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Tell us about your cause.

The mission of My New Red Shoes is to help homeless children look and feel confident as they start the school year while educating the community about the challenges facing homeless families. To achieve this goal, My New Red Shoes provides homeless children with brand new clothing and shoes, and it rallies youth and adults around this effort by raising awareness about homelessness. A teen advocacy council and community engagement programs are two of the other projects that educate and empower both teachers and students in the Bay area to become agents of change and directly impact their community.

What kind of special event fundraising do you do to support your mission?

We have two main events every year: a back to school fashion show and the walk-a-thon. We have an e-newsletter as well, which is our broadest form of soliciting support because it's free. We offer the ability to donate on line because that is what our donors have requested. The walk-a-thon event, in addition to raising money, is very important to us for visibility. We have no media budget so this kind of public promotion is integral in advertising our mission to a greater public. The partnerships created, both by local and corporate sponsorship, widen this range even further.

Walk us through the planning process.

We start about 6 months ahead of time reaching out to the community. We communicate with schools and religious organizations, for instance, and utilize our established contacts in the community to spread the word. We create an event that is both meaningful and entertaining that attracts a wide range of interest. We mentioned that we have no media budget, so the reaching out consists mainly in personal contact or in mailings from our e-newsletter.

Did you reach out to local sponsors?

We created a package of materials and did a lot of pitching to corporations. These contacts are mainly personal relationships that have been established by our board members. In reaching out to them, we found that many corporations are very interested in a socially conscious visibility. We had several corporate sponsors underwrite different segments of the event: sponsorship in the walk-a-thon and also the festival with music, games, and educational activities. In addition, we had a number of smaller, local contacts that were also essential.

Did you do any advertising to get participants?

Much of the advertising for participants existed within social networks. For instance, we used Facebook to contact many potential participants.

How did DoJiggy help with the planning and success of your event?

We previously used a different type of registration system, but we really liked the potential for generating sponsorship with people who may not attend the event. The personal fundraising pages allow for this as well as the ability to cast a wide net for soliciting donorship. In addition, as we operate on a tight budget, DoJiggy allowed us to put the impossible dollar into service. The price point was key, and we felt that the design of the template worked to legitimize the event.

Tell us about your success...How many participants? how much did you raise? Did you accomplish your goals?

This was our 4th annual event, and every year is a little bit better. We exceeded our fundraising goal and raised over $38,000. We hoped for more participants, but 700 was more than previous years. It was a great day for an event and we certainly succeeded in our goal of creating a fun yet meaningful experience!

Do you have any advice for other organizations?

START EARLY!

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  • Based on an interview with
    Rebecca Mayer, Events and Community Outreach Program Director & Stacie Hershman, Director of Development
  • mynewredshoes.org