Non-Profit Gets Creative to Raise Funds

Kids Are Heroes merges technology and philanthropy via its Donor Walls. People purchase a "brick" on the wall which features their picture, some text and a link to their web site. KAH has seen great results in its first week of operation.
By: Gabe O'Neill
March 15, 2011 - PRLog -- The co-founder of Kids Are Heroes®, a non-profit out of Frederick, Maryland, recently heard about a new way for non-profits to raise money. It goes by many names, but can be thought of as a Donor Wall, where people can buy "squares" or "bricks" on a website “wall” for a relatively low amount of money. In return, the donor gets to have their picture on the square, along with some text and a link to their website. Gabe O'Neill, who supports his 12-year-old daughter MaryMargaret as the founder of Kids Are Heroes, doubles as the webmaster and instantly loved this idea when he heard about it. Since he is also a programmer he saw the opportunity to get a jump on things and build one of these walls himself. He calls it the Kids Are Heroes "Foundation Wall". There are three different sizes of squares which range from $25 to $5. Surprising to him, the $25 bricks are the most popular, at least so far. Having been relatively unsuccessful in the past raising money online, KAH has made more than $600 pure profit in its first two weeks, with no direct marketing other than email and social media. (See )

"This is a really fun way for donors to interact with a charity”, said Gabe. "We can promote the wall by inviting our more than 30,000 Twitter followers to it, (@KidsAreHeroes) and once people get on the wall they promote it as well. Our social media influence gives us a distinct advantage. The wall will stay active until all the squares are purchased, and will not be shut down until the next wall is completed. It encourages people to get on faster because they know they will be promoted longer."

“So far people have put their businesses, their kids, even their pets up there. People are really having fun with it and so are we. We even came up with a ‘secret square’ idea where people and businesses can donate items of value that will be awarded to one lucky square owner when the wall is completely filled. We also came up with a Corporate Wall (see ) with higher levels. This is a very easy way for companies to get some great exposure in social media for a pittance.”

Even though it's just a bit more than a week old, the KAH Donor Walls have attracted a lot of attention. Other non-profits have asked Gabe to build one for their sites. "What we decided to do is to work exclusively with our heroes and our non-profit partners" said Gabe. "Heroes from our site who have genuine non-profits can request a donor wall to be hosted on our site. We will build it for them and manage it, and share the profits equally. This is a win-win situation for everyone. One hero suggested they project the wall live at a benefit concert with people paying for squares in real-time with their smart phones. The possibilities are limitless."

Levar Fisher, founder of Fisher of Men, has been a Kids Are Heroes partner since 2010.  Levar is an ex-NFL star turned youth motivational speaker. As executive director of his own non-profit, he seeks funds to be able to visit schools around the country that cannot afford to have a speaker. He reaches out to kids who have been bullied, have made a few bad decisions and gives them true hope for the future. These two forward-thinking non-profits have banded together because they provide complementary services to our youth. O'Neill built a "FREEZE Wall" to support Levar's FREEZE campaign, and the two non-profits will share the proceeds equally. (see )

“Three years ago my then 9-year-old daughter asked me to build her a website. Little did we think then that three years later we would be competing with hundreds of thousands of non-profits to get money from the same people in a struggling economy. Our donor wall concept has shown quite a lot of promise so far.  Although we won’t be able to rely on it as our sole source of income, the extra dollars really come in handy.”

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About Kids Are Heroes: A non-profit based in Frederick, Maryland that empowers, encourages and inspires children to become leaders through volunteerism and community involvement. We do this by showcasing and supporting children who are changing the world through their selfless acts of giving.
Source:Gabe O'Neill
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Tags:Charity, Giving, Donor, Kids, Heroes, Nfl
Industry:Non profit, Sports
Location:Frederick - Maryland - United States
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