The impending March Madness is about college basketball. And for you Hoosiers and Bulldogs fans, the making for a great tournament run is within reach.
But here in Indy, March Madness is also about local nonprofits.
Matt McIntyre, Matt Duncan, and Dave Cornelius were inspired by March Madness to harness the positive energy for bracketology into Brackets for Good (BFG). The 501(c)3 nonprofit hosts web-based, single-elimination fundraising tournaments for other 501(c)3 nonprofits at no cost.
Styled as a bracket similar to the ones we fill out in the office this time of year, local nonprofits are paired against each other, in no obvious order, and given exactly one week to out-fundraise their competitor. The organization with the most “points” (i.e., dollars) when the clock strikes midnight on the following week wins and moves on to the next round.
For 2013, 16 organizations are competing. The winner of the tournament wins $5,000 from the events title sponsor, Innovative, a local marketing company. The tournament tipped-off Monday, March 4 at midnight. The first round concludes Sunday, March 10 at just shy of midnight. The fourth and final round starts March 25 and ends March 31.
BFG’s approach to generating support for community initiatives is innovative in that it provides a live forum to display real-time changes in fundraising campaigns. For the Millennial donor segment (approx. age 20-35), the ability to see instant changes to the competition is critical to the design and utility of the fundraising medium: the web-based platform. Moreover, the short timetable for execution helps stimulate a sense of urgency that can be productive for a set of causes that normally don’t provoke the instant giving response that is seen in other campaigns, like disaster relief.
Although not necessarily to be styled as a bracket, the web-based, live update, auction-style, competition-dependent fundraising model that BFG employs will likely continue to gain in popularity within the nonprofit world. Seen as a tool designed to generate attention and action, this online fundraising vehicle has the potential to become a standard in the field.
Case Study: Trusted Mentors
Among the 16 organizations competing, Trusted Mentors, adds value to our community by positively addressing the perennial issues of our society: homelessness and crime. (In the interest of full disclosure, I work for Trusted Mentors, so I hope you’ll forgive my telling you a little more about the organization.)
In 2012, Trusted Mentors supported 98 mentoring relationships, 51 in the area of successful re-entry and 47 in homelessness prevention. Among those, 96% pf those individuals remained housed while in contact with their mentors. Some 90% successfully completed, or are completing, the requirements of the criminal justice system (with the standard being that they have not returned to the Department of Corrections). Of those who identified employment as a goal, 70% procured and/or maintained employment while in contact with their mentors.
As you can imagine, the need in this area is great, and Trusted Mentors has a strong model to make this work. Your support can enable our most vulnerable neighbors to live stable and supportive lives. In Indiana, it costs about $30,000 to keep someone in prison for one-year, but it only costs $1,700 to support a mentor for one-year.
To donate, visit: indianapolis.bracketsforgood.org, click on the Trusted Mentors’ box, and type in the amount. Your donation will be processed by PayPal. A small service fee (to keep BFG running!) will be tacked on to your donation.
Show your Support for great Indy Nonprofits
Trusted Mentors is but one of the worthy local nonprofits competing for your support. You can choose to support one or many of the others as well.
- The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is committed to serving the cultural, music education and economic interests of central Indiana through its mission: to inspire, entertain, educate and challenge through innovative programs and symphonic music performed at the highest artistic level.
- The Mozel Sanders Foundation feeds the hungry in Central Indiana and empower youth and adults.
- The Youth Mentoring Initiative partners with local schools to provide specialized mentor programs to help in the personal development of their students.
- Girls on the Run Hamilton County inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
- Jameson Camp enriches the lives of Indiana youth by inspiring them to discover their strengths. They are a year-round youth service agency devoted to fostering positive youth development.
- Fountains of Hope serves God by providing safe, life giving water to people in need, especially in times of disaster.
- Believing in the worth and the gifts of each person to enrich the world, Freewheelin’ Community Bikes uses bicycles to bring out the best in people and in our community.
The Camp Tecumseh YMCA puts Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
- Shepherd Community Center aims to break the cycle of poverty on the near Eastside of Indianapolis by engaging and empowering the community to cultivate healthy children, strong families, and vibrant neighborhoods through a Christ-centered approach that meets the spiritual, physical, emotional, and academic needs of our neighbors.
- The Indianapolis Public Schools Educational Foundation serves IPS students by securing resources to ensure the highest quality classroom experience possible.
- Camptown aims to challenge, mentor, and teach youth about life through outdoor adventure and nature programs that help build confidence, character, and hope.
- Families First creates healthier communities by strengthening families and individuals during life challenges and changes.
- Project Home Indy provides a nurturing residential environment to enable homeless teenage girls who are pregnant or parenting to gain self-sufficiency.
- The Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis seeks to advance mental health across all communities in Greater Indianapolis through education, advocacy and intervention.
- Junior Achievement of Central Indiana educates young people in the areas of financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness, and to inspire them to explore and create opportunities, make good decisions and believe in their potential.
No matter which nonprofit reigns victorious in this tournament, everybody wins.