Community Living Burlington is a wonderful Canadian organization in Burlington, Ontario which provides services and support to children and adults who have developmental disabilities.
It offers a wide range of services including:
- Shared home environments;
- Day programs for adults, which range from employment services to life skills training and preschool integration services;
- Family support;
- Education and advocacy.
Community Living Burlington in Ontario was an early adopter of our gift card fundraiser – they signed up in 2008 – and has met with huge success and continues to impress.
Emily Huang, Manager of Fundraising / Volunteers at Community Living Burlington (CLB) describes fundraising as a crucial part of what they can do and how they can help their community. Emily explains, “100% of our fundraising dollars go towards day programs or services that are provided to the people that we support. We need raise funds for special projects such as purchasing wheelchair accessible vans, or for workplace safety improvements for the people in our group homes. We also host three fundraising events per year to increase awareness.”
FundScrip’s gift card fundraiser is a great fit for CLB because it enables them to leverage what they are already purchasing and return those earnings to their services and initiatives. By fundraising this way and buying everyday household essentials, CLB is able to provide even more opportunities for the people that they support.
“We have 26 group homes in our organization; and each home supports 4-5 individuals. Community Living Burlington provides 24-hour support and care and that means there is always a need for groceries and supplies in the homes for renovations. It’s been so great so far; we’ve been able to purchase various supplies for the homes and have raised quite a lot of money through FundScrip over the last five years.”
Emily adds, “We’ve hardly done anything and we’ve managed to raise $52,000. The great thing about FundScrip is that we would be spending all of that money anyways. It’s really incredible!”
Emily describes how CLB’s FundScrip campaign contrasts from other groups, “We don’t use FundScrip the way other groups would – like say – high schools or elementary schools use it. They try to appeal to outside families to support them by purchasing gift cards regularly. At Community Living Burlington , we only go to external families once a year – for Christmas. Our external families still have the opportunity to support us through our FundScrip program – but not many people take advantage of that.”
Not surprising that Emily highly recommends FundScrip to all community groups similar to Community Living organizations across Canada, because they too offer the same kinds of programs and activities and also require groceries and gas cards.
“It’s benefited us so much and I think that it could benefit a lot of charitable organizations. It’s such an incredibly easy fundraising initiative, it’s also a consistent from of fundraising for us and it’s very efficient – [We] really like it!”
While most Administrators have no problems convincing supporters to buy gift cards to support their cause on a regular basis, some are not so lucky.
So, what can you do to ensure that your supporters purchase gift cards on a regular and consistent basis in support of your fundraising goal?
The answer to this question is not entirely clear-cut because many factors may be at play. However, one of the most crucial elements of any successful FundScrip program is an enthusiastic Group Administrator. If an administrator is keen about the program [committed to the fundraiser] then that keenness will be most certainly passed on to their supporters by extension. If your heart isn’t in it, then that will show. Basically, if you don’t really care – why should your Supporters?
So, you are “all in”, eh? Great! FundScrip makes the next steps easy by providing its Group Administrators with many tools through its Program Manager System and Ordering website.
Here are a few of them:
- Recurring Orders (initiated by Supporter from their Profile)
Some supporters who, despite their best intentions, forget to order with any regularity can benefit from this handy “set it and forget it” feature.
- Administrator Library (available to the Group Administrator in the Program Manager)
The Library is loaded with useful documents which provide advice and strategies to help you manage our gift card fundraiser.
- Fundrazr Group Administrator Blog (you are here!) Our blog is filled with interviews, tips, strategies and more – go ahead, explore and see for yourself!
- Monthly Promotions (available to the Group Administrator from the Library in the Program Manager)
Three participating retailers are featured every month with increased earnings, which can help motivate your Supporters to purchase on an on-going basis.
- Group Broadcast (available to Group Administrator running an Online or Combo Program from the Program Manager)
This feature is an excellent way to send your Supporters news about your campaign which helps create a better sense of community and achievement as the goal gets closer.
Another fundamental element to success is communication. Expecting that your supporters will just “get what your doing” with little or no interaction with you isn’t realistic.
Successful communication of your FundScrip campaign can be accomplished through:
- Email campaigns
- Presence at events
- Paper Order Forms
- Website page
- Blog posts
- Social media groups
It’s truly a team effort! Fuel the relationship with your supporters with commitment and they will fuel you with participation. There is no room for half-hearted fundraising efforts on either side – it’s all the way or none of the way.
Where do you stand? Truly committed or merely interested in your group’s fundraiser?
We know it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things after taking a break from fundraising over the holidays.
As a FundScrip Group Administrator, you probably know that January can seem to be more of an uphill climb in terms of motivating your fundraising supporters, especially if you compare it to the seemingly effortless earnings of November and December.
However, January is an outstanding month for FundScrip Group Administrators to promote two of the most publicized and hyped events of the year – superbowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day.
- FundScrip participating retailers related to party foods like M&M or Subway or even grocery stores like Metro, Loblaws or Safeway
- FundScrip participating retailers related to party favors and decorations such as Giant Tiger, Zellers, or Shoppers Drug Mart.
- FundScrip participating retailers related to restaurants likely to have game night events such as, Earls, Boston Pizza, The Keg or Jack Astor’s.
Here are some gift card suggestions you should promote to your Supporters for Valentine’s Day:
- FundScrip participating retailers related to chocolate like Laura Secord and Shopper Drug Mart.
- FundScrip particpating retailers related to specialty gifts such as WaySpa, Fruits & Passion, The Body Shop and La Senza or la Vie en Rose.
- FundScrip participating retailers related to travel like Marriott, Best Western or Fairmont Hotels as well as Sears Travel.
- FundScrip participating retailers related to restaurants such as, Joey Restaurants, Moxie’s or Milestones.
The possibilities are quite endless – it’s up to you to assess your supporters and see which of these fundraising ideas could work best for your group.
Let the planning begin!