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Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match…

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match...

What do you do when you need a new challenge? Or you get bored with everyday life? Are you looking for inspiration? Perhaps you feel passionate about an organization that helped you out of pickle. Or maybe you just want to help someone because you care about the person or the organization’s mission.

One way to address all of the above is to do some work for a charitable organization. Could be national or local. You might have some skills or a talent that you can share. My skill is event planning and I now use that skill to help causes I care about, so much so that it has become my mission in life and my career. Charity Matchmaking, founded almost a year ago, helps to pair for-profit organizations that want to help and non-profits that need help.

Mark Tillinger, a corporate muckety muck, discovered that he and his dog both had cancer. Mark came out of treatment okay but Riedel did not make it. Mark’s mission in life changed and he decided to help people who do not have the resources he has to fight pet cancers. The organization he founded works with partners such as Veterinary Hematology Oncology Center of Norwalk, CT. and local retailers as well as other pet organizations. The team of partners is experienced in fighting pet cancers, and Riedel & Cody Fund, offers support and financial aid to pet families in need all over the United States. To raise the funds, they have a website where people can sponsor a pet; www.riedelcody.org

Charity Matchmaking created, FETCH; Funding Education & Treatment for Cancer Hounds in May held a Pet Scavenger Hunt to raise community awareness about the Riedel & Cody Fund. The fun idea generated so much interest with the PR we received that we had over 900 visits to the website in one month! Volunteers helped with everything from writing clues to running dog challenges to asking veterinarian businesses to participate. We also had help with the logistics on the day of event with registration, traffic, photography, exhibit displays, etc. Corporations including Mini Cooper and Blue Buffalo provided sponsorship money. Mark took a tragedy in his life and turned it into something positive to help others. You can too.

Does your business (or you!) have resources that a charity can use? It doesn’t have to be money although that’s always welcome! Charitable organizations can also use labor, facilities, supplies, etc. Can you provide volunteers, services such as accounting/graphics/technical support/legal/catering, etc.? Could you add their office supplies to your bulk order? Can a charity bring their confidential materials to your shredding service? Do you have extra storage space, computers not in use, desks you don’t need, office space? Just last week Senior Services group needed furniture to outfit two apartments for seniors who had to leave their homes. One email to Charity Matchmaking contacts brought enough furniture sitting unused in people’s garages or at their business to furnish these apartments. In less than one day. A moving truck came to pick everything up so it was a blessing for the people who donated and greatly appreciated by the seniors who had new homes in which they could feel comfortable.

If your passion is intense and you want to help with more than a donation, you might consider hosting an event for a non-profit. It’s easier to host an event for a non-profit than it is to try to create a new non-profit with all the legal and regulatory issues. (See preceeding feature.) You can use your business or you can ask a local business to help you. Everyone benefits. One family did a fundraiser standing outside a donut/coffee shop during morning rush hour. People dropped twenties into the cup when they saw the young children working so hard for a cause.

In fact, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor stores host friends and family events and give a portion of proceeds or the donation to purchase the discount coupon to the charities. If you have a store doing the same, you can organize your friends to go on a shopping spree!

To raise money for pet adoption organizations, a bicycle shop organized a children’s bicycle race, another held a dog washing day, like a car wash and another holds an annual picnic. Yet another group organized a pet fashion show at a local nightclub with fashions provided by local retailers.

Fundraising for events like this can range from a few hundred dollars up to many thousands of dollars. If the charity has merely to help promote your event and then accept the check, they would be extremely grateful as usually resources are limited. One caution, the event you host must be within the propriety of the organization. A wine tasting for a sobriety group may not be appropriate! A cigar night for a hospital or cancer program–doesn’t work. A risque movie for a children’s charity… well you get it. So make sure the charity is on board for date, time, location and content.

Serving on a committee or acting as chairperson for a charitable organization’s annual events is another way to help. Can you solicit for auction items, recruit volunteers and committee members, help with decor, find a caterer, fill tables with paying guests, handle press releases, help with promotion, etc.? If you’d like to do more, serve on the board or support the development committee of the organization.

For one charity matchmaking is working on a Halloween Howl & Prowl event –a costume parade and contest for people and pets. All of these events have committees of volunteers to help make them happen.

If variety is your thing, and you want to help everyone, then try joining a volunteer services organization in your community. These non-profit organizations get calls from charities that need help. Could be stuffing envelopes for a day–or accepting tickets at the gate for an event. Could be working every week for a season for a theater, or helping with a blood drive or handling some bookkeeping. You never know. Always interesting; always about what you can offer. A great way to meet other caring individuals!

So, if you want new challenges and enjoy helping others, find your passion and bring your energy, contacts, creativity, resources and passion to an organization you care about.

Fern Pessin, Chief Matchmaker at Charity Matchmaking, works to create mutually beneficial strategic marketing partnerships between for-profit enterprises and non-profit organizations. The goal is to benefit the community while helping build bottom line results. Fern is available for coaching, creative partnership brainstorming, event creation and management, marketing and media campaigns.Go to charitymatchmaking.com, or send us an email.

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