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Attracting and Retaining Younger Donors and Volunteers

In order for your organization to grow and increase donations, you need to have a focus on attracting and retaining younger donors and volunteers. While many organizations disregard younger audiences, these groups are growing in both size and income and Millennials can be valuable assets to nonprofit organizations.  


In January of 2018, we covered fundraising trends for 2018 that nonprofits need to know. Many of these trends discuss how organizations can reach out to younger audiences to seek donations. Some of the top ways are with social media, video content, and mobile technology.

Social media:

Most millennials are more active on all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and LinkedIn than any other age group. Here are some quick facts about this group’s social media usage:

  • Over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35
  • The majority of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 32
  • Youtube reaches more members of Generations X and Y than any broadcast or cable television

For more information about usage on the specific social media networks, you can view Gesture’s donor segmentation guide here.

To take advantage of social media, your organization should create profiles on each platform and work to share interesting content. If social media isn’t something that your organization has time for, then you should at least join Facebook because there are over 1.71 billion users and you can reach people of all generations on this platform.

To make your content creative and interesting, you’ll want to tell a story about your organization and your clients. Do you have photos from a recent event? What statistics do you have about your efforts in the past year? Share all of the information you have! You’ll also want to make sure that you provide links to donation pages in the bios of your social media accounts so that users can easily transition from reading about your organization’s work to donating.

Video content:

By 2019, video content will be responsible for 85% of ALL U.S. internet traffic. In order to get the attention of donors (especially Millennials) on social media, your organization should utilize videos to share impact stories about your cause, your successes, and request support.

Your videos don’t have to be professionally produced; you can use free software downloadable for smartphones and computers to create short videos about your organization. To retain donors that participated in your fundraising initiatives, you can create fun videos that show your successes from a particular campaign or event and share on social media and say a big thank you to those donors. Encourage those who donated and attended to share the content with their followers as well to gain maximum exposure!

Mobile Fundraising Technology:

Millenials are known as the “Generation of Multitaskers”. In order to reach these busy people, you want to be where they are most active: on their smartphones. Mobile fundraising technology offers several options for reaching this group including text message communications, seamless bidding, donations, and payments from anywhere, and the ability to publish content on social media from your donation pages.

When at large fundraising events, your audience can be socializing and enjoying the night without needing to worry about the auction. Donors are free to roam around the event space and don’t need to be glued to the silent auction table! You can send a text message when it’s time for your guests to find their tables and take their seat. Donors can even donate and bid on items through their phones during dinner and your program. At the end of the night, all payments can be processed quickly and seamlessly on donors’ phones so there’s no need for anyone to wait in line.

Also, with mobile fundraising technology, you can collect donor information to store in your CRM or Donor Database. This information helps with donor retention because you can work to send your donors with campaign information via email or text message.


While some members of Generations X, Y, and Z may not be able to contribute financially, they can donate their time as volunteers! Your organization can also use video content, social media, and volunteer marketing and management software to reach potential volunteers.

Social Media:

On social media, share the amazing things your volunteers accomplish and always provide a way for people to contact you. If you make it easy for those interested to get more information, you’re more likely to gain volunteers. Here’s an example caption:

“We had over 60 volunteers help at our Annual Gala this year! If you would like to volunteer with us during the year or at next year’s event, get in touch with to learn more and sign up!”

You should also include pictures and videos because they are eye-catching. They can also show potential volunteers that the people you have currently volunteering are just like them!

The great thing about Millennial volunteers is that most will be well versed in social media, video production, and mobile technology. You can ask them to use their skills to help your organization in these areas. A Millennial Impact Report found that 77% of Millennials said they are more likely to volunteer if they can use specific skills or expertise to help a cause. Take advantage of this and use Millennial skills and power to help attract and retain a younger generation of donors!

Volunteer Marketing and Management Software:

With over 1.3 million users, VolunteerMatch is one of the most popular volunteer marketing platforms. Many millennials looking for volunteer opportunities will turn to the internet first. By putting your opportunities online, you have a greater chance of reaching them. The system allows prospective volunteers to search for opportunities based on their interest, experience, location, and causes they care about. Similar to a job posting board, organizations can post information about specific volunteer positions, requirements, and provide contact/application information. Organizations can also use VolunteerMatch’s communication system to manage volunteer applications. VolunteerMatch is also a nonprofit organization, meaning that they understand what organizations go through to find qualified volunteers!

Volunteer Management Software is key for organizational efficiency. There are many different options for this type of software, so you’ll want to figure out which features are most important to your organization. For example, if your volunteers work with children, you may want your volunteer management software to integrate with your background check program. If you have a large number of volunteers and several different programs, you may find a scheduling tool useful. Does your organization require online training for volunteers? If so, a system with a training management feature.

Last but not least, you’ll want to be able to easily keep track of your volunteers! You should have their contact information easily accessible. It’s also beneficial to know which volunteers are giving the most time so you can appropriately thank them. 


Don’t be afraid of trying to reach younger donors and volunteers; they have a lot to offer as a growing group! Use resources like social media, video, and volunteer marketing and management software to make your operations more efficient.

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4 Ways to Increase Fundraising Event Attendance

Photo from Horizons for Youth’s 18th Annual On Cloud Nine Gala.

Share about your event on social media.

Social media is a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations because it has a wide reach and is inexpensive. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great for sharing about upcoming events or fundraising initiatives.

On Facebook, you can create a “Facebook event” with all of the details of the event and instructions for ticket purchases. You can then share the event on your organization’s page and invite followers.

On Twitter, messages are meant to be shorter but you can use images and links to share more information about your event. Create a catchy image with your event name and date and send it in a tweet with a link to your ticket site. You can read more about how nonprofit organizations can use Twitter here.

On Instagram, you can use the same image used on Twitter but include instructions for purchasing tickets in the caption.

While LinkedIn is more professional than the above social media networks, it is great for connecting with people in your professional world whom you may not be friends with on Facebook.

Encourage board members, staff, volunteers, etc to tell friends and family about the event.

Another way to increase ticket sales and attendance is to ask your board members, staff, and volunteers to share about the event in their personal social media networks. They will have a different reach than your organization and may be able to convince some of their friends or family to attend the event with them!

If you are able to, you could offer a discount on ticket purchases for friends and family of those close to your organization. A 10% discount may not make a large difference to your organization but may encourage someone new to your organization’s mission to attend and they could become a larger donor in the future.

Reach out to local press outlets about a feature.

The best way to reach your local community is through the media. Create a press release detailing your event and your organization and send it to local media outlets for a chance to be featured. Make sure to do your research and try to send your piece to the right person! Sometimes there are certain reporters that cover local ongoings and charity events and they would be able to help you more than someone else at the outlet.

There are many media outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and tv stations that will also promote your event on their website. Never hesitate to reach out

Send reminder emails to attendees and let them know that their friends can still attend.

As your event nears, you’ll want to send a reminder email to all of your attendees who have RSVP’d to give them any last minute details and let them know that you’re excited to see them! In this email, you can also mention that ticket sales are not yet closed and encourage them to bring friends to the event.

Here’s an example paragraph that you could add to your reminder email:

“I also wanted to let you know that ticket sales are still open for the event! If you have any friends or family who are interested in attending with you, they can register online using this ticket link or they can pay at the door. We’re excited to see you!”

It’s also worth reaching out to past attendees. Even if they can’t make it this year, they may have friends or family members who would like to attend. Encourage them to share the ticket information on social media or through word of mouth!

It’s stressful when your numbers aren’t looking how you want them to, but there are quite a few last-minute things you can do to help increase attendance. Utilize social media and your personal network and encourage others connected with the organization to do the same!

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Maximize ROI of your Benefit Auction

Gesture teamed up with Winspire to provide a webinar covering how an organization can maximize ROI of a benefit auction. If you missed the webinar, you can watch a recording below!


In the webinar, Gesture’s Dianne Kleber and Winspire’s Ian Lauth answer questions, such as:

  • What does ROI mean? How can I track it?
  • What event features do and don’t generate a return?
  •  What’s an event expense ratio? What should mine be?
  • How does underwriting work?
  • What revenue enhancers can I (and should I) add to my event?
  • And more!

Both Dianne and Ian are experts in the event fundraising world and offer tips, advice, and best practices for maximizing the ROI of your benefit auction.

If you have any questions that aren’t answered in the webinar, feel free to reach out to!

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What’s it Like to be New to the Nonprofit World?

Anyone working in the nonprofit space will tell you that it’s drastically different from any for-profit company. Being new to a nonprofit organization can be overwhelming!

Katlin Bewley (far right) is an Account Manager who came to Gesture after 4 years at Together We Cope. Together We Cope is a homeless prevention agency based in Tinley Park, IL and they support families in temporary crisis with financial assistance and basic necessities. To help those who may be new to the nonprofit world and fundraising, we sat down with Katlin to get some information and advice about starting a new position at a nonprofit organization.

Q: What are some of the most noticeable differences between working at a nonprofit and a for-profit company?

A: Going to work each day, you don’t know what you’re going to get. Your task at hand changes every day and often you’re helping everyone at the office including people in different departments and on different committees depending on where support is needed the most. At Together We Cope, we had two buildings: one where our clients went and one for admin members. Because I was the fundraising manager, I worked in the admin building. However, coming from a case management background, I was sometimes asked to help out at the client building during busy weeks so I was jumping between the two buildings a lot.

Q: What surprised you the most when you entered the nonprofit world?

A: I was initially surprised by how many volunteers there were. There were volunteers who were retired from their full-time jobs but came every Monday – Friday to work in our food pantry and were there consistently every week. Volunteers are the number one resource for nonprofits.

Q: What’s something that stands out to you from your time at Together We Cope?

A: We had the roof at the food pantry cave in over the weekend a few years ago. We were all called in on Monday in our sweats, t-shirts, and sneakers to help clean up the mess. At many for-profit companies, tasks like these would be outsourced to specialists. However, at a nonprofit organization, every dollar matters. The more you can save, the more goes to your clients and so we worked to remedy the situation ourselves. Another example of this is with the invitations to our big fundraising initiative. Normally, for-profit companies would hire someone to stuff envelopes with invitations and put stamps on and mail them out for a 400-person gala, but we did this to save money.

Q: What challenges do nonprofit organizations face?

A: Money, money, money. You have to use a low budget to put on an amazing fundraising event to fund your year, and it’s hard but you find a way and the volunteers are crucial to making this happen.

Q: What are some tips that you have for those starting out in the nonprofit world?

A: Get your friends and family involved as volunteers! Initially, your friends and family will start volunteering to help you out, but then they become attached to the cause and want to help out the organization and not just you as their friend or family member. My mom started volunteering when I started working there and she would help out every so often. Now, she runs the entire Christmas program and this year she was awarded the volunteer of the year award!

Q: Anything else?

A: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that currently work or have worked in nonprofit organizations. They’ll be able to offer a lot of advice specific to your role and even your organization’s niche.

Q: Any fun facts you want to share?

A: Together We Cope was one of Gesture’s first clients! This partnership started in 2014 and working with a mobile fundraising technology company made my job as a fundraising manager much simpler. The platform helps with everything from event organization to ticketing to item management and it’s a great way for smaller nonprofits to manage their fundraising efforts.

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Great Auction Items for School Fundraisers

School fundraisers are unique, and the items that are popular are different from what you may find at another type of fundraising event!

Back-to-School Raffles:

Parents can purchase tickets from any location on Gesture’s platform. Create themed raffle baskets for “back to school”. Here are some back to school basket ideas:

  • School Spirit: Show off school pride with school-branded gear like a backpack, sweatshirt, t-shirt, and stickers!
  • All Packed Up: Get kids ready for the new year with everything they’ll need to succeed; include notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, a calculator, and anything else a student may need!



St. Ambrose School Book Bucket Raffle


Class-Specific Items:

Create auction items that are specific to each class or grade. Here’s an idea:

  • Choose Your Seat: the winning parent in this auction will be able to have their child choose where they sit in the classroom for the first semester, trimester, or quarter! You can hold the same auction for each class in order to maximize fundraising revenue.

Sports Tickets Auction:

Offer season front-row tickets for Fall sports in an online auction. You can offer a pack of two or use the double-up strategy (discussed in this webinar) to double revenue and give four supporters the best seats in the house!

Parking Privileges:

Designate and reserve a parking spot for the winning bidder of this item. Ideally, the parking spot is one of the closest to the school so that they have easy access to drop-off, pick-up, and school events. You could auction this spot to a new winner each month or allow the winner to keep the spot for the entire school year.

If you’re a high school and want to offer a similar item to seniors, we recommend you offer it as a raffle instead of an auction. The lower ticket price will entice more students to give back to their school with the hopes of winning an amazing parking spot.

Buy the Ball:

Offer the game ball in an auction during the game. Announce at the beginning that the game ball will be available to win in an auction and give guests the instructions to register. It can be as easy as texting a keyword, like “PLAYBALL”, to 52182 and you can even print the registration instructions on the game program. As the score goes up, the bids will too!

Dinner and a Show:

For school theater productions, create a package that allows parents to feel like they’re on Broadway. Partner with local restaurants to offer an auction item with a gift card for dinner, a premium parking space, and front row seats.



Orange Lutheran High School Musical


Class Pizza Party:

Challenge the parents of different classes to raise money for a class pizza party! If you have three 5th grade classes, you could challenge the classes to see which class can raise more, and the winning class gets a pizza party for lunch one day!

50/50 Raffles:

Many schools offer 50/50 raffles during sporting events or theater shows and often. These are a great way to raise funds for the school, and sometimes the winner will donate their 50% back to the school! You can have students volunteer to walk around the court, field, or bleachers during the game selling tickets and draw the winner at halftime. 

Bake Sale:

In this day and age, many people don’t carry cash. If you’re hosting a bake sale at your school, allow users to pay for their purchases online so that they can use a credit card!

College Kick-Off:

With most of your graduating class heading to college, provide parents the opportunity to supply their kids with everything they’ll need while also supporting the school! You could create an online auction with different packages, like:

  • No More Ramen: Include non-perishable snack foods like granola bars and oatmeal along with dorm room kitchen appliances like an electronic water kettle, a mini-fridge, and any other appliances that colleges allow. You can also include some basic utensils, plates, and cups so that the student will be ready for some late night snacking after a hard day of classes.
  • Dorm Sweet Dorm: This package should be full of items that students need to make their dorm room feel like home, like Twin XL sheets, a laundry basket, and towels.


Create a “buy-it-now” item for each seat in the front row at graduation. Being in the front will allow parents to get the best possible shot of their graduate walking across the stage! If there are 20 seats and you offer each seat for a $100 donation, you can easily make $2,000 in revenue for your school. The first 20 to purchase get the seats!

Celebrate the Artists:

Many classes will have an “end of year” art project that combines each student into a masterpiece of art. You could create an auction or raffle for each class and the winning bidder would get to take home the project!

Summer Fun:

With kids excited to get out of school and have the summer to themselves, you can create auction items that are focused on fun summer activities like mountain biking, swimming, and hiking. Partner with local summer camps to see if they will donate a week to the camp for your auction!



Brainerd Public Schools Foundation Auction


There is many great ways that schools can use what they have to increase fundraising revenue. From the beginning of the school year to the end, there isn’t a shortage of fundraising opportunity. Do you have any great items that parents at your school love? Let us know in the comment section!

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Fundraising for Rare Diseases

Individually, each rare disease impacts a small number of people compared to more common illnesses. Collectively, there are over 7,000 rare diseases causing a tremendous amount of pain, grief, and suffering for 300 million people worldwide.

Rare diseases can develop in a number of different ways — defects or predispositions, bacterial or viral infections, or even exposure to dangerous materials. Whatever the cause, one factor unites them all — their mystery. There is little known about rare diseases and, as a result, finding treatments and cures can be complicated.

The Hurdles of Rare Diseases

Challenges in the realm of rare disease exist for both patients and doctors. Since many rare illnesses affect a small number of people, it is difficult to find enough subjects who can participate in studies and trials that could lead to better treatment.

Additionally, rare diseases are often aggressive making many patients too weak to participate in trials once accurately diagnosed. Mesothelioma is an example of a rare, aggressive cancer that develops from exposure to asbestos. Symptoms can take 20 to 50 years to appear and often mimic signs of other more common infections or diseases. By the time an accurate diagnosis is made, the prognosis is poor and the patient is often very weak.

As a result, research efforts for diseases, like mesothelioma, are very limited compared to their more common counterparts. Lack of rare disease knowledge also stems from lack of funding as more research money is allocated to diseases that affect larger numbers of people. The lack of funding leads to delayed diagnosis, difficulties accessing care and treatment, and heavy financial burdens placed on patients.

Due to the lack of research, doctors are often unsure of the most efficient and effective way to proceed with the treatment of rare diseases. This information gap puts the responsibility on patients to take ownership of their health and become experts on their specific situation.

“Had I followed the first oncologist’s plan, I probably would have passed away soon after the diagnosis,” a patient of Highly Undifferentiated Endometrial Sarcoma said.

More than one professional opinion could be life-saving, but additional doctors visits mean an increased financial burden on the patient — intensifying what is already a stressful situation.

Get Involved with Rare Disease Fundraising

Each rare disease has advocacy groups that are working tirelessly to raise money in hopes for improved treatment or even a cure. In addition to fundraising, awareness is key. When more people know about rare diseases, increased resources become available. Fundraising and awareness events for rare diseases take place all the time, all over the place. It’s important to share, educate, advocate, and get involved with rare diseases!

Gesture Partners Tackling Rare Diseases

We wanted to feature some Gesture partners working to combat rare diseases across the country!

Cammy Can’s Cinderella Story

Cammy Can’s Cinderella Story (formerly focuses on accelerating Rett syndrome research and supporting families affected by this rare disease. In this two year partnership, Gesture has helped Cammy Can’s Cinderella Story raise over $111,000 to support their mission. Learn more about this organization here.

Carolinas HealthCare System

Another Gesture partner, the Carolinas HealthCare System and their Levine Children’s Hospital, work to help those with rare diseases. They recently highlighted two members of the Collins family battling chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis. The mother and daughter were featured in an article from the Carolinas HealthCare System discussing how LCH supports their care.

Huntsman Cancer Institute

The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has clinical trials for rare cancers! The diseases treated include rare sarcomas, blood cancers, brain tumors, and more. Gesture has partnered with this organization since 2015 to help them raise over $240,000.

Lurie Children’s Hospital

Last but not least comes Lurie Children’s Hospital located in Chicago, IL. The Center for Autonomic Medicine in Pediatrics (CAMP), located at Lurie Children’s Hospital, is the first of its kind. It is part of a program that studies diseases affecting children’s autonomic nervous systems. More information about the center and program can be found here.

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The Essential Steps for a Text-to-Donate Campaign

Text-to-donate can be successful for your organization for many reasons: it increases your reach, collects donor data, and raise money and can be executed using a variety of platforms. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to execute a lucrative text-to-donate campaign!

What is Text-to-donate?

Text-to-donate is a mobile fundraising tool using keywords and text messaging to collect donations from donors’ mobile devices. These campaigns are effective because they have a high open rate as donors are usually active on their phones, and this high open rate leads to increased donations. Many organizations will set up text-to-donate campaigns for an event or as a way for donors to easily give year-round.

How do you implement a Text-to-donate campaign?

As an organization looking to execute a text-to-donate campaign, there are several components that need to be addressed in order to make the campaign successful:

  1. Keyword: have a simple and memorable keyword. PAWS Chicago, an animal welfare organization, hosts an annual beach party and uses “BeachParty” as their keyword. The keyword is easy to remember because it is tied to the event theme! 
  2. Display: make sure guests can easily find the keyword and number they need to text in order to make a donation. You can put the information on your event program, on tables, and/or on a digital display at the event. One of the benefits of using text-to-give is that your campaign doesn’t have to be tied to an event! You can display the keyword in other areas too. Read more about those in 3-5.
  3. Social Media: to collect donations from guests who can’t make it to your event, or donations for a virtual fundraising event, spread the word about your text-to-donate campaign on social media. The Philadelphia Flyers Charities use Twitter to reach donors anywhere, as seen in this tweet: 
  4. Email: another way to reach donors on their phones is via email. You can inform donors of the upcoming campaign and ask them to pre-register with their cell phone number so they will receive alerts when the campaign starts. Pre-registering donors with their cell phone numbers also allows you as an organization to collect their contact information and text them with marketing materials and key information.
  5. Direct Mail: lastly, you can send information about your text-to-donate campaign in your organization’s direct mail campaigns. Similar to sending the information via email, you will be able to pre-register donors and begin collecting contact information.

Why use Text-to-donate?

  • Collect Donor Data: When donors register to text-to-donate, you can collect their name, email address, physical address, credit card information, and more. This allows you to stay in contact with donors after the campaign ends!
  • Receive Large Donations: Using text-to-donate makes donations of any size easier to collect. Most importantly, it’s safe and secure so your donors won’t have concerns about their information being compromised.
  • Quick Payment Processing: Don’t worry about when you’ll be able to see the donations you receive in your bank account. Payment processing is quick and funds are in your organization’s account in as little as one business day of closing the payments and processing the credit card information. This quick processing time allows you to execute your fundraising promises sooner!
  • Easy to thank donors in a timely manner: Set up your text-to-donate campaign to automatically text donors a customized “thank you” message after you receive their donation. You can also use the contact information you collect to send a more personalized message to donors after the event, keeping your organization at top of mind.
  • Higher success rate: One of the reasons why text-to-donate is so successful is because of the high open rate with text messages. SMS text messages have a 99% open rate. There is no other form of marketing that is that Capitalizing on this trend with a text-to-donate campaign will increase responses, increasing donations.

If you want to learn more about text-to-donate and related services, view our 2018 Fundraising Trends Webinar where we discuss the predicted increase in texting donors and text-to-give campaigns as well as answer questions about how you can implement these services.

Text-to-donate can be successful for your organization for many reasons: it increases your reach, collects donor data, and raise money and can be executed using a variety of platforms. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to execute a lucrative text-to-donate campaign!

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2018 Fundraising Trends Webinar

What fundraising trends should nonprofit organizations expect to see in 2018? How can nonprofits follow these trends to drive donations? The Gesture team has analyzed data from various sources to come up with a list of the top 9 trends that nonprofit organizations should keep in mind when planning their fundraising and marketing efforts.

After helping to raise over $200 Million for their charity partners in 2017, Gesture is gearing up for another record-breaking year in fundraising.

Learn how nonprofit organizations can use these trends to generate fundraising success with Gesture’s Director of Marketing, Brandon Stec, and Senior Account Manager, Cara Dickerson by watching the recorded version of this webinar below.

If you are looking for some more in-depth information on these fundraising trends, you can view this blog post.

Here’s an overview of the top 9 fundraising trends for 2018 that we’re predicting:

  1. Storytelling: Create a personal connection with donors.
  2. Social Media: Share about your fundraising efforts and events on platforms with broad reaches.
  3. Increase in Total Giving: Focus on donor retention to increase donations in 2018.
  4. Increase in Corporate Giving: Learn about how you can request donations from companies.
  5. Decrease in Email Effectiveness: Use other methods to communicate with donors.
  6. Video Content: Make videos to capture donor attention.
  7. Fundraising Software Integration: Link your fundraising software programs together for increased efficiency.
  8. Generational Shifts: Reach different donors different ways depending on generational preferences.
  9. Mobile Technology: Implement mobile technology to simplify fundraising initiatives and help your donors.

Contact us using the form below to learn more about our mobile fundraising technology platform!

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Make-a-Wish Colorado Case Study

Make-a-Wish Colorado has been using Gesture for their mobile fundraising technology needs since 2014 for their two main events: “Wine and Wishes” (now known as “Wish Night”) and “A Sporting Affair”.


One of the struggles Make-a-Wish Colorado experienced at their “Sporting Affair” event was that donors were not interacting with the celebrities because they were so focused on winning their items! Introducing mobile fundraising technology allowed donors to meet the celebrities in attendance and continue to bid without hovering over the bid sheet. Donations and bids skyrocketed!

Read about this improvement and more in the case study which you can download by completing the form below.

Photo courtesy of Make-a-Wish Colorado

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4 Unique Ronald McDonald House Charities Fundraising Ideas

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) offer many different services to help families with sick children receive the medical care they need. These services include:

  • Ronald McDonald Houses which are home environments where the families can stay while their children are in the hospital
  • Ronald McDonald Family Rooms which are areas in the hospital where families can rest
  • Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles which provide “access to health care where children need it most”
  • Grants

In order to fund these programs, RMHC chapters nationwide plan and execute unique and inspiring fundraising events. Gesture is lucky enough to work with 11 RMHC chapters and we’ve collected some unique ideas from our RMHC partners to help inspire other chapters.

Chapter: RMHC Global

Unique Fundraising Initiative: Big Mac Sauce Auction

Why it worked: Capitalizing on the popularity of Big Mac Sauce, RMHC Global auctioned a limited edition bottle of McDonald’s Big Mac Special Sauce, labeled “Bottle 10,001 of 10,000.” The rare nature of this item made it even more popular and it sold for nearly $800!

Chapter: RMHC of Eastern New England

Unique Fundraising Initiative: Night at Fenway

Why it worked: They hosted the event at Fenway and offered Red Sox-related items in their auction including several different ticket packages. By tying auction items to their venue, RMHC of Eastern New England was able to maximize auction revenue.

Chapter: RMHC of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (CNI)

Unique Fundraising Initiative: Mission: Possible

Why it worked: RMHC CNI hosted a “secret agent” themed event and created a unique raffle to match the theme. They played a “Deal or No Deal” themed game with raffle ticket purchasers winning prizes hidden in briefcases.

Chapter: RMHC of the Miami Valley

Unique Fundraising Initiative: Big Red Shoes “Buy it now” Item

Why it worked: Per the item description, wearing red shoes has become a symbol for supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities everywhere. This item offered donors the opportunity to purchase a pair of their own red shoes for a “Buy it now” price of $1,000.


Incorporating fun themes into your fundraising initiatives and creating unique auction items can inspire donors to give more to your nonprofit organization! Using mobile fundraising technology for these initiatives make them even easier to execute and mean that more donors can be involved.

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2018 Corporate Donation Guide

At Gesture, we value the work you do and are both ready and excited to work with our charity partners to raise $1 billion between 2016 and 2021. In our efforts to help you raise more, we’ve compiled a collection of corporations that give to organizations in various manners to form our 2018 Corporate Donation Guide.

Simply fill out your information below and you will be able to download the 2018 Corporate Donation Guide:

Corporate Donation Guide Contents:

  1. Tips from the Trenches: Learn key tips and tricks about auction items from seasoned account managers.
  2. Corporate Donation List: Gather information on companies that make donations to nonprofit organizations, including what types of organizations they donate to and how you can go about asking for an item or donation.
  3. Donation Request Letters: Use example letters to write a donation request letter that businesses cannot deny!
  4. Item Procurement Ideas: Know what the most sought after items are in various categories including food & wine, sports, kids, and art.
  5. Grant Writing Tips: Maximize your chances of receiving grant funds by following five important pieces of advice.
  6. Additional Resources: Learn where to find more information from Gesture and how to connect with us!.

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Donor Segmentation: Why it Matters and How to Use it

Data has many uses in the nonprofit world and beyond. For example, by segmenting your donors and catering marketing towards the different segments, organizations can increase donor retention rates and donations!

Why does donor segmentation matter?

There are times each day where you tailor what you say and how you say it based on the person you are communicating with. If you were pitching an idea to your manager, co-worker, and mother, would you use the same language every time? You would probably be more casual with your mother and co-worker than you would with your manager. Your co-worker and manager have industry knowledge, so you would use different terms with them than you would with your mother. Each person in this example has received a customized pitch based on your relationship with them and their industry knowledge.

If we do this in everyday life, why don’t we do this for our donors? Why does everyone get placed in the same bucket and receive the same information if they are all different?

There are several ways that you can segment your donor base, the two most common being based on age and donation frequency.

Age segmentation:

When you segment your donors based on age, you will find that there will be different methods of social media to communicate based on age group preferences and habits, as noted below.

For reference, here are the age groups and their titles:

Baby Boomers: born 1946-1965
Generation X: born 1966-1976
Generation Y: born 1977-1994
Generation Z: born 1995-present

The Internet in General:

Currently, the internet has over 3.17 billion users and 2.3 billion active social media users. The top social media platforms for businesses are Facebook (1.71 billion users), Pinterest (100 million users), Instagram (400 million users), Twitter (320 million users), LinkedIn (450 million users), and Youtube (over 1 billion users). Here are some stats on the different networks and some information on how you can reach different ages of donors using this information!


Facebook is far and away the most popular social media platform with over 1.71 billion users.
While the majority of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 32 years old, Facebook is the most popular social media platform across all age groups. Your organization can create and customize a Facebook page to best reflect your brand.

Facebook has become a part of daily online usage for millions of users. To keep your followers up-to-date, you can share interesting content about what your organization is currently doing. This content can include written status updates, photos, videos, events, and more! The key is to post quality content that will engage your target demographic.

If you’re looking for a social media platform to promote interaction in a variety of ways with people of all age groups, Facebook is a great choice!


Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to share and discover new interests by ‘pinning’ images of videos to their boards; users can create different boards for different categories. Pinterest has historically been popular among women, with 42% of all online women using the platform, but has risen in popularity with males: The male audience is now over 40%!

Pinterest is an incredibly visual experience for the user, so you need eye-catching images to get the attention of your audience. By posting powerful images, you can stir emotion among your followers, which will make them want to learn the story behind the photos. You can create captions to add information to the photo and link the image to your organization’s website as an invitation for a user to click through to learn even more.

If your nonprofit uses photos and videos to tell stories, Pinterest is a great way to share them!


Over 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35 and belong to Generations Y and Z. In fact, 32% of Generation Z cite Instagram as their favorite social media tool. Similar to Pinterest, Instagram was made for sharing photos and videos. If your organization wants to use Instagram, you need to create a plan to make this platform a success. This means posting photos and videos regularly, building a community of followers, and interacting with your donors on the network. Instagram can also be used as a promotional tool to showcase the different aspects of your nonprofit’s work. Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is most effective when the images shared tell a story about your organization and your impact.

What makes Instagram different from other social media sites is the way it is used. Instagram users frequently check the site and engage with posts at a much higher rate than with other social media networks.

If you are targeting a younger demographic or individuals that are on social media several times a day and you have the ability to post frequently, Instagram could be a good fit for your organization.



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