Raise More By Spending More

Hear about the story of Goodwill, why your giving matters, and how you can take what they’ve learned and use it to impact your event. Shannon from Goodwill joins us in the studio.

Shannon, the director of Philanthropy.

What is goodwill, what is easter seals?

For goodwill, we are a member of goodwill international incorporated , across the whole world. For easter seals we are an affiliate. The difference is GW, most people know us through our stores, we collect your stuff and sell it for revenue. The original model was started by Edgar, he went around to wealthy people and knocked on their doors and asked if they had old broken stuff. He took people that were poor in his church and taught them how to fix it for revenue. He used the revenue to help lift them out of poverty, that is still our model, we don’t do the fixing stuff anymore. Our CEO likes to say if you’ve been to one goodwill you’ve been to goodwill. Ours might me different from those across the nation but still the same concept. 

Is it a division of the national, funded by or connected?

Being a member you do get some support through GW, mostly through the retail stores. We get some marketing support, you’ve probably heard our ads, “Take me to Goodwill”. 

Before envelopes were self-sealing, you had to seal them, so Easter Seals started by sending those so they could seal the envelope so people would know they gave to ES. It was the first marketing campaign in a way. They do a lot of advocacy work around vets, people with autism, and people with disabilities. 

Tell us about what you do?

GW is an interesting organization. We have this massive retail side that people are familiar with. People are confused why we are collecting donations. 

Before we started recording we talked about the investment in the event.

This was our 12th year of our event.  When it started it was the idea of friend-raiser. Sometimes people take that idea and forget about the fund. You have to tell the people to come and bring your wallets. It’s ok to say we are having a fundraiser and expect you to bring people that will bring money. When they first started they didn’t really identify what this event was going to be. Kind of staff appreciation, kind of inviting partners and they didn’t make an ask, just hoped people might want to give.  That never works. Hope is never a strategy!  After a few years people felt more comfortable with it being a fundraiser. About three years ago was the first time we put on the invitation signature fundraiser event. 

We are seeing a lot of changes in the non profit fundraisers, what is the mentality you are using when approaching the growth, how are you keeping your mindset in tune with the investing and growth?

You have to know what you’re telling them that you can back it up. What we did was hiring an outside agency to do some donor focus groups. We knew what they were looking for.

  1. Education
  2. Mission connection
  3. Community

We have three events and know the three important things and each event focuses on each one.  This event is the mission event, everything is mission focused and we don’t need to muddy the water with the other things. I can go to leadership and say this is what we know about our audience. 


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