It Started as a Joke

A few weeks ago, when I was in a jovial mood, I thought it would be funny to start a conversation on Twitter about bad fundraising ideas.  I was trying to see how creative my cohort of nonprofit fundraisers could be, so I sent out a request to my friends asking them to suggest fictional bad ideas, and I used the PETA Foie Gras Festival as an example.  Obviously, if you know anything about the organization, they would never have such an event because they think that overfeeding a duck or goose to fatten its liver for the enjoyment of epicurean experience is wrong and unethical.

At first, I didn’t get many responses, but eventually I started getting some submissions.  I got suggestions for Tanning Day to raise money for Skin Cancer Prevention, a pub crawl to benefit Alcoholics Anonymous, a cigar sale to benefit a children’s hospital, a smoke-a-thon to end lung cancer, a casino night to benefit Gambler’s Anonymous, and a cause marketing campaign where 10% of the sales of deep fried food went to battling childhood obesity.  There were several other fictional events and ideas, but for some reason, Twitter has lost them.

Then, surprisingly, I got suggestions from people about fundraising efforts that actually took place.  One contributor mentioned a fundraising dinner for the American Heart Association that had prime rib, smothered potatoes, and cheesecake on the menu.  All of those items will clog your arteries in a New York minute.  Another mentioned a door knocking event in the middle of winter.  Someone else mentioned a concert event where the cost of the event nearly matched the money brought in. Talk about a bad return on investment.  And then another mentioned Komen’s questionable cause marketing partnerships like the KFC pink buckets of greasy fried chicken or a gun maker that made a special edition pink handgun.

Last spring, my friend and fellow blogger, Michael Rosen, posted this blog about another case where a group held an annual fundraising event that was at odds with its mission.  Many of his polled readers thought this was an inappropriate way to raise money for the organization’s cause.

When you are planning a fundraising event or partnering with a business for a cause marketing effort, spend some time thinking about what you are doing.  Will your event be something that fits with the mission of your organization or will it be counter productive to what your organization is trying to do?  Is the business partner someone whose product is or is not something in line with your mission?

Be creative with your fundraising efforts, but don’t end up as the butt of some fundraiser’s snarky attempt at humor.

https://i1.wp.com/www.fundchat.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/fundchat_partner_logo.jpg

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About greatergoodfundraising

Richard Freedlund has been active in the nonprofit sector in a number of ways, both professionally and as a volunteer. He is the founder of Greater Good Fundraising, a business that helps schools and organizations raise money for their programs while accomplishing something positive for the community. After living in Oregon for 27 years, he has returned to his hometown of Rockford, Illinois and hopes to make his mark on the nonprofit sector there. He is the father of a talented jazz musician and the son of philanthropic parents that continue to support multiple causes. To contact Richard for consulting, fundraising, or speaking opportunities, email greatergoodfundraising@gmail.com or reach him on Twitter.com @ggfundraise
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4 Responses to It Started as a Joke

  1. Feel free to share your own fictional or factual bad fundraising ideas.

  2. Betsy says:

    From: news
    Subject: From Susan G. Komen for the Cure
    To: bkc75510@sbcglobal.net
    Date: Friday, April 30, 2010, 6:28 PM

    Thank you for your email to Susan G. Komen for the Cure(r). We do appreciate
    you taking the time to tell us how you feel about our partnership with KFC.
    You should know that our partnership with KFC is designed at the core to
    educate millions of people we might not otherwise reach with breast health
    information – outreach that we consider critical to our mission to save lives
    and end breast cancer. We are reaching people with life-saving messages
    through KFC’s 5,300 restaurants (about 900 of them in communities not yet
    served by a Komen Affiliate), with information in the store, on the buckets
    and in advertising directing consumers to KFC’s bucketsforthecure.com
    website, with links to http://www.komen.org.

    Second, this partnership is helping generate millions in funding – a goal of
    $8.5 million to be raised in six weeks – to further the nearly $1.5 billion
    in research and community programs that Komen has already spent over the past
    30 years – programs that are literally saving people’s lives through better
    treatments, early detection and advocacy at the federal and state levels.
    Because of partners like this, our $500 million in research funding has paid
    enormous dividends – 98 percent five-year survival rates for cancers that
    haven’t spread from the breast and better and more effective treatments for
    late-stage breast cancer patients, Further, these partnerships have enabled
    us to invest $900 million in our communities, providing financial and medical
    support for women, particularly low-income women, who desperately need help
    gaining access to the medical care system.

    Some ask what we are doing in terms of prevention. About 10 percent – or $50
    million – of our research budget over the years has gone to prevention
    research. We’ll invest another $20 million of our $55-$60 million research
    grant program to prevention, and continue funding programs that educate women
    about their risks.

    We recognize that this partnership brings up a conversation about obesity and
    health related to cancer. Our partnership highlights the healthy options at
    KFC – grilled chicken and vegetables, for example. Ultimately, the decision
    to maintain a well-balanced diet lies in the hands of the consumer. KFC
    provides tools to make those choices, by providing a healthier choice menu at
    its restaurants and advice on its website on how consumers can limit fat and
    calorie consumption in its products.

    We hope that you will take a moment to visit the bucketsforthecure.com
    website to learn more about the partnership and see the stories of hope,
    education and empowerment being shared there.

    We appreciate your concern and thank you for sharing it with us.

    Very truly yours,

    Margo K. Lucero
    Director, Global Corporate Relations
    5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250 | Dallas, TX 72544
    1-877 GO KOMEN | http://www.komen.org

  3. Betsy says:

    I WAS NOT SENDING AN EMAIL TO KFC TO CONGRATULATE YOU. I THINK THIS MARKETING SCHEME IS DISGUSTING. THE IDEA THAT YOU USE WOMEN TO PROMOTE BREAST CANCER AND THINK YOU ARE DOING GOOD IS SAD FOR YOU AND THOSE THAT THINK THEY WILL BE HELPED. TO THINK OF ALL THE MILLIONS THAT HAVE BEEN DONATED FOR THE PAST 30 YEARS AND THERE IS NO CURE YET, MAKES ONE WONDER WHO BENEFITS ? I CAN ANSWER THAT, THE TOP PEOPLE AT KOMEN. MAKES MORE SENSE TO ME THAN IT BEING THE THOUSANDS THAT TURN TO THIS ORGANIZATION FOR HELP. ANYONE WITH A BRAIN KNOWS THAT SUSAN G KOMEN IS NOT LOOKING FOR A CURE, IT IS ALL ABOUT PROFIT. THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT WOMEN CAN DO TO PREVENT BREAST CANCER WITHOUT SUSAN KOMEN INVOLVED. I THINK IT IS APPALLING THAT YOU AND KOMEN EXPLOIT WOMEN FOR PROFIT THAT THEY WILL SEE NO BENEFIT FROM. PEOPLE WONDER WHY AMERICA IS FALLING APART. I WOULD NOT WALK INTO TO A KFC NOW. TO BE TOTALLY HONEST I HAVE NOT BEEN TO A KFC SINCE I BECAME AWARE OF HOW THE CHICKENS ARE USED. NOW THAT BRINGS TO MIND YOU MAY FEEL THE SAME ABOUT WOMEN.

  4. myersbowman says:

    I once had a woman from a nearby strip club offer to do a third party fundraiser (topless carwash) for the CHILDREN’s camp where I worked. Needless to I had to say no. Because.

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