Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Name of the Game is FUNdraising!

The November meeting of the Oakland Chamber’s Non-Profit Roundtable was all about realizing the FUN in fundraising and communications. Co-chair Âna-Marie Jones began the meeting with Roundtable favorite Empowered Introduction – The Candy Calling Card.
Attendees were encouraged to select a piece of candy (Hershey’s kiss, peppermints, Butterfinger, gum, chocolate gold coins, etc.) from a basket, and then introduce themselves, and end with how this candy is reflective of their organization. The responses were varied, clever and apropos to their organizations. For example, a youth services representative selected a toffee candy, noting that his clients’ faced issues that are sometimes hard, chewy and difficult. Another participant picked a Baby Ruth, and shared that his organization was not like others – they were much nuttier!
The candy choices and answers were diverse, interesting and sometimes quite funny or insightful, and each one created a greater sense of the organization.
The exercise concluded with the encouragement to: 1) go through the candy aisle of a store, randomly select different pieces of candy, and think about how each could be used to help you share about your organization; 2) share the exercise at your next staff meeting to test everyone’s wit and knowledge, and flex their ability to craft an empowering story about your organization; and 3) remember that having a tasty treat to offer at events, or to leave as your calling card, is a great way to extend your reach and increase recognition!
Give It a Shot! As many organizations staff booths and tables at fairs and community events, a question to ask is what do you have that draws people to your table – giveaways, games, balloons? Roundtable members tried the “Give it a Shot” exercise in which each person describes how s/he would use a shot glass at a booth or tabling event. A health center representative chose pomegranate juice, because it gives you a boost, is good for you, and helps you live longer. Another representative would fill the shot glass with seeds, noting that seeds represent how a community can grow and also results in beautiful flowers. CARD staffers would use it to show how the smallest safety items can make the biggest difference.

An Opportunity for Nonprofits! Another fun opportunity for non-profits and individuals who want to support a specific organization is to participate in the annual Oakland Running Festival. Longtime Chamber member Gene Brtalik, the Festival’s coordinator, shared with attendees the fun of the festival and the options for using this all-community event to stay healthy, raise funds and engage the community.
Wouldn’t “We saw you at the Oakland Running Festival” be a great introduction?
The Festival offers several options in its 2014 Charity Affiliation Program, including promotional packages for groups of “fundraising” runners and staffing a water stop. Another option is to simply group along the festival route in branded apparel (t-shirts, for example) to cheer on the runners.
The Oakland Running Festival is organized by Corrigan Sports, will be held on Sunday, March 23, 2014, and anticipates having 10,000 runners. If you have more questions or want more information, go to the website ( or contact Gene Brtalik (

Making the Ask! In our Roundtable’s ongoing pursuit for participating organizations to continue to strengthen and increase their fundraising capacity, co-chair Jerry Metzker led attendees in an activity to increase individuals’ comfort level in asking for support. This activity divided participants in two groups. Each member of the first group was given a card with an “ask” for a small item on it. The members of the second group were each given an item (that was going to be requested). Then, both groups were instructed to match up. Sometimes the object-holder responded to the request with a question, such as “how will this help you?” or “how many do you need?” Through the asking individuals heard “no” frequently, they were not dissuaded from their task, because they knew that they were asking the wrong person for the wrong item. To achieve success—get what they wanted—they needed to ask the person that had what they were asking for. Asking for donations or funding requires a similar process. 

Most Memorable Fundraiser! We concluded the meeting with a facilitated conversation, where each member shared their personal or professional experiences of fundraisers that were particularly memorable.  While outstanding auctioneers were high on the list, fundraisers that seem organic to the organization were also very well-received. Ana-Marie shared about the fundraiser for Impact Bay Area ( where beyond the silent auction and a delicious food spread, graduates of the full-contact self-defense program shared how it had changed their lives, and several graduates were able to demonstrate their powerful skills – both physical and verbal – on the well-padded instructors.  Just witnessing the demonstrations left people feeling more confident.

* * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in our annual year-end celebration to enjoy each other’s hospitality, Jerry’s amazing cookies and saying farewell to 2013.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (


Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home