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Fundraising

Updated: June 28th, 2017

The nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization, The Humane Society of the United States and HSUS affiliates provide hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year, and helps professionalize the field through education and training for local animal welfare organizations.

As thousands of Booster t-shirt campaigns have been run to raise awareness and funds for animal welfare organizations across the U.S., we were excited to see the November/December 2015 issue of Animal Sheltering— HSUS’s official publication, and the premier magazine for anyone in the animal sheltering and rescue field — humane societies, rescues, fosterers, volunteers, shelter vets, animal control officers, others.

Here from that issue, with permission from author Danielle S. Tepper, Animal Sheltering Magazine, and publisher (HSUS), is an article we’re proud of!

Animal Sheltering Logo_280x280Humane Society of The US logo

 

Need a Boost?

T-Shirt Sales Strengthen Fundraising Efforts

Animal Sheltering magazine, November/December 2015

His surname may be Katz, but Ethan’s heart has gone to the dogs—in this case his family’s rescue pooches Fly (left) and Brooklyn. Fred Schilling/Fredschilling.com His surname may be Katz, but Ethan’s heart has gone to the dogs—in this case his family’s rescue pooches Fly (left) and Brooklyn. Fred Schilling/Fredschilling.com

 

by Danielle S. Tepper

 

Eight-year old Ethan Katz didn’t start off wanting to rescue dogs for his ninth birthday—he wanted to be a dog. But when his parents declined his request for a $700 mascot costume, he decided that saving canines was the next best thing.

The Stevensville, Md., native did his homework and found Booster.com, a website that helps philanthropy-minded folks design and sell custom T-shirts to raise money for a cause or organization.

Ethan had no trouble choosing a charity. His family had recently adopted their youngest dog, Brooklyn, from City Dogs Rescue in Washington, D.C.

“He wanted to raise as much money as he could. He was obsessed; he checked it every day,” says his mother, Lisa Katz. “It was this cool little economics lesson we were having.”

Patrick Rafter, a communications specialist with Booster, says that raising money for animals has become the third most popular category on the site.

“These campaigns can range from helping dogs and cats to hippos and iguanas,” he says. “You become sort of a walking billboard for your favorite animal or shelter.”

Headquartered in Newton, Mass., Booster.com was launched in August 2013 by Virginia-based CustomInk.

In its first two years, Booster has disbursed more than $20 million to worthy causes.

Each campaign page shares a story about the cause; customers purchase shirts through the site and also have the option to make an additional monetary donation. “This turns someone who is passionate about a cause almost into a professional fundraiser, and the T-shirts become rallying tools,” says Rafter.

Meredith Raimondi, City Dogs director, worked closely with Ethan to come up with a simple and fresh image for the shirt. Rafter says Booster has a team on staff to help with slogans and design.

Word spread quickly between early April 2014 and Ethan’s birthday a month later; he wound up raising $2,640 for City Dogs. After a local newspaper publicized Ethan’s efforts, he came to the attention of “Good Morning America.” Ethan and his mom—in what she refers to as “a completely serendipitous situation”—soon got a call to be in New York City at 5 a.m. the next day to appear on the show.

“The national media just kind of took it and ran with it,” says Katz.

Now 10, Ethan has run three more campaigns for a total donation of almost $16,000 to City Dogs, an all-volunteer nonprofit that takes dogs from overcrowded shelters and places them in foster homes.

“Ethan was the first kid to do anything even approaching this scale,” says Amy McLean, executive director of City Dogs. “We get kids doing lemonade stands or Girl Scout fundraisers for merit badges, but it was so refreshing to see this young person get so involved—and to be so successful! We were just blown away.”

Rafter calls Booster “a socially conscious business” that keeps a percentage of the proceeds, but the more you raise, the more you keep.

Rebecca Mountain of Massachusetts, owner of Mountain Pet Products, has sold more than 500 T-shirts through Booster to raise nearly $6,000 for the Cat House on the Kings, a cat sanctuary and adoption center in California.

The numbers surprised her, but she attributed the success to Cat House’s impressive Facebook following (over 661,000 fans) and her shirt’s funny slogan, which reads, “If you’re uncomfortable around my CAT I’m happy to lock you in the other room when you come over.”

Blind Cat Rescue in North Carolina has launched four different Boosters since the summer of 2014, each aiming to help fund 1,500 spay/neuter surgeries. As of July 2015, more than 1,000 shirts and approximately $153,000 had gone toward achieving more than half of that goal, says founder Alana Miller.

“This is truly a tool that will work for anyone,” Rafter says. “You can’t afford a billboard, but you can sell a shirt.”

This article appears here on the website of Animal Sheltering magazine.

Article by Danielle S. Tepper. © 2015 Animal Sheltering Magazine (Humane Society of the United States). Reproduced with permission of copyright holder

 

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Updated: June 28th, 2017

We asked our successful Organizers to share their Facebook posting strategies with us so we could create a 5 step plan for you! Whether you are a potential new Organizer or you are looking to re-launch a campaign even more successful than your last, let these 5 Tips get you started.

Announce It

Your launch post should be clear and direct. Describe the cause you are raising money for and include the link to your campaign page so your supporters can easily purchase a shirt. Explain why this cause means so much to you, and ask your friends to share the link with their own Facebook friends to maximize exposure.

Organizer Julia Dervetski sold 58 shirts and raised $840 for her campaign Randy Dervetski Cancer Fund, stating “about 98% of funds raised were directly due to advertising the Booster campaign to friends and family on Facebook! The end result is overwhelming (in a good way)!”

randy cancer fund

Give an Update

You should be posting on Facebook every couple days to ensure that you are reeling in as many supporters as you can. Change up your posts so not every one is exactly the same.

One idea is posting a video update; record a short video talking about what the cause means to you and urging your supporters to buy a shirt and donate. Another idea is to tag your friends in your posts! Tagging them (using @) ensures that they will see your post and encourages them to support you.

Enid Cruz sold 566 shirts and raised $12,070 for his campaign Team Diego, revealing “I posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a daily basis.”

team diego

Game-ify your Post

Time to put the “fun” in fundraising. Ok, it’s true, people love to compete…but they love to win even more. Take advantage of this fact and engage your supporters in some friendly competition!

One popular idea if you have supporters located all over the country is to hold a region based competition. See who can purchase the most shirts (East vs. West, North vs. South) and their regional pride will takeover and sell the shirts for you. Another idea is to see which of your Facebook friends can refer the most people to buy a shirt and offer the winner a prize.

Organizer Tiger Coffman sold 68 shirts and raised $1,150 for his campaign Tiger Coffman Ministries, disclosing “I mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that with every shirt ordered their name was put in a raffle drawing for a $25 Visa gift card!” 

tiger coffman

Share with Groups with Similar Interests

There are hundreds of thousands of existing Facebook groups, so you can only imagine the span of different interests among those. Search for groups that may seem interested in supporting your cause and post your campaign link for them to access! This is an incredible way to reach outside of your inner circle of friends and family.

Organizer Sue Lynch sold 107 shirts and raised $2,200 for her campaign Havok’s Legacy using this method. “I posted information about the cause on my Facebook Page and several Facebook Group Pages that were interest based groups dedicated to Doberman Pinschers. Social media is a very powerful tool, especially when it is a cause like cancer which touches so many people.” 

havok's legacy

Last Day Push

Don’t write off the last day of your campaign! A strong closing post can really make all the difference. Make sure to thank your supporters and mention how much you have raised so far, but detail that there is still time left. Give a precise deadline (11:59 PM tonight!) to draw in any last minute supporters.

To create an even more effective closing push, you can create a countdown series. For the last 3 or 5 days of your campaign, post every single day and make it known that there are 3 days/2 days/1 day left. Make sure these posts use very motivating language in order to convert all your friends into supporters!

Organizer Greg Glidden sold 89 shirts and raise $1,750 for his campaign Priority 1 Ministries T-shirt Fundraiser. “We did specific countdown posts the final 3 days, and our last day was by far the most successful. We got purchases up until 10 pm on the final day!”

priority 1 ministries

So there you have it! A comprehensive, 5 step Facebook plan to help boost your campaign success. Facebook really is the greatest and most effective tool to gain supporters and raise money for your cause, so even if you don’t follow this plan to a tee (hah!), you should definitely post as much as you can.

If you want to keep up with what’s going on at Booster and learn about new campaigns or new features, like our Facebook page here!

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Updated: June 28th, 2017

Whether it’s tweaking an Organizer’s original hand-drawn concept, or creating a powerful shirt design from scratch– Booster’s in-house designers are expert at taking a simple t-shirt design concept and upgrading it to the next level. The Booster design team field requests from the Design Lab where campaign Organizers can choose between editing a pre-existing design, submitting a design form for the design team for modification, or creating a completely new shirt design.

The design request form is for organizers who want to offer a compelling new shirt design, but who lack the skills and resources that Booster’s design team can offer. Our talented artists will take a picture or concept you submit and put together a design that they think best embodies your request. Here, from Booster designers is a selection of some of the campaigns that benefitted from their creative assistance…

Keep reading for some new and improved graphics and great transformations.

Butterfly Nation Project

This great campaign is raising money for Thyroid Disease. A group of passionate women from The Butterfly Nation have come together to make this shirt for the purpose of raising funds and awareness for a cause that affects many people. Inspired by the butterfly-like shape of the thyroid gland, the organizers reached out to Booster with a sketch of what they envisioned on the shirt. From there Jess C., one of our designers, took the image and engineered it into the shirt you see above. This shirt raised $620 and sold 116 pieces!

jess-redraw-2-small

World Water Relief

For this t-shirt, designer Matt P. started with an image that the organizer have given him as well as a phrase that they would like included. By taking the time to shape the quote into a water bottle, the new t-shirt design really captures what the organizer was trying to convey, that access to clean water is a necessity for everyone! Through the sale of 106 shirts, this campaign raised $1,310 for World Water Relief, a non profit focused on the importance of safe water and sanitation.

 

mattt-redraw-1-small

Joining in the Fight with Theresa

The Rodgers sisters started running this campaign for their third sister, Theresa, who was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. As Theresa moved through treatment and had to quit one of her jobs, her medical bills started to rise. To pay for these bills, the girls decided it would be a good idea to run a t-shirt campaign! This great shirt design, created by Mike D., was inspired by the sister’s original design and raised a total of $250 for Theresa.

 

mike-redraw-1-small

 

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Updated: June 28th, 2017

Fundraising Strategy Tips: Give Donors Plenty of Ways to Help
Every professional fundraiser knows the power of integrated fundraising; it’s an essential part of every good fundraising strategy. Integrated fundraising is the coordination of specific tactics to reach a fundraising goal. In short, it means you give people lots of different ways to give so you can raise even more money.

An Integrated Fundraising Strategy for a Gala
Take a fundraising event like a gala. The first thing you do for a gala is sell tickets, right? But that’s not the only way you can raise money.

  • Because you’ll have lots of people at the event you can sell sponsorships to companies who want to be seen at the event.
  • Because your guests need something to do before the dinner, you have a silent auction.
  • Because you have a great group of wealthy people attending the event, you get some expensive items donated like a car or a trip, which go to the highest bidders of your live auction.

The point of an integrated fundraising strategy is to never miss a chance to raise money.
If you held a gala and only sold tickets you’d be leaving a lot of money in people’s pockets that could have gone to your cause. That’s a fundraising no-no and would get a professional fundraiser fired!

How Can an Individual Create an Integrated Fundraising Strategy?
You don’t have to be a professional to tap the power of an integrated fundraising strategy. But you do need to think strategically about your fundraising objectives.

Take the example of a fundraiser for Whitney Hardy. On February 20th, Whitney was hit by a car while running. When she should have been out skiing with her boyfriend Dan or scouting out sites for their wedding, instead Whitney was fighting for her life.

Whitney has a long road to recovery. But she’s not traveling it alone. Her friends launched a fundraiser to cover the expenses of her rehabilitation. To date, they’ve raised nearly $75,000 on GiveForward.

But Whitney’s supporters didn’t stop with one online fundraiser; they employed an integrated fundraising strategy that allowed multiple ways for people to learn and donate to the cause.

They launched a Booster campaign to maximize their fundraising potential. By creating a custom neon t-shirt with #FightHardy on the front and back they were able to raise an additional $4,610 to aid Whitney’s recovery.

In addition to raising more money, integrating an online Booster t-shirt campaign can:

1. Give people another way to support the effort. What happened to Whitney was tragic, and friends, family and co-workers wanted to help in every way possible. The custom Booster t-shirt was another way for people to show their support for Whitney’s recovery, both on and offline.
Emily O’Donnell who witnessed the accident and stayed with Whitney until emergency crews arrived, bought a Booster t-shirt to show her continued concern for Whitney’s welfare. “I am happy to hear her daily improvement,” Emily wrote on Whitney’s Booster campaign page, “and wish her a full and quick recovery!” People have big hearts. Make sure your fundraiser is as big as their desire to help.

2. Give your events a unified theme. In addition to an online Booster campaign, supporters have also launched a series of fundraisers across the country called the “Friends of #FightHardy Event Series.”

You can check out some great pictures from these fundraisers on the #FightHardy Facebook page.

Here’s something you can’t miss in the photos: Booster’s neon #FightHardy tees, which is being sold at events to raise more money and build awareness.
Regardless of the fundraiser, audience or location, a custom Booster t-shirt shows the world why everyone is there.

3. Enhance awareness of the fundraiser. Whitney has some smart friends and family members, because using the hashtag – #FightHardy – as a battle cry was a brilliant move.

All the major social networks, including Facebook, use hashtags to track keywords and topics.

Including a hashtag on your custom Booster t-shirt is a great offline tool to drive supporters online where you can educate them about your campaign. These new supporters, in turn, make a donation, buy a t-shirt and repeat the cycle with others.

Booster custom t-shirts drive online engagements through offline means and help you generate more awareness for your cause and raise more money.

Combined with a hashtag, t-shirts are perfect advertising for Millennials who love social networks as much as they love to give back.

The #FightHardy team is working hard to get Whitney on her feet by delivering a one-two punch that people can’t resist. Their integrated fundraising strategy demonstrates that you as an individual or professional fundraiser can exceed your fundraising goals by just allowing others multiple ways to give to your cause.

To create your integrated fundraising strategy, you’ll need to plan well in advance. This checklist resource can help you map out your campaign or fundraising event from start to finish.

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