Tips for Creating a Successful Heart Gallery
The Art of the Online "Ask"
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How to Appeal for Online Donations
When you sit down to view your nonprofit organization's website,
you should be able to locate the donate button in one to two
seconds. One Mississippi... Two Mississippi... Time's up!
That's it. It should be that easy.
So why aren't more websites designed that way?
As we in the nonprofit world know, getting over the awkwardness
of making "the ask" is a trial in itself. But, we
also know that to fulfill our missions, good wishes and kind
hearts don't keep the lights on or the soup flowing. We need
to be proactive about asking for support. We can't hesitate
to ask for gifts or involvement on our websites. We need to
understand how to ask for donations.
Here are a few tips for making the all-important "ask":
Make your donate button BIG. If you've been readings Tips
for awhile now, this first point isn't news, but it's still
of paramount importance. Make your button BIG, BOLD and ABOVE-THE-FOLD.
Connect to content. Saying "donate now" is not
a compelling solicitation. (But, ah, if only it were that
easy...) You need to make a tangible appeal to your potential
donors. Include an image. On a webpage about your organization's
homeless shelter, make your button say something relevant:
"Feed five people with a $50 donation now! Any and
all support makes a difference in the lives of these families."
Show your potential donor him/herself. Sending out an email
solicitation? Include a testimonial of one of your constituents
or of another donor. People want to see themselves. Hold
up that mirror, and show them, "Hey! You can help Susie
and others like her by supporting local research..."
or, "Hey! You can make a difference just as Donnie
Give donors options.Think big. Online donors are as diverse
as offline donors-they want to set up recurring gifts, planned
giving, stock donations and otherwise. In addition to your
online donation form, be sure to include surrounding text
about the variety of ways to give. Be sure to include contact
Ask for more than money. What's a precious commodity that
doesn't include a dollar sign (not talking about gasoline
here)? A person's time-it can be priceless. Give all the
facts and opportunities for volunteerism. Show how organized
your program is and what an impact it will make on the volunteer
and the project they're doing. Studies indicate that folks
who volunteer first will ultimately give more donation money
Just do it. Frame your appeal in such a way that it answers
donors' immediate questions: Why me, why now, what for and
Keep this in mind: You have a variety of online channels (your
website, email communications and champions on social networking
channels like Facebook) to ask for donations, and you have the
know-how to make your organization and a donor's potential real.
Go make it happen!
Measure Your Success
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- Develop policy and Heart Gallery program guidelines.
- Ensure all partners are aware of the policy and guidelines
before they commit to help.
- Initial Heart Gallery plan must include how you will
measure your success.
- Develop a plan to evaluate and analyze your efforts.
- Keep a list of all your children and the dates of
- Keep track of all family and agency inquiries received
on each heart gallery child or sibling group.
- Tract the family through the adoption approval process.
- Tract the children from foster care through adoptive
- Don't expect placements immediately, give yourself at
least three to six months to start seeing placements.
- This is especially true for families who inquire and
do not have a home study.
- Use your web site to document your successes and advise
everyone involved in your project.
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- Recruit social workers to help you select children for
- Not all children are comfortable participating in
the Heart Gallery.
- Recognize each partners' best skills.
- Example:One member is good at networking and another
at editing, assign tasks accordingly.
- Reach out for local community help.
- Ensure that the foster parents or/and social workers prepare
the children for this recruitment activity.
- Request the input of others.
- This will encourage them and make them feel involved
- Ask for contacts and referrals.
- Rally those involved!
- Keep everyone informed on the progress and outcome of
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- Locate your exhibit venue by promoting the public relations
benefits of the exhibit
- The venue is named in ads and media coverage
- The venue does not have to be a gallery. All you need
is ample and attractive space, easy access, and plenty of
- Lead your request with your most professional or captivating
- They inspire people to donate and can be scanned for use
in press releases, print ads, and other materials.
- Link with prospective donors via a faxed request, phone
call, or personal visit and be specific about what you're
- Laud sponsors in writing and at the event.
- Always send "Thank you notes".
Media and Event Coverage
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- Take time to locate a media guide that lists your state
or county press contacts.
- Tailor your request to each media source.
- Have a personal interest story ready with a good "hook".
This could be an interview with someone who has or was
- Prepare in advance a family or an adopted child who
will be willing to be interviewed.
- They should be able to interact with reporters and
photo journalists and speak briefly at the event.
- Establish contact early so you have time to build interest.
- Think national and local. One can often lead to the other.
Please mention Heart Gallery of America's ® Inc. web
- Tell radio stations and television stations about the
- Some may give you free time to talk, especially if
you purchase some advertising spots and show producers
the portraits' artistic and human appeal.
- Traveling exhibits, the Internet , TV and radio,
- Newspapers, church bulletins and other print media,
- Public presentations and public speaking engagements,
- Partner with religious organizations and community organizations,
- Use art galleries, churches, malls, libraries, airports,
- State offices, your state Capitol and other public venues
to display portraits.
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- Go through proper channels. Call the Screen Actors Guild
at (323) 954-1600 for contact information (agents, managers,
etc.). Celebrities who live in the area near the event are
most likely to attend.
- Gather celebrities who have a reputation for being involved
with nonprofit organizations or who have a connection with
children's issues, especially adoption or foster care.
- Generate a request letter to tell the contact about your
organization, the purpose of the event, and exactly what
will be asked of the celebrity. Fax the letter to the celebrity
- Grant the celebrity permission to speak or perform. Plan
for adequate space and refreshments to accommodate your
expected audience. Although including a celebrity involves
more work, it can increase your event's visibility in the
eyes of the public and the press.
We have found this program beneficial in finding families for our children.
We ask that as you view the children, consider that they live in our communities.
Respect their right to privacy, and be aware that they may attend school or church, or play at the local park with your children and relatives.
The availability of their pictures leaves our children recognizable and vulnerable to negative attention.
Although we strive to protect them, we need your help. Thank you!
© 2017 Heart Gallery of America, Inc.