News: A 'Causes' Application for Twitter, Free Online Auction Tools
A 'Causes' Application for Twitter
Right on the heels of Facebook's announcement that more than $10 million has been raised via its Causes site came the unveiling late last week of a similar application for Twitter.
Called TwitCause, the service — created by Experience Project and launched in partnership with The V Foundation — features a new cause each week on its Twitter page. TwitCause then encourages its Twitter followers to donate to the cause of the week and retweet information about each week's cause to their networks of followers. The retweets link individuals back to the site where they can donate money to the cause of the week via PayPal.
TwitCause followers can visit the TwitCause Web site to vote for the next cause of the week. Currently in the running for next cause of the week — which is selected every Thursday — are the Lance Armstrong Foundation (in first place with the most votes), the American Red Cross, Greenpeace and The Humane Society of the United States.
Followers also can send suggestions of organizations to feature by tweeting TwitCause, including the Twitter username for the nonprofit they are nominating preceded by the @ symbol.
Site Lets Nonprofits Hold Fundraising Auctions, Raffles for Free
IDonateToCharity.org is a Web site that offers nonprofits the ability to hold online fundraisers such as auctions and raffles free of charge.
The site, launched in 2008 and recently redesigned, offers three main fundraising options: Nonprofits can set up online fundraising storefronts to sell new or donated items; they can host charity auctions; and individuals can set up personal donation pages in lieu of gifts for weddings, etc., that benefit the charities of their choices.
Charities can list up to 50 items in their storefronts at any one time for free. Stores can be upgraded to allow 100 items for a fee of $4.95 a month.
Before setting up an IDonateToCharity site, St. Peter Lutheran Church in Greenwood Village, Colo., held a silent auction to fundraise for three summer mission trips for its high school youth. Securing all of the items to auction off, getting them all to the event and on display, and then making sure the auctioned items got to their rightful owners was a major feat, according to Youth Director Karen Dehmlow. In addition, Dehmlow says, each year there are always a handful of people who want to participate in the fundraiser but can't make it the night of the silent auction.
Holding the auction on IDonateToCharity.org allows people from anywhere to bid on items on an ongoing basis. As auction items are secured by the youths, Dehmlow adds them to the site.
The online raffle component of the site cuts out a lot of the hassle of traditional raffles, where all of the sold ticket stubs must be accounted for before the raffle drawing can take place. St. Peter’s has about 40 youths trying to sell a minimum of 40 tickets each; that's at least 1,600 ticket stubs that have to be arranged in numerical order before the drawing.
"I am dealing with high-school youths that have school, sports activities, church activities, social calendars, etc.," Dehmlow wrote in a letter to IDonateToCharity. "Consequently, there has been years that youths are bringing me their sold stubs hours before the drawing. One year we had to postpone the drawing because one youth forgot their stubs."
Tickets for raffles held on IDonateToCharity are sold online, so there is no sorting of ticket stubs; youth can sell tickets to anyone, regardless of geographic location; and the site randomly picks the winner and automatically sends a confirmation e-mail to ticket purchasers.
To learn more about the program, visit www.IDonateToCharity.org. Organizations interested in signing up for the program will need to fill out a form online. Once the organization's nonprofit status is verified — which, according to IDonateToCharity, is completed within 24 hours — it receives access to the site and is paired with an account manager who helps it get set up. Each charity gets its own URL that links directly to its storefront.