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  1. Fundraising Trends to Watch for and Implement in 2017

    March 28, 2017 by Andrea

    mobile fundraising for sickle cell

    If there's one constant in this world, it's change -- and that includes your fundraising methods. Throughout each year, you and your team need to reevaluate your sickle cell awareness goals and how much money is needed to achieve them. Of course, you'll always have that group of loyal donors who are down for your cause, but solely relying on them and not appealing to new supporters is a fast way to stagnation.

    This year, expanding your group of givers will require you to embrace mobile technology. Implement the fundraising trends below and see your troupe of donors diversify and grow.

    1) Stay Social
    Most people access social media -- think Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook -- on their mobile devices, so the updates you share on these platforms should be mobile-friendly. Encouraging them to click through to your website? Make sure your site is optimized for mobile. Downloading those social media apps to your phone is also imperative. You want to be able to respond to potential fundraising supporters quickly and efficiently, and if you're out and about and not near your computer, doing that will be difficult. To really ensure your messages are seen even if you don't have a large following yet, purchase social media ads that show well on computers and mobile devices.

    2) Crowd Source
    Once you've begun to establish a solid social media presence, take that another step forward and do some fundraising through online channels. Not only does this help save money you would have spent on a venue, promotional materials, entertainment, catering, and other incidentals, it will also help you reach a new demographic of prospective supporters -- people who may not want to or have time to attend an event, but would still like to give toward sickle cell research and awareness. Our top three favorite mobile-friendly crowdsourcing platforms? Booster, Pear, and GoFundMe.

    3) Recurring Donations
    If gyms, magazines, and Netflix can do it, so can you -- it's called an automatic renewal. Much more efficient than chasing down past contributors for another round of giving, only to have more than half of them not respond, recurring donations are the best way to ensure money stays coming in on a regular basis. Begin by setting up a recurring donation program (that donors can opt out of at any time) on your website -- using PayPal is a quick, mobile-friendly, and easy way to get started. To keep things simple, make the fundraising recurrences monthly. That way, as soon as someone signs up to donate a certain amount, that same amount will automatically be deducted from their accounts and sent to you each month.

    Have you tried any of these fundraising trends? Tell us how it went in the comments below!

  2. How to Find Sponsors for Your Next Sickle Cell Fundraising Event

    August 1, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: stocksnap.io

    Photo: stocksnap.io

    Fundraising is crucial in the fight against sickle cell, and we've talked a lot about that here. One thing we haven't touched on yet? How to find sponsors, so that you can actually pull off that benefit concert, that casino game night, or that silent auction. Check out the tips below, and then, get started planning! 

    1) Decide on sponsorship levels and benefits.
    Before you ever approach anyone (more on that, later), you'll first need to determine exactly what benefits you'll be offering to your potential donors. How many levels will there be? How much will each level cost? What benefits will fall under each level? Definitely take a look at several examples of how others have set up their benefits, and learn even more, here

    2) Research, research, research.
    Sure, there are tons of business and brands out there that sponsor events all the time, but that doesn't mean that they all fall in line with your mission. Take time to fully research companies that have a track record of donating to medical research or that serve your demographic in a relevant way. Then, you can ensure that the potential partnership is truly mutually beneficial.

    3) Make your first move.
    Once you've identified a list of several possible sponsors, it's time to reach out -- preferably over e-mail. E-mail is less intrusive than cold call and allows the recipient to read through and respond to your e-mail when it's most convenient for them. Personalize each e-mail you send as much as possible by referring to any relevant past projects the company has contributed to, mentioning a shared contact who recommended you connect, or something similar. Need some inspiration? Check out these e-mail templates. (Note: These templates are just a starting point. In your e-mail, be sure to lay out exactly what you're looking for in a sponsor and why they should contribute.)

    4) Follow Up.
    This is super important. Many times, you'll find that your first (second, or even third) round of e-mails goes unanswered. Don't settle for the sound of crickets in your inbox -- follow up about a week after your initial contact, and frame your message with a friendly tone that just suggests that perhaps your first e-mail slipped under their radar. You know they're busy and you wanted to make sure your note didn't get lost. If you still do not receive a response, send another two to three follow ups before deciding that this particular donor isn't going to end up working out.

    5) Seal the deal.
    Congrats, you've landed your first sponsor! Now what? Go ahead and schedule a phone/Skype/in-person meeting to go over their benefits and how you plan to deliver them. Then, send a thank you note -- either via e-mail or regular mail -- along with a sponsor contract and how you plan to accept payment.

    The process of finding donors for your next event can take months, so be sure to start planning well in advance. Once sponsors start signing up and committing to your event, you'll be able to nail down a solid budget and get to the fun part!

    Have you ever gotten sponsors for your sickle cell event? Share your own tips in the comments below!

  3. 10 Instas You Should Follow for SCD Awareness and Fundraising Inspo

    March 30, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Last year, we published a popular round-up of the Twitter accounts every sickle cell warrior should follow, and now, we're bringing you a similar list of Instagram accounts dedicated to sickle cell awareness and education.

    Inspired by a recent tweet to us asking how people can turn what the McCourty Twins do into national awareness and fundraising, this list is the perfect start for gathering much of the inspiration you'll need to launch your campaigns. Of course, most events do not start nationally right out the gate, but begin on the local or regional level and grow from there. But who knows, maybe you'll end up pitching your newfound ideas to a national association that can help take your concepts to the next level a little bit sooner.

    "Certified sickle cell educators | education + awareness"

    "Connecting families, healthcare professionals, private and public entities worldwide to promote awareness and online funding campaigns for SCD."

    Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation based in Lagos, Nigeria

    "You will get awareness all day with us! A pinch of luv and a lil treasure on the side. U wanna learn how 2 advocate like no otha ... come join us!"

    "Sickle-cell anemia - facts Tips to live your life ... Motivation, Quotes, Treatment, Healthy food/drinks tips"

    "12yrs Old Chef. Creator of Nazhi Thee Baker Angel Foundation Non-Profit Organization"

    "Official Page of the National Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc."

    "A place you can share your sickle cell experiences."

    "Sickle Cell Advocate. Breaking the silence one post at a time."

    "Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria. Bringing hope to the African Child." 

    Did we miss any of your favorite sickle cell warriors? Add their Twitter handles in the comments below!

  4. Put the “Fun” Back Into Your Fundraising for Sickle Cell

    September 23, 2015 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Yes, sickle cell is a very serious disease, and caregivers and patients often deal with anxiety about when the next crisis will arise, how they'll ever catch up on schoolwork missed for hospital visits, along with many other concerns. But, you can't let sickle cell control your life -- that's why we call SCD patients "warriors," after all. So, always make time to find instances to celebrate life and every good moment you have.

    One way to inject a little levity into the situation is through your fundraising efforts. Here are a couple of ideas from others that you can replicate in your own community:

    1) Go Bowling. Who doesn't love a little friendly competition? Take a page from Kiki Shepard's book and have a blast with friends, family, and other supporters on the lanes, while raising awareness and donations for the cause.

    2) Hold a Benefit Concert. Whether you want to highlight local acts or go big and call in  some celebrity reinforcements, you're sure to have a good turnout when there's music and dancing involved -- just look at how they did it Nashville, recently. Work with an event planner to help get the ball rolling, and give all proceeds from ticket sales to the sickle cell association of your choice.

    3) Fill the Bucket. Or boot, in this case. Challenge your community to sponsor a bucket, boot, or other item to fill and whichever team (or individual) who raises the most money in their bucket wins. You can honor the winners in any way you want -- a small gift, a shout out on social media, or a combination of both -- and then, turn over all of the funds raised to your local sickle cell foundation or a specific sickle cell family in need.

    4) Get All Dolled Up. Throw the perfect date night event -- and raise money for sickle cell -- by hosting a gala. Invite a headlining musician, speaker, or actor who will draw in a large audience and plan an amazing dinner meal for the guests. You can even easily make this event a double-whammy when it comes to fundraising by holding a silent auction at the event, as well. For inspo, check out how these people did it.

    5) Make a Date with Lady Luck. Game nights are always fun, so put a little spin on things and make it a casino night! Ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities for the event are great ways to raise money (check out how the McCourty Twins do it), and your guests will have a blast playing all of their casino favorites while giving back to the sickle cell community at the same time. Now, that's a real win-win.

    What other ideas do you have for putting the FUN back in to your fundraising for sickle cell? Share them in the comments below!

  5. Phi Beta Sigma and the SCDAA Have Partnered to Raise Awareness and Funds for Sickle Cell Disease

    July 17, 2018 by Andrea
    Phi Beta Sigma

    Photo for illustrative purposes only

    A couple of months ago, The Links Foundation, Inc. donated $1 million specifically for sickle cell research to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. And just 10 days ago, another prominent Black nonprofit -- this time a Greek organization -- announced its partnership with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. 

    The members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. see themselves as "a brotherhood of conscious men actively serving our communities," and as part of that this year, they'll be working alongside the SCDAA to help raise awareness of sickle cell disease and its trait and help raise funds for related research. 

    Their first official act will be joining in on the SCDAA's 5th Annual National Sickle Cell Walk with the Stars & Move-a-Thon on August 18, 2018 at Baltimore's Canton Waterfont Park. After that, Phi Beta Sigma will continue its partnership by helping organize bone marrow and blood drives, as well as educating their communities and assisting with fundraising. 

    "Phi Beta Sigma understands the deep impact that sickle cell disease has on our communities," the frat's international president Michael Cristal said in a press release on sicklecelldisease.org. "We are excited to lend our efforts to raising funds for this important cause." 

    The Walk/Move-a-Thon is open to everyone, so if you live in the Baltimore area and you'd like to participate, sign up to do so here.

  6. World Sickle Cell Day 2018 Awareness Campaigns You Can Start Now

    June 6, 2018 by Andrea

    world sickle cell day 2018

    June 19 is World Sickle Cell Day, but you don't have to wait until then to show your support and help raise awareness. Here are a few examples of what others are already doing leading up to World Sickle Cell Day 2018 to inspire you. 

    It's a good idea to stick to one major fundraiser each year, but you can host mini ones once per quarter, so as not to wear out the donors you seek. Just in time for the approach of World Sickle Cell Day 2018, the Sickle Cell Society recently shared this Fundraising A-Z chart developed by LocalGiving.


    Kids are naturally curious and inventive, so use that as you begin teaching children who may not know what SCD is. Then, ask them to come up with fun ways to help spread the word and get their friends in on the action, too. A group of seventh graders recently came up with the idea to wear red tape. 


    Some have begun a campaign to encourage people to wear red and black for the entire month of June, rather than just one day, to help raise awareness of sickle cell. Join them by wearing your red and black, sharing your selfies, and urging others to do the same. 

  7. The McCourty Twins are Coming Through with a New SCD Fundraiser

    November 13, 2017 by Andrea
    Photos: Instagram/mccourtytwins; ISlide

    Photos: Instagram/mccourtytwins; ISlide

    NFL stars Devin and Jason McCourty are always representing the SCD cause through their Tackle Sickle Cell campaign, which, according to their website "aims to educate the public, increase blood donations, and raise money and awareness" for this inherited disorder. They first became aware of sickle cell as kids because their father carried the trait and an aunt and uncle lived with the disease. "I remember we took a blood test at 5 years old to see if we carried the trait, as well, and it was a relief when we learned we didn’t,” Devin stated on their website, tacklesicklecell.org. Jason continued, "Growing up, we were very close to our aunt Winifred, and she battles with the disease daily going through many trials and tribulations. Her passion to keep fighting through everything that comes her way has driven us to try to make a difference and draw awareness to the terrible disease."

    Besides their periodic casino night-themed fundraisers and hosted blood drives, this year, as Boston's Fox 25 News reports, the duo has partnered up with ISlide4Good to sell their own custom flip-flops. Each pair sells for $49.99 with Tackle Sickle Cell receiving $20 of each sale to put toward the Embrace Kids Foundation and sickle cell research. 

    Launched in 2013, ISlide is a footwear company that allows their customers to personalize their footwear, the slides (slip-on flip-flops) became the most popular option. Then came ISlide4Good, a "program that helps bring awareness and fundraising to sport-based nonprofits locally and around the country." Teaming up with a new nonprofit each quarter,  ISlide provides a unique fundraising opportunity.

    The McCourty's campaign runs through Black Friday, so it's the perfect way to kick off your giving (and giving back). To help the twins reach their goal of $10,000, click here to snag your own set of slides.

  8. “Motown 25” and Its Contribution to Sickle Cell Awareness

    September 11, 2017 by Andrea
    motown 25


    Here's a sickle cell awareness fact you may not have known: "Motown 25" -- that epic night back in 1983 of A-list performances from Michael Jackson, the Temptations, The Supremes, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, and more -- was not only a celebration of the label's quarter century of success, but also a fundraising event for sickle cell. SCD was close to the Motown family, as one of their own (Temptations member Paul Williams) battled the disease, along with depression, and unfortunately, ended his own life just ten years prior.

    One man, Michael Soyannwo, and his team are bringing this little-known fact to life in a new documentary called "The Night Motown Sang for Sickle Cell Anaemia," due to drop next Black History Month. According to Soyannwo, most people don't realize Motown 25 was a benefit concert for sickle cell because "the agenda changed the minute Michael Jackson did the Moonwalk." After that, that's all anyone could talk about and the issue of SCD got lost once again.  

    The doc, being filmed by the UK-based company Rockindale Productions, includes interviews with entertainment insiders, sickle cell experts, and journalists and tackles the unfortunate truth that "conditions that are suffered by people of color, always, always, are way, way down [on the list of importance]," says journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in one clip. 

    Watch the full trailer below:

  9. 4 Fundraisers to Support In Preparation for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    August 15, 2017 by Andrea



    [*NOTE: Each of these fundraisers is hosted on Booster.com (a division of Custom Ink), but all funds will go to the sickle cell group that is organizing the fundraiser. Also, in case you're wondering, the models seen in the mockups are Booster.com's default -- the site does not currently offer models of any other skin tone.]

    September is less than three weeks away, and that means National Sickle Cell Awareness Month is just around the bend. Since 1983, when September was first officially recognized as the month to promote sickle cell advocacy, organizations and individuals across the country have concentrated their efforts through various campaigns. 

    Some groups are getting a jump on their outreach this year by providing apparel for every warrior and supporter to wear next month as part of their own endeavors to educate their communities about this oft-forgotten disorder. Here are four fundraisers to support now -- you'll not only get some new threads that show your support for the cause, but you'll also be helping to fund sickle cell awareness and research projects. 

    1) "Diagnosis is Not Destiny" hoodie
    This benefits Supporting Our Sicklers (S.O.S.) Parent and Guardian Support Group, which "is committed to advocating for, serving, and providing Sickle Cell Disease education to parents and guardians of children with all types of Sickle Cell while supporting research for a cure and improving awareness in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas." Hoodies are only $35, but hurry -- there's just one day left to order. 

    2) "Proud Supporter For a Cure" tee
    This campaign only has 3 hours left (and sadly, no supporters -- yet). Back this nonprofit -- its "mission is to broaden public awareness about Sickle Cell Anemia Disease and the need for better health services" -- before time runs out. One tee is only $20. 

    3) "Hustle Over Pain" tee
    No Pain In the Playroom's goal? To travel to Alabama and speak about sickle cell awareness and advocacy. "This campaign is to empower people with Sickle Cell Anemia and other [sufferers] of pain, and support our organization to continue to spread sickle cell awareness across the nation." Help them fulfill their purpose, while giving back to the community yourself, for just $20. 

    4) "Sickle Cell Strong" Short-Sleeved Tee or "Warrior" Long-Sleeved Tee
    Hosting informational events and the cost of purchasing materials for those events can get overwhelming, especially for small operations. Give back by giving to The Crescent Cell, an organization that collects and shares stories of warriors, as well as hosts events that educate communities about sickle cell disease. 

    Have you contributed to one of the campaigns above? Tell us why in the comments below!

  10. How to Keep Your Sickle Cell Awareness Team Motivated with a Retreat

    March 23, 2017 by Andrea

    Photo: Stocksnap.io

    From fundraising to marketing to speaking engagements, and more, you and your team do a lot to raise awareness for sickle cell disease. And while you encourage other warriors and their friends and family to manage stress effectively, you don't always take that same advice. It's imperative, though, that you and your team rest up, too, so you can successfully maintain the momentum of spreading the word about SCD. A team retreat is one of the best ways to do this. Here's how:

    1) Ask your team for input.
    Where would they like to go? What kinds of activities are they interested in? How long should the retreat last? Are there any areas that should be avoided due to medical reasons? (For example, it would be a good idea to avoid places with extreme temperatures for any warriors on staff.) Giving your crew a chance to offer feedback on retreat plans will ensure that they feel a part of the preparation, giving them the sense that this is their event, too. When people feel included, they are more likely to attend and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    2) Choose a theme.
    Remember, a retreat should be a relaxing respite from the typical daily grind. Think about a theme that embodies this idea, and create an agenda packed with activities that support this, as well. For inspiration on things to do, check out this post from JustWorks.

    3) Stick to a budget.
    Team getaways can be expensive, but they don't necessarily have to be -- and all of the expense doesn't have to fall on your company, either. Start by selecting venues that you can financially afford, such as those you find on Airbnb, rather than traditional hotel spaces. To help offset other costs for things such as travel, food, guest speakers, and spa services, find sponsors to provide funds.

    Have you ever hosted a team retreat? How did it go? Tell us in the comments below!

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