New resource – LinkedIn’s volunteer marketplace

As you probably know by now, LinkedIn (which used to bill itself with some paraphrase of “like Facebook, but for the professional you” – which is not too bad a comparison to this day) has just launched a volunteer marketplace to help connect organizations with volunteer openings to people who want to add volunteer experience to their resume.

Thankfully, it’s not free.  It’s close enough, from a general perspective – they’re only charging 10% of what they charge businesses to post a job listing, which puts it just under $20.  But hopefully that little bitty bit of money is enough to make organizations ask themselves: is this a good idea for us?  (It’s amazing how little money it takes to trigger that momentary hesitation and introspection for people!)

So…is this something that’s right for you? Read more

Back to School Week – Services Auction

Sometimes, school fundraisers are about more than raising some money.  Even in communities where it would be very easy for every parent to write a check for a couple thousand dollars to fund the school play or class trip, sometimes holding fundraisers is a good idea for educational reasons: it teaches the kids to work  hard for what they want, to be resourceful and independent, and to appreciate the value of a dollar.

Service Auctions are my favorite recommendation for communities who want to get their KIDS to earn the money they need.

They’re also great for communities on the other end of the spectrum, where students and parents have virtually no cash resources.  (Genius!)  You just have to tweak your technique a little.  Here’s how.  Read more

Back to School Week – Who’s Your Target?

Here’s a challenge that many organizations have when it comes to choosing fundraising techniques: not spending enough time identifying their target donors for a given strategy.  For any initiative, you MUST be able to answer the question: who do you expect to give you money?

It matters, and when you don’t ask that question, you’re setting yourself up to damage morale, leave a bad taste in the mouth of community members without kids, and fall short of your goals.  Here’s a handy guide to help you figure out WHO you should be asking for money, and HOW you should do it.  These tips guaranteed* to make you sound super smart at the next PTO meeting.

*Development Shrink cannot be held responsible for your getting elected fundraising chair or given other leadership roles as the result of the wisdom contained in this post.

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Mailbag: All alone on the PTO

Q: I stupidly volunteered to be Parent Chair of the PTO at my son’s preschool.  No one else wanted to step up, so I figured I’d take on the Big Job, but everyone else would help out in little ways (I’m usually great at coordinating lots of people pitching in on a project so that everyone’s actually contributing.)  WRONG.  We had one meeting where it was like pulling teeth to get people to even suggest ideas for fundraisers, and now that we picked a couple to run with, I can’t get a single person to help me with ANYTHING.  I’m losing my mind and getting angry and feeling like a failure.  And I don’t know how to turn things around.  I’m not sure what my question is other than …HELP!!!

A: Any time you’re up for a job no one else wants, make sure you fully understand why you’re the only person in the running (especially when they flatter you tremendously by saying that you’re clearly the best person for the job and everyone else wants to remove themselves from the competition because of how spectacularly great you’ll be).   Read more