Jump to content
Did you know?
  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
Sign in to follow this  
jeffostroff

Need ideas for getting more people to donate to our food and cash donation boxes

Recommended Posts

Ok, here is my dilemma. I got a good display, lots of traffic every night, solid stream of traffic, 48,000 LEDs, synchronized to music, I hear applause all the time from people’s cars, everyone who drives by says it’s the best they’ve seen in Broward county. Channel 4 was here, and mentioned that we accept donations, and mentioned the church. Channel 6 mentioned it. At any given time, we have 3-4 cars out front between 7 Pm to 9-PM. We have people who have been coming for years, people who print out the newspaper’s list of homes and come by to see us. But very few are donating.

Sometimes crowds of 10 or people form on our driveway. I know they see the sign, they all read it. So what other strategies can you guys offer to convert more of these people to donors.?

I saw Richard Holdman is up to over $6000 so far, and we are up to maybe $400 with similar traffic.

Yet, car after car, probably 200 a night drive by and don’t leave donation of money or even food. We collect about $30-$50 a night, and about one bag full of food.

Here’s a couple of things we tried with an incremental amount of success in the last week:

I have my huge 12” Meade telescope out in the driveway and show people the moon and mars, which blows their minds. So this gets them out of their cars and mingling, they tend to float toward the donation box and give a little bit.

We hand out FAQ flyers on our display and website that mention the donations. I hand out business cards that mention the donations.

Another idea we plan to implement is to add a narrator audio file that comes on after every couple of songs to remind people to donate food or money, and tell their friends who come to do the same.

I’d love to hear any other ideas you guys have.

post-2688-129571020273_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didnt collect money, but will attempt to in 2008....I collected canned food and collectd maybe 50 cans. Maybe you should light up your donationbox with lights so it can be seen more? I dont know...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What? Are you nuts?!? We live in South Florida. Nobody GIVES their money away down here. They just want freebies given to THEM!

Buy, other than that - can people see that sign when the lights are running? Looks like it would disappear under the "Tune to" sign. Maybe you should move it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jeff, is this your first year for collecting? I only ask because I noticed that our first year collecting (2006)was slow too. We will more than double last year's take in '07. Definitely mention it in voiceovers. We hardly did this last year but feedback I got from our email suggested that people were unaware of the collection, so now we mention it about every 3 songs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never met you, so I don't know your 'tone' of voice when you wrote this...

However, it almost sounds as if you are expecting them to donate, simply because you have an awesome display.

Donations are nice, and it's a noble thing to do. However, sometimes, it just doesn't work out. Perhaps people are getting turned off by all of the reminders to donate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I have a voice over that talks about the display a little and it also mentions the donations. Last year I had ten songs and I played it every two songs. The voice over says how many songs there are so. Here is an example of last years recording. This year is quiet the same but i added another voice saying come back to vist other holidays and don't forget to dim you head lights...heres last years recording.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM88QRn0NgM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What? Are you nuts?!? We live in South Florida. Nobody GIVES their money away down here. They just want freebies given to THEM!

Sadly, this is true.

I was thinking at one point of putting up a donations box for Gift Of Life, but realized that very few people would give.

I think a lot of people come to see lights as it's free entertainment. Which is fine because we're doing it as a charity for the people anyways to make people smile.

However, it would be nice if people could somehow take that spirit and carry the torch. My thoughts so far are maybe it would help if the charity was a well-recognized one instead of a local church.

Not too many people donate to their own church, temple, or mosque.... so for them to donate to another one is probably borderline unthinkable for them.

On the other hand, if it was a national charity that they know of.... I don't know... maybe I'm just throwing out nonsense, but I think it MIGHT help.

What is Richard H's charity? Local or national?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We do collect quite a bit of money here and I have been surprised! On the night of the traffic Jam on the 23rd we collected about $1,000. Last night we had over $600 and I am guessing that we had between 200-300 cars.

The highest bill there was was a $10 bill last night (usually we get a few twenties but none last night). We get a lot of $5 bills and tons of $1 bills. We also have gotten about 15 $2 bills which has surprised me.

At the first of the season we would get more higher bills. Many people would put in $50 bills and you could tell some people put in multipe $20 bills because they were all together. The highest single donation was $80. The last week or so it has been mostly volume. I am guessing that about 15% to 20% put something into the charity box. Most people only put in a few bucks but you mutiply that by hundreds of cars and it really adds up. We take the money to the bank everyday and it always takes them awile to count it all because there are so many $1 bills. So far we have collected over $200 in change!

Voice overs are going to help the most. I have 6 songs and inbetween every 3 songs it mentions the donation thing.

I think the Charity it goes to makes a big difference also. I noticed you are collecting money for your Church and it might not tug at their heart strings as much as someting that goes to children. Also some people may not give money to any Church and others may not want to give because they really don't feel a connection with your church.

We collect money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation which most people understand. They may not know the details, but they know it has to do something with kids. Our Voice Script goes something like this "This years display is dedicated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah. If you would like to make a donation, a donation box is located on the front of the display and 100% of your donations will go to grant the wishes of Children".

How can you disagree with that! :)

We acutally have two donation boxes. One is in my yard near the front, and another one is located on a bridge that goes out of the neighborhood. People can just pull up and put money it and don't have to get out of their car. I just put this one up about two weeks ago and noticed we get more donations because of this.

What is kind of funny is if somebody is standing by the donation box, more people seem to donate. I usually have to empty the box a couple times a night (we acutally had people tell us our donation box is full!). If I am standing there taking the money out, it seems that most of the cars stop to give a donation.

I try and hurry and get out of there though. I don't want anybody feeling they "have" to donate and if somebody is standing there, many times they will feel guilty and stop and give something I think.

Anyway, my suggestion is to get a voice over going ASAP even if it is your own voice. I have a professional Voice Over for one of them, and then I have my voice for the other. Mainly because I had to say "There is also a donation box located on the bridge on your way out".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to pipe in about the donation thing.

Last year I was against it. I wanted the light display to be a gift to the community and like any gift you give somebody, you usually don't say "If you really like my gift, you will now feed the starving children".

I had a lof of people tell me that I should collect for a Charity and many neighbors tell me the same thing. I figured I would give it a go this season and I have not had one negative comment about collecting for a charity and get hundreds of compliments that it is such a good cause.

People around here really seem to like the Charity connection. Of course though I would still do the display if there was no Charity involved. The Charity thing is just a bonus and I would do the exact same display if there was no Charity involved.

I admit though, it is a little exciting when you count all that money up! It kind of looks like drug money when you put it all in a ZipLock bag and take it to the bank. :laughing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was my first year doing the synced light so I had no idea what kind of local response I was going to get since I'm the first in my area to do this. Until I got some coverage in the newspaper, I had very few visitors but now am averaging around 30 people anight. I have tried to had out candy canes to thank people for stopping by and about 20% starting reaching in thier pockets when I walk up with the bowl of candy canes....I'm assuming they are thinking I'm taking donation and were going to give something.

Next year I'm going to try to collect food for the Salvation army here. Pretty much adveritsing your collecting food will probably help some, if you can send a note to the local papers so maybe they will post something about your display and that your collecting food so people know in advance to bring something...the voice overs are a much, especially if you collection box isn't well defined.

I heard the song Christmas Shoes on the radio about 10 times this season and am planning of working on a sequence for that song right before I ask for donation over the voice over (maybe a good voice over during the song)....if that song wont get something out of peope, I dont know what will.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris What kind of bowl do you have the candy canes in? I had the same problem when I had a regular tubberware container with no lights. But then i bought these LED candy Cane lights a Lowes and not as many people reach for their pockets....just a thought....here are some pics

http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006955&l=f01c3&id=1084470275

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lawkid wrote:

My thoughts so far are maybe it would help if the charity was a well-recognized one instead of a local church.

Excellent point. I wouldn't donate either it there were any overtreligious affilliation to the charity.

Toys-for-tots, St. Jude's, Fire/Police organizations, NPR, etc. are good examples of people I would donate to.

Big Bubba's Baptist Church and Catholic Highschool Girls in Trouble won't see a dime from me. (But I might volunteer some of my time with the Catholic Highschool girls. :P)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe Petrowski wrote:

Chris What kind of bowl do you have the candy canes in? I had the same problem when I had a regular tubberware container with no lights. But then i bought these LED candy Cane lights a Lowes and not as many people reach for their pockets....just a thought....here are some pics

http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2006955&l=f01c3&id=1084470275

It was just a plain platic bowl, althought its not really a problem, actually most people were suprised when I offered them something when they assumed I was asking for something.

Evan had a few offer still to help pay for the electric bill :)

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CHRISL1976 wrote:

I heard the song Christmas Shoes on the radio about 10 times this season and am planning of working on a sequence for that song right before I ask for donation over the voice over (maybe a good voice over during the song)....if that song wont get something out of peope, I dont know what wil

Chris

Trying to guilt trip people :)

[flame suit on]

Even though I shed a tear when I first heard this song, I can't stand it. I pretty much hate any song though that works on the emotions of people. Maybe I carry to much baggage from past experiences. If I heard that song, I would drive right away but I am sure I would be the only one that would. Most people love that song though.

I also can't stand those feed the children commercials. After watching them I feel like a total dirt bag.

The only video that I like that plays with my emotions is this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4B-r8KJhlE

Brings the strongest man to tears.

I hate crying!

Ok I now need to watch mindless videos on eBaums world to get myself back to normal.

-Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had VO's done by dementedelf, and they remind people to "remember those in need during the Holiday season and give generously to charity. All of the money collected in our donation box goes to local charity"

We also made some early donations to the food bank etc and got a picture in the paper- giving us a little extra publicity.

I didn't think that many people would be going around with canned food, so we didn't bother with that.

Last night, was talking to a man that rented limo for the 30 mile ride from Odessa- he asked about how it was going, and I mentioned that most people don't really want to get out of their warm cars to donate... I guess I made him feel bad- he handed me 3 $100 bills!

Next year, I'm going to put a door on the box that will trigger a LOR controller to do some animation...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

randallr wrote:

"remember those in need during the Holiday season and give generously to charity. All of the money collected in our donation box goes to local charity"

====

Next year, I'm going to put a door on the box that will trigger a LOR controller to do some animation...

I think I would cut the part out of "give generously". I would not want the person that is only giving the change they happen to have in their car to feel gulity.

My charity box though does have lights on it, and it is the only thing that blinks OFF and ON whe the voice over is talking about the Charity. This way people know exactly where it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard,

What kind of population is in your area? I'm wondering if there is a correlation to the population and the amount people are collecting.

My town is about 14,000 people and surrounding towns only have 4-5000 people. This is our second year collecting and we are at just over $1000, very close to the $1100 we collected last year. So I'll call that a 14 to 1 ratio.

What's everyone elses ratio?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ChuckHutchings wrote:

What? Are you nuts?!? We live in South Florida. Nobody GIVES their money away down here. They just want freebies given to THEM!

Buy, other than that - can people see that sign when the lights are running? Looks like it would disappear under the "Tune to" sign. Maybe you should move it.

That same attitude extends to St Petersburg. Lots of traffic this year and poor donations. One thing that seemed to work was actually going out and visiting the cars with a bowl full of small candy canes. It seemed that if I visited them personally, they felt obligated to donate.

And I do use voice overs and The Demented Elf did an awesome job with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My charity box is pretty well lit by a bright white LED flood light in front of it. We are out here right now, and the telescope thing is working, it is getting people out f their cars.

we are thinking about moving the donation sign away from the other signs, where it might be getting lost. We will put it at the end of the driveway front and center. I think next year we'll build a more fancier wooden green and red one along the lines of my green tune to sign.

I think you guys are right about the church thing. Funny thing, I have had a number of jewish people leave money. Some people know to bring food with them, many people who find my web site by searching online for christmas lights tend to be the ones who bring food, as they know about it before they come.

We will get the voiceovers up tomorrow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember that charitible donations are just that---charity.

You can not force anybody to give anything. And people should not feel guilty about not donating to the charity of your choice. It could be that they "gave at the office".

Look at it from this angle: What is the benefit for those giving? Do they get a tax deductible receipt for their gift? If not, then accept checks or have envelopes from your organization for them to pick up and mail a check directly.

As far as cash goes, what is to keep others from thinking that you are going to keep the money for yourself. Perhaps if you had a representative of your charity there in uniform accepting donations, you would give others a fuzzy feeling that you will not use the money to defray your expenses.

Please understand that I am not trying to attack you, but just trying to look at things from a different perspective.

I would think that if you were to go with another charity that everybody could support without regard to religious affiilation, you would do better.

Best of luck in the future and let us know how things go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff!

You need an LED sign (or something dynamic) out front with a running total of the money/food collected!

You could update it once a day and at least people would feel that you weren't keeping it ALL to yourself. :P

When people have a chance to make something "visible" happen they are more likely to act. Making the sign move is that positive reinforcement.

It would be even better if a goal were marked on it somehow.

Probably too late for this year, though.

Honestly, why do I give these ideas away for free? :laughing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our sign cleary states they can write a check payable to the church. The food bin also is there for those who are hesitant to give money.

One could also wonder the same thing about Richard's setup, they could be hesitant to give for the same reason, but yet they give in droves, so I don't think they doubt the money goes there. Maybe a few people do. The more I think about it, it's gotta be that our church is not a widely known name like MakeA Wish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$30 a night is generous and much appreciated. Do you have people on foot at your display? Nobody that just watches from the car wants to donate but people on foot find it hard to walk by without donating. Maybe put something in your yard that invites people out of their cars to see the lights and etc in person on foot.

Not only that but you are asking people to donate to YOUR church. They might feel its more appropriate to donate to their own church instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, we are usually out there and personally greet from 7pm to 10pm.I spend all night answering questions that people have, and many of them take the flyer, which also mentions the donations, but none of it is in your face pressure. It’s a great party atmosphere, we hear lots of applause from passing cars, my daughters hand out candy canes to the crowd.

The peak traffic for us is 7:30 to 9:30. My neighbors bring chairs out and sit across the street to watch. My neighbor steve works the crowd, makes sure they have their radios on, as some still don't have a clue after reading my huge sign.

So we are out there with them, and we often have a crowd of 10-15 people in our driveway. Having the telescope out the last few nights has really helped. I have shown a lot of people the close approach of Mars this week.

Strangely enough, we get a lot of visitors from Cavalry Chapel, a mega church across town, and they donate.

I realize God's word and his church are not popular with the masses. But in December, everything I do is for God and no one else. If the rest of the world chooses to ignore it, so be it. I'm not going to switch to Make A Wish or other fmaous charitiesjust because it has a more recognizeable name, and just to get my numbers up.

My Chief goal is to raise money to further God's kindom on earth, and to regain ground lost to Islam. We have raise probably $400 by now this month, which is more than the $327 we raised last year, so at least some of our strategies are paying off. We also are getting way more food than last year, as I have gotten the word out. We got about 16 bags of food so far this month.

Here’s a funny trick my neighbor Steve has tried a few times, he calls it “Staging”. When people are nearby, he’ll walk over and put $1 in the box in plain site of other visitors, and he says quite often they see him and follow suit! I love this guy!

post-2688-129571020332_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...