Nonprofits: “Holiday-ize” Your Donation Page

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‘Tis the season for giving, and there’s no better time to add some holiday cheer to your JustGive Donation Page to get your donors in a generous mood.

Here are 3 ways to “holiday-ize” your JustGive Donation Page. To make these or any updates, just login to your nonprofit account and click the ‘Edit Donation Page’ link.

1. Add a Holiday-themed Image

Add some holiday flair to your organization logo and upload that new image to your Donation Page. The recommended size for your header image is 950px wide by 100px high, and it can be a jpg, gif or png file (max size 512k).

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2. Customize Your Donation Amounts

Connecting a tangible value with donation amounts helps your donors better understand how you will use their donation to provide services, and often motivates them to give more. Pathways PA, a nonprofit that supports low-income women, children and families, includes specific descriptions with its donation amounts to show the difference they make, like: $50.00 – provides a case of diapers & wipes for a homeless baby.

If you’re channeling donations toward any specific holiday initiatives, let donors know about that. For example: $50.00 – provides a Christmas meal for a family of four.

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3. Update Your Program Designations

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If you’re running any special campaigns or initiatives for the holidays that are mentioned in your fundraising materials, make sure the programs listed on your Donation Page match. For example, if you’re conducting a “Holiday 2015 Campaign,” be sure that it’s on your Donation Page as a program donors can select.

BONUS TIP: Want to encourage recurring, monthly donations from your donors? Just add “&isRecurring=true” at the end of your Donation Page link (To see an example: https://npo.justgive.org/basket?acton=donate&ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true). When you add it, the monthly recurring checkbox is automatically selected. (Donors always have the option to uncheck the box.)

Happy holidays . . . and best wishes from all of us here at JustGive for a fruitful giving season!

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Company Holiday Giving: 4 Great Ideas

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This time of year, JustGive gets a lot of inquiries from companies that want to do something for charity during the holidays. They don’t always know what they want to do, but most importantly, they have a desire to give back on behalf of their company, employees or customers.

If you or your company is wondering how to include charity in your holiday activities this year, here are four ideas that make giving easy, fun, motivating and rewarding.

Set up a fundraiser & match donations

A fundraiser for one or several charities is a great way to inspire the giving spirit this season. Choose to support charities that connect with your company’s products or services (e.g. if you create educational software, consider supporting children’s or educational charities), or ones that your employees nominate.

Tip: If you need help selecting charities, the JustGive Guide contains 150 recommended charities organized by cause.

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You can quickly create your online fundraising page, customize it with your description, image or video, a fundraising goal and deadline, and you’re ready to go. Then just share the link with your team and watch the donations roll in!

If you want to go the extra mile, add your company branding to the fundraiser and match donations made by employees, contact us to find out more.

Donations as gifts

If your office has an annual Secret Santa tradition, remind participants that making a gift donation in a co-worker’s name is a great gift.

A gift donation is also the perfect way to thank your partners, vendors and customers during the holidays. Find out what cause they care most about and donate to a charity that supports it. We guarantee it’ll be one of the most thoughtful business gifts they receive this year.

Tip: If you don’t know what charity your recipient would like to donate to, get them a JustGive Charity Gift Card instead. Then they can visit justgive.org and redeem it for a donation to the charity of their choice.

Gift cards—for charity!

Finding a holiday gift that works for everyone in your office is nearly impossible. But rather than default to the expected Starbucks or Amazon card this year, surprise them with a JustGive Charity Gift Card.

JustGive charity gift cards work like typical gift cards except recipients visit justgive.org to redeem the card for a donation to their favorite charities.

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Choose any denomination, customize with your logo / branding, add your holiday message, and deliver them to your recipients via email, as printed cards, or through downloadable claim codes you merge into your own holiday communication. Read about New England BioLabs’ experience using charity gift cards to reward employees.

JustGive Charity Gift Cards are great, memorable gifts for partners, vendors and customers too! The card itself can be your gift or you can include it as that “something extra” with a physical gift. Check out how Deep River Snacks is including gift cards in their consumer holiday gift pack this year.

Make a donation in your company’s name

If your company and employees regularly support a cause or charity throughout the year, consider making a large donation during the holidays to support it.

You can even get employees to nominate charities and have them vote for which one receives the donation. Not only will you gain a nice tax deduction, but you’ll also benefit from engaging your team, who’ll feel like the company is making a real difference this holiday season.

Those are just a few of the ways you can include charity in your company’s holiday activities. Have another idea or need JustGive’s help with a program? Contact us and we’ll get it rolling.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Fundraisers: Put Charity on Your Holiday Wish List

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I’m very lucky. Every holiday season my mother asks me, “What’s on your Christmas list this year?” To her frustration, I never have a good answer, so she just grumbles that I’m really hard to shop for. Love you, Mom! 🙂

6319712130_7c3283a6b5_mBut this year, I do. I’ll let her know that donations to my favorite charities are on my wish list.

Then I’ll tell her about a new product we launched here at JustGive: fundraisers. Now, I can create an online fundraising page to raise money for charities I care about during the holidays (or any time of year). So in lieu of other gifts from friends and family, they can come to my fundraising page and make a donation instead. That’s what I really want.

Here’s the inside scoop

Creating a fundraising page just takes a few minutes, and you can create one for any cause or occasion, including a memorial fundraiser for a departed loved one, or one for your upcoming wedding.

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My favorite part about JustGive fundraisers is how you can customize them. You describe your fundraiser, select a color scheme, add a photo or video to it, choose the charity or charities you want to fundraise for (built-in search tools help too), and you’re done. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a link to share with friends, inviting them to contribute.

You can even write a custom thank you message that gets sent to your donors, set a fundraising goal, and add an end date to drive immediate action. As the date draws closer and your donations tally increases, it may surprise you to see which friends and family members rally to get you to the finish. And you can log in anytime to see your online donations report and know who has given to your fundraiser.

New JustGive Guide offers recommended charities

As part of the Fundraisers launch, we also revamped our JustGive Charity Guide.

CharityGuideThe new JustGive Guide contains around 150 recommended charities organized by cause. These charities are nationally-based and meet IRS standards, address today’s key issues, and receive the most support from our donors. With about a dozen charities for each cause, the guide makes it easier and faster to find the organizations you want to help.

When it comes to selecting charities for your fundraiser, you‘ll find the new JustGive Guide under the “Browse by Cause” tab. It includes cause categories for Animals, Children, Education, Global Aid, Hunger and more.

Create a fundraiser today

mapI hope you’ll join me and set up a fundraiser this holiday season to support your favorite charities. You can raise money for organizations that fight hunger and homelessness, or help a neighborhood charity that’s making a difference for your community.

Whatever cause you want to support, our fundraisers make it simple for you, and fun for your donors.

You’ll also make your Mom and friends happy, since they’ll know how to give you a gift this holiday that’s just what you want! And you’ll be spreading the spirit of the season around, making wishes come true for your favorite charities too.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

THE MANY FACES OF HOMELESSNESS: HOW YOU CAN HELP

blog_title_image_homelessnessKnowing how to help a homeless person can sometimes feel difficult, confusing and overwhelming. The dollar you give might be used to buy drugs or alcohol. Even offering food can be a problem – imagine handing an apple to a homeless man and then discovering he has no teeth. Just as there are many reasons people become homeless, there are also many ways to help. Understanding the leading causes of homelessness is often the best way to learn what the homeless need and how you can make a positive difference in their lives. The chronically homeless, who often struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues, need a safe and stable living environment where they can get counseling and health care. To help them, consider volunteering at a local shelter or halfway house that provides longer-term housing. Donating clean towels, pillows and blankets can also help create a comfortable and safe living environment. The majority of homeless youth bw_homeless_teens_21461332have been kicked out of their homes or abandoned by parents or guardians. Others who left on their own accord have suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their families. For many, trusting another adult or authority figure can be difficult. One of the best ways to help is to simply ask them what they need. Maybe it’s a hot meal, a warm coat or a clean pair of socks; or maybe it’s information on how to get into foster care, enroll in a drug and alcohol detox program or register for the GED. Taking the time to listen to their needs, and to follow through, can go a long way in helping them regain their trust in others and get off the streets. imm needs housing homelessFor many veterans, physical disability, mental anguish and post-traumatic stress can make readjusting to civilian life very difficult. This can lead to drug and alcohol addiction, the inability to hold down a steady job and homelessness. Because many veterans have very specific needs to help them get back on their feet—job placement services, medical services, housing assistance, counseling—there are numerous ways to get involved. Consider donating your time or money to organizations which help homeless vets:

While we need to address the problem of homelessness as a whole, the more we can understand each person’s individual circumstances, the more we can help. Before making assumptions or judgments, take the time to ask some questions and do a little research. It can make all the difference. The Face(s) of Homelessness

  • Number of homeless in the United States: 610,042
  • Number of chronic homeless: 109,132 (18%)
  • Number of homeless youth under 18: 380,000
  • Number of homeless veterans: 57,849 (9%)

For more charities helping the homeless with shelter, counseling services and job training.

-Amelia Glynn, Marketing Contractor

#GivingTuesday Tools & Tips for Nonprofits

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 is the event known as #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

As a nonprofit organization, #GivingTuesday offers you a great opportunity to energize your supporters to participate in a worldwide movement. Lasting just 24 hours, #GivingTuesday creates a sense of urgency, motivating them to give.

We want to make #GivingTuesday as successful as possible for all JustGive’s nonprofit partners (Not a partner yet? Sign up here – it’s free!).

Here are a few tips and tools to help you make the most of #GivingTuesday:

Brand Your JustGive Donation Page With #GivingTuesday        

Help drive donations by customizing your JustGive donation page with #GivingTuesday branding.Upload a logo that incorporates #GivingTuesday, add special, jg_gtsuggested donation amounts like $122.14 (12-2-14), or add a special program designation for #GivingTuesday contributions. The more your donation page and communications leverage the #GivingTuesday campaign, the more inspired your donors are to give.

Get Your Graphics and Links Ready

The #GivingTuesday website has a library of images and graphics you can use on your website, in emails and on social media to drive donations. Just be sure to use your custom JustGive donate page link with the graphics.

Plan Your Communications

#GivingTuesday only lasts 24 hours so it’s important to make the most of your communications that day. Plan how you’ll communicate on social media and by email. gtWe recommend emailing your donors early in the morning on #GivingTuesday, asking them to donate through your JustGive link, and encouraging them to follow your progress on your social media channels.

Then, throughout the day, use social media to update your supporters. Be sure to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag in your communications. Make it easy on yourself and take advantage of ready-to-use materials: visit the #GivingTuesday website for free nonprofit tools, sample messages, logos, and more.

Track Your Donations In Real-Time

Donors love knowing that they’re part of a bigger effort, and nothing motivates giving like seeing others give. Share your #GivingTuesday progress with your supporters throughout the day on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. To get your real-time donation data, log into your JustGive Nonprofit account to view reports. Then thank your donors for their contribution with a tweet or Facebook post (we recommend first name, last initial to preserve people’s privacy). A post like “Thanks for making a donation this #GivingTuesday, Sarah B.!” makes Sarah feel good, and will inspire others to join in.

To find out more about #GivingTuesday and get even more tips and toolkits, visit http://www.givingtuesday.org/. Here’s to a very successful December 2!

– Sarah Bacon

Director of Product

Hunger and Food Justice: Community Building for Food Equality

Hunger: it’s a daunting problem the world over. Even though I was eager to research and write on this topic, when I started to dig into it, I got more and more overwhelmed with how broad and profound the issue … Continue reading

Three Ways to Help the Hungry in Your Community

This time of year, most of us are getting ready to sit down to a Thanksgiving feast with our family and friends. We’re ready to stuff ourselves silly with second and third helpings of a delicious meal, and enjoy the warmth of a toasty fireplace (or, in my case, a space heater).

Unfortunately, not everyone is as blessed. In these tough economic times, 1 in 7 American households can’t afford dinner each night. Hunger is a growing issue for every city and in every community in America—in fact, one of the families in need could be your neighbor.

I just took out my holiday decorations, and am planning to get a tree this weekend. But as I prepare my own home for the holiday season, I’m also aware of the people in my community who need help. I know that it’s not always easy to know where to start and how to help, so I’ve done a bit of research.

Here are three ways I’ve found to help the hungry:

1) Donate to a food drive

Right around Thanksgiving, grocery stores, apartment complexes and retail chains begin to organize food drives where you can donate your canned foods. Can’t find one? Consider organizing one yourself! Find your local food bank and ask what items they need most. This guide will help you organize.

2) Volunteer at a local soup kitchen

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Feel like getting hands-on? Volunteer with a local organization helping feed the hungry. Not sure where to begin? With a website like Volunteer Match you can find nonprofits in your area working to end hunger—just search by zip code and the keyword “hunger.” (Many of these charities would be happy to have even a few hours of your help with their Thanksgiving meal, and you’d still have plenty of time for your own family time.)

3) Donate to your local food bank.

A food bank receives food donations and distributes them to those in need. JustGive makes it easy to find your local food bank and make a monetary donation. Just use our convenient search tool—plug in your zip code and keywords “food bank.”

Donate to a Food Bank

 

I hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful, and will consider helping the hungry in your own backyard this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

Homes for the holidays

What does home mean to you? Is it simply the roof over your head? Your life’s savings or investment? Where you raised your children and where your family gathers for the holidays?

Having a place to call home is the pillar of the American Dream and the center of our childhood memories. As the weather turns cold and plans center around festive gatherings, our homes become more precious than ever. And we think of those who are have no place to call home during our iciest and most challenging time of year.

Despite growing up in a fairly affluent county in Northern California, my family is no stranger to homelessness. When there’s expensive rent, five mouths to feed, credit card bills, and trying to keep up with the Jones’ (or Kardashian’s for a younger reader) – everything can get turned upside down quickly when the primary breadwinner loses his job. For a short time while I was in high school, my sisters and I stayed with friends so our parents could get back on their feet when we lost our home.

With “president” and “vice-president” of software companies to his professional credit, time and time again my father was denied positions for being over-qualified. He stayed in a shelter for months so that the money he earned working a retail job could contribute to a small apartment for my sisters, mother and me. Every weekend, we would open the door to groceries left on our stoop, a symbol of the indignity he felt as well as his desperate attempt to care for us in one of the only ways he could.

We were fortunate enough to have family and friends to lean on, beds to sleep in, food in our bellies, and to remain in school. But my story isn’t uncommon nor is it the worst case scenario. With the state of the economy, fewer job openings and more layoffs, families across the country are at risk of losing everything.

Between five and six hundred thousand people are considered homeless at any given timewithout a “permanent, safe, affordable place to live.” Families constitute about one third of all homeless and are the fastest-growing group. The homeless elderly are also an important group as America ages in the next decades.Preventing Homelessness in America

What difference can one person make?

If you’re wondering how you can give back during this season, consider the following organizations and gift options that are close to my heart. You can make life better for individuals and families in need.

  • Homeward Bound of Marin: The Mill Street Center is the county’s only emergency shelter for homeless men and women. Half of the center’s beds are for night-to-night stays, while the other half are for those who are determined to end homelessness in their lives and are working on a personal action plan to accomplish it. >>Give Now
  • Raphael House: As the first shelter for children and families experiencing homelessness in Northern California, they provide an environment of loving support where families can find stable housing and achieve financial independence, while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity. >>Give Now
  • JustGive’s Homes & Jobs Charity Collection: Provide jobs, training, shelter, and homes through four organizations that reverse homelessness and joblessness. >>Buy Collection
  • Search for other organizations helping to end homelessness in your community, nationally and worldwide. Make your gift recurring, something you can be proud of all year long. >>Search Guide

This holiday, as you cozy up to the fire, light the menorah, hang twinkle lights on your roof, and sit down to your dinner table with loved ones… pause and think about ways to share your warmth and light with others. And give what you can to help the homeless find an affordable, safe and secure place to call home.

Do you support a charity that does a great job of helping the homeless? Like us on Facebook and let others know.   


– Michelle Koffler, Marketing Coordinator

Last minute holiday gifts? No problem…

It’s the last few days before the Christmas holiday and I’m in countdown mode. Given the traffic, craziness in grocery store and mall parking lots, I know I’m not alone. How does the holiday always seem to sneak up on us?

What I really want this Christmas is to make time stop and enjoy the season more. Pausing to take in all the wonder and joy. Having time to wander around and see lights. Talking with friends I haven’t caught up with in a while. Singing at a local convalescent center. And finding time to bake and fill the house with cinnamon and chocolate aromas.

Charity’s my choice

When it comes to gifts, I think less really can be more in some cases—For me, less shopping and less time in retail shops frees up time to do more of the things that make the season special.

It’s not a magic formula, but I’ll let you in on how I make that happen, even at the last minute: Charity gifts. Gifts I don’t have to leave home to buy, and that make me and the person I give them to feel good. Gifts that do so much more than anything I pick up in a store. Giving happiness and help while banishing holiday frenzy!

 

To thank a client of mine, I’m sending a GiveNow charity gift card. She can use it to donate to any charity she wants (JustGive has 1.8 million of them in the database). I like the online poinsettia thank you card, and sending it via email makes it easy for me to get this gift to her before the holiday.

  • A charity Gift Collection is perfect to honor my future mother-in-law’s love of animals. And giving to four charities in the “gift basket” that protect and prevent cruelty to animals helps me spread the giving around to nonprofits whose work I know she appreciates.
  • For a good friend who’s passionate about helping stop the spread of Aids, I’ll make a donation in her name to the Palo Alto Face Aids charity, which is engaging youth from around the world to help fight HIV/Aids.

     

    With only days to go before Christmas, I can take a few minutes tonight and get these gifts without driving anywhere. Wrapping up my giving before I start baking….

    Do you still have gift to buy? Follow my lead and choose charity. These gifts are truly in the spirit of the season and will generate smiles, joy and hope. Taking away stress and frantic last minute shopping—with gifts that matter more and leave you more time to enjoy special once-a-year activities and time with family and dear friends.  Making sure you have a very Merry one.

    Pass it on!

     

    Creating New Traditions

    Celebrating my daughter’s first Christmas makes this holiday extra special for me. I’m reminded of memories from childhood, and traditions shared with my family. We baked cookies with Grandma and decorated the tree with sparkling lights. We watched movies like Rudolph and A Christmas Story in our pajamas until the fire in the fireplace burned out.

    Family traditions create the magic of Christmas. With this in mind, I’m creating my own magic and starting a new tradition that my daughter will remember for years to come–a tradition of giving. While there are many ways for me to show her this, here are a few ideas I wanted to share with you!

    Redefine Christmas

    Redefine Christmas is a movement to change the way we give gifts. Instead of giving in to the pressure of buying a tangible gift with little meaning (another scented candle, bath product or belt?), it suggests you redirect your spending to charity. The thinking is that small changes in the way we give during the holidays – made by many, many caring people – can have a big impact in our world. Helping us all recapture the joy of the holiday season. (JustGive is proud to partner with this movement to spread the message of charity.)

    Check out the public display of the Redefine Christmas message on Black Friday at a Connecticut shopping mall.

     

    Just 51 Bucks

    The Just 51 Bucks Challenge issued by JustGive and several competitors asks you to invest $51 — 10 percent of what the average consumer will spend this holiday — on a Charity Gift Card instead of the conventional “stuff.” With Just 51 Bucks, everyone wins.

    Your holiday gifts make a lasting difference while your shopping is easier. GiveNow Charity Gift Cards only take a few minutes to personalize and send to your recipient. It’s a meaningful gift for friends, family, co-workers, and more. Happiness doubled: you give and they select the charity to support.

    At a time when so many non-profit organizations are struggling to survive, giving charity gift cards can certainly help them—and, at the same time, give you a new holiday tradition.

     

    Join me in creating your own new tradition! Redefine your Christmas, join the Just 51 Bucks Challenge, and make gift giving matter for more this year.

    Share your charitable ideas with us on Facebook, follow the conversation on Twitter, or help us spread the word and pass this idea on to a friend.