Keeping the Faith
Beyond the popularity of the ornaments themselves, Rechtiene says a big key to the success of this campaign is the low overhead. The only cost is paying ChemArt to fulfill the requests, and getting a new design is as simple as taking a photograph of the window to be featured and sending it to ChemArt. ChemArt produces the design, the order is placed, word gets out and the ornaments fly off the shelves. What does Rechtiene credit for the ornament project’s success?
“The type of item it was helps. Some local businesses, instead of giving whatever they usually give to customers for Christmas, bought these and gave them away because it was also a souvenir of the city, so to speak,” she says. “Families started making collections. People give them to each one of their children every year, just like I do. Then they become collector items, and it just sold itself.”
And her advice to those out there looking for a way to boost their organizations’ fundraising?
“First of all you have to have the idea, and don’t hesitate to go to the powers that be and present it. If you’ve got a bright idea, put it out there,” she says.
Taking Direct Response to the Next (Online) Level
Salesian Missions (SMI) is a New Rochelle, N.Y.-based, Catholic organization founded by Don Bosco — a 19th-century priest, educator and writer who dedicated his life to the betterment and education of disadvantaged youths. Its mission is to teach young people various trades to find jobs and become self-sufficient. Like many nonprofit organizations, SMI built its fundraising chops with a strong direct-mail program. And like many nonprofits that were slow to adopting the online channel, it didn’t really have an online strategy.
This is a familiar story, and one that SMI knew it had to change as donors evolve in the 21st century.