Here at Bellstrike we love supporting nonprofits, especially with their web presence. Establishing an online presence is crucial in the twenty-first century, providing widespread opportunities for getting donors to give more, getting supporters spreading the word on social media support, and keeping everyone up-to-date with what’s going on in your organization. One nonprofit that we’ve been working with recently is River International, which is engaged in an important outreach to a vast group of people lacking one of life’s basic necessities: clean water.
River International founder Tom Hammond and others have made numerous journeys into the Amazonas state to help these needy families by providing clean water through filtration equipment. Despite the fact that in many cases these families literally live on the edge of the Amazon River, many of them actually have little or no access to water that is safe to drink and free from dangerous bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli. During one trip in 2009, Tom’s team gave water filters to a family with a daughter named Diana, who had fallen very ill from drinking contaminated water — the only water available. Her condition prevented her from even attending school. They did all they could to help her and left her with the tools she’d need to live healthily, before they moved on.
This same situation is true for thousands like Diana living on the banks of the Amazon, leading to illness and death for many. Some families won’t even name their children for their first several years due to the fear of losing them to disease from unclean water. Tom and others have worked for years and successfully brought help to hundreds, but the need is still great.
In addition to trips into the Amazon, River International is currently working to provide clean water to families and children living in appalling conditions near Rio de Janeiro. Many families’ homes are merely shelters built in garbage dumps, where disease is everywhere and clean water is nowhere. This month River International and others will move ahead with a major outreach to provide clean water and aid to many of these families.
Successfully helping these people requires collaboration between River International and others, both online and locally. Their Bellstrike website has enabled many to learn about River International and to provide crucial support from anywhere in the world. Within Brazil itself, River International collaborates with other groups, such as 9B Solutions and A Layman’s Guide to Clean Water. Working with others online and within Brazil, they’ve helped provide pure water to thousands, far more than they could have otherwise.
Although work is still ongoing, River International’s efforts have been greatly rewarded already. During yet another trek to the Amazon, Tom and his team found Diana’s family again, and were overjoyed to learn that Diana was in good health and back in school. Thanks to clean drinking water, she’d gained her life back from the grip of serious illness. River International daily reaches out to those in need like Diana.
River International has helped thousands, and many of their efforts would have been impossible without an online presence. The River International website provided through Bellstrike has drawn important attention and aid. Tom especially has valued the benefit of creating a website “free for nonprofits” and “easy to navigate … with the myCause link available on every page.” With myCause people can begin their own fundraising drive, spread the word over social media, and provide much needed financial support. This teamwork has greatly helped River International’s progress in helping needy families all around Brazil.
You can find updates and get involved at River International’s website.
Offering your donors the option to give monthly recurring gifts is a great way to boost your fundraising. Donors choose to give a certain amount, enter their credit card information once, and then their card is automatically charged every month. We’ve now created the ability for any donor to give a monthly recurring gift on your nonprofit’s Bellstrike website. And the best part is that you don’t need to do anything to make it happen.
Any donor that visits your Donate page will be able to enter their gift amount or select a gift catalog item as in the past.
However, now when they arrive at the checkout page, they’ll be able to check the box that says “Make this recurring (monthly)”.
Once they select the monthly option and complete the checkout process, their credit card will be charged every month. They can manage their credit card information at any time by clicking on a link that will appear in the email receipt that they’ll receive from WePay, the company that we use to handle credit card transactions.
We hope that you’ll be able to put this new feature to good use and encourage your donors to start setting up monthly recurring donations. Let us know if you have any questions.
Have you ever wanted your supporters to raise money on your behalf? You’ve now got an easy way to make that happen. We call it myCause, and it’s a feature that’s built-in to your nonprofit’s website - no work required by you!
Why would someone use myCause?
Let’s say you have a supporter that wants to run a marathon to raise money for your organization. They can direct everyone to their myCause fundraiser page. You get the donations and they get to track their progress.
Or, maybe one of your supporters wants to give up her birthday and have everyone donate to your nonprofit instead of giving her gifts. She can create a myCause fundraising page and direct everyone there.
There are a ton of other ways that your supporters can use the myCause section - and they’re really only limited by their imagination!
So, how does myCause work?
Any of your supporters can click on the myCause tab on your website.
They’ll be able to easily create their own profile page on your site and tell everyone why they support your organization.
On their profile page, they’ll be able to see and show any donations that they’ve made. They’ll also be able to easily create a fundraising page.
On their fundraising pages they’ll be able to name the page, tell everyone what their fundraiser is all about, set goals and set an end date. They can share this fundraising page through a unique link, Facebook, and Twitter. Anyone can donate on this page. The donations go straight to your nonprofit and the creator of the fundraising page (and everyone else) can track the progress of the fundraiser and see communications and gifts from donors.
Of course if you need to moderate any of the activity on the myCause section of your site, you can do so through our easy management area in your dashboard. You can even turn the myCause section off entirely if you don’t want to use it. Learn more in our Help section.
All in all, we think the myCause social fundraising tool is a great way to empower your donors to make a difference in your nonprofit’s cause.
We’re happy to announce that the Leo Israel Memorial Fund is the winner of the $5,000 Bellstrike Grant Contest!
Three months ago we announced the launch of the grant contest, which ran from January 1 to March 31. We placed a Facebook and Twitter sharing widget on the Thank You page that every donor arrives at after they’ve completed a donation. Every “share” that a nonprofit received put the nonprofit’s name in the pot to receive the grant. The more shares that a nonprofit received, the better its chances of winning.
The Leo Israel Memorial Fund is a New York based nonprofit that we’ve actually written about previously on our blog. Here’s what Caitlin Israel, who started the organization with her husband, had to say about winning the grant contest, “As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to love Bellstrike! This grant is so unexpected and so welcome. And it actually comes at the perfect time. We really have not fundraised at all, we’ve relied on the caring and generosity of our friends and community to help spread the word, and Bellstrike has provided a solid platform to help us share our thoughts and progress. We’ve raised enough money to build a fantastic playground. But we keep reminding ourselves just who this playground is in memory of and we want to make it every bit as special as our son Leo was. With this extra push from Bellstrike we will be able to do just that, it will really allow us to add some extra personalization and make it a true memorial.”
You can check them out at http://leoisraelmemorialfund.bellstrike.com
In case you’re wondering, even though the contest has ended, we’ve still kept the Facebook and Twitter social sharing widget on the Thank You page as a way for your donors to spread the word about your organizations.
Congratulations again to the Leo Israel Memorial Fund!
We’ve had a good many nonprofits asking for the ability to add their own custom colors to their Bellstrike website. We’re happy to announce that we’ve just made that possible. In the dashboard area of your website, you’ll find a section under “Appearance” where you can edit your site’s colors. In this section, you can easily choose any color you’d like for the different areas of your site. You can choose from a color picker or enter the Hex or RGB values of any color.
You’ll always be able to reset back to default colors just in case. You can find a full tutorial in our Help section. As always, let us know if you have any questions. Enjoy!