Friday, August 6, 2010

Giving Back on Your Big Day

When I tell people that I am an event planner, they often ask me if I do weddings. I emphatically respond that I won't touch those with a 10-foot pole. :) However, one of my dearest friends is engaged, and I am attending the engagement party this weekend. So in honor of her, I am going to blog about the Bridal Garden. My coworker got married a couple of years ago and first told me about the Bridal Garden then. I love the concept, and it is a great way to use what will be the biggest party of your life to raise funds and awareness for a good cause. The Bridal Garden sells donated dresses that have been used or unused and gives the money to local charities that support education for kids. Follow this link for more information:

On another note, if you are interested in guest-blogging, please contact me at jenniferEMcole at gmail dot com.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Brings Attention to South Africa through World Cup

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is using the World Cup to expose the plight of South Africans in the face of poverty through their blog. The blog will feature reflections regarding the past, present, and future of the communities were the games are being played for the duration of the tournament. It's exciting to think of how many more people will be exposed to this cause through the attention of the World Cup. This is yet another example of how events can help to change the world.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Adventures

Please excuse my long absence. I’ve been spending some time traveling and at events that have the potential to change the world.

On Sunday, June 6th I participated in Tour de Brooklyn, organized by Transportation Alternatives. Transportation Alternatives wants to make New Yorkers aware of the bicycle facilities that currently exist on the streets of this city, while calling for greater safety improvements. They also lobby for better biking conditions for New York City residents. Transportation Alternatives is in part to thank for many of the new bike lanes throughout Brooklyn. While Tour de Brooklyn is a bike tour through Brooklyn, it also gets the word out about this organization and it's cause.

I also attended the ninth annual Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Besides being a four-day showcase of musical acts, Bonnaroo raises attention about environmental issues such as composting, community gardens, and sustainable resources. Additionally, there is a section of Bonnaroo’s “Centeroo” (the main area where stages and vendors are) dedicated to nonprofit organizations. I had the pleasure of stopping at many of these tents (although there were so many tthat I was unable to stop at them all) including Oxfam, Defy Thirst, Hope Love Strength Foundation, Mountain Justice, Save Our Cumberland Mountains (a member of The Alliance for Appalachia).

Oxfam: Odds are that you’ve most likely already heard of Oxfam. Oxfam works to alleviate poverty around the world.

Defy Thirst: Based in Atlanta, they’ve been around for a year now. Defy Thirst works to make safe water available to all through cheap, efficient water filtration technology, by increasing awareness of the power clean water has to provide life, and by empowering the world to stand up, and Defy Thirst!

Hope Love Strength Foundation: The world’s leading rock n roll cancer foundation which builds awareness of global cancer needs, supports cancer centers around the world, and builds international marrow databases through the “get on the list campaign”. Through a simple q-tip swab of my cheek, I am now in the international marrow database.

Mountain Justice: Seeking to add to the growing anti-mountain top removal citizens movement, Mountain Justice contributes to grassroots organizing, public education, nonviolent civil disobedience and forms citizen action.

Save Our Cumberland Mountains: empowers Tennesseans to protect, defend, and improve the quality of life in their communities across the state by working for social, economic, and environmental justice for all.

In my conversation with Defy Thirst, they specifically mentioned that they were going to have a booth on the Warped Tour as well. Hope Love Strength Foundation mentioned that part of their mission is to be at concerts and festivals like Bonnaroo in order to gain awareness for their cause. I encourage nonprofits to try this idea. I was able to meet with several wonderful organizations and learn more about important causes of our time. Bonnaroo is a socially-conscious festival, focusing on environmentalism efforts and education. Many Bonnaroo patrons are socially-conscious people to begin with, so you have a great target-audience of people who want to come to your booth to learn more and take action.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Wednesday before Memorial Day until the Wednesday after Memorial Day is Fleet Week in New York City. I'm always inspired this time of year, as hundreds of military men and women converge on my city. I feel so blessed for the protection and safety we've had here, which I can't take for granted after being 4 blocks from the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. Their selfless service really inspires me to want to do good, which got me thinking. At the Memorial Day barbeque you are inevitably throwing or attending, why not have friends bring an item that will go in a care package to our troops? Just googling "Care Package for Soldiers" brought up tens of organizations that send care packages to the troops. One such nonprofit organization, Give 2 the Troops includes a list of most requested items, noting that food and entertainment items are always the on the top of the list. Obviously, my post is a little late for Memorial Day, but the idea can definitely be recycled for the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, or Thanksgiving. I think that this is a great way to really commemorate the meaning of a holiday that can sometimes be overlooked in our excitement to kick off the beginning of summer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I wonder if anyone will be using the Lost finale as a party fundraiser? Why not collect clothes, books, canned food while you are gathered to party tomorrow?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Inspiration Abounds

I had a great time at the AIDS Walk on Sunday. There were lots of different personalities, cheerleaders, drumlines, or salsa bands at different intervals on the walk. The best part for me was on a corner of a Harlem street with a DJ blasting Michael Jackson. People walking decided randomly to bust out into a dance break for a few minutes before joining the walk again, making me feel like I was in a musical. It was pretty awesome. Twice on my walk, people leaned out of their windows and banged on pots. The experience was both fun and inspiring. The event raised $5,717,610 and 45,000 people walked. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my campaign!

In other news, I read about the Robin Hood Foundation fundraising gala in Biz Bash. The event was held at the Javitz Center had 3,600 guests including Stevie Wonder, Sting, Brian Williams, and Jimmy Fallon. This event inspired me for two reasons. First, the pictures of the decor are amazing and extremely creative. Secondly, they raised a total of $87.8 million, a personal record. Great job! That's an amazing accomplishment, especially in a recession!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

AIDS Walk New York and Fundraising Walks

I've been busy busy busy with lots of events lately, hence my small hiatus from the blog.

A friend got me involved in this year's AIDS Walk New York. I remember always wanting to take part in college but never doing it for some reason or another (most likely because it falls at the end of finals). I sadly forgot about my desire to take part until my friend, Cassandra, and her sorority sister started a team for their sorority. If you're interested in making a contribution on my donation page, click here: My AIDS Walk Donation Page

I was so impressed by the AIDS Walk fundraising seminar. Believe it or not, this is the first fundraising walk that I've taken part in. I did attend a "kick-off" event for another organization's fundraising walk last fall. However, I did not take part in that campaign because I was in the midst of my annual birthday fundraiser for charity:water and thought my energy would be better spent on one fundraiser at a time. In any case, the other organization's kick off event was largely focused on how the organization uses the funds that are raised, and also participants' reasons for being involved. This was important, however, the AIDS Walk fundraising seminar gave more of a look at ways to raise funds. I was very impressed with the presentation which included a special focus on making sure that donors make use of their company's donation match. Handouts even included a pretty comprehensive list of corporations that do a donation match. The presentation also focused on ways to creatively fundraise through events. I loved this for obvious reasons, but also because of the fact that those who are involved in a fundraising walk clearly already want to be involved in an event for a cause. Therefore, why not help these same people to raise funds by having an event of their own! Very smart idea. In the folder of fundraising materials, they included 5 double-sided pages of event fundraising ideas. I was inspired as people at the seminar raised their hands to share fundraising events they've had in the past to support the AIDS Walk, including a brunch and a yard sale. Among some of the great ideas suggested in the handouts were a silent auction, guest bartending (ask a bar if you can bartend for a night and then give all of the tips to the AIDS Walk), pie smash (ask your supervisor if people can make a donation to smash a pie in his/her face), bake sale, ask a local restaurant to donate a portion of one evening's proceeds to the AIDS Walk, and more. Kudos to the AIDS Walk and GMHC for a great fundraising strategy!