Information wanted on Elkmont fire

first_imgPark rangers responded to an initial report of a fire at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, to find multiple cabins damaged in the area known as Daisy Town. These cabins are closed to the public but are slated for rehabilitation. Rangers were able to keep damage to the structures at a minimum.The National Park Service Investigative Branch is investigating the incident. Anybody who may have observed activity leading to the fire should contact investigators. Email [email protected], submit a tip at www.nps.gov/isb, call or text 888.653.0009 or message on Facebook @InvestigativeServicesNPS or on Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS. Tips are needed related to a human-caused fire that resulted in damage to cabins in the Elkmont Historic District of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.last_img read more

Gift that keeps on giving

first_imgTo teach a child to read is to equip her with the tools for success in life.(Image: help2read)Lorraine KearneyLiteracy is key: if you can read, you can make something of yourself.“Literacy can break the cycle of poverty,” stresses Marco Andolfi, the business development manager of Cape Town-based non-profit Section 21 company help2read.The flipside is that if you cannot read, you are trapped – unemployed and unemployable, or stuck in a low-paid, unskilled job.With this in mind, help2read has designed a model that targets primary school children in under-resourced schools.“help2read is an organisation set up to promote child literacy across South Africa,” Andolfi explains. “We recruit and train local volunteers to help children in primary schools – mostly in grade three – to learn to read.”There are approximately five-million illiterate people in South Africa. And schools are not necessarily helping to lower this number: according to the 2006 Pirls report, South African schoolchildren are three to five years behind their international counterparts.Pirls, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, is run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. First conducted in 2001, Pirls reports every five years on the reading achievement of fourth grade children worldwide.“The problem is that most South African children come from a culture of non-reading,” says Andolfi, “and this is added to poorly resourced schools.”There are no books at home; children don’t see or listen to their parents reading; they are seldom, if ever, taken to a library; their schools frequently do not have libraries.How it workshelp2read places volunteers, each armed with a well-stocked book box, into participating schools. There are coordinator teachers at these schools who identify the pupils most in need. The volunteers then work one-on-one with these children, 30 minutes a week, for a year.In total, each volunteer spends two hours a week at their school. The long-term nature of the intervention helps to build strong relationships of trust between the child and the volunteer, as well as build the child’s self-confidence.“We have 686 volunteers working in our schools in Western Cape and Gauteng. It is unpaid work, and many of them are unemployed. It’s also a skills development project. We hold regular workshops for our volunteers, and they learn skills that will help them in finding work.”Some volunteers are employed and come in before work; others are retired people. Each volunteer is strictly vetted, with proper police clearances carried out, before they are trained. Only once this is done are they placed in schools.Of the volunteers, 52% are unemployed and live in disadvantaged areas. They often volunteer as a means of participating in meaningful activities that enhance their own skills and self-esteem. Women make up 93% of the volunteers.It seems to be working. “In 2011 we had assessments that found that after six months on our programme, learning improved by 14 months.” This brings the children up to speed.Although this school outreach is the core of help2read’s work, it also has other projects to promote literacy, such as Reading Adventures, which run at local libraries.“We use puppet shows and other activities to spread the love for reading. We are also now undertaking a youth librarian training project together with Equal Education.”Such partnerships are an engine of growth, Andolfi says, emphasising that there is room for more, particularly with the education ministry. It has also recently expanded into Namibia, teaming up with the Michelle McLean Children Trust. Numbers are growinghelp2Read started as a pilot project in 2005 at Muizenberg Primary School, on the Cape Peninsula. It now works in about 90 schools in the Western Cape, with about 1 250 children. It also expanded into Gauteng in 2011, where it works in 15 schools and helps 250 pupils.“In the long run, our major goal is to be in rural areas, especially in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape [where the need is greatest],” says Andolfi. “We must create skills in the areas where people live so that they can make a life there, and are not forced to migrate.”The mission, according to the group, is to “motivate the literate adult population in South Africa to pass on their skills to the next generation, helping children to become confident readers. The key to the future of help2read is the recruitment and development of volunteers from underprivileged communities”.Andolfi explains: “We try to train people to help themselves.” He points out that help2read is not a charity but is a developmental organisation. It’s the old story of teaching a person to fish rather than giving him a fish.Of course, the need is great. Volunteers and cash are constantly in demand. Corporates can help through donations, and individuals can also make donations – for just R100 a month, for example, you can sponsor a child to learn to read for a year. For R25 000, a company can sponsor an entire school.Donations and sponsorships are also used to get books. They come from publishing houses, which donate or give an NGO discount; through the US group Books for Africa; and from individuals.Books used in the programme are age-appropriate and in line with school requirements. Donated books that don’t fit this profile are sold back to the public. The cash raised through these book sales and other fundraising activities is poured right back into the literacy programme.The organisation is holding its annual fundraising dinner in Cape Town on 20 November.Description: Help2read works in schoolsMetatags: help2read, read, education, literacy, illiterate, volunteer, school, library, learner, book, MediaClub, Play Your Part, Brand South Africa, Brand SA, official siteGift that keeps on givingTeaching a child to read is a priceless gift. The world opens when you can read, and your prospects improve – a better job, a better life. The help2read organisation gives this gift to South African children.Lorraine KearneyLiteracy is key: if you can read, you can make something of yourself. “Literacy can break the cycle of poverty,” stresses Marco Andolfi, the business development manager of Cape Town-based non-profit Section 21 company help2read. The flipside is that if you cannot read, you are trapped – unemployed and unemployable, or stuck in a low-paid, unskilled job.With this in mind, help2read has designed a model that targets primary school children in under-resourced schools. “help2read is an organisation set up to promote child literacy across South Africa,” Andolfi explains. “We recruit and train local volunteers to help children in primary schools – mostly in grade three – to learn to read.”There are approximately five-million illiterate people in South Africa. And schools are not necessarily helping to lower these rates: according to the 2006 Pirls report, South African schoolchildren are three to five years behind their international counterparts. Pirls, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, is run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. First conducted in 2001, Pirls reports every five years on the reading achievement of fourth grade children worldwide.“The problem is that most South African children come from a culture of non-reading,” says Andolfi, “and this is added to poorly resourced schools.” There are no books at home; they don’t see or listen to their parents reading; they are not often, if ever, taken to a library; their schools frequently do not have libraries.How it workshelp2read places volunteers, each armed with a well-stocked book box, into participating schools. There are coordinator teachers at these schools who identify the pupils most in need. The volunteers then work one-on-one with these children, 30 minutes a week, for a year. In total, each volunteer spends two hours a week at their school. The long-term nature of the intervention helps to build strong relationships of trust between the child and the volunteer, as well as build the child’s self-confidence.“We have 686 volunteers working in our schools in Western Cape and Gauteng. It is unpaid work, and many of them are unemployed. It’s also a skills development project. We hold regular workshops for our volunteers, and they learn skills that will help them in finding work.”Some volunteers are employed and come in before work; others are retired people. Each volunteer is strictly vetted, with proper police clearances carried out, before they are trained. Only once this is done are they placed in schools. Of the volunteers, 52% are unemployed and live in disadvantaged areas. They often volunteer as a means of participating in meaningful activities that enhance their own skills and self-esteem. Women make up 93% of the volunteers.It seems to be working. “In 2011 we had assessments that found that after six months on our programme, learning improved by 14 months.” This brings the children up to speed.Although this school outreach is the core of help2read’s work, it also has other projects to promote literacy, such as Reading Adventures, which run at local libraries. “We use puppet shows and other activities to spread the love for reading. We are also now undertaking a youth librarian training project together with Equal Education.” Such partnerships are an engine of growth, Andolfi says, emphasising that there is room for more, particularly with the education ministry. It has also recently expanded into Namibia, teaming up with the Michelle McLean Children Trust.Numbers are growinghelp2Read started as a pilot project in 2005 at Muizenberg Primary School, on the Cape Peninsula. It now works in about 90 schools in the Western Cape, with about 1 250 children. It also expanded into Gauteng in 2011, where it works in 15 schools and helps 250 pupils. “In the long run, our major goal is to be in rural areas, especially in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape [where the need is greatest],” says Andolfi. “We must create skills in the areas where people live so that they can make a life there, and are not forced to migrate.”The mission, according to the group, is to “motivate the literate adult population in South Africa to pass on their skills to the next generation, helping children to become confident readers. The key to the future of help2read is the recruitment and development of volunteers from underprivileged communities”.Andolfi explains: “We try to train people to help themselves.” He points out that help2read is not a charity but is a developmental organisation. It’s the old story of teaching a person to fish rather than giving him a fish.Of course, the need is great. Volunteers and cash are constantly in demand. Corporates can help through donations, and individuals can also make donations – for just R100 a month, for example, you can sponsor a child to learn to read for a year. For R25 000, a company can sponsor an entire school. Donations and sponsorships are also used to get books. They come from publishing houses, which donate or give an NGO discount; through the US group Books for Africa; and from individuals. Books used in the programme are age-appropriate and in line with school requirements. Donated books that don’t fit this profile are sold back to the public. The cash raised through these book sales and other fundraising activities is poured right back into the literacy programme.The organisation is holding its annual fundraising dinner in Cape Town on 20 November.Contact:Marco Andolfi, business development managerTel: +27 (0)21 685 8085Fax: +27 (0)86 511 2399last_img read more

Davis Cup recognition for SA tennis greats

first_img3 July 2014Three South African tennis greats, including two members of the 1974 Davis Cup winning team, received Davis Cup Commitment Awards at the Wimbledon Championships in London this week.Cliff Drysdale, Wayne Ferreira and Frew McMillan were handed their awards, which go to players who have competed in 20 Davis Cup home or away ties during their career, by International Tennis Federation (ITF) president Francesco Ricci Bitti and Tennis South Africa (TSA) president Gavin Crookes.Only four South Africans have won a Davis Cup Commitment Award. Apart from Drysdale, Ferreira and McMillan, Rik de Voest was recognised earlier this year at the Euro Africa Group 1 tie against Lithuania.Davis Cup title winnersDrysdale and McMillan were part of the South African team in 1974 that claimed South Africa’s only title in the international team competition. McMillan, with 28, holds the record for the most Davis Cup ties played by a South African.Among Ferreira’s career records is being the South African to have played Davis Cup for the most years, with 14, and winning the most rubbers, 41.The Davis Cup Commitment Award is presented by the ITF to players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in the prestigious competition. Each Award recipient has competed in a minimum of 20 home or away ties or 50 ties at any level of the competition (including Zone Group Events) over their career.About the awardsThe Award was conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations and was launched at the 100th Davis Cup Final in 2012.A total of 320 players have met the criteria, with awards presented at ties throughout the year. All recipients are recognised on an honours board at the ITF headquarters and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website.The record holder for the most ties played in all levels of the competition is Domenico Vicini from San Marino, who has so far played a total of 89 ties. With 66 ties played, Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli heads the elite list of players who have competed in 20 home or away ties for their country.The current South African Davis Cup team will play in Europe/Africa Zone Group II next year.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Breaking News in the Industry: October 23, 2018

first_imgOfficer attacked during arrest; two charged in theftsOne of the men also faces a wanton endangerment charge after attacking a police officer and biting a bystander while being arrested. An arrest citation for 36-year-old Anthony Merriman says that the loss prevention team at a Kentucky Kroger saw him head past the cash registers and toward the door with a cart carrying over $1,000 dollars in merchandise.When Lexington police questioned Merriman, he reportedly shoved the officer into a wall, and tried to leave the store. A struggle ensued, with a bystander putting Merriman into a choke hold. The arrest citation says Merriman bit the bystander and grabbed the officer’s taser. The citation also says Merriman shouted repeatedly that he had a gun. Merriman was eventually subdued, but police say he tried to give officers a bogus social security number while they were trying to identify him.Only a few minutes later, a second arrest occurred in the parking lot of that Kroger. Officers say they found Pleys Hullett in a car with over $1,000 dollars’ worth of merchandise that had been recently reported stolen from the Kroger. They also found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car. He was taken into custody without incident.   [Source: WKYT News]- Sponsor – Duo accused of shoplifting from department storeTwo Miami, Florida, women were arrested Saturday after deputies said they stole dozens of items from a department store in Key Largo. Midelys Rodriguez, 46, and Odekys Naranjo, 47, face charges of grand theft. Adam Linhardt, a spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, said the loss prevention staff at the Bealls Outlet observed Rodriquez and Naranjo placing items in a bag and leaving the store without paying.Deputies were waiting for the women as they left the store. Linhardt said Rodriguez and Naranjo stole 46 items, including jewelry, beauty products and clothing, worth about $380. Linhardt said Rodriguez and Naranjo took a tool from behind the store’s counter that removes theft prevention tags.   [Source: Local10 ABC News]Retailers flummoxed about how to handle ‘serial returners’Amazon’s announcement in May that it would institute a lifetime ban for customers that habitually return merchandise is influencing retailers of all sizes to mull similar policies, in light of their own rising problem of escalating returns, according to a report from omni-channel retail management firm Brightpearl. Some 61% of U.S. retailers say they’d ban so-called “serial returners” permanently, while fewer than one-quarter are not inclined to.Over a third of U.K. retailers and 42% of U.S. retailers say that they’re seeing more serial returners in the last 12 months, especially among customers aged 18 to 34, where over a third admit to buying more items than they intend to buy, (under a third in the other age groups say that), according to the report.One-fifth of respondents aged 18 to 24 say that they would never shop with a retailer that imposed such a penalty, Brightpearl found. But deficiencies in assessing serial returns, a lack of transparency about return policies and return tracking, and consumer expectations about e-commerce are confounding the ability of retailers to fashion effective strategies, according to the report.  Some 44% of retailers say that they don’t have the technology to identify serial returners and another 15% don’t know if their technology could identify them.   [Source: RetailDIVE]Two accused of third offense shopliftingOne person was arrested on shoplifting and other related charges around 4 p.m. Oct. 8 at Macy’s at the Huntington Mall in Florida. The suspect was identified as Austin Jeffreys, 24. He was charged with shoplifting, obstructing and forgery of document.According to the police report, the suspect was observed by a Macy’s employee selecting merchandise and concealing it on his person. The suspect allegedly wore a pair of Timberland boots out of the store. A total of $546.47 in merchandise was reported stolen by Macy’s.The suspect was apprehended and transported to the Macy’s Loss Prevention Office, where the suspect provided police with false information, including a fake name, Dairian Howard. He was placed under arrest and transported to BPD for booking and processing, where he was properly identified and previous shoplifting convictions from Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 were discovered.Tabatha Gardner, 28, was charged with third-offense shoplifting and trespassing. According to the report, a Macy’s employee observed the suspect conceal a total of $256 worth of merchandise on her person and exit the store without paying. The suspect had previous shoplifting convictions from Oct. 4, 2017, and was trespassed from Macy’s April 4, 2009. Gardner was transported to Western Regional Jail on a $15,000 bond.  Jeffreys was taken to Western Regional Jail.   [Source: The Herald-Dispatch]Police officer charged with retail theft now in jailA South Bend, Indiana, police officer who was placed on unpaid leave after the prosecutor’s office filed charges against him for allegedly switching price tags at Walmart – is now in the St. Joseph County jail. Brandon Jones has been charged with theft, a class A misdemeanor, and delivery of a false sales document, a level 6 felony. On September 25, a loss prevention associate at the Walmart on Ireland Road in South Bend watched on video as Jones scanned several items at the self-checkout lanes. An item of Notre Dame apparel rang up as ‘pie pumpkin’ for $2.98, reports said. The loss prevention associate then watched as Jones scanned items including mixed fruit, an air freshener and a container of raspberries. All rang up as either “pie pumpkin” or “mini-pumpkin,” according to the probable cause affidavit.While he was continuing his transaction, the assets protection officer reviewed video of Jones in the store. She said the video showed Jones picking up pumpkins, walking to his shopping cart, doing something to the pumpkins, then returning the pumpkins to the display, according to reports. After Jones walked past all points of sale, the assets protection associate and assets protection supervisor approached Jones and asked him to return with them to the assets protection office with them, reports said. While inside the office, the assets protection officer created two receipts, one showing the total amount Jones rang up and the other showed the total amount of all items with their actual price. The difference between the two receipts was a loss of approximately $66, according to the probable cause affidavit. Jones identified himself as a South Bend Police officer and asked for the incident to remain confidential, reports said. The assets protection officer called South Bend Police.An officer arrived and spoke with Jones. Jones claimed the incident was “a little misunderstanding.” He said when he picked up the items they already had their price tags switched, reports said. The responding officer watched Walmart’s footage of Jones in the produce department taking the pumpkins to his cart and returning them to the display, reports said. After the charges were filed, an arrest warrant was issued for Jones. He turned himself in Thursday morning and was booked into the St. Joseph County Jail where he will be held until his bond hearing.The South Bend Police Department issued the following statement: “South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski requested the Indiana State Police investigate a South Bend officer after he was stopped for an incident that took place in a retail store on September 25, 2018. With these charges announced by the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, the Board of Public Safety has placed Officer Brandon Jones on unpaid leave pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and an internal investigation. There will be no further comment as this remains an active case and investigation.”    [Source: ABC57 News]Hi, tech: Retailer announces new high-tech grocery distribution centerIn the coming weeks, Walmart will be breaking ground on a new project, and the result will be, well, groundbreaking. Shafter, California, will be the home of Walmart’s first high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries. What does that mean exactly? A traditional distribution center, or DC, is the hub where products like eggs and strawberries are received. From there, associates load goods onto trucks and deliver them to your local Walmart store or Sam’s Club. DCs are a key part of Walmart’s supply chain. As Walmart transforms to better serve customers, the question is, what does the distribution center of the future look like?Simply put, it looks more efficient, with forward-looking technology and engaging tech-focused jobs. Set to open fall 2020, this innovative DC in Shafter will use WITRON technology to process grocery perishables – produce, eggs, dairy, flowers and frozen goods. How? Rather than manually stacking boxes and building pallets, the new DC will allow associates to use the new technology to do the (literal) heavy lifting. Cool story, but what if those machines put a watermelon on top of a case of tender, beautifully ripened strawberries?Shayne Wahlmeier, one of the engineers on the project, described the plan to keep this from happening. “Every product is measured and documented so that we know how to handle it,” he explained. “A computer algorithm shows all the cases ordered for a given store and determines how to palletize them to maximize the space on a pallet or trailer. It also takes into account density – what’s crushable, what’s not.” Sort of like the game of Tetris, but with apples and ice cream.   [Source: Walmart News] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Loss Prevention in Brazil: A Brief Overview

first_imgEditor’s Note: Ever wonder how loss prevention is managed in other countries around the globe? In this post, we have a perspective on the loss prevention profession from the South American country of Brazil presented by Fernando Guinzani, who has more than 17 years experience in loss prevention. Graduating with a degree in fraud risk management and compliance from the Foundation Institute of Administration, Guinzani currently serves as country loss prevention manager at C&C Home and Bulding, and is also director at IBEVAR (The Brazilian Institute of Retail Executives) as part of the Loss Prevention Committee.In the last decade, the Brazilian retail market has assumed a leading role in the Brazilian economy. In a study conducted by IBEVAR (Brazilian Institute of Retail Executives) in October 2018, the sector projected growth of 3.55 percent compared to 2017. However, when looking at loss prevention, we noticed that these trends are not advancing at the same speed.In Brazil, the first studies on loss prevention began in 1998, through the PROVAR (Retail Administration Program), an entity linked to the FIA (Foundation Institute of Administration), with the contribution of retailers for the maintenance of the project. Large corporations, similar to the movement in the United States, adopted the nomenclature “loss prevention” for sectors then responsible for process control and security. For example, the Carrefour Group, currently the country’s largest retailer, referred to loss prevention as “fiscalização e controle” (Supervision & Control) until 2001 and was integrally focused on asset security.- Sponsor – Despite the lack of bibliography produced in the country, some Brazilian authors have established lines of reasoning that already allow national retailers to target the best practices for the implementation of a solid loss prevention movement. In his book “Pentagon of Losses”, Anderson Osawa, loss prevention director at Cinemark and director of the loss prevention committee of IBEVAR, describes how an efficient loss prevention area should be supported by five elements:People are the backbone of any company’s loss prevention planning strategy, to include motivation, involvement, environment, and engagement. According to the author, “People management strategies are among the most evolved in the last decades for application across all business segments.”Processes determine how the company will implement the program, taking into account risk points and their impacts and controls. In loss prevention, there are two phases of process components:Knowing the business, to include the evaluation of organizational chart, responsibilities, interviews for survey, macro flows and key processes.Design and Implementation, to include process design, identification of risks, causes and origins, action plans and norms and procedures.Operational Auditing is the responsibility of Loss Prevention in the retail environment and includes the monitoring and measurement of the application of processes The audit is an activity that can only be executed if people and processes are in place, since there is no audit without formalized processes and, neither, without previously trained persons.Loss Prevention Technologies help mitigate the risks of fraud or deviations by setting up an environment that naturally reverses the burden of action for the possible fraudster. In loss prevention planning there are important support tools in strategic pursuit by building the best financial loss results to include CFTV (In Brazil the CCTV system is called Circuito Fechado de Televisão), electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems, and intrusion alarmsKey Performance Indicators. Vicente Falconi, a Brazilian author, project specialist, and Ph.D., states that failures to achieve good results occur because:Wrong goals or definitions of wrong problems are establishedAction plans are performed in the wrong way, either due to lack of knowledge of the methods of analysis or due to a lack of technical knowledge or necessary information.Incorrect execution of the action plan after the established deadline or due to circumstances beyond our control.A financial metric creates the possibility of translating all other objectives into a single unit of measure, which makes it possible to compare them and identify priorities more clearly. The principle of loss prevention work is to find out the number that represents the losses in its result. For example, the physical inventory process and identifying the value of their inventory loss.With regards to the development of the loss prevention sector in Brazil, there is still much that needs to be done. The first Association of Loss Prevention Professionals (ABRAPPE) just launched in September 2018. Forums and events remain an area of opportunity, but industry professionals believe it is be possible to build a strong and independent loss prevention presence within the Brazilian retail industry. Time will tell.This post was originally published May 8, 2019 and updated May 24, 2019. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Formula 1: Indian Grand Prix hits customs hurdle

first_imgEven as the upcoming Indian Grand Prix looked like it was racing towards a perfect start, the country’s inaugural Formula 1 race has hit a roadblock. Just 45 days before the race, the organisers and the government are locked in a tussle over custom duties. The customs department has been insisting that Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) — the promoter of the Indian GP racetrack — pay duty upfront on all equipment being brought into the country for the race. It is estimated that the total duty could come to Rs 600 crore or more. JPSI, on its part, has been pushing for the practice that is followed in other countries where a custom bonded area is declared for the track. This would allow F1 cargo to be immediately taken to the track, assembled and then flown out after the race, avoiding any sort of custom duty. The government, however, has been bizarrely classifying F1 as entertainment and not sport, which means no such exemption to it. As a result JPSI might be forced to pay the entire duty to allow the equipment to come into the country. After a deduction of 2 per cent, the remaining amount would be returned by the customs department.last_img read more

An intriguing but impractical tip about what inspires giving

first_imgAs the so-called Snowquester flakes fall outside my window here in Washington, DC, I thought I’d share a timely piece of research about storms.The wonderful team at Influence at Work this week covers a study with surprising findings about inspiring disaster relief donations.Apparently, people are more likely to donate to storm relief efforts if their name sounds similar to the name of the storm. I am not making this up: “People were more likely to donate if the initial of their first name matched the name given to the hurricane. For example, those whose names began with the letter R, such as Robert or Rosemary, were 260% more likely to donate to the Hurricane Rita relief appeal than those whose name didn’t begin with the letter R. A similar effect was noted after Hurricane Katrina with folks whose name starts with a K significantly more motivated to donate.”*In addition, says Influence, Adam Alter, a Professor of Marketing at NYU’s Stern Business School, suggests, “If people are more likely to donate to hurricane relief programs that share their initials, then the World Meteorological Organization which is responsible for naming hurricanes has the power to increase charitable giving simply by giving hurricanes more commonly occurring names.”Anyone have contacts at the WMO?This research reminds me of studies I read that people choose professions close to their names. There are apparently many dentists named Dennis.So maybe it’s impractical to start naming hurricanes John Smith, but in all seriousness there is a lesson here. As Influence points out, we always pay more attention to anything involving our name. You’ve experienced this in a noisy room where you’re tuning out conversation – until you hear your name mentioned. I think it’s therefore useful to test using people’s real names in fundraising appeals (better than Dear Valued Supporter) or naming initiatives or campaigns after common names or initials. It’s easier to try out than naming storms!(By the way, I donated to Katrina but not Rita relief so there you go.*)last_img read more

4 Things Nonprofits Can Learn from the NBA Playoffs

first_imgThe Playoffs are like the year-end giving season for NBA players. Just like your nonprofit’s staff in December, during Playoffs, athletes are busy, tired, and they have their eye on the prize. What can nonprofits learn from the 16 teams that are competing for the championship title? Here are 4 takeaways you can share with your colleagues: Every little victory matters.In the Playoffs: The Charlotte Bobcats went from having the second-worst record last season to playing the two-time defending champion in the first round of the playoffs this season. Talk about improvement! Takeaway: You may be disappointed because you came so close to hitting your big fundraising goal. However, there are definitely some small wins that you can celebrate. Were email open rates better than last year? Did you have a higher percentage of recurring gifts? Use this as an opportunity to analyze what worked and what didn’t. Learn from it and leverage that knowledge to improve future campaigns. That amazing jaw-dropping campaign element needs to fit in with your overall strategy.In the Playoffs: There were seconds left in the fourth quarter of game 2 against the Grizzlies. Kevin Durant gets the ball, loses his balance, and shoots mid-fall. Those three points got everyone excited! But, the Thunder lost. It sure was a memorable shot, but in the end, it didn’t earn the points they needed to win. Takeaway: Does your professionally produced video with a local celebrity or that beautiful photo shoot of your new facility enhance the story you’re telling in your fundraising appeal or confuse it? Even though you might want to share those “wow” elements as many times as possible, consider saving your snazzy elements for a campaign that makes sense and use it when it fits in with your overall strategy. Let your personality shine. In the Playoffs: The Wizards’ Bradley Beal makes 79% of his free throws. But during game 1 against the Pacers, he shot an air ball. How did he react? He showed that he was human and laughed it off. Takeaway: Donors like a little personality in the communications they receive from your nonprofit. You’re human, your organization helps humans (or animals) and donors are human. Humans like to laugh and they want to feel connected to your cause through stories. Step away from the standard writing format for a few moments and inject some personality into your writing. Say thank you.In the Playoffs: This year’s NBA MVP was Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. His acceptance speech was a big thank you to his entire team, his coaches, his mom, and so many others. You could tell his teammates were touched by his gratitude. Takeaway: The work your nonprofit does is amazing. It changes peoples’ lives. But don’t forget who helped you accomplish the work: donors. Your donors are the superheroes. Make them feel special by saying thank you early and often. Are you rooting for a team in the Playoffs this year? Have you noticed anything about your team’s performance that could apply to fundraising? Share in the comments below. (Image source: MVGL /Tumblr)last_img read more

The ABCs of Donor Prospecting

first_img We think our donor list is a pyramid. You’ve probably seen the donor pyramid a million times and think your donor files look like this: a strong base of general fund donors, a solid but somewhat smaller core of midlevel gifts, and a few major donors on top. What we’ve learned, however, is that the pyramid isn’t really a pyramid at all. In reality, it looks more like a sombrero: many people giving small amounts and a few people giving large amounts, with very few midlevel donors. Virtually every nonprofit has high-capacity donors hiding in plain sight. A whopping 40% of donors in a recent study admitted they could give more than they currently are. Our job as fundraisers is to identify those prospects so we can start moving them up to greater levels of giving. Here’s how to start making that happen.The Myth of the Donor PyramidFirst, let’s talk about the donor pyramid—what we think it looks like, what it really looks like, and the opportunities it holds for your nonprofit. Most donor lists are more sombrero than pyramid. This missing middle isn’t because of our donors’ behavior. It’s because of ours. We have prospects for every level hiding in our general fund, but most nonprofits don’t have an intentional midlevel strategy. These folks need to be identified and given more love and attention to encourage them to move up to midlevel and eventually major gifts.Who Are Your Midlevel Donors?Midlevel donors are sort of like the forgotten middle child—the “Jan Brady” of donors. They might look like low-level givers. They could be volunteers or have attended your events. They’ve probably engaged with you but just haven’t made a gift. Thing is, these prospects are very likely to give on the first ask—but they need personalized attention to get there.Most major donors actually begin at the bottom of the pyramid. Annual fund donors are strong prospects for moving up to midlevel giving. These are your future major donors, so it’s worth investing your time and resources in moving them up.What’s your favorite strategy to find more donors?Direct mail and/or online acquisition campaignStaff and board brainstorm names of prospectsProspect researchAll (or some) of the aboveA combination of these is the most popular strategy, closely followed by brainstorming names. Brainstorming sounds like a great plan, but it can become derailed by magical thinking—“If we only had this particular mega-millionaire donating to us”—while you overlook great prospects already in your own backyard.ABCs of Identifying ProspectsThere are opportunity costs associated with cultivating donors in terms of time and money, and we have an obligation to be good stewards of our nonprofit’s resources. This means learning the ABCs of prospecting:Access: People we already know or with whom we share a solid connection.Belief: People who share similar interests or already believe in our mission.Capacity: People with the ability to move up the giving pyramid.Effective prospecting begins with Access—prospects we already know. Unfortunately, we often skip ahead to Capacity and start with who’s rich. And that’s where we get into trouble. Capacity does not equal interest (Belief), nor does it equal generosity.If you don’t have Access to a big donor, or if the big donor doesn’t already have interest or Belief in your mission, despite their Capacity, pursuing them may come at the expense of missing the “millionaires next door” already in your files.Prospecting Tips for Greater GivingHere are some final points to consider when identifying and cultivating general fund donors to move up to the next level of giving:Longevity: How long has the donor been on your files? Long-term giving could mean moving a donor into planned, recurring, or major gifts.Cumulative giving: Be sure to look at cumulative giving, not just the amount they give each year. A donor who gives $2,500 four times year tends to be more receptive than one who gives an annual lump sum of $10,000.Engagement: This is huge. Are they volunteering? Are they reading your emails and newsletters? How involved are they in your organization? People who are investing time in your nonprofit are great candidates for moving up the pyramid.Referrals: People who were referred to your organization by another donor, especially major donors, meet the Access requirement right off the mark.Remember: Donors give for their reasons, not ours. For greater success, start with the folks you already know.Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar Find High-Capacity Donors Hiding in Plain Sight, with Rachel Muir, founder of Girlstart and vice president of training at Pursuant.last_img read more

3 days agoArsenal title winner Smith: Holding better option than Sokratis

first_imgArsenal title winner Smith: Holding better option than Sokratisby Paul Vegas3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal title winner Alan Smith says Rob Holding is best suited to being David Luiz’s defensive partner.Smith wrote for the London Evening Standard: “…I’m a big fan of Rob Holding, who could possibly get a run out in central defence. “Holding offers a steadier option in an area of the pitch where Sokratis can be hot-headed and David Luiz unpredictable. To put it mildly, that’s not an ideal combination.”For me, Holding’s calmer presence and good reading of the game make him a better partner for Luiz. “The lad has been dreadfully unlucky with injuries so far, but if he can only stay fit, the 24-year-old has the ability, I think, to become an Arsenal regular for several years to come.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more