Arrest your friends! It’s OK – it’s for charity

klebanoff relay courtesy.jpgMargaret Watson

Students were arrested by DPS as part of Jail and Bail, a prank Relay for Life used to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

At 11 a.m. last Saturday, Evan Smith ’09 awoke to a series of knocks on his bedroom door and a gruff voice: “DPS! Open up!” Smith opened his door to find two Department of Public Safety officers waiting for him.

“I answered the door in my bathrobe,” Smith said. “They told me I had to get dressed because they had to take me away.”

Luckily for Smith, he wasn’t really arrested. He was just a target of Jail and Bail, one of the latest pranks carried out by Brown’s Relay for Life committee, which organizes an overnight walk each year to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.

Jail and Bail “is an event where, if you give us five dollars and give us the location of a friend at some point on Saturday, we will have a DPS officer go and arrest them,” said Margaret Watson ’11, co-chair of Brown’s Relay For Life committee and a Herald senior business associate.

DPS officers presented all detainees with a warrant for their arrest and brought some to a “jail” in Wilson Hall 205, Watson said, where they had mug shots taken while wearing handcuffs. Other captives were released on the site of their arrest, after posting a $2 bail.

The committee decided to promote awareness for Relay for Life across campus through unusual fundraisers, as a sort of “publicity stunt,” Watson said.

“Part of the idea behind doing these fundraisers is to get the word out for Relay for Life and make sure people are signing up for teams,” she said.

The officers explained to the targets of Jail and Bail that they were not really under arrest, but a few people “got really scared,” Watson said. “Once we explained everything, they were fine, though.”

Akira Rattenbury, who was visiting friends at Brown, witnessed the arrest of his friend Adam Epstein ’09 and was “definitely scared” by the prank.

“We had hosted a party the night before, and I was lying on the couch, in and out of sleep, and I woke up and looked up to see police out the window,” Rattenbury said. “I just thought, ‘Uh oh. What did we do last night?’”

According to Campus Police Officer Elayna Boucher and Security Officer Jarret D’Amato, targets of the prank were all “good sports,” but some were disconcerted at first.

The most disoriented were “the ones who had a long night last night,” D’Amato said. “They look at the arrest warrant and say, ‘Okay, I’m still confused.’”

Some targets of the Jail and Bail prank were not scared upon arrest, because they were aware of the fundraising effort.

When Ethan Risom ’10 was arrested in his room in New Dorm, he said he was a “little confused at first,” but, he added, “One of my friends from Relay for Life was with (the DPS officers), so I figured it out pretty quickly.”

Some victims of the prank decided to get even with their friends by issuing a “counter-warrant,” Watson said. She added that, in total, DPS officers “arrested” about 30 people Saturday.

Brown’s Relay for Life committee also organized another “out of the box” fundraiser last week, Watson said, when it “chicken cooped” 16 rooms on campus.

The committee thought it would be “funny and hilarious” to charge students $5 to cover the doors to their friends’ rooms in duct tape, Watson said.

“People got really excited about it,” Watson said. “We had a table in the mail room, and people signed up.”

Roxanne Knapp ’11, one of the targets of the chicken cooping prank, said she was alarmed when she heard strange noises outside her door late at night.

“I heard creepy ripping noises, and we’ve had people try to get in our door before drunkenly, so I was really creeped out,” Knapp said.

She was relieved when she opened her door and found members of the Relay for Life committee covering her door frame in tape.

When she woke up the next day, Knapp had to “army crawl” under her tape-covered doorway to leave her room, she said.

The committee’s co-chairs – Watson, Greg Young ’11 and Dominique Ferraro ’11 – came up with their “crazy fundraising ideas” at a Relay for Life summit last November, Watson said. At the convention, the committee learned that the chicken cooping and Jail and Bail are common fundraisers for other Relay for Life chapters.

Participants in the relay, set to take place April 10 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., form 8- to 15-person teams, which then collect donations.

Past Relay for Life events at Brown have raised over $100,000, Watson said.


Fundraising easy as pie

easy fundraisingMany of life’s little wrinkles can be rolled out along with a pie crust.

Just ask Phyllis Straut, the Women’s Association president at Harrisena Community Church in Queensbury, who seems to have been cast in the role of chief crust maker for the summer pie sale.

“We definitely get to know each other better over pie making. We share things about our kids or our grandkids. Sometimes we even discuss church events,” Straut said. “We’ll talk about Obama or the terrible floods. We just share.”

The annual pie sale, held every Independence Day weekend at the Cleverdale Country Store, is not only a chief fundraiser but also an opportunity for the ladies of the congregation to bond over a few simple ingredients.

The pie sale cements long-time relationships and helps to form new ones.

“You go to church, you sit in your pew, you go through the service. You have coffee hour, but you don’t have the expansion of seeing everybody. Here in the kitchen, it’s small enough that you can talk around and share. It’s been fun,” Straut said.

People can sometimes identify who made a certain pie just by looking at the style of the crust, according to Straut, since each woman brings to the table her own skills passed down from mothers and grandmothers.

On a summer morning near the July 4 holiday, the pie-baking brigade went into action in the church’s kitchen layering pans with pie crust and filling.

Come early afternoon, the baked, cooled pies were boxed and ready to be transported early the next morning.

The $15 pies with fillings of berry, cherry, pecan, apple and pumpkin are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis and are the “upper crust” among a variety of other baked goods.

Straut said she always sends happy buyers off with the instruction to pop the pie in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes to crisp the crust so it tastes fresh.

The Harrisena church July bake sale has been around for many years and was a staple under the leadership of former Women’s Association President Toni Higgins, who died a few years ago. Pies have become the main focus since Straut took over.

“They’re the best sellers. People are not apt to make them themselves,” she said.

The lucrative fundraiser brings in about $800, with the money going toward emergencies in the church.

“Like all other organizations that I have seen, the churches are hurting financially. People aren’t able to keep their pledges up, and this old church is needing repairs. The costly things we at least help with,” she said.

The pie bakers can show off their culinary talent at more than just the Independence Day weekend event, however.

During the third week of July, they contribute their favorite recipes to the summer barbecue, and at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Women’s Association takes advance orders for pies.

Straut said the group has even begun buying pie tins and boxes for their sales, so the goods are uniform in size and have a professional flair.

Of course, the end result is just as satisfying as a slice of pie a la mode.

“It’s exciting to us to see the excitement in the customer’s face – ‘Oh, a homemade pie!’ – and their willingness to support us,” Straut said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a complaint.”

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The Most Powerful Group of Political Donors in America

If you were asked to name the most powerful political fundraising industry in the U.S., who would you list?

Big Oil?

Big Pharma?

Attorneys? Defense contractors?

We can almost guarantee that you’d never guess what profession contributed more to House and Senate candidates in 2010 than any other: Retirees.

Individuals who labeled themselves as “retired” contributed almost $279 million to federal candidates in 2008 and over $159 million in 2010. By comparison, the next-largest industry, lawyers and law firms, donated $234 million in 2008 and almost $138 million in 2010.

Political fundraising has turned into a multibillion-dollar industry. And it’s no secret why: In a country with an increasing number of special interests vying for the favor of only 100 senators and 435 representatives, the stakes have never been higher.

We’ve used information gathered by The Center for Responsive Politics to list the top-20 industries by amount donated to federal elections (as of April 25, 2011), along with an approximation of which party the industry tends to lean toward:



Unique fundraiser looks to help flush away cancer

AUSTIN, Minn — A unique fundraiser has people trying to help flush away cancer.

The Mower County 4-H Ambassadors are holding their Second Annual Purple Potty Fundraiser this year.

When people make a donation to the Relay For Life, they can have the purple potty put on someone’s lawn.

Then people can pay certain amounts of money to have it removed, move it to another location or be told who placed it on their property.

Organizers say they have had good feedback on the program.

“We’ve gotten a lot of complements about how creative it was,” Mower County 4-H Ambassador Cassandra Hanson said. “The person who gave us this idea she said she’s heard it worked in other counties and this is the first time someone has done it in this county.”

All the proceeds will go to the Relay For Life and last year’s fundraiser raised over one thousand dollars.

Be Bold, Be Bald! Cancer Fundraiser

Small Army for a Cause announced that it has opened registration for its 3rd annual nationwide fundraiser for cancer charities, Be Bold, Be Bald! being held on October 21.

Unlike most fundraisers that are limited by physical requirements, time constraints or geographical borders, participants in Be Bold, Be Bold! simply need to wear a bald cap for an entire day to honor cancer survivors, and raise money for their act.

“Wearing a bald cap may see like a simple thing to do, but it is more challenging than most expect. It’s not a physical challenge, but a vanity challenge. One that many cancer survivors courageously endure without choice,” says Jeff Freedman, founder of the event. “In a small way, this bold move puts participants in the shoes of cancer survivors for one day, and is truly an eye opening experience for those that take part.”

More than 2,500 people across the United States have participated in the event, many as part of student, corporate or organization teams. In two years, the event has raised more than $250,000. For a small participation fee, participants receive a free bald cap to wear on the day of the event, t-shirt and a variety of online and off-line fundraising tools, including personal online fundraising pages for each individual participant and team. When registering for the event, each participant is able to identify the charity to which his/her net fundraising proceeds will benefit. In previous years, proceeds benefitted The Jimmy Fund, LIVESTRONG®, The Prostate Cancer Foundation, The Susan Love Research Foundation, and The International Multiple Myeloma Foundation. This year, the event proceeds will help even more organizations all around the country, to help them achieve their unique missions and unite in this one-day nationwide event.

Participant registration is now open on the event website, An early-bird registration fee of $15 is available until August 15, 2011 at which time the fee will increase to $20. Special registration packages are also available for student organizations who would like to participate in the event.

Be Bold, Be Bald! is managed by Small Army for a Cause, a 501c3 organization committed to helping raise awareness and funds for medical-related causes. Small Army for a Cause was founded in 2008 by Boston Advertising Agency, Small Army, in honor of its co-founder, Mike Connell, a 2-time cancer survivor who lost his life to the disease in November 2007.


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Police group starts new fundraiser

By Courtney Flynn,Associate Editor

The local Fraternal Order of the Police have introduced a new fundraising effort to help support their causes.

This fundraising effort takes place at 9:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of every month at Green Street Tavern in New Baltimore, and the name of the game is Jack of Spades.

Those interested can purchase a raffle ticket for $1. Then, on that Tuesday, four different names will be pulled from a bin. Whoever has their name drawn automatically wins $50, but they also have a chance to win a lot more.

Once a person’s name is called they then have the chance to pick one of 54 envelopes. Each envelope contains one of 54 cards; this deck includes both jokers. If the person picks a joker they win another $50; if they pick the jack of spades, though, they win 60 percent of the pot.

“It was kind of my brainstorm to do this,” New Baltimore Mayor Larry Smith, who also serves as the FOP Lodge 112 president, said.

He said he heard about the Jack of Spades fundraising format from a neighboring community and thought it might work well for the mission of the local FOP.

Bill Gray, the president of the FOP Associates 112 Lodge, said the group has many different fundraising efforts, including their most profitable – a September golf tournament, to support their mission of helping others.

“We’re hoping the Jack of Spades beats that out though,” he said of the golf tournament.

Gray said the group has only held one Jack of Spades raffle thus far, and ticket sales brought in about $1,000. Gray and Smith said they have heard of jackpots reaching the $100,000 range. This may be possible for this jackpot as long as the Jack of Spades wasn’t picked at the last meeting.

“Whatever we sell now continues to make the jackpot grow,” Smith said.

While winning money is exciting for most, Gray said what really is important about the Jack of Spades fundraiser is helping others. From the annual Cops and Kids Christmas shopping spree to providing food, clothing and other essentials to area families, Gray said all they want to do is help.

“We try to give to the needy families in the area and we try to keep it in Macomb County,” he said.

Contact Courtney Flynn at (586) 716-8100, ext. 301 or

Schools pay for murals through unique fundraiser

MARIETTA, Ga. – In the cafeteria at Hightower Trail Middle School, a group of cheerleaders plays a game of discovery.


“Mine is over here!”

“And, mine is right there!”

Their excitement is over seeing their names hidden in a mural on one of the cafeteria’s walls.

“It’s kind of cool to say my name is in Venice, Italy,” said student Catherine Sauer.

The mural is so vivid it feels as though you could actually sail on a gondola along one of the canals, right in the middle of Hightower Trail’s lunchroom.

“I try to make conversation pieces for kids,” said Scott McIntyre, owner of Mural Press and the artist who creates the wonderful, realistic works of art.

McIntyre’s artistry brings a vibrancy to school that allows learning to take place not just inside the walls, but on the walls - throughout the building.”It makes the school come alive,” said Dr. Hilda Watkins, Principal at Hightower Trail Middle School. “We try to tie it in to either our history or social studies or something.” Scott began doing school murals in 1996 and has put them in nearly three dozen schools, mostly in Cobb County. 

Last year, word of his talent reached the Middle East and the Jordan River Foundation.

“I spent 8 weeks in Amman, Jordan working with students in a little park, working on a mural commissioned by the Jordon River Foundation,” McIntrye said.

Back in Georgia, the schools pay for Scott’s artwork through a fundraising method he created.

“So, we came up with idea, sort of like the Olympic bricks at (Centennial) Olympic Park,” McIntrye said.

Parents pay to have their kids’ names painted into the murals.

“With a $25 small and generous donation, you can make this happen,” said PTA Co-President Pati Morris.

“At some schools, so much money comes in, after Scott’s paid, the PTA gets the rest. Best of all, the students truly feel a part of their school.

“If we ever come back to visit, we can be like our name’s on the wall. Yeah. That would be pretty cool,” said Catherine.


Social Media Assists Fundraising Efforts, How?

Just today we brought you news about how popular social networking siteshave become, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. We know that they are a fantastic way for you to keep in touch with loved ones and of course friends, upload and share photos, follow your favorite celebrity or even just finding that all important job vacancy.

But have we ever stopped to wonder the good that the sites have and/or could be in relation to fundraising efforts. For example, in times of past earthquakes and tsunami’s such as the huge one that hit Japan recently, many took to Facebook and Twitter to find loved ones, they were used to help those without homesraise funds and so on.

What we are leading up to, is a new document produced by the Institute of Fundraisingand global telecommunications service BT. The new guide to fundraising will give you tips particularly when using the two most popular sites listed directly above.

For example just basic tips on Twitter could be the inclusion of using hashtags “marathon” or “charity” to help access important information, or on Facebook it could just be a conversation that is struck between two or more people once they know whatcharity is in need of support. As pointed out from the guide, the importance of talking to people on Facebook’s wall is to thank them for their support and keep them informed of the charity’s progress.

The guide is titled “Networked for Good: How to use Social Media to Give Your Fundraising a Boost,” and is available now.

Tell us have you ever participated in fundraising and used any of the sites listed above? How successful were your efforts?


Ratcheting up the ‘fun’ in fundraisers

Nearly 120 people participated in a “Treadmill-a-Thon” this week — an offbeat fundraiser featuring folks treading while walking dogs, playing the violin and wearing costumes — to drum up cash for a tenants rights group called HOME Line.

Two weeks ago, a Rosemount woman dribbled a basketball nonstop while running a half-marathon to raise money to combat child sex trafficking.

High school seniors parked a bright purple toilet in the yard of an unsuspecting neighbor in Mapleton, Minn., whose payment to move it went to the American Cancer Society.

The arrival of summer brings out a burst of creative fundraising in Minnesota. It’s the season when some folks say goodbye to galas and golf tournaments and crank up their imaginations for a cause.

Offbeat fundraisers are “absolutely” on the rise, said Heidi Droege-mueller, president of the Minnesota chapter of the American Association of Fundraising Professionals. Concocting new ways to capture public attention is increasingly important as nonprofits’ funding from all quarters shrinks, she said.

“The philanthropic market is increasingly competitive,” said Droegemueller. “This is tapping into communities that they might not have reached before, say younger supporters, or people who the status quo doesn’t satisfy.”

Treadmill for a cause

Minnesota’s only “Treadmill-a-Thon” was inspired by someone “far out there.” HOME Line staffers were in a conference room brainstorming about fundraising when a guy wearing a gas mask peered in from a street window.

“We thought it was weird, but then thought: What could we do to make people stare at us?” said Michael Dahl, public policy director at the Minneapolis nonprofit.

Dragging a treadmill into the conference room and having people run for 40 hours seemed to qualify — especially if the people wore wacky costumes and did weird things, live on a webcam. On Monday, for example, one woman wore a wedding dress while playing the violin and a doctor wore scrubs and fielded medical questions via the webcast.

“This is a chance to get people inside our office to see what we do,” said Dahl. “Plus, we can run information under the videos that highlights our work and accomplishments.”

Tom Haeg, a former Hennepin County housing court referee, was among those stepping onto the treadmill this week. He said he joined in because he likes the creative fundraiser.

“This is more high-tech, with the Internet, and it’s personal,” said Haeg. “I like exercising, too. There’s only so many silent auctions you can go to.”

The first Treadmill-a-Thon pulled in $20,000 last year, said Dahl, who hopes to raise $60,000 this year, thanks to a $20,000 matching grant.

Dribbling for donations

Nicole Smith also is running for a cause, but while dribbling a basketball. The marketing director from Rosemount ran a half-marathon June 5 and plans to do three more this summer.

Smith can be seen training on the streets of Rosemount, wearing a T-shirt saying “Race for Her” and accompanied by the rhythmic beat of a basketball hitting pavement.

“I definitely get some weird looks, but it provides an opportunity to get a conversation going and create buzz,” Smith said.

Smith got the idea from a friend who runs a nonprofit called Dribble the World in New York. About the same time, she learned about the horrific conditions facing children who are sold for sex.

“There are more than 1.8 million children worldwide involved in sex trafficking, including 300,000 in the United States,” she said. Smith is raising money for Breaking Free, a St. Paul nonprofit helping women who have escaped prostitution, as well as for a safe house in Moldova.

She doesn’t have clue how much money will come in. “I’ve never done anything so unique,” she said.

Groups big and small

“Being creative can generate a buzz,” added Michael Ferber, a Twin Cities fundraising consultant. “There’s only so many golf tournaments and walks and runs you can go to.”

The beauty of offbeat fundraisers is that one person or a small group can make a splash, nonprofit leaders say.

The “Toilet Seat Heroes Team” from Maple River High School in Mapleton raised nearly $5,000 this year. Neighbors paid $30 to get the toilet removed from their yard and $40 to make sure it didn’t come back, said Mary Cassem, a director at the American Cancer Society in Rochester.

Likewise, about 30 people have signed up for the first “Skydive for Hunger” on July 30 in Baldwin, Wis. It’s expected to raise $20,000 for Neighbors Inc., in South St. Paul.

The event is the brainchild of Neighbors employee Gail Wildenauer. She always wanted to skydive, but wanted to do it for a “good cause.”

The skydive builds on another offbeat fundraiser that Neighbors Inc. is known for — massive plastic duck races. For four years, the numbered ducks have raced down a 30-foot slide into the Mississippi River, winning prizes for the participants and grossing up to $34,000 for Neghbors Inc.

“We wanted an event that would stand out,” said Zhu. “And it attracts like minded sponsors. A lot of businesses we work with are open to new ideas.”

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511


How Non-profits Use Facebook to Build Awareness, Community and Fundraising

Simon Mainwaring

One of the great inspirations for writing We First was the meaningful work being done by non-profits. The goal of the book was to help explain the most effective ways to leverage social technology to aid their community building, fund-raising and awareness campaigns whether you’re a foundation, NGO, or small charity. Central to its thesis is the belief that social media is improving the opportunities for consumers to partner with brands to build a better world, and these dynamics apply equally to non-profits and their supporters.

With this in mind, there is perhaps no more important social media platform than Facebook. The advantages it offers non-profit leaders are several:

1. In today’s social business marketplace Facebook is one of the best places for nonprofits to be discoveredand connect with a larger audience on the basis of shared values. So to get started, a non-profit should launch a Facebook page and invite your existing real world community to connect your cause and their networks. The exponential power of these connections can provide greater visibility faster than nearly any other medium.

2. Social networks are ubiquitous, inexpensive (when compared to other media), and available 24/7/365. This allows a non-profit to leverage every hour of the day to share content, build their community or fund raise.

3. By virtue of the intimacy they facilitate, social networks are precisely the places where people are free to be empathic. I put it this way – social technology is teaching us to be human again, meaning that when people connect with each other over social media, what they engage is their shared humanity. By linking with friends and ultimately strangers and building those relationships, social media is reweaving the social fabric that can then be used to scale your non-profit efforts.

4. As anyone involved in nonprofit world will tell you, your success and longevity turns on the depth of the relationship with your supporters and donors, and there is no better way to establish and maintain this than on platforms such as Facebook. Through creating, distributing and curating content you can engage your community far more easily than using other mediums and avoid community attrition or donor fatigue.

5. Finally, as Facebook offers greater value to brands and consumers through tools like Facebook Credits orSponsored Pages, they are also opening the door to myriad new ways to raise awareness and funds in partnership with for profit brands and consumers.

As such, platforms such as Facebook enable non-profit to deepen their community relationships, expand their fundraising reach and become more effective storytellers – all of which are critical to launching and maintaining a successful for-profit or non-profit brand. We First seeks to help non-profits do just that by examining how they can best use the latest in mobile, gaming and social technology as well as inspiring for profit brands to partner with non-profit in order to more effectively build communities themselves.

Click here to order your copy of We First and please share it with other non-profit leaders. With platforms such as Facebook at our disposal, there has never been a better time to build the world we want.

What other ways do you suggest non-profits use Facebook? What strategies have worked well for you?