Monday, November 7, 2011

Virtual Walking And Other Creative Nonprofit Ideas

What if someone told you that they participated in a charity walk while reclining on their couch?  You'd say they were crazy, right?  Think again.  Thanks to a concept called virtual walking, which was created last year by Fannie Mae for their annual Help the Homeless Walk, participants can help their favorite charity without ever leaving their home.  It's one of many creative ideas that nonprofits are coming up with to survive, as reported on by The Washington Post.

The economic slowdown has made life tough for all Americans, and nonprofits have been especially hard hit.  As a result, they have had to develop new, creative strategies to stay afloat.  The Post article gives the example of Columbia, Md.-based Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The organization narrowed its operation from national to local to take advantage of the growing number of corporations that are giving locally rather than nationally. 

As successful as the concept of the virtual walk has been for Help the Homeless Walk--it raised $6.5 million for 118 nonprofits in the D.C. area last year--there has been talk that Fannie Mae is planning to pull out of it in the future.  As a result, a D.C. nonprofit called N Street Village is planning to run its own version of the event next year.  Part of the preparation for this included using YouTube to recruit new participants.  Stuart Allen, the organization's associate director of development, was quoted in the Post piece as saying that they wanted to start reaching out as early as possible so it won't feel as "shocking" for people who have already supported them using virtual walking.

These are just some of the creative ways nonprofits are adjusting to life in the 21st century economy.  It's a rough job, but somebody has to do it.  We recommend reading the whole article from The Washington Post on their website.

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