Strategies: Community Giving
By Conrad Melancon
Working with civic groups in your local community is a great way to help them raise funds to support their causes. Millions of Americans belong to various civic organizations which promote everything from healthy living, feeding the hungry, to local service projects. No matter what their focus, the key thing to remember is that in some way they are helping to reach out and provide needed services to their local community.
This is where you come in. It’s relatively easy to approach civic groups - they exist to serve the community, they all need money to continue operations and many of them are environmentally conscious. By helping these groups collect old cell phones you can assist them in taking care of both these needs.
Getting started with a cell phone collection program is easy. Wireless Fundraiser provides groups with marketing tools, supplies and pays for shipping for cell phones collected. Additionally, every phone sent in has some value – at least $.50. Some of the phones are worth more than $200.
The first step is to pick out a group to work with. I recommend that you find one which has a large enough membership so that the collection program has a greater chance to make a significant impact in the community. Also, working with a larger group is more likely to draw media attention.
The best way to raise money for civic group by collecting old cell phones is to look at how the civic group you are working with currently raises money from its support base. Do they send out direct mail? Run fundraising events? Hold car washes? Whatever the business model is, first try to capitalize on that – how can you incorporate asking people for their old cell phones into an existing program? An easy place to initially start is by placing text into whatever materials they are using to market current events which asks supporters to bring their old cell phones with them.
For example, if the civic group you work with sends out emails to their supporters promoting an event they will be holding – ask them to include information about how supporters can bring a cell phone to the event. Include an incentive for this – door prizes are a great way to increase participation. Additionally, all of these groups have some type of regular meeting. Once a group has agreed to collect old cell phones, find a champion who will work within the group and promote the program on a regular basis.
Additionally, make sure you or a representative from the group contacts all the local print, radio and television stations so that they are aware of your efforts. In many cases by including the media as part of a campaign to promote the program you can double or triple the number of phones you collect.
Remember, use your imagination when promoting cell phone recycling to charities, see how you can incorporate a program into their existing efforts, and continually touch base with them to provide fresh ideas and get feedback about how they are marketing the program. Success depends on you and the effort you are willing to put into it.
Melancon is the President of He
joined the company in November
of 2004 as the Director of
Business Development and assumed
his current position in December
of last year.