Crowdsourced fundraiser Tribute to benefit nonprofitsWritten by Ashley McMahon | | email@example.com
“The best gift you can give someone is often something in honor of someone else. It’s a way to tribute who they are as a person. Your best dinners are where you get together, raise a glass and toast someone. That’s what it means to tribute, to care about the work of nonprofits.”
That’s how Sam Melden explained the idea behind Tribute, his newest project.
Melden is currently the executive director at the Center for Servant Leadership and has a background in nonprofit work, including three years with Food for Thought in Toledo.
Together with his friends Kevin Marsh and Jordan Justice, Melden created Tribute, a Web-based space in which community members can raise money for their favorite organizations.
Melden, Marsh and Justice are all Toledo born and raised and have worked in the nonprofit circuit.
“With every organization I have worked for, Kevin and Jordan have always been involved,” Melden said. “They are tremendous developers and anything they work on is very high-quality. When I was at Food for Thought, they were responsible for us being ahead of the curve.”
Tribute offers the opportunity for Melden to once again work with Marsh and Justice on a project that pairs high technology with high ideals.
Tribute is a nonprofit charity space located on ShareYourDay.org. Its users can raise funds for their favorite charities by centering their initiatives around a special date. Donors and supporters promote their day along with the cause they love and get family members and friends to donate. This, in turn, spreads positive awareness about the nonprofit organizations throughout the supporter’s own community.
“Often, donors and supporters of nonprofits are just donating or asking people to give money. Most of us, after a while, realize that gets old,” Melden said. “This allows people to be more creative with the way they support their organization.”
Tribute allows donors and supporters of nonprofits to create a campaign on ShareYourDay.org. These campaigns are similar to Kickstarter campaigns, but raise money for the donor’s favorite nonprofit, rather than a personal goal or project.
“If you watch anyone’s Facebook on their birthday, you’ll see their wall lit up with ‘Happy Birthday’ messages. Similar to an anniversary. You’ll see people react differently on social media. You might see a photo from their wedding day, or photos from celebrations,” Melden said. “What Tribute does is allow quick access to turn these events into a social experience.”
Anyone can create a Tribute on ShareYourDay.org and anyone can donate money to the creators’ favorite causes.
As for the charities, organizations must be nonprofits to join Tribute. If supporters don’t see their favorite nonprofit listed on Tribute, they can take the necessary steps to help the charity register.
“We’re convinced that we can help hundreds of organizations raise money in a new way,” Melden said. “We want as many organizations as possible to have access to Tribute.”
After experiencing the nonprofit struggles firsthand, Melden and his team seized the opportunity to offer charities a way to reach an entirely fresh group of donors without directly asking for funds. Melden believes this is a huge advantage for organizations.
“Tribute allows nonprofits to have access to a new community of donors,” Melden said. “If I supported this organization for the last three years, they’ve always had access to me. They can send me newsletters and information, but they can’t send letters to my friends because they don’t have access to them. But now, they have access to them because I’m going to that community and asking them for money. And that’s amazing for them.”
Melden said this benefits nonprofits because they are raising money without asking. In addition, he believes this program is essential for helping nonprofits make advancements in technology and marketing strategies. He believes organizations are lacking in this area.
“If we can bring the best developments and best technologies to nonprofits in this area, let’s do it,” he said. “They don’t need to have an amazing website or a staff of 50 people. Any organization, it can be a staff of one with the executive director doing everything, can use Tribute to raise money.”
Tribute will begin its initiative with Toledo-area nonprofit organizations and advance outward to other interested organizations.
Melden and his team plan to launch Tribute in early March. Meanwhile, nonprofits interested in participating in the program will have the opportunity to learn more or register from 9-10 a.m. Feb. 19 when United Way of Greater Toledo holds an information session at its Jackson Street headquarters.
As for future donors, Melden urges everyone interested in Tribute to sign up at ShareYourDay.org.
“They will be the first in line to find out when we launch this program,” he said.
Overall, Melden, Marsh and Justice’s goal is to bring the best technology to Toledo and assist nonprofits by reaching out to an entirely new audience.
“We want to help every single organization. No matter how big or how small, we want to take a step forward,” Melden said.