas with the Boston business community. We’d also like to become a resource for our fundraising clients. We travel around the nonprofit world quite a bit and hear about a lot of different fundraising initiatives. We have our own opinions and ideas too. Sometimes, we just want to lay out how you can amp up your GoodTwo campaign. Fundraisers: add this blog to your reader or roster. We plan to have some resources for you as we move forward, and we’ll keep you in the loop about updates and initiatives from GoodTwo that might help you fundraise.

So where do we stand today? Since our launch in December, we’ve seen an incredible amount of support for the GoodTwo idea from both investors and fundraisers. We are bringing some HUGE organizations onto the platform in the next week or so, and we’ll keep you updated as they go live. We have also seen some great progress with local fundraisers, like this one from Hands On Miami. We’re live with local deals all over New England, in New York and New Jersey, Miami, and Los Angeles. More cities are coming soon, but in the meantime we have some great online deals so that really, anyone in the country can run a GoodTwo fundraiser.

We are making some platform updates that will completely automate the GoodTwo process for fundraisers, also coming in the next week or two. This means you’ll have complete control over any fundraiser you’re running, with the ability to control content, goals or deals in real time at any time. We’ll announce it as soon as those new features are live.

All in all, we’re pumped about the splash we’ve made in the fundraising world in just a couple of short months. We’ve even managed to swing inclusion in a few blog posts and news articles. If you just can’t get enough of us, check us out on:

Plus, we were named one of Mass High Tech’s 5 Startups to Follow.
All in all, it’s been an exciting time here at GoodTwo. We keep growing and are about to have some great rapid-fire announcements. We’re looking forward to sharing them with you, so keep checking back here. Thanks for following us!

Vote for GoodTwo at MassChallenge

April 22, 2011

If you love the idea behind GoodTwo, we hope you’ll consider voting for us in MassChallenge, helping us WIN part of the $1 million in prizes, free office space, and more that they give out each year! MassChallenge is an awesome startup competition and as a new brand, launching last December, we’re entered! But you’re important: 10% of our score is based on our votes from

the public.

We hope you’ll pop on over to our MassChallenge profile and giv

e us a big thumbs up with 5 stars. (While you’re there, it’s worthwhile to check out some of the other cool companies competing too! There are some startups here in Boston.) If you want to help us out, here’s how to do it:

1. You have to be registered with MassChallenge to vote, so fill in this short registration form, checking off “Observer/Supporter” when you sign up.

2. Once you’re registered and logged in, visit GoodTwo’s page on MassChallenge.

3. Highlight five redstars up in the top right corner (you know you want to!).

Click and the system will tell you your vote’s been counted.

4. Feel great that you’ve supported GoodTwo and helped us move closer to our goal of providing an amazing deal-based fundraising platform to nonprofits across the country. Thank you for your support!

Questions? Email kristen@goodtwo.com.

GoodTwo Marketing 101

February 28, 2011

Since our launch here at GoodTwo, we’ve been thrilled to help any number of nonprofits and fundraisers running campaigns for a wide variety of causes to start their GoodTwo campaigns. With GoodTwo, the fundraisers get a campaign page that describes their mission and goals, and some great deals to promote to their networks. For every deal purchased, the fundraiser gets a donation. The donor gets a deal. It’s a win-win all around.

If you’re one of the many fundraisers who have received an email welcoming you to GoodTwo, you may think the concept sells itself. Great deals? Donations? Who WOULDN’t want in? You’d be right, but the trick is that your network, whether they be donors, family members, or friends, needs to know about your GoodTwo fundraiser in order to get their deals and make their donations. The concept of GoodTwo means that it’s a short-term fundraiser, usually no more than a couple of weeks, to help build up urgency in your audience an encourage them to purchase the deals before they’re gone. So it’s important to make the most of your time running the GoodTwo deals, and to utilize email, Facebook and Twitter to let people know that the deals are available. The marketing team here at GoodTwo has come up with some tips that are based on our experience in the deal a day market that GoodTwo is built on. Follow these tips and use the custom Facebook and Twitter updates provided in your welcome email to spread the word!

Marketing Your Fundraiser Effectively

 

– Reach out to current donors: Are there people who have already donated to your cause? A go-to network that you have for your cause? Whether it’s a personal email list of family members and friends or an organization-wide list of past and present donors, first promote your page to that group. They already care about and support your cause, so why wouldn’t they want to save money while doing so?

 

– Make it viral: Deals appeal to everyone, not just the supporters of your cause. With the right deals and promotion, your GoodTwo fundraiser has the potential to go viral, being promoted to not only your supporters but to their families, friends and others they believe will like the deals. Not only will you raise money for your cause, but you’ll also increase its exposure. But remember, you have to ask for help: request to your network that they forward your page link on to their family and friends, tweet about it on Twitter or post about it on Facebook.

Deliver your message frequently: If you’re promoting your deal on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll want to do it more than once. Each day, promote your fundraiser across whatever social media outlets you or your organization use to ensure that your followers see it and remember it.

Dedicate your emails: While it’s great to include your GoodTwo fundraiser in your regular organization’s communications, it’s important to dedicate at least one email to your list to the GoodTwo fundraiser you’re running. Describe the deals, let readers know they’re benefitting you, and link to the campaign page. You’ll probably want to send an email towards the start and the end of your campaign to keep the fundraiser top of mind. Plus, include the link to your fundraiser in any regular communications, email signatures,  on your website, etc.

Take advantage of a time limit: GoodTwo deals are only available for a limited time. When you’re communicating with your audience, be sure to remind them that these deals won’t be around forever. As your fundraiser draws to a close, send out another communication in each network reminding them that this is their last chance to get a GoodTwo deal to benefit your cause. Part of the appeal of GoodTwo is the urgency behind the purchase.

Get personal: Don’t be afraid to get personal with your promotions. If you have a personal connection to the cause and are emailing family members and friends, let them in on it. If you’re a larger organization, give your list a glimpse into the organization with a story about an accomplishment of the organization. Inject your personality into each and every communication!

Do you have marketing tips for GoodTwo or other campaigns? Let us know what works for you in the comment section!

 

A Fundraiser for the Season

January 20, 2011

It’s not easy to tie in a fundraiser to the middle of the winter (which, at least up here in Boston, is unpleasant, gray and snow-covered for the next few months). At GoodTwo, we like to think that deals don’t have a season–everyone loves a bargain, no matter the month–but we’re acutely aware of that controversial Valentine’s Day holiday coming up in the next month or so.

So with that in mind, our team has come up with a seasonal, Valentine’s Day fundraiser that can be used anywhere in the country. We’ve got a deal where $15 will get your donors $30 worth of flowers at KaBloom, which they can deliver to their Valentine (or anyone so deserving on any other day of the year) with a few clicks of the mouse. KaBloom is known industry-wide for fresh flower delivery, so donors will know they’re sending the right message. For those donors in Boston, the certificate can also be used in the Brookline store to pick up flowers in person.

The best part of this for fundraisers is, of course, the donation. As usual, GoodTwo’s KaBloom deal is a winner all around. The donor gets $30 worth of flowers for $15 (we recommend spending the savings on chocolate!) and for every one purchased, the fundraiser pockets $3.75. Think you can find 20 people who need to buy flowers this Valentine’s Day? That’s $75 for your cause. If you can find 100, that’s $375. The math is easy and the deal’s simple.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the KaBloom fundraiser or any of GoodTwo’s other deals, you can sign up by visiting our website and clicking “Start Fundraising” (that big green button on the main page). If you already have an active fundraiser and would like to add the KaBloom deal, contact us at fundraisers (at) goodtwo.com and we’ll get it taken care of.