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Charities to Support


Richard Hamilton
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If there is a thread about this topic, I sure can't find it, although I see random mentions about fund raising. It seems that LOR users are a generous community of fund raisers. Yes, most people do it for the entertainment value to visitors, but some people (like us) will sponsor a charity with our displays.

I'm more curious about the types of organizations that people support when collecting funds for an organization. We select a different organization every year, but the requirements are always the same (as posted on our site). In 16 years of doing animated displays, it gets harder to find a different one every year, so we will probably start cycling around next year to ones we supported in the past. Sometimes they have been national charities, but often we choose local ones.

Some of the ones we have supported were St. Jude Children's Hospital, MDA, TTFF, Feed the Children, Toys for Tots, March of Dimes, etc.

Is your display for entertainment or also to support a cause?

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I do not do the charity thing. The residents of Mississippi give more than nearly everybody else in the country. Even though there could be $$$ raised by initiating collection activities, I think that a display should be something that people should be able to enjoy free of guilt or without the compulsion to give.

Regardless, use this organization to check out your charity to see how much of the money you raise goes to the actual cause versus overhead.

http://www.charitynavigator.org

my favorite though, would be http://www.LivingLandsandWaters.org


They do a very good job by removing garbage from our rivers.

My gripe about many of the charities I am asked to support is that the CEO makes more than the people living on either side of me, combined (Yes, that is an exaggeration, but the point is that if the CEO is in 6 figures, he can take a cut in salary to match my contribution).

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Guest wbottomley

I'm finally doing a charity this year.

I'm hooked up with two local food pantries. The money raised will towards a family with children.

That money will get them a complete Christmas dinner that includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and all of the other items.

The textile and furniture industry has been hit very hard in my area. What little money raised will make someone have a Merry Christmas this year.

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I didn't really plan on it this year but I may put something together for Breast Cancer Research. It runs in my wife's family and she has helped her sister(who had breast cancer) raise money for the past few years. I'm thinking of maybe doing a pink ribbon or something like that. Not sure though.

-Jeff

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Dale W wrote:

I think that a display should be something that people should be able to enjoy free of guilt or without the compulsion to give.


I agree on that point Dale. That is why we run the display in a way that doesn't make people feel guilty if they just want to come and watch. Our donation box is on the house property, so they have to get out of the car and walk up to the box to donate. Our FM announcements also mentions that the display is for entertainment and people should not feel compelled to donate... especially because some people come back several nights.

I went to a big neighborhood display in Fremont CA (that is popular in the bay area and I was sadened to see what they were doing. They would stand out in the street and knock on every car window to ask for a donation. That is not the way to run a display!

To your good point about operating expense ratios, we have gotten a lot more picky in recent years about the organizations we support because of the ratio of G&A expenses being too high (exec salaries fall into that category too). One of our all time favorite organizations that we supported two years ago was St. Jude. It's a class organization with lots of contributions from drug companies and time donated by the staff. Two of my friends ( Tennessee doctors) donate 15 hours of their week away from their own practice to work there. People's donations at our house that year were also the highest ever, so people recognize that charity as being a good one. Our final results were over $20,000 to St. Jude.
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Mountainwxman wrote:

I'm hooked up with two local food pantries. The money raised will towards a family with children. That money will get them a complete Christmas dinner that includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and all of the other items.

The textile and furniture industry has been hit very hard in my area. What little money raised will make someone have a Merry Christmas this year.

Very nice William. I like that.
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This is my first year doing synchronized animation, but I've been inspired by some of the fund-raising successes I've seen described here and on other forums. I'm planning on capitalizing (pun intended) on being the first person in my area to do something like this. I''ll have a donation box and will mention it frequently via voiceovers, although I'll take care not to make people feel obligated.

Over the years, I too have felt that my lights are for enjoyment only and have been politely refusing all donations. But this year is totally different. If people are pleased enough with what they see and hear and want to donate, they'll be encouraged to do so. All proceeds will be donated to our local food shelf, which is a volunteer organization and will use 100 cents of every dollar they receive to feed people.

I've also been contacting area businesses and individuals and have been scrounging pledges to provide matching funds to what the viewing public voluntarily contributes. So far, so good. (A few of these would have donated to the food shelf anyway, but this gives them a more fun-filled way to do it.) I like the idea of being able to tell folks sitting in their cars that every dollar they donate becomes ten dollars (or whatever the final figure turns out to be) for the food shelf. Again, it's been very well received and I'm anxious to see how much can be collected.

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George Simmons wrote:

I''ll have a donation box and will mention it frequently via voiceovers, although I'll take care not to make people feel obligated.

Hi George. I applaud your efforts. Please don't send the mafia after me for saying this, but it caught my attention that there is something inconsistent in your statement above. If you are mentioning donations "frequently" during the voiceovers, then you are making people feel obligated. We do it once at the end of the show. People tend to stay for a whole show, so they will get the message. Mentioning it several times will actually annoy some people.
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Thanks for the feedback Richard. I see your point and will definitely keep it in mind. I have no desire to badger people, but at the same time I think asking someone to drop a buck in the can if they like what they see isn't unreasonable considering what it costs to take that same car full of kids to a movie these days. What I meant by "frequently" actually is pretty much in line with what you said. My plan is to mention it once during each half-hour show and reference it in passing while also thanking the matching funds sponsors once during each show.

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