It is always prudent to research the topic you are writing about. So I went to the Harbor House Crisis Shelter (HHCS) website http://www.harborhousecs.org/. An impressive shelter with a very useful website. What I found to be very relevant was the content of the website’s “needs.” On the top of the need’s list is a powerful request for volunteers. A perfect tie into last week’s blog (Whose valued more? Volunteers or Donors?).
The organization’s mission is to provide shelter and transitional services for homeless women and families. Not only do they provide safe shelter, food and clothing but they dedicate much of their financial and personal resources to educating and preparing their guests to live independently.
We interviewed Rev. Barbara Certa-Werner to gain an understanding of their experience with Designs By Lucinda pins. Keep in mind, HHCS just started selling pins in 2010. They have already purchased 660 pins including Crosses, flowers, hearts with houses and butterflies. Barbara noted that the pins are a great additional revenue source. She noted that the pins open the doors for them to discuss their organization’s accomplishments, goals, needs and the range of services they provide. They are able to leave a bigger impression of the organization’s work and the customer leaves with a beautiful reminder of HHCS.
Barbara noted that although they have only been fundraising with the pins for 1 year, they are already a line item in the budget. The revenues from the pin sales are used wherever they are needed. Whether it is to run the shelter, purchase food, diapers or pay for case workers to ensure that all guests receive transitional assistance. HCCS sells the pins at several different venues including the Wisconsin United Methodist Women’s Annual Conference, the Women’s Expo and craft shows. They rely on board members to promote the pins and they highlight the pins on the front page of their website.
HCCS also taps into the pins cause- related marketing aspect. Barbara noted that they use the pins to draw a connection between Lucinda’s story of homelessness to successful entrepreneur to the very goals of their organization. They even use the pins to honor a guest that has achieved a considerable goal while at the shelter.
In wrapping up our interview with Barbara, we asked if she had a really good pin story. A woman came to the booth at the Annual Conference for Wisconsin UMC, she saw the pins and was so excited about them but she didn’t have her checkbook. She called her husband who drove 2 hours to bring her checkbook. She ended up purchasing 18 pins as Christmas presents for her family and friends. Truly a great story….
The Harbor House will be the beneficiary of this weeks Fundraising Friday. HHCS will receive 30% of all individual sales placed on our website on Friday May 5th.