Best Fundraising Ideas

The best fundraising ideas will get your youth excited about fundraising. The best ideas will be products that appeal to the largest audience. If you are selling products that appeal to senior adults, it will not get the youth excited, and a smaller segment of the population will buy the product. If you sell food or coupons, this appeals to almost everyone. There are many non-profit fundraising ideas that can help your organization raise thousands of dollars for your group.

Krispy Kreme Fundraiser
Do you like doughnuts? I think I already know the answer! This is one of the most fun fundraiser ideas because everyone loves Krispy Kreme donuts, and they sell like hotcakes when your friends see them. I get excited when I think about the prospect of eating delicious Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast or any other time of the day! This fundraiser is probably more for the guys than it is for the ladies. Most men that I know are not that concerned about their weight, but women are concerned about weight. You will probably find more men buying the donuts. If your church is struggling with weight issues, or the preacher has been preaching on health related topics, you may not want to hold a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. Despite the health concerns, this is one of the best fundraising ideas for youth groups.

Church Cook-out
Invite the entire church to a cook out. The youth will serve the church, and each member of the congregation pays money for the meal. If the youth group is going on a mission trip, or they have another cause for raising money, then people will be motivated to give money to the youth group. This teaches the youth responsibility, and it gives everyone in the church an opportunity to fellowship with other believers. The church cook-out is one of the best fundraising ideas for youth groups.

Candle Fundraisers
Most people love candles. There are candles that are created for every special occasion. Candle fundraisers are awesome because men and women love the smell of candles. Candle fundraisers are some of the best fundraising ideas for youth groups. They are practical for times when the electricity is out in the home. They are great for romantic dinners and other special events.

Christmas Fundraisers
Does your youth group go on ski trips? Christmas fundraisers are great if your youth need to raise money for a youth group event. There are many great seasonal fundraisers where you can sell candy bars, chocolate gifts, wrapping paper, and various other Christmas related products. Almost everyone celebrates Christmas. If you sell Christmas products that most people are already going to buy, then a lot of people will buy the products. Christmas themed fundraisers are some of the best fundraising ideas for youth groups.

Coupon Book Fundraising
Coupon book fundraising programs are awesome! The reason that these programs work so well is that many of the coupons included in the books are from major retailers where most people already shop. The savings you can get in these books are awesome, so it makes sense to buy the book to help support the youth group. The coupon book fundraiser is among the best fundraising ideas for youth groups.

Sony debuts “Project Morpheus” VR headset, is this the future of entertainment?

This is the time of the year when many new technologies and products are announced and introduced into the marketplace. On March 19, 2014, Sony announced a new virtual reality initiative that is known as “Project Morpheus” that could end up being a huge shakeup for the video game industry.
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Forbes reports that the new product, which was announced at the 2014 Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), is a huge step forward in the entertainment industry. Project Morpheus could represent a new chapter in the future of video games and digital entertainment. Project Morpheus will be a competitor to the upcoming Oculus Rift, another VR device.

It will take some time before we can see if virtual reality peripherals are the next stage in digital content evolution. There have been many different interactive devices that have had various levels of success over the years. The Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Kinect are two examples of technology that have changed the way we interact with our games.

Google glass is another product that has changed media consumption and may impact the way we play games, watch movies, and browse the internet on a worldwide scale in the future.Wearable tech and full immersion seem to be two of the major trends that are coming for 2014.

Even though this new tech development is cause for excitement, it is important to remember that there have been many technological fads, and attempts at VR and entertainment immersion in recent year. Some of which have fallen flat. 3D television in the home was once touted as the next big entertainment thing. However, 3D TV has not even come close to hitting mainstream usage. Sony’s own Playstation Move technology is another products that has not been a big hit with consumers on the Playstation 3 or 4.

It will be interesting to see if Sony’s newest gadget ends up being a success with game and movie enthusiasts. It could end up being the next Wii, or it could be another case of the Virtual Boy…

Short sale in Minnesota: Tash Casso 612.615.9183

Tash Casso MN licensed realtor call 612.615.9183. Do you owe more on your mortgage than it’s worth? Short sales in Minnesota require knowledge and precision. Home owners go through a lot of changes when their income can no longer support their lifestyle.

Testimonials About Tash Casso on Zillow

Being under water on a mortgage can create stress—bringing homeowners to the crossroads of life changing decisions. Often more questions arise at this stage of the game. This is why it is so important to connect with the right realtor who can represent your best interest.

Are you interested in getting your life back on track? When considering a short sale call Tash Casso MN licensed realtor at 612.615.9183

General Motors recalls more than 1.5 million vehicles

General Motors, the iconic Detroit- based auto manufacturer, has issued a new recall of more than 1.5 million vehicles, according to a report issued by ABC News on March 18, 2014.

Safety issues have been cited as the reason for the recall. Some might remember that General Motors recalled 1.6 million vehicles last month to correct a problem with defective engine switches. This time around, safety is still the concern and the recall is more proactive than reactive.

Last month’s safety problems resulted in 12 deaths and led to federal investigations surrounding the safety issues and General Motor’s response to them. General Motors CEO Mary Barra is taking no chances.

“Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened,” Barra said.

According to Barra, General Motors is taking extensive measures to improve its recall procedure and the company will cooperate completely with government investigations.

“The bottom line is, we will get better as a result of this tragic situation if we seize the opportunity,” Barra said.

General Motors says the total cost of the repairs on these defective vehicles, from last month and this month, will run close to $300 million. The affected vehicles in this most recent recall are:

1.18 million SUVs, due to problems with side air bags, front center air bags, and seat belt pretensioners that may not deploy like they should if drivers choose to ignore the air bag warning light on the dashboard. Affected models include the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia from 2008-2013, the Chevy Traverse from 2009-2013, and the Saturn Outlook from 2008-2010 model years.

303,000 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans from 2009-2014, due to concerns with the material on the instrument panel. It may not provide enough cushioning to adequately protect an unbelted passenger’s head in a vehicle crash.

63,900 Cadillac XTS sedans from 2013 and 2014, due to a problem with a plug in the brake assembly. It can become dislodged and short out, possibly causing a fire.

No injuries have been reported yet from the vehicles recalled in any of these three groups, at least not according to General Motors. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported complaints relating to the above safety issues. Anyone who owns one of the above models and affected model years should refer to a local GM dealer for repair.

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Art director vs. designer – which makes more sense for your marketing program?

The Spiro ad agency in Philadelphia in the ’80s (it’s long gone now) had a slogan that I thought was the best ever for an ad agency.

“Where good enough isn’t.”

I miss those days in the advertising industry, when copywriters and art directors worked together to create brilliant slogans and campaigns, to sell the sizzle and not just the steak. Or the hamburger, as the case may be. Today, the online revolution has meant that the bean counters have taken over and (rightfully so, I must admit) made it all about the numbers. These days, more often than not, good enough IS good enough. However, if you’re the one who’s charged with bringing together a marketing communications program – the world is so much bigger than just advertising these days – then you’ll probably face the decision at some point as to whether you should hire an art director or a designer to develop and produce your online and print vehicles.

If you need an annual report produced (one that’s already been written), or a newsletter template or other piece for which the “marketing” is pre-determined, you may do well with the services of a designer. Because they don’t need to focus on the bigger marketing picture, they can concentrate on creating a beautiful design that’s easy on the eyes and directs your audience(s) attention to what’s important, no matter what the medium.

If you’re looking for a creative idea, however, and someone with experience at corralling lots of different specialties to develop campaigns, it probably makes more sense to consider an art director. The better ones combine project management skills with exceptionally good taste. The best ones tend to have worked at an ad agency and know what it takes to sell stuff.

And isn’t that the reason you’re marketing in the first place?

Yes – sweat the small things

Over the past week, I have visited three gas stations. Each was convenient and the price of gas was the same as other gas stations around the area. Two of the three had a food shop where customers can purchase coffee, an RC and a Moon Pie. Because the local area has had a lot of snow this winter, there was a lot of road salt on my windshield and I wanted to clean my windows. But, at each station, the buckets of window cleaners were empty and the squeegees were dry as a bone.

Gasoline is a commodity and people will search out the lowest price available. Therefore, most gas stations keep the price of gasoline close to what their competitors are offering. So, what is it that makes a customer choose one station over another? It is the little things, like the customer being able wash their windshield.

Customers may not know or even remember who has full windshield cleaners, but they do know when companies treat them well. They may be small but details are important to creating a positive customer experience and are often overlooked. A friendly hello, a “thanks for calling”, a small, unexpected gift or even an honest apology go a long way in creating a favorable customer experience. Moreover, the small extras are not that expensive. It cost nothing to say, “I apologize.” Depending on the number of pumps, a gas station may spend $25.00 per week to keep their windshield cleaners full.

When price is not an issue, customers will repeat establishments that create a positive experience. Even when price is an issue, customers are more likely to repeat business with companies that treat them well. And, sweating the details is one of the best ways of treating customers well.

The customer service week that was – 14-03-15

What has happened in the customer service industry in the week ending March 15, 2014 and what people are talking about.

The Happenings

Aspect Software Introduces Aspect Mentor for Real-Time Speech Analytics — Aspect Mentor monitors voice with speech detection across the contact center and automatically sends guidance notifications and intelligent response alerts, based on detected or omitted speech, to agents and supervisors.

Aspect Software Sets a New Standard for the Agent Experience With Aspect Workforce Optimization 8.0 — Icons, widgets and customizable dashboards of new intuitive graphical user interface remove technology barriers, improves agent engagement, Cloud-optimized platform integrates with full suite of Aspect products to provide more complete contact center solution, New capabilities allow for tighter integration between front and back office operations

ASC Launches Groundbreaking Workforce Optimization Suite neo 3.0 Designed for Cloud Solutions — neo 3.0 offers new capabilities for quality and performance management, communications recording, speech and desktop analytics, eLearning/coaching, customer feedback and workforce management to improve business performance

New Avaya Contact Center Solutions Help Companies Master the Omni-channel Customer Experience — Latest solution unifies and simplifies multichannel self-service and proactive engagement with a single, software platform, transforms customer service strategies with combined SMS, email, and phone-based campaigns that increase results, and intelligently coordinates services and resources based on real-time insights

The Talk

3 Simple Ways To Upgrade Your Call Center Experience –, Adele Halsall

Everyone Can Talk…But Can Your Customer Service Reps Listen? –

There’s a link between employee engagement and customer loyalty –, Bill Hanifin

5 Lessons All Departments Can Learn From the Customer Service Department –, Blake Landau

Quality Standards for Great Customer Experiences – Customer Service Management, Errol Allen

What Is The Access To Cultivating Customer Engagement and Customer Relationships? – Customer and Leadership Blog, Maz Iqbal

Better Business Bureau plays ball with collection complaints

Are you reading all the news that’s fit to print? Rounds of cost cutting across America have made that a more challenging goal. Most Examiners cover their topics in addition to working on other projects and when businesses that cut their costs too much make aggressive demands for our attention, it takes time away from the time needed to provide quality coverage.

You can see a classic example in this 2 part photo. The debt collection agency of Caine & Weiner is demanding I pay them thousands of dollars although I did not sign a contract with the vendor and I did chose to pay another vendor to perform the service. Consumers have the right to request verification. When I did this by filing a report with the Better Business Bureau, I pointed out that I chose not to sign the contract and opted to prepay a trial, just like millions of other Americans who chose pre-pay plans over complicated contracts. The company’s response speaks for itself – sending me unsigned correspondence on its letterhead (above) and this copy of the contract which I clearly did not sign (below). It may be less expensive to have computers send out letters, but it is not a dependable way of assuring quality control.

A check of the Caine & Weiner website illustrates the company’s minimalist approach to quality control. The executive profile of corporate counsel John Pucin states that “He is admitted to the State Bar’s in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.” That’s interesting. Why can’t someone who graduated from law school spell the single syllable word “Bars” correctly, or at least pay someone to proofread and correct documents?

Lots of other consumers have had similar experiences and it looks like real leaders in the business community need to step up to the plate and be realistic about the impact this kind of publicity has on all American business. The Business Consumer Alliance reports that Caine and Weiner had 51 closed complaints over the previous three years. Look what consumers have published publicly about this firm on Yelp: John R. of Reno, Nevada published this detailed report with third party verification from a manager at blue chip firm Pitney-Bowes: “This company sent out a letter saying they represent Pitney Bowes Inc and they were going to charge me $1,000.00 dollars unless they receive an old postage meter. Called Pitney Bowes spoke with a Benjamin call ref #*****0611. Ben said our account is up-to-date and they have no contract with Caine & Weiner and to disregard the letter Ben said it is some kind of scam. Pitney asked for the details on letter and said that they were trying to stop this company. Some business have been talked into giving acct numbers or to send scans of printed postage. Call Pitney Bowes ASAP if you receive this letter. Benjamin said DO NOT call back or give any information to this company.”

An October 24, 2013 complaint filed with the Chicago area Better Business Bureau underscores the burdens of corporate cost cutting at the expense of consumers. As the complaint published at this link shows, Caine & Webber did not even check that the American they were sending threatening letters to was the debtor.

If you would prefer to be inspired by the positive example of well managed businesses that support a positive image for American business, read a recent report from a sports business convention at the San Diego Convention Center at this link.

Is Your Home Presentable

Yesterday we had the pleasure of sitting down with Danny Poulos from Elite Lending to film a segment for his remarkable Real Estate Insiders show. We really had a good time and the question came up about what does it take to bring our clients the most money through our various marketing programs.

We can not stress this point strongly enough. Most buyers are shopping for their new home on the Internet before contacting a Realtor®. In fact statistics prove than an astounding 86% of all home buyers are surfing the web as the starting point in the search for their new home. They are on They are on They are on You name it and they are there. And if your home is listed by a Realtor® through the Multiple Listing Service they will be seeing it. Maybe!

The maybe is how your home looks on their computer, or phone or tablet. Do the pictures POP? Do the words tell a story? Is there something that draws them to take the next step and pick up the phone? The reality is we find only about 5% of ALL listings in ALL price ranges stand out and have both pictures and a story that are truly enticing.

Let’s take an example of a median priced condo in the Delray Beach market that we recently sold for a client. We sold them the unit less than 2 years before and sold it at about a 40% profit and feel the on-line marketing played a significant role.

In fact the “old” pictures were certainly not bad. In fact, they were better than probably at least half of what we see out there. This fact makes the point even more dramatic. Above is the courtyard photo of the listing when our client purchased the property. Actually a nice photo, good balance, blue sky, sharp focus. But does it POP? Or does this?

But pictures only are part of the story. On-line home shoppers want more. They want to know about the home, the area. A story that paints a picture of why they should be interested. Here is the written description of the property when our client purchased the unit;

Totaly renovated 2 bedroom 2 bath condo in the heart of downtown Delray. steps to the intracoastal,downtown and walking distance to the beach. Renovations include, impact glass, new kitchen flooring bathrooms, appliances and paint.

Basic description with the first word misspelled but does it tell a story? Does it make the property POP? Or does the description we included with our listing?

Every once in a while a special property in a special location becomes available and if you are looking for the ideal location in Delray Beach this may be it. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms this ground floor unit in Parkview Manor is remarkable in every way. This boutique building is located just one block north of The Avenue and steps from the Intracoastal waterway. Every detail has been taken care of in this meticulous renovation. From the replacement of original cast iron waste lines to new impact windows/doors and everything in between you will find a home that should be included on your ”must see” list. The remarkable beaches, restaurants and shops of downtown Delray Beach are literally steps away from your front door. This Village by the Sea is all yours to enjoy on foot.

Please take the time to look at our photos which show the quality of the materials and design used throughout this magnificent property. Rand McNally recently named Delray Beach the “Most Fun Small Town in America so whether you are looking for a full time residence, a place to escape the northern winters or your own Pied-a-terre just off Atlantic Avenue do not miss this one. No surface has been left untouched and the most discriminating buyer will find nothing to do but enjoy this slice of paradise.

If you are thinking about selling your home you really need to understand what the broker who you are considering is going to do to make it POP! If you need any help, or suggestions, no matter where in the country you live please feel free to contact us and we are happy to help. Our passion here at Paradise Sharks Real Estate is to raise the value and quality of real estate services available to anyone. We don’t want your kitchen to look like this;

We want it to POP!

The fact is most real estate brokerages are not going to make your property POP unless you make sure they do. Consumers are free to accept mediocre marketing and pay too much for too little. It is a great example of why we tell each of our clients that they can pay more and receive less but that just would not make any sense. Always interesting, always fun.

Pros and cons of the eBay Global Shipping Program

The eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP) is a program sellers can opt into for shipping items internationally. Launched in late 2012, the Global Shipping Program was designed to simplify shipping to approved international countries. Sellers package the item, send to a US shipping hub,and eBay takes responsibility for the item and sends it on to its final destination. Some sellers love it, others have tried it and don’t care for it, and others will never try it because they have been shipping items internationally for many years without eBay’s involvement. A common discussion on seller forums and eBay Facebook groups, is whether to use the GSP or not.

Advantages of the eBay Global Shipping Program:

eBay takes responsibility for the item

eBay handles returns

Easier for the seller – no need to purchase insurance, figure out which countries should be avoided, or worry about lost packages

Disadvantages of eBay Global Shipping Program:

Higher prices for buyer

eBay may open and inspect the item – may not package it back correctly, items could go missing if it has multiple pieces

Only ships to certain countries – lost sales opportunities

Slower shipping time

International customers have remarked that they frequently do not buy items where the seller uses GSP because the shipping costs can be up to three times higher than to buy the same item from sellers who do not offer GSP and ship the items on their own. eBay also estimates and includes custom fees in the cost of GSP, and many times the customs fees are not even needed.

Newer sellers seem to embrace the GSP more often because they don’t have to do anything differently than shipping a domestic package. Veteran sellers have a hard time seeing the value of the GSP since shipping internationally is really very simple, and they don’t like the possibility of losing sales due to higher shipping fees.