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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Request For Ideas (and White on White)

Question for the day: How can nonprofit organizations--good causes we all want to help--support rather than undermine local businesses in their fund-raising activities? Please do not answer this question with a question. I am soliciting serious ideas, and I promise, in return, that my next post will be light reading, heavy on images. Here are a few more right now, just so you know you can count on me.


Raph G. Neckmann said...

My immediate thought would be to get together with the nonprofit organisation and plan a joint event that benefits both of you. There will probably be examples of this on the web.

Love the photos, especially the beautiful compositions that are almost abstract.

Dawn said...

Good idea...the joint benefit thing. Maybe do an open house during an evening, serve wine and little finger food (or hot cider and chili!) and have the non profit provide graphs/charts/photos/info about their work...piano music playing in the background? Now I'm rambling...charge admission? The admission goes to the nonprofit and you get additional people that visit your business? Hmmm.....

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks for the comments and ideas. I'll be hoping to get more. Right now I'm thinking that the first thing to do, even before planning events, is to go to the nonprofits and explain to them that we are interdependent. I don't think they see that. They see "supporting businesses" as supporting individual businesses and nothing more. They forget the multiplier effect (if they've ever thought about it), they forget the tax base that supports school and library, and obviously they forget all the times they come to businesses hat in hand. So, yes, they need to be educated, and then we need to work TOGETHER, because community survival is not about EITHER supporting nonprofits OR supporting businesses but about keeping both healthy and mutually supportive.

I'm a little stuck on graphics for my presentation of these ideas. Have looked around online without finding what I want.

Glad you like the abstract photo, Raph. You mean the one that is mostly lines? That scene reminded me of St.-Exupery's drawing of desert dunes in THE LITTLE PRINCE.

Dawn, we actually did one event of the nature you describe. People loved the wine and food! We did not charge admission, however, and the nonprofit displaying at the bookstore/gallery lost money on the event. But I appreciate ALL ideas and thoughts on this burning issue! Graphs, charts? That's just what I need!!!

Going Native said...

I've worked with a few nonprofit organizations downstate (mostly schools). We had one event where a shop owner in Birmingham opened her store during off hours and we (nonprofit organization) got 10% of the sale. If the nonprofit has an auction, offer a basket with a book and a gift certificate to the store so the person needs to go into the store. I wonder if your husband can have a 'show' at your store for a nonprofit. A portion of his profit goes to the nonprofit and people may also buy a book (or two). On the NPR web site, there book selections have links to local independent book shops where you can purchase a book. Maybe you can set up a link on a nonprofit's web site.

P. J. Grath said...

Mary, thanks for all these good ideas! Each one deserves consideration. There are so many possibilities, aren't there?

I'll be putting up a new post this morning but hope a few other people find their way to this one and leave more ideas.

Gerry` said...

Depends on what the nonprofit does, and what kinds of businesses are in the locale.

Let's say there's a little theatre group in town - members could do a dramatic reading at a bookstore, with a percentage of the evening's sales to go to the theatre group - and the bookstore could be an outlet for ticket sales.

A clothing store, wine shop and community orchestra could collaborate on a very nice fashion show/wine tasting, with music provided by the orchestra. Either sell tickets to the benefit soiree or do the percentage-of-sales thing.

A nonprofit that wants to raise funds for scholarships could provide holiday gift wrapping services at stores or at a central location in a shopping district, like a town hall or church social hall or library meeting room.

Similarly, kids who want to raise money for new band uniforms could babysit for shoppers at a central location.

A youth group trying to raise funds could work with a paint store to do house-washes or deck-washes instead of carwashes. (OK, that's a summertime idea.)

A store or a whole downtown could "adopt" a nonprofit for a month - donate a percentage of profits, put up a collection jar where customers can offer support, create displays with relevant themes.

Each store could adopt one nonprofit that was a good match. (A bakery and a culinary arts program, a hardware store and a program to do home repairs for seniors, a bookstore and the library children's room.)

Everyone in the Elk Rapids trading area knows about the Giving Tree at the Village Market. People choose a tag and shop for a child's wish list (which is often a need list). The Village Market delivers the gifts and contributes itself, making the whole operation anonymous, which is nice.

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, you are a POWERHOUSE of ideas!!! I especially like your point about partnership projects being specific to appropriate businesses and nonprofits. Thank you so much!

P. J. Grath said...

It's been good to think through these challenges, but I shouldn't even put that in the past tense, as ideas are still percolating and will, I hope, continue to do so....