Q&A: How to Create a Positive User Experience and Leverage Technology
Funds2Orgs is one of the largest nonprofits in the United States, helping both people affected by some of the world’s most significant natural disasters and create an effective fundraising opportunity for companies, schools, churches and more.
In this Q&A interview, FayeBSG chats with Kristy Fontelera, vice president of marketing with Funds2Orgs, about how the company’s innovative shoe drives work and how SugarCRM and Sugar Market help achieve their goals.
FayeBSG: Creative fundraising is a great way to give back to the community, while also gaining funds for your business. Funds2Orgs has really taking that concept and ran with it (shoe humor included 😊). Can you give some background to how Funds2Orgs got started?
Fontelera: Funds2Orgs is the vision of social entrepreneur, Wayne Elsey, and the company started at the kitchen table with a few other professionals. What Wayne realized was that there was an enormous need for nonprofits, schools, and many other groups to raise money creatively—in effect, not asking for money or selling merchandise that people don’t want to buy. Wayne also knew through professional experience that shoes and textiles thrown away harm the environment. Finally, he understood that people in developing nations needed to find opportunities out of poverty, and often that is by selling merchandise, including shoes. So, after carefully looking at these 3 parts: 1) the need for creative fundraisers, 2) working to repurpose shoes and give them a new lease on life to help the planet; and, 3) providing opportunities and hope to people living in poverty so they can help themselves, the idea for Funds2Orgs was born.
FayeBSG: What is your service area?
Fontelera: As far as fundraising is concerned, we partner with nonprofits, churches, and faith-based groups, schools, school groups such as PTAs or PTOs, civic organizations, families looking to adopt or in need of funds for medical expenses, and grassroots organizations. Since we started our shoe drive fundraising, we have more than 10,000 partners throughout the continental U.S. and have become the trusted leader in this space.
FayeBSG: It seems like a great user experience. Can you shed some light on your process?
Fontelera: When you partner with Funds2Orgs, you are partnering with an organization that is first-in-class. So, for us, everything we do is about the customer, and we do everything to support our partners to ensure they have successful fundraisers. There are zero out-of-pocket costs to our partners or their supporters. And, we provide them with a dedicated team of fundraising coaches to lean on, all of the material and fundraising tips and ideas they need, and we also pick up the shoes collected. In short, the process is simple. Our partners get in touch with us, sign a shoe drive fundraising agreement, and then the fundraising begins. Typically, our fundraisers last 60 days. We pick up the shoes, and a check gets sent to our partners within 2 business days of the receipt and processing of the shoes at our global warehouse in Florida.
FayeBSG: Do you have repeat business? Or is it mainly one-and-done engagements with customers?
Fontelera: We definitely have repeat customers, including many that do it year after year. The reality is that most people have 10-15 pairs of shoes they don’t want or need in their homes or storage. Many don’t even realize how many shoes they have tucked away someplace. So, a shoe drive fundraiser helps a worthy cause, allows people to clean out their closets of shoes they don’t need, and becomes inventory for small business owners in developing nations. Repeat partners have realized it’s an awesome fundraiser.
Fontelera: That would definitely be the customization assistance in creating modules that assist our business processes be more efficient.
FayeBSG: There are so many moving parts to your business. How has utilizing SugarCRM helped you organize your customer data?
Fontelera: Funds2Orgs hit the ground running when we landed in the fundraising scene. Managing customer data has been essential in allowing us to expand while keeping data clean and retargeting past prospects.
FayeBSG: How do you promote your business? Do you have any suggestions for other companies looking to showcase their initiatives?
Fontelera: Promotion is an essential aspect of any business. So, we use traditional methods, such as press releases when we have company news we want to share, and also print advertorials or conference attendance. But, we also invest in the digital space with search engine optimization and social media. Of course, we get referrals from our partners, which is always great, and we appreciate it. Essentially, you have to be where your customer is, and for some, it could be at a conference and others on social sites. Therefore, we make it a point to ensure we promote and market through all types of media.
FayeBSG: Is there any marketing campaign you’ve run that you’ve found to be successful?
Fontelera: For us, “Rethink Fundraising” has been a huge campaign success. We utilized Sugar Market for our email campaigns while running similar ad campaigns across our social channels. We use Sugar Market to send lead emails to newly added partners in our Sugar Instance. We also use Sugar Market to send specialized marketing emails.
FayeBSG: Are there any other technologies you’re using to help you with your business?
Fontelera: We utilize exclusively SugarCRM and Sugar Market. We utilize a lot of technologies for our business, but for building ad campaigns we utilize programs such as Adobe products, Promo Video, the Mojo app, and Later Media. These have helped us stay on the cutting edge of creative campaign development.
FayeBSG: If someone was interested in working with you, how do they get started?
Fontelera: All they have to do is check us out at Funds2Orgs.com or call us at 407-930-2979.
Bio on Kristy Fontelera
Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional with a background in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising, content creation and brand strategy. As the VP of marketing at Funds2Orgs, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands as well as manages national and local social media accounts for clients and entrepreneurs.
Kristy enjoys new books, traveling, Fleetwood Mac and picnics with her pup. Most of all, Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.
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