I write a lot about organizing your home, your time and doing so to reduce your stress, and have your life run more smoothly. But lately I have been struck by another type of organizing: Organizing for a Cause.
Talk about motivation. When a group of people get together for a common cause, magical things happen. Events run smoothly and everyone leaves happy. I have seen it happen many times over the last year. Let me give you some examples of organizations who have organized for a cause and why I believe they were able to reach their goals.
JDRF – Every year since 1996, my family has participated in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundations’ Walk for the Cure. It is held across the country in October. The amazing thing about this organization is that 93 cents on every dollar donated actually goes toward research for finding a cure for Diabetes. The next time you get a phone call from a charity, ask them what percentage goes towards the goal. They usually tell you “No less than 15%” At that point I say “no” and hang up. That means if I give them $100, the charity really gets $15. With JDRF it would be $93. And their goal is clear. They run efficiently because they depend on volunteers heavily. They also do the same type of fundraising each year which makes it easy to have the same volunteers and improve efficiency each time. Local news personal and celebrities also get involved to help publicize their events. This charity gets an A for efficiency in my book.
Relay for Life – I just participated in this fun event last Saturday. It was a 24 hour relay walk for the American Cancer Society. These walks also take place in several local communities across the country. Although I wish the turnout was higher, what makes this event successful is the fun and emotional aspect of honoring not only those living with cancer, but recognizing “in memoriam” those who have not beaten this awful disease, and those who are often forgotten, the caretakers. I was walking with people who represented all three groups. My daughter and her friends camped out all night in memoriam for a friend who recently died. They lit luminaries, sang songs and reminisced about the good times they all shared. What a wonderful tribute and not to mention a fun camp out! Each hour there is a theme and the hosts of the walk play trivia games with the walkers just to keep things lively. I have no doubt my daughter’s group will be back next year. This charity gets an A for appealing to the emotional side of a cause.
City Team Ministries – This is another efficiently run shelter and outreach program in the Philadelphia area. Their goal is to provide basic needs for people who are living on the streets. Homeless men are giving a place to stay, food to eat and spiritual counseling if they would like it. The center also has an outreach to local mothers and babies who are in desperate need of supplies. In one 2 hour luncheon this amazing team raised over $100,000. That is because they target an audience who is willing and able to give generously, they supply them with a nice event – usually golf, silent auction, or a luncheon. And then they appeal to their sense of community by having the benefactors themselves speak to what City Team has given them. I give City Team an A for targeting the right audience.
Soles4Souls – Last year the National Association of Professional Organizers was involved with a charity challenge to collect the most shoes for the needy. We are a competitive bunch so needless to say many chapters across the country got busy and collected over 168,000 pairs of shoes for the needy. What I love about this charity is its simplicity. They collect one type of item and deliver them directly to the people in need. They were smart to challenge an aggressive bunch of organizers to do their collecting for them. As a prize the members of NAPO who collected the most get to take a trip to Haiti to see the fruits of their labor first hand. I give this charity an A for simplicity and focus.
So you can see that when a cause is emotional, when the right people are approached and asked to help and the situation for the fund-raising is appropriate & fun, the group will succeed in their cause. I find that my clients are more willing to give up their abundance when it is going to a worthy cause. I’d love to hear about what other charities are organized and efficient, so leave a comment!