Category Archives: Brackets For Good

All Star Spotlight: Outreach International

Posted on May 26, 2017 by Reid McDowell


Outreach International Brackets For Good Highlight Reel

2017 will go down in the record books as a very special year for Brackets For Good. 2017 marked the first year that the fundraising madness stretched nationwide with nonprofits from 31 different states participating in the first-ever nationwide tournament, Brackets For Good USA. Additionally, the 2017 tournaments raised more money for charities than the previous 5 year history of Brackets For Good. To gain a unique perspective on the monumental year, we connected with BFG USA participant and world change maker, Outreach International who is working to ending chronic poverty worldwide.

What led you to register for the tournament?

Here at Outreach, we are always keeping an eye out for new experiences that allow us to share our mission, build relationships, and have fun doing both. When we heard about the nation-wide competitive giving tournament that is BFG, we just had to apply! The idea of being involved with organizations across the country was exciting and inspiring.

How did your team prepare for the tournament? 

LOTS of burpees . . . just kidding. Our staff loved preparing for this tournament; it was a new way for us to come together and engage with other organizations. We built a webpage specifically for the tournament and sprinkled the address throughout our electronic communications with supporters throughout March.

We also reached out to local Kansas City businesses, sports companies, and our beloved basketball-boosting fans for support in the competition. Although we couldn’t make it to D.C. for the pre-tournament Pep Rally, we held a viewing party in our conference room as our first-round competitor was announced.

Did you leverage the use of volunteers or board members for the tournament in any way?

Yes! We are fortunate to have an engaged, enthusiastic, competition-loving Board of Directors. We relied on them to spread the word throughout the tournament and recruit their peers to join our team.

What kind of response did you expect to see from the tournament vs. what you experienced? 

We were pleasantly surprised to see how involved donors were in BFG, both for us and for other organizations. We did not expect to have as formidable an opponent as we did, but were glad that BFG generated so much attention and raised so much money for many world-changing organizations.

Have you ever participated in any other ‘competitive’-style fundraising in the past? If so, what was that experience like?

This was our first time, but I don’t think it will be our last!

Did you use the funds you raised on a particular initiative or program? If so, what was it?

All the funds that we raised went into our General Fund – the contributions will go directly to our most pressing needs as an organization. In our particular area of concentration, unrestricted funds are a necessity, as the spectrum of countries, communities, issues, and initiatives related to our work make predictive budget allocations pretty tricky.  We’re thankful for the flexibility afforded us by these funds, and can assure you that they were used thoughtfully.

In your pre-tournament survey, your organization listed “Not Enough Fundraising Through Individual Donations” as limiting to your ability to serve your recipients. Did this tournament help you gain new supporters or funds?

Unfortunately, we did not gain any new supporters directly through Brackets For Good, but we did raise over $4,000 that we most likely wouldn’t have generated without this tournament!

Do you plan to register for next year? Any goals or plans that you’d like to share?

Absolutely! All of us enjoyed experiencing the intensity and excitement of the tournament, and have developed a taste for it. After being thoroughly routed in this year’s tournament, we’re keeping next year’s game plan close to the vest. Buckle up!

What did you learn being part of BFG USA? Any big surprises?

We learned that a little competition really does inspire our team! All of us had a great time psyching each other up for the tournament, and all our enthusiasm seemed to really invigorate our supporters, as well. The spirit of teamwork and the overall response of BFG donors were really wonderful, and we’re excited to be a part of the tournament again next year.

How do you plan to follow-up with both new and existing donors now that the tournament is over?

Once the tournament was over, we mailed a personal postcard to each donor who gave through BFG to thank them for their gifts. They’ve also been added to our list of supporters so we can keep them updated on all the promise and progress their gifts make possible!

Posted in Brackets For Good, Fundraising, Nonprofit Story

Brackets For Good 2017 Champions

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Jen Marcuson

The Brackets For Good 2017 Champions post-game press conference: get the scoop on all the game-winning plays.

Brackets For Good Champion check presentation April 12th 2017 at Indiana Pacer Home Game at halftime on halfcourt

🏆 USA (National)

  • Champion: Allied Arts
  • Raised: $440,004.83
  • Mission: Enriching Our Communities Through Advancement of the Arts.
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “We had brand new donors, and that’s always great. We also had loyal donors, and we had corporate partners that gave more because there was this opportunity to double their dollars. Having that $100,000 prize out there as an opportunity really helped our corporate donors say, ‘let’s get in on this!’.”

🏆 Ann Arbor

  • Champion: Community Action Network
  • Raised: $42,706.44
  • Mission: Community Action Network partners with children, youth and families from under-resourced Washtenaw County neighborhoods to create better futures for themselves and to improve the communities in which they live.
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good gave us a way to reconnect with old donors and a way to connect with new donors to raise a lot of money for our organization when we desperately needed it.”

🏆 Baltimore

  • Champion: I AM O’KAH!
    Mission: The mission of I AM O’KAH! is to empower all youth to unlock their greatest potential: through mentorship, scholarships and programs that help them navigate through socio-economic barriers to success.
  • Raised: $30,477.03
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good increased our outreach to first-time donors and allowed us to spread awareness about the organization to people who didn’t previously know about us.”

🏆 Cincinnati

  • Champion: NS Cares
    Mission: The vision of NS Cares is to ignite progress and growth throughout the insurance industry through acts of kinds in our communities.
  • Raised: $37,402.93
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good not only brings in new donors and connects you to your current donor base but also connects you with other organizations you might not be aware of, and you might have future opportunities for partnership.”

🏆 Denver

  • Champion: Promise Ranch Therapeutic Riding
    Mission: Promise Ranch encourages individuals of all abilities, including Veterans, to reach their full potential by providing safe, supportive, and quality Green Care opportunities in our community.
  • Raised: $52,718.00
  • Game Winning Play: “The tournament created an intense amount of excitement within our community, with our clients, our volunteers, and also new donors. That was really amazing and thrilling for us.”
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “This competition really gave us a chance to come together as a staff, with our board, and with our volunteers and clients, and build something from the inside out.”

🏆 Hartford

  • Champion: CMHA (Community Mental Health Affiliates)
  • Mission: CMHA is a leading provider of an integrated health and behavioral health care system for children, families and adults. By fostering improvement in the quality of life for their clients, CMHA contributes to the well-being of the communities it serves.
  • Raised: $53,883.78
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good was a huge team-building concept for our organization. It brought our organization together; it engaged our employees; it made us feel like a team working together for a common goal.”

🏆 Indianapolis

  • Champion: Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People
    Mission: To serve people living with childhood grief through bereavement programs, advocacy, community education and outreach. Our vision is to ensure that no person living with childhood grief feels alone.
  • Raised: $91,460.74
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good created tremendous awareness about our organization and actually helped families find us who need our services.”

🏆 Louisville

  • Champion: Neighborhood House
    Mission: Our mission is to provide individuals with opportunities to enhance the quality of their lives. Our vision is to break the cycle of poverty for our children and families.
  • Raised: $71,148.83
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets for Good is a tremendous way to raise awareness for your nonprofit and to really capture the energy going on around March Madness already. If you can harness that power for good and turn it into dollars, that’s wonderful.”

🏆 Miami

  • Champion: Holocaust Documentation & Education Center
  • Mission: To document and present an enduring, historically accurate record of the Holocaust through eyewitness accounts by Survivors, Liberators, Rescuers, and others who survived terrifying experiences, overcame fear and grief, and triumphed to live meaningful and productive. To teach people from all walks of life the universal lessons of the Holocaust, through thought-provoking exhibitions and insightful programming, illuminating the catastrophic ramifications of prejudice, racism, stereotyping, and bullying which tragically still occur today. This is accomplished through the cultivation of alliance and cooperation with individuals, organizations and institutions, locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Raised: $32,414.25
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good really spreads awareness. It also boosts morale, donors become excited, friends want to get engaged, and everyone has lots of fun!”

🏆 Nashville

  • Champion: Cottage Cove Urban Ministries
  • Mission: To provide educational opportunities and training in the arts through the power and in the name of Jesus Christ.
  • Raised: $40,049.70
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “The biggest thing for us was that it was a way to get more people involved early in the year when normally fundraising just doesn’t happen.”

🏆 St. Louis

  • Champion: Camp Jump Start
  • Mission: Camp Jump Start is a whole health summer camp dedicated to jump start kid success.
  • Raised: $106,088.43
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good gave us a great opportunity to engage all of our staff, donors, and volunteers in order to be a team. Everyone wanted us to win, round after round after round and it got everyone very engaged!”

🏆 Twin Cities

  • Champion: Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest
    Mission: We, in partnership with our community, provide a comfortable and caring home-away-from-home that supports keeping families together and reduces stress during a child’s serious illness.
  • Raised: $64,190.07
  • Game Winning Play: “The social media presence has been priceless.”
  • How they lit up the scoreboard: “Brackets For Good is one of the best ways we’ve had to engage new donors or lapsed donors. The competitive spirit energizes not only our staff, but our donors as well as the philanthropic community.”

Posted in Ann Arbor Area, Brackets For Good, Fundraising, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nonprofit Story, St. Louis, Twin Cities

Score BIG with Our Champ Coloring Contest

Posted on March 13, 2017 by Matt Duncan

Put your artistic skills on display and you could be one of five lucky winners to win $100 for your favorite nonprofit! Here is how you can get in the game!

Good luck #noluckneeded!



Posted in Brackets For Good

Inverse-Square joins Brackets For Good Community Partners Roster

Posted on February 25, 2017 by Matt Duncan

Founded in 2011, custom software development company, Inverse-Square is a dedicated Microsoft technology shop. Experts in C#, SQL, and JavaScript, Inverse-Square is exceptional at building software that makes business processes easier and more efficient.

In 2016, they started a Charity of the Year program and donated time to build software for Paws & Think, a therapy-animal organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life by using the power of the human-animal bond. This year, besides participating in Brackets for Good, they have chosen Indiana After School Network (IAN) as their Charity of the Year. This organization promotes afterschool and summer learning by connecting youth workers, partners, and advocates. Besides donating financially and fundraising for IAN, Inverse-Square also will provide 40 hours of service toward helping them with their software needs.


As a Brackets For Good 2017 Community Teammate, Inverse-Square is partnered with The Center For Leadership Development (CLD). This organization works to foster the advancement of minority youth in central Indiana as future professional, business, and community leaders by providing experiences that encourage personal development and educational attainment.

By day, “Team Awesome”, as Inverse-Square employees are known, solve client problems with efficient, practical solutions. The Center for Leadership Development prepare youth for the highest levels of academic achievement and career success. These two teams look ready to put the work in, score some points, and build leaders of tomorrow together!

Posted in Brackets For Good

Career Counseling Organization Ready for tip-off in Baltimore

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Jen Marcuson

Maryland New Directions (MND) was introduced to Brackets For Good last year when they received a postcard inviting them to check out the website. It didn’t take them long to realize the value the forthcoming tournament could bring, and they registered to be among the first competitors in the 2017 Baltimore tournament. 

Offering no-cost career counseling and job skills training, MND has been serving low-income Baltimore residents for 43 years. They offer a range of training services such as career assessments, mock interviews, one-on-one coaching, and job placement assistance. Being well-versed in professional skills development, it is no surprise that the team at MND has already huddled up and developed a full tournament strategy!

Development Manager Barbara Reed says that the team is busy “getting in game mode” for the upcoming competition. They have already warmed up by creating “Team MND” marketing materials, have drafted local businesses to support their tournament run, and are developing video clips. Most of their tournament playbook is top-secret, but Barbara revealed that they will roll out a “Jump Shot for Jobs” promotion. Everyone from volunteers to board members are being put through the paces in order to be able to spread the word, plan special events, and connect with their supporters.

Barbara reports that they have put the BFG website and locker room tools to good use in creating their game-plan. They have viewed the training materials, taken advantage of the available logos and graphics, and integrated the sample social media posts into their planned messaging. Barbara says that the provided writing samples help them to more clearly articulate what BFG is all about in a consistent manner. Ensuring that everyone is getting the same clear and concise message about BFG will help most effectively encourage their supporters to participate, both locally and across the nation.

MND changes lives through employment. Since 1973, they have worked with nearly 140,000 individuals. As they enter 2017, they do so with hopes to grow their newest Youth Opportunity work initiative, focused on unemployed inner city residents, aged 18-24. If MND was to secure the Baltimore Championship title, the funds would be used to support targeted efforts specifically for that demographic. No matter how far they advance, Barbara says that MND is looking forward to new donors, community support, and a great deal of fun. With only 24 days to go until tip-off, the MND team is in great shape and ready to score early and often!


Posted in Brackets For Good | Tagged 2017, Baltimore, Nonprofit, Nonprofit Interview

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