Highlights
Category Archives: Brackets For Good

All Star Spotlight: From the Basketball Court to the Giving Court

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Rachel Purviance

Summer Search

The 2017 USA tournament was a big first for BFG – a coast-to-coast philanthropic contest pitting large national organizations with huge star power against each other for a $100,000 championship prize. While BFG has traditionally operated on the local level, the national tournament was a chance to showcase our Fundraising Madness on a large scale.

One energetic competitor in the tournament was Summer Search – an organization whose mission is to help low-income teenagers develop the skills they need to become college educated leaders who give back to their families and communities.  Summer Search was a perfect candidate for the USA tournament since they have locations in several US cities and a former collegiate basketball player on staff! Game on!

Stephanie Davis, National Senior Development Associate with Summer Search and former college basketball player for Beloit College confirmed for us that there are definitely similarities between college basketball and Brackets For Good. She said, “hours and hours of preparation were necessary for success in BFG, just like the hours you need to put in practicing in order to run plays correctly, hit a game winning jumper, or have the endurance to make it through an entire game. The final few hours of each round in the BFG tournament definitely gave me the same kind of adrenaline rush that I would get during games! I’d never experienced that kind of heart-pounding excitement in fundraising before.” Aha! We thought so!

On coaching her staff for the tournament, Stephanie reported that it was easy to get everyone on the same page because she had a spectacular, hard-working team, who were all dedicated to the same goal and willing to put in the extra effort in order to succeed. Their strategy was to divide the workload in ways that played to individual strengths. Stephanie said that she just pointed her teammates in the right direction, and let them do what they do best.

While Summer Search ultimately did not win the USA tournament, they made it to the Engaged Eight round, and brought in over $30,000 for their programs. Their average donation amount and average number of times a supporter donated to their run was well above the tournament average. Clearly inspired to give and give again, their supporters brought the points round after round. Stephanie stated that this was due to the incredible staff participation and amazing support from their Board of Directors, who spread the word among their networks and made their own gifts to help them advance.  She reported that the intensity of the competition definitely brought everyone together and made for a rich and memorable experience.  She recalled, “Once the buzzer sounded and the points were calculated, those cheers of victory were the best!”

Their final round in the tournament was a close one – in a match-up that scored over 12,000 points per competitor, Summer Search missed a spot in the Philanthropic Four by only 111 points.  Stephanie said, “That was such a heart breaker! It really did feel like we were beaten by a game-winning jumper. I’ve relived that round multiple times, and would definitely make a few game-plan changes if we could do it all over. One change is that we should’ve asked for a larger gift earlier in the round to see how the competition responded. We definitely learned not to sleep on anybody, especially when it comes to Buzzer Beaters!”

Summer Search score

Oh, Buzzer Beaters? Well since you brought them up….
Stephanie said, “Next year I’d like to see more 3-pointers in the 2018 tournament – and I’m partial to 3-pointers since this was my forte as a player! But a good team always has something up their sleeve! Buzzer Beaters definitely kept us on the edge of our seats and required some fast math in those exhilarating final seconds of each round.”

Posted in Brackets For Good, Fundraising, Nonprofit Story


All-Star Spotlight: “Community Teammate”– Morales Group and Exodus Refugee Immigration #Dreamteam

Posted on August 28, 2017 by Jen Marcuson

Exodus Refugee Immigration Morales Group

Brackets For Good introduced a new strategic feature to the 2017 Indianapolis tournament: The Community Teammate. Designed to pair local businesses with participating nonprofits to help them increase their reach and strengthen their competitiveness in the tournament, the program raised the stakes and essentially created two teams carrying the ball for each nonprofit – but it didn’t mean anyone got any extra bench time!

One such partnership, between Exodus Refugee Immigration and Morales Group Staffing, was definitely a slam dunk. Morales, a staffing firm that focuses on the local immigrant population, has been recognized as one of the fastest growing Hispanic owned businesses in America and one of the best places to work in Indiana. Their BFG nonprofit teammate, Exodus, has been working to resettle refugees in Indianapolis for over 30 years. Pairing up for the tournament was a natural extension of their ongoing relationship.

The two organizations have been working together for many years, working to secure job placements for refugee clients. The desire for Morales to become a Community Teammate came out of the spirit of their Community Outreach program. Monique Charlebois, Director of Human Resources with Morales, stated, “We live our mission every day. We want to build better futures and we want to do that with our partnerships.”  Morales’ outreach includes financially supporting organizations in their community but also provides a deeper level of commitment and activity, including encouraging employees to do at least 25 hours a year of volunteer work, some of which is on company time. Cole Varga, Executive Director of Exodus, wholeheartedly agrees, “This organization walks the walk. They really care about this population.”

CEO Tom Morales said that when they signed up to be in the BFG Teammate program they specifically asked if Exodus had a partner. Once they were paired up, dedicated staff were assigned to work with the Director of Development at Exodus, Liz Standiford, and together they created a strategy with the ultimate goal of winning the tournament. They also wanted to ensure Exodus raised at least $35-$40,000, a huge increase over previous years’ totals for the organization, but a goal they surpassed, raising $44,000 and making it to the Engaged Eight round.

Amanda Franklin, Branding and Digital Strategy at Morales, revealed one in-house engagement tactic they used; the Lids Free Throw points. Earning $2-$3 just for filling out your donor profile was easy and they earned over $100 from doing that. She noted, “It was also a good opportunity for the staff to get a better understanding of what the tournament is about.”

The two organizations came together to create shared social media messages and strategized their Friday night round-end plans together. Each Friday, Morales, Exodus, or the unofficial third partner, Luna Language Services, hosted a party for staff, volunteers, board members, and friends of each organization. Morales hosted the first week, treating everyone to food, the live BFG feed, and a silent auction of donated goods to help raise more money to put toward the last seconds of the round. Each week as they progressed, video feed of the cheering partygoers would be shared online after the round close.

While they worked closely together, they did not work alone. Tom revealed that a key strategy was reaching out to other affiliated organizations, such as Luna. “Overall, we realized there was no reason not to share in the fun!” he added, “I’m not just talking about the financial piece. It was something very different, so that was the first step – how can we reach out and make it entertaining for everybody.” Monique confirmed, “We definitely strengthened our connection with Luna. For many of us that would go to the events, it was good to get to know other organizations that are also so passionate about this.”

Morales acknowledged that their round-by-round budget occasionally got thrown by the wayside due to the fierce competitiveness amongst the team. Tom said, “I honestly believe that had I been there during our final round, we would have gone over because I wasn’t going to lose! I think it’s really important to note, every time I did give, I didn’t feel like I was buying something. It felt like I was giving to something that was really going to be for the greater good.”

The two organizations share an easy camaraderie, joking back and forth about the tense end-of-round moments they shared. The tournament partnership played a role in creating this level of comfort. Monique commented, “Coming together on the Friday nights, and getting to know the team better, it was a lot of fun. We encouraged people to come by giving them volunteer hours for coming.” Cole agreed, “For some of our non-employment staff who don’t interact with Morales all the time, it was nice to have them here and give them a chance to interact.”

Amanda noted the importance of being invested in your partner. She said, “I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful had we been partnered with someone that we hadn’t had a relationship with. A lot of work goes in behind the scenes, and you’re working very closely together. I would definitely recommend that if someone is going to do this, they partner with someone they have a connection with.”

When asked if they would participate again, Monique was quick to jump in, “Absolutely we would do it again! It is such a great cause and it is so much fun. I would advocate for anyone being a teammate to one of the organizations. As soon as it was over, we were thinking about how we were going to do things differently next year. It was a great way to collaborate, be team players, and support a good cause.” Tom added, “Had the competition not been there, I don’t think we would have raised the same amount at all. I think it was the strategic, competitive component that really got us going.”

And of course, when asked about their Buzzer Beater strategy, everyone agreed… “We won’t reveal it!”

Posted in Brackets For Good, Indianapolis, Nonprofit Story, Sponsor Story


Brackets For Good Denver 2017 presented by mGive

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Rachel Purviance

Fundraising Madness spread across the country in 2017 marking this our biggest year yet! Brackets For Good tournaments are a team effort. The tournaments help people in the community learn about and rally behind great local causes doing amazing work.

Check out our stats from the inaugural tournament in Denver! The report covers an overview of the tournament stats, the impact on participating nonprofits, donors and our partners, and you even get a sneak peek into what we are working on for 2018!

Thanks for helping build stronger communities through the power of Competitive Giving!

Select the image to download the Brackets For Good Denver 2017 Teammate Report.

Download the Full ReportDenver report

Posted in Brackets For Good, Denver


Brackets For Good Hartford 2017 presented by Stanley Black & Decker

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Rachel Purviance

Fundraising Madness spread across the country in 2017 marking this our biggest year yet! Brackets For Good tournaments are a team effort. The tournaments help people in the community learn about and rally behind great local causes doing amazing work.

Check out our stats from the inaugural tournament in Hartford! The report covers an overview of the tournament stats, the impact on participating nonprofits, donors and our partners, and you even get a sneak peek into what we are working on for 2018!

Thanks for helping build stronger communities through the power of Competitive Giving!

Select the image to download the Brackets For Good Hartford 2017 Teammate Report.

Hartford report

View the Full Report

Posted in Brackets For Good, Hartford


Brackets For Good Indianapolis 2017 presented by Valeo Financial Advisors

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Rachel Purviance

Fundraising Madness spread across the country in 2017 marking this our biggest year yet! Brackets For Good tournaments are a team effort. The tournaments help people in the community learn about and rally behind great local causes doing amazing work.

Check out our stats from the sixth tournament in Indianapolis! The report covers an overview of the tournament stats, the impact on participating nonprofits, donors and our partners, and you even get a sneak peek into what we are working on for 2018!

Thanks for helping build stronger communities through the power of Competitive Giving!

Select the image to download the Brackets For Good Indianapolis 2017 Teammate Report.

Indianapolis report

View the Full Report

Posted in Brackets For Good, Indianapolis


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