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By donorsearch

K-12 Fundraising: 6 Fun and Easy Ideas for Every School

Looking for a new quick and easy fundraiser for your school programs that the students will think is fun? Fundraising for school programs is no easy feat and requires a lot of thought and effort—so why not do everything possible to ensure your fundraiser is a success without piling on more stress? Your kids and students have so many activities that they want to participate in, and they should be able to. But there needs to be a source of funds for every event you support. Students, therefore, if they want to participate in the event, should be involved in the fundraising efforts. Fundraising doesn’t have to bring with it a dark cloud of stress and challenges that you can’t see through. Fundraising can be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, including the students who participate. Your fundraising ideas should be specifically geared toward student participation so some of the weight can be lifted off of your shoulders. As you consider your upcoming fundraising campaign strategies, you should aim to give the students a unique opportunity to have a hand in working to support the programs they love. Fun events for your students to help lead to success include:
  1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.
  2. Selling merchandise.
  3. Holding a charity auction.
  4. Organizing a school carnival.
  5. Producing a talent show.
  6. Supporting a read-a-thon.
Utilize one of these awesome school fundraising ideas during your next fundraising campaign and you will be sure to boost your fundraising revenue and increase your student’s interest in raising money for their favorite programs. Let’s dive in and prepare you for an epic school fundraising season.

1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.

Schools have long been taking advantage of walk-a-thons because they are a tried-and-true, effective way of raising money for schools. They allow students to be the driving factor behind the fundraiser and have a role in supporting their own program. If you are unfamiliar with how walk-a-thons work, the process is simple:
  • Step 1: The school plans where and when the event will take place.
  • Step 2: Students promote the event.
  • Step 3: Friends and family of the students donate or pledge money to the student’s individual fundraising campaign.
  • Step 4: The walk-a-thon occurs (Make sure to keep track of distances walked by each student).
  • Step 5: The event organizer determines how much the pledgors owe to each student’s campaign.
  • Step 6: Collect the money and put it toward your school program!

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By Ryan Ponzurick

5 Fundamental Website Design Tips for Modern Nonprofits

When you start to think about designing (or redesigning) your nonprofit website, you need to make sure to keep your main purpose in mind. That purpose is providing valuable content and a positive user experience for your constituents. =&0=&What do you want to accomplish with it? What do you want people to see? Then, put yourself in the shoes of your supporters. What type of information would you look for? Where would you expect to see it? Even if you’re working with a web design firm, you’ll still want to answer these questions for context about your website. The answers often provide stepping stones to a more actionable website. The resulting priorities for your nonprofit website often include:
  1. Providing information about your nonprofit’s mission.
  2. Collecting donations from your supporters.
  3. Encouraging involvement from the community.
  4. Promoting your upcoming events.
  5. Recruiting volunteers for your initiatives.
If you’re looking for ideas about how other nonprofits have structured their websites to incorporate these priorities, check out Morweb’s list of the best nonprofit websites. These industry leading websites may inspire your creative side. Let’s get started to learn more about designing websites.

1. Provide information about your nonprofit’s mission.

When people visit your nonprofit’s website, it’s often because they’re looking for more information about your organization. They may have seen your name from your other marketing materials, on social media, or heard about your organization from a friend. =&1=& This means that your home page should have some element that explains what you do. Put your full mission statement either on your home page or on your “about us” page. If you put it on the “about us” page, you’ll also need a condensed version on your home page outlining the key points. By providing this information up front, you’ll answer your new website visitors’ main questions. Then they’ll be able to dive in and learn more about your nonprofit. If you use a CMS designed specifically for nonprofits, you can simply use the nonprofit website templates as a guide as to where to place the mission statement. morweb-donorsearch-impressive-web-design-features-modern-nonprofits-mission.png

2. Collect donations from your supporters.

Not only do you want to capture the attention of your website visitors, but you’ll likely also have a goal in mind that you want them to complete. For many nonprofits, this goal is often to collect donations. There are two main steps that nonprofits must take to encourage more donations from their supporters: first, they must ensure their donation page is top-notch; second, they must make sure their navigation makes it easy to find the page.

Top-Notch Donation Page

You’ll likely want to direct the majority of your supporters straight to the online donation page. Once they get there, they should find the donation page easy to use and pleasing to the eye. =&2=&CMS offers features=&4=&Don’t direct donors off-site to donate through a third-party platform, as the simple act of a new window opening is often enough to drive prospective donors away. =&5=&This visual consistency will build an element of trust for your donors. =&6=&

By Ryan Ponzurick

4 Top Software Tools Every School Should Consider

Many of our world’s future Presidents, CEOs, artists, and musicians spend day after day in school. They learn and practice and study to become the greatest they could possibly be in their chosen field. =&0=& Technology is revolutionizing the way schools function. Software companies are developing ways for schools to run more efficiently and effectively as the programs they provide expand beyond traditional academic offerings. =&1=&right fundraising techniques=&3=& The right software will help take many time-consuming administrative duties off your plate. The software that you choose should accommodate your school’s evolving nature and cater to your needs and the programs you support. When you are considering enhancing your operations with school program management software, remember that you need features that will facilitate your administration of:
  • Before and after-school programs.
  • Summer school and camps.
  • School-based registration fees for athletics and clubs, trips, laptop rentals, parking and transportation, and more.
To maximize your efforts in these areas, you should keep an eye out for school program management software that features tools for:
  1. Registration.  
  2. Centralized student information.
  3. Digital attendance.
  4. Tuition management.  
There are plenty of things to worry about as a school administrator, so you should take advantage of software that is designed specifically for school-based programs and makes your job easier. Let’s dive into the tools you should consider as you contemplate incorporating new technology into your school!

1. Registration.

Throughout the year, your school and its faculty are responsible for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of children who participate in various extracurricular activities and summer programs. Your school program management software should offer an easy-to-use online registration tool specifically designed for the needs of your program, like CommunityPass’ afterschool registration software.   Whether a parent wants to enroll his child in the after care program, pay for the laptop rental fee, or sign up for the summer STEM camp, he should have easy access to all the information required to complete the registration process from the comfort of his own device. =&4=&This will ensure your forms contain all the information your school or program needs. Consider offering custom forms for:
  • Medical information and allergy alerts.  
  • Permission slips.
  • Emergency contacts.
  • Waivers.
With the addition of school program management software, you will forget all about the days when you had to keep track of paper forms and worry about updating registration waitlists. Your software will automatically update waitlists and monitor your programs’ maximum capacity limits. =&5=& Your software should prompt users to donate during the registration check-out process and encourage school-centric fundraising. Your users will already have their wallets out, making it the perfect opportunity for easy giving.

2. Centralized student information.

One of the most important features of your software is the ability to provide centralized student information. Your software should offer: =&6=&

By donorsearch

Nonprofit Data Management: 5 Technology Tips to Know

Nonprofits collect all kinds of data on a daily basis. Every time a supporter makes an online donation, signs up to volunteer, or fills out an event registration form, you receive valuable information about who these individuals are and how they like to engage with your organization. To make sure that information doesn’t go to waste, you need a donor data management strategy that supports your goals. So how do you design such a strategy? Here’s a hint: technology can help! As nonprofit technology consultants, we at DNL OmniMedia know a thing or two about how technology can fit into almost every part of your organization. When it comes to managing your nonprofit data, your technology setup plays an integral role. To help you use technology to manage data in the most effective way, we’ll talk through 5 must-know tips:
  1. Build an integrated CRM system.
  2. Give donors control over their data.
  3. Create targeted donor segments.
  4. Devote time to database maintenance.
  5. Develop processes around data entry.
Before diving into our advice, make sure your organization has the right software on-hand to carry out these strategies. Check out DNL OmniMedia’s top 8 nonprofit technology solutions to see if any of our favorite tools might complement your data management plan. Now let’s get into the first tip.

1. Build an integrated CRM system.

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By donorsearch

3 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Donor Data

It’s not an understatement to say that your donor data is the lifeblood of your fundraising efforts – it helps you keep track of who’s supporting you, their demographics, their giving patterns, and so much more. Successful fundraising in the digital age relies on managing your data to help you track donors and donations, perform analysis, and communicate efficiently. If you want to grow your nonprofit year over year, you should be looking at your methods for storing – and reading – your donor data. However, if you’re working with outdated software or obsolete systems, you could be missing out on all the analysis and stats that good donor management software can provide. That’s why it’s important to not only invest in an up-to-date CRM, but also know how to utilize it to its full ability. We’ve got a few tips to help you manage your data better so it can perform more efficiently and help you raise more money!

Assign different roles to different team members

Maintaining and managing a great CRM can involve a lot of effort, and it can be tough to put it all on one person. Understandably, not all nonprofits have enough overhead to hire a specific person for the role, so instead they split up the job between multiple team members. If good communication isn’t kept up, it can be a case of broken telephone – and that definitely impacts the efficiency of your donor management. When the work is divided, make sure that the various tasks are specifically assigned to different individuals, with no confusion or overlap. This will help reduce duplication of data and can allow you to make sure that everyone working with your database is properly trained for the tasks they need to complete. Some CRMs let you assign these roles directly. By doing so, you can be sure that the person or people you want to perform certain tasks, such as adding donations or sending communications, are the only ones able to do so. It doesn’t hurt to break up the donor management among a number of team members – just make sure that everyone’s on the same page about what their responsibilities are.

Schedule periodic data clean-ups

Donor management is handy, but it isn’t infallible – there are still errors that can happen within your database, even with top-of-the-line software. And if these errors are left unchecked, they can develop into huge problems that skew how your donor data is read. The last thing you want is for any analysis to be off when you’re making fundraising projections or determining demographic marketing! Luckily, some CRM tools can help you identify common problems, like duplicate donor listings or inaccurate addresses. The former can be a huge issue, especially when an individual has been entered in the database multiple times. A good CRM will be able to identify this error and merge the profiles together quickly and easily. In other cases, basic reports can identify donors or donations that are missing information like ZIP codes or phone numbers, while simply taking a scan through small groups of data can help you find common errors like misspelled names and incomplete profiles. All this can give you a better, more accurate picture of your donors!

Perform regular security tests

A nonprofit’s worst nightmare would be to have its donor data breached by a hacker. Any old, outdated CRM might be vulnerable to attacks that allow criminals to get ahold of financial or personal information – a disaster when it comes to sensitive data that nonprofits keep records of. That’s why it’s so important to have a software vendor that performs penetration tests to see how well the CRM reacts – or if there are any weak spots that need patching. Schedule regular tests – think monthly – with your software vendor to ensure that any vulnerabilities are patched up and any required updates are applied. Making sure your donor’s data is absolutely secure is a huge part of your donor management software, so you ought to put data security front and center. It’s key to managing your data – and it helps you sleep better at night, too. At the end of the day, your donor data is incredibly valuable when it comes to understanding your supporters – which is why you need to read it correctly, protect it, and make sure it’s working as it should at all times. Take care of your donor data and it’ll take care of you!

Author Bio

Caitlin Hotchkiss is the content and social media manager for FrontStream, covering all the best and latest news and tips for fundraising success. With many years as an online influencer, she works to stay ahead of the trends by keeping one eye on upcoming online tools and the other on established favorites, spreading the good word of charities and nonprofits across the digital landscape.

By donorsearch

New Year’s Resolutions Your Nonprofit Should Have

Here we are in a brand new year, and plenty of you have likely made resolutions that you vow to keep in 2018. Whether it’s self-betterment goals or breaking bad habits, a new year is a time of new beginnings, and that goes double for your charity or nonprofit. No matter how successful a year 2017 may have been, there’s always room for improvement and evolution, which is why your nonprofit should have some resolutions as well! Here are three goals that your nonprofit should be striving for not just this January, but throughout 2018:

Utilize the power of social media

So your nonprofit has a Twitter page and a Facebook profile, and you think that’s enough to get the word out on your cause and communicate with your donors and prospects. In fact, you’re doing the bare minimum with those two accounts – and even less so if you don’t have a frequent, active schedule for updates. In 2018, make a resolution to dedicate more time to social media, including putting together a comprehensive content calendar, actively monitoring your channels, and engaging with both your current supporters and those you’d like to attract. If you don’t have a dedicated hire to do this, be sure to look for one. A content and/or social media manager can be a huge piece of a successful nonprofit’s marketing team, so perhaps another resolution should be to create and hire for this position! It’s also important to focus on other platforms, like Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest, and seeing how you can use their storytelling abilities to elevate your cause. Plus, there are new social media platforms and mediums coming out all the time – why not get ahead of the curve by trying out new things? Which brings us to our second resolution:

Don’t be afraid to go out of the box

There are tons of worthy charities out there for people to donate money to – how does yours stand out from the pack? If you’re just doing the exact same strategies as everyone else, there’s a good chance that your cause will be lost in the shuffle. Make 2018 the year that your nonprofit tries something new in terms of marketing. Experiment with new ideas, have weekly brainstorms, and get in touch with different demographics to see how well different targeted ad campaigns perform. You can incorporate new strategies through the social media we discussed earlier, or you could explore new advertising capabilities both digitally and in print. With so many avenues and creative outlets available to you both now and in the near future, it’d be a shame not to try out some big – even disruptive – ideas to bring your cause message to the masses. It could even bring in a whole new audience of lifelong supporters – the trick is just taking that single step potentially out of your comfort zone.

Keep testing and troubleshooting

All that said, don’t be discouraged if your resolutions aren’t giving you top results right away. Trying out new things really is all about trial and error, and the entire process ought to be marked with check-ins and testing along the way. (If you haven’t already set out measurable benchmarks for where you’ve started and what you want to achieve out of these efforts, now is definitely the time!) For example, are you taking the time to troubleshoot digital assets like your website or online donation form? There could be simple errors that may be hidden pain points preventing you from gathering more donations. Or maybe you need to frequently check the open rate on that revamped round of email drips that you’re sending to prospects. For all the work you’re putting into trying new things – be it on social media or otherwise – you also need to be following up, testing, and troubleshooting to ensure that you’re getting the biggest bang for your efforts. So in 2018, make a concentrated resolution to not just sit back on your laurels once you’ve launched a new online campaign or donor website – keep checking to see that it’s working at its optimal rate. Feel free to use the above three resolutions as a starting point for your charity’s own resolutions for 2018 – much like an individual’s own personal life goals, a nonprofit ought to constantly be looking for ways to refine good habits, break bad habits, and try new things! Caitlin Hotchkiss is the content and social media manager for FrontStream, covering all the best and latest news and tips for fundraising success. With many years as an online influencer, she works to stay ahead of the trends by keeping one eye on upcoming online tools and the other on established favorites, spreading the good word of charities and nonprofits across the digital landscape.

By donorsearch

5 Times It Really Pays to Know Your Donors

Are you raising funds for a nonprofit organization? You’re in a noble line of work. Nonprofit fundraising is a people-oriented field. When you raise funds, you are helping donors realize their dream of making a difference in the lives of other people. Then why, as you get more successful, does it feel harder and harder to know your donors? It’s a paradox. At the start, you knew everybody who gave, some of them personally. Now, your organization may have hundreds or thousands of loyal supporters. They can’t all be your friends…but you still have to know them. Your fundraising depends on it! Here are five instances when knowing your donors is vital: 1. When You’re Asking for Money 2. When You’re Staying in Touch 3. When You’re Writing a Newsletter 4. When You’re Collecting Stories to Share 5. When the Donor Calls Let’s start with the most important tip…

1. When You’re Asking for Money

As I write this, we are approaching the end of the calendar year, when many nonprofit organizations receive most of their support from donors. It’s crucial to get your appeal letter right. But one size does not fit all. If you are sending the same letter to all your donors, you’re leaving money on the table. Think about it. If you give money to an organization and they don’t even know who you are, how likely are you to give again? So, your nonprofit needs to know at least:
  • Whether you’re asking a donor to renew their gift or a prospect to give for the first time
  • If they’re a donor, when and how much they gave before
  • What interests them about your organization’s work (because if they care about the housing you build, and you ask them to support the childcare you offer, they may wonder who you think you’re talking to!)
Ideally, you would also have some sense of the donor’s capacity to give. If you know all these things, you can segment your list and send different letters to donors than to prospects, tell stories about the work the donor cares about the most, thank them for their previous gift, and ask them for an amount they can afford to give if they care enough to do so. And you will make more money for your good cause!

2. When You’re Staying in Touch

Why do two out of three first-time donors to your organization never make a second gift? Jay Love of Bloomerang lists five reasons:
  1. Thought the charity did not need them: 5%
  2. No information on how monies were used: 8%
  3. No memory of supporting: 9%
  4. Never thanked for donating: 13%
  5. Poor service or communication: 18%
Knowing your donors helps you know what to say in the thank-you letter you send within 48 hours of receiving the initial gift. It helps your board members know what to say when they call donors to thank them. And it will help you every time you “touch” them in any way throughout the year.

3. When You’re Writing a Newsletter

Beyond being thanked, donors want to hear how their donations made a difference. That’s the reason for publishing a nonprofit newsletter: to tell them. If you know your donors well, you can decide whether it makes sense to send a print newsletter, an e-newsletter, or both, or send print to some people and email to others. If you know what they care about, you can send newsletters on particular topics to the people who want to read them. Or, at the least, you can make sure your newsletters include items that will appeal to the various audiences you’ll find among your donors. Don’t make anyone feel left out!

4. When You’re Collecting Stories to Share

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By donorsearch

4 Tips to Getting #GivingTuesday Right

As the fall fundraising season slowly ramps up, nonprofits are starting to map out their end-of-year fundraising appeals, while also planning out their fundraising strategy for the year ahead. For many, strategy meetings are already on the books with their development and marketing staff members and dates are being etched into stone. This year, before you sit down to discuss your year-end giving strategy, don’t make the mistake of overlooking #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a response to the consumerism and decadence of the holiday season to help us refocus on what’s important and kick off year-end giving for nonprofits. After two days of shopping and eating, it’s the perfect foray into the “season of giving.” It may be tempting write off #GivingTuesday: A 2015 study by John Templeton Foundation found that only 18% of consumers had heard of the day of giving, while nearly 93% were familiar with Black Friday. But, did you know that #GivingTuesday is quickly becoming one of the largest giving days in the U.S.? In 2016, $168M was donated to thousands of nonprofits across the country. Started in 2012 by 92Y, the day of giving has grown into an international movement that raises hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of causes. #GivingTuesday is a ripe opportunity for nonprofits with goals to bring in new revenue and build their younger donor database. For many nonprofits, this is a great event to dip their toes into the water of crowdfunding, which can help to achieve both of these goals. So, what’s the key to ensure your foray into #GivingTuesday will be a success? Here’s four tips to help you break into the global day of giving:

1) Create a strategy

It may be super simple to register for #GivingTuesday on a giving platform host site like Razoo, but that doesn’t mean #GivingTuesday is effortless. The amount you get out of your campaign depends on how much you put it into it. Get your team together to begin working on your #GivingTuesday campaign and outline your goals. Do you have a monetary goal you hope to hit on #GivingTuesday? What about a project you need to fund? Is there a specific number of new donors you hope to acquire? Think realistically about what you can achieve on #GivingTuesday and start planning your strategy. For instance, if you raised $500 last year during an end of year appeal, doubling the goal to $1,000 for #GivingTuesday is much more attainable than setting a $10,000 goal. Plus, think about how you can receive more community support: Sponsors need at least a few months of lead time, so make sure to ask any strong corporate partners to make a matching gift or sponsor your campaign with plenty of time. What in-person events could you host at a local restaurant or business or ask them to host on your behalf? Consider what media contacts you have and how you can leverage their support to get more exposure for your campaign this year. Is there a strong angle to your appeal that they’d be interested in

2) Start early

This goes hand-in-hand with creating a strategy: The sooner you start promoting your participation in #GivingTuesday and sharing your key messages, the more you will prepare your donors to give on the day of the event. Some organizations believe that if they send their donors too many emails or post a solicitation on social media too frequently they will lose donors who will instead unsubscribe. But, the threshold is actually much higher than these organizations realize it is: In 2017, the average user is expected to receive 124 emails in their inbox per day, according to a study by Radici Group. So, sending too few emails can actually cause the opposite to happen: your efforts will be wasted on an unmemorable campaign that will be lost among the white noise of other emails in a donor’s inbox. Aim to send emails at least two weeks out and in the days leading up to the event, when early pledges for sites like Razoo open up, to remind donors about your campaign and your goals. Post several times a week on social media during that timeframe, as well. Remember to use the same messaging each time to remind donors to give. Using messages like, “$10 can provide xx” helps donors visualize the impact of their gift and encourages them to give more. The more they see this message, the more they’ll remember when they go to pledge their donation amount on the page.

3) Target your donors through segmentation

#GivingTuesday’s mix of social media virality and socially entrepreneurial spirit makes it a perfect environment to increase your millennial donor base. Target these donors by reaching them where they are: targeted Facebook ads, Twitter contests and gamification on your blog can help you engage this young demographic. For instance, secure a matching gift sponsor to donate a $1 for each retweet your #GivingTuesday Twitter posts receive. Ask this group of young supporters to help by spreading the word with their social networks. This can encourage supporters who may not be able to donate a monetary gift to get involved, too. On Facebook, create an ad targeting a younger audience. Don’t forget to make it visually appealing and have a clear, short call to action. Set your parameters for the ad by considering this younger audience’s interests. What will they likely be interested in on Facebook? Finally, consider what other segmentation you can do on #GivingTuesday. If this is your second year doing #GivingTuesday, you may want to ask past #GivingTuesday donors to increase their gift size. You may push mid-level donors towards major gifts by soliciting them for sponsorships or matching gifts, or ask them to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser and bring in new supporters for your cause. Make sure you are never sending the same message to all donors. Each different level of donor should receive a message targeted to their audience. Tools like DonorSearch

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By DonorSearch

Increase Donations with a Savvy SMS Marketing Strategy

This blog focuses on the world of prospect research and various related fundraising topics. To diversify our subject matter, we like to feature the work of our friends and colleagues in the community. Join me in welcoming Sophorn Chhay of Trumpia, and please enjoy this post on SMS marketing strategies to increase donations.

Increase Donations for Your Nonprofit with a Savvy SMS Marketing Strategy

Donations are the lifeblood of any nonprofit, which is why your nonprofit needs to develop an effective marketing strategy. A savvy SMS marketing campaign is one of the best ways to increase donations for your nonprofit. Here are a few clever ways to implement an SMS campaign in a way that will grow donations and the reputation of your nonprofit in equal measure.

Utilize SMS to Improve Event Attendance

A successful nonprofit depends on quality events to gather donors and fundraise. With more people at your events, your nonprofit will enjoy larger donations. However, donors and volunteers are busy people with jobs, social lives and varied interests. These factors can lead to your nonprofit’s event being forgotten by even your most ardent supporters. SMS marketing can fix that. Implement a texting campaign announcing the event’s date and time, and don’t hesitate to include exciting tidbits about the event and what attendees can expect. Leak out info about special guests or intriguing activities that will drive interest and increase attendance. Then, follow up via SMS with reminder texts as the event date approaches. In the end, you will enjoy greater attendance that will increase donations and put your nonprofit on the path towards meeting annual donation goals.

Inspire Your Biggest Fans

Nonprofits work best when they are inspiring their greatest supporters. SMS marketing is a great way to let supporters know about the exciting and inspiring stories your nonprofit has helped create. As an example, if your nonprofit aims to reduce poverty, send out an SMS that highlights the progress made in the fight to reduce poverty. Inspired donors will be reminded that their belief in your nonprofit and cause is a well-founded one, which will increase the likelihood of long-term donors who are firmly committed to your nonprofit’s cause.

Engage vs. Ask

Often times, text messages don’t even need to be a direct ask. You can use them as reminders of upcoming fundraising campaigns, follow ups for pledges, or even just a reminder that you’re thinking of a donor. Small gestures like text messages can have HUGE results and even lead to unexpected gifts. Lloyd Claycomb of Denver, CO had this to say:
I had been thinking of making a donation to an organization near and dear to my heart, the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center of Phoenix, for a while but hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it! Then, I was eating lunch one Saturday morning and received a SMS message about an upcoming fundraising campaign that the organization was holding so I decided this was the perfect time!

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