BEAN Seattle Blog
Your money. Where does it go?
From time to time, we get asked where and how we get money to keep BEAN Seattle running and where it all goes. This blog is meant to shed some light into how BEAN functions when it comes to moohla, particularly your donations.
First of all, every nonprofit collects donations, writes grants, seeks sponsorships, organizes fundraising events and basically asks people like you for money. This helps keep the doors open so-to-speak, run programs and provide benefits to members or stakeholders. BEAN is not different in this respect but we are an entirely volunteer-run organization which allows us to keep our operating budget extremely low. All of our officers have normal day jobs and volunteer to do all of this because we believe in it. The majority of our money goes to our members (you) in terms of event and programs that we offer and to the causes that we support.
This means that your donations or the Think Global Act Local (TGAL) Date Auction bid you won goes to worthy causes like Rwanda Girls Initiative. Scholarship Program raffle ticket sales amounts or proceeds from Sounders games go to the BEAN Seattle Scholarship Program and towards the higher education for students like Carlos Padilla and Betelihem Mulubirhan who both are attending the University of Washington. The donations and proceeds make a direct impact instead of being allocated towards overhead costs like paying phone bills or keeping office space.
Any money that isn’t distributed directly to our TGAL campaigns or the Scholarship Program help provide member benefits such as costs to put on events; this stuff includes food and supplies like nametags that we provide at a networking night, the programs we print at the TGAL Date Auction, BEAN signs we have so you know where we are and the appetizers we provide at the BEANiversary. As an example of how we spend our money: In 2009, the TGAL Date Auction was put on for only $300 (mostly for the event space and its security fees) but it raised $14,000 towards Roses and Rosemary, our TGAL 2009 partner charity. We try our best to keep costs low for our members and avoid charging entry fees for events or for membership, except for some flagship fundraising events such as the TGAL Date Auction. We often hold raffles at events to help cover the costs to put them on and to raise a little more for our philanthropic programs. Some organizations charge you membership fees, event fees or both but we try to make BEAN as accessible and inclusive as possible.
How you have made a difference
We rely on your generosity and your willingness to pitch in to help our programs be successful, along with support from local businesses who help make our events happen. So how have you helped us make a big impact?
· In each of the past three years we/you have provided a $2,500 college scholarship to an at-risk high school student from Seattle’s poorest performing high schools. These students have surmounted difficult circumstances, accomplished great things and are pursuing lofty ambitions while attending schools with on-time graduation rates as low as 37%.
· Our TGAL partner charities have received between $10,000-$15,000 over the last few years. We choose charities where a little money goes a long way so we were able to:
o Fund a couple of clean water projects in Bangladesh through Water 1st.
o Deliver HIV/AIDS medication to orphans in Africa through Roses and Rosemary – only $45 is enough to provide a month’s worth of life-saving medication for one HIV-positive child.
o Provide microloans to 13 students from five developing countries (so far) so they can pursue higher education with our partnership with Vittana.
How else can you help?
If you want to help BEAN be more successful in these philanthropic endeavors, you only need to raise your hand. Here are a few options:
· Commit to helping us plan events or just attend them and bring a friend. Go to the BEANiversary!
· Go volunteer with us and see what a difference you can make in a few hours.
· Post about our fundraising programs on your Facebook wall, interact with our Facebook posts and retweet our tweets.
· Join a committee to help plan one of our big fundraising events.
· Share your connections to help bring in business sponsorships or nonprofit partnerships.
· Donate directly to us if you’d like and any amount helps. Donations are tax deductible and you can get donations matched if you work for a company that supports that like Microsoft or Boeing:
o Donate to BEAN to help us keep the virtual lights on and keep on organizing fun events: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=42YXHUXBAQR82
o Donate directly to the BEAN Seattle Scholarship Program: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=T68VZD6NSZPKC
o Donate to our Think Global Act Local Program. You can make a difference in girls education by supporting our 2011 partner, Rwanda Girls Initiative: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=SDDJDM64WTU6N
You’ve helped us make a big impact with very few dollars and we are grateful that you have chosen to donate your time and money to help us change our communities and the world one event at a time.
Thank you and let us know if you have other questions!