After just a few minutes with Mike Tikkanen, you'll be fired up and ready to take action. His passion for improving the treatment of abused and neglected children inspires and educates, and you can't help but get fired up along with him.
After serving for 12 years as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) in Minnesota, Tikkanen founded the nonprofit Kids at Risk Action Group. He had volunteered in the Guardian ad-Litem program and worked with more than 50 "Invisible Children" who are part of the County Child Protection System.
"It's just us in the nonprofit sector," Tikkanen says. "It's up to us, the community organizers, to put [the legislators'] feet to the fire."
As Tikkanen and his handful of dedicated Board members try to put together the means to tie agencies together and create connectivity on a larger scale, the fledgling nonprofit has made great strides at spreading their message of hope and action through:
- The publishing of the book Invisibile Children: Pre Teen Mothers, Adolescent Felons & What We Can Do About It (now available as an audio file on their website or for purchase on Amazon.com)
- An invitation to lead a workshop addressing the rights of children at the United Nations
- The collection of nearly $1,000 via online donations in the two months since signing up for DonateNow
At the recommendation of Kate Thomas, a founder of Lotus + Lama (a website design and marketing firm), Tikkanen and his team decided to begin accepting donations online.
Thomas found Network for Good through her own philanthropic activities. Many of the Buddhist organizations she supported prominently featured their Network for Good "Donate Now" buttons, which in turn helped build trust for Thomas. She then began recommending DonateNow to other clients, and upon working with Tikkanen recommended Network for Good as the right fit for KARA, too.
"[KARA] was a very small organization doing great work," Thomas explained. "I said that, ‘My sense is this will really pay off for you; just give it some time.'"
Tikkanen echoed Thomas: "When you're a small organization, what do you do? You only have so many hours. I'm not a man of means, I don't have secretaries to do things-I do them! There's no big staff or big budget, and we have to make those donor dollars go a very long way."
Why Network for Good Fit the Bill
Thomas credits the variety of features for her decision to advocate for DonateNow. "The features are really handy-there's no need to recreate the wheel," she said. According to Thomas:
- DonateNow makes it really easy for website designers to integrate online fundraising into the mix; it gives the functionality to process donations without the designers needing to create a newly developed feature.
- It gives a great way for donors to give memorial donations.
- The recurring gifts (monthly, quarterly and annually) functionality "will increase fundraising dollars substantially over time."
- Nonprofits needn't create their own merchant accounts to handle the donations.
Tikkanen has been "impressed with the energies and efforts" of the Network for Good team so far, and seeing some donations rolls in online has given him "a positive feeling."
"[Working with Network for Good] has been an all around positive experience for me and KARA," Tikkanen said. "Your team made this a simple process to incorporate onto our website and automatic banking and bookkeeping. We have been pleasantly surprised with several unexpected donations right away. This is a big deal to a small nonprofit like ours. You have been accessible and easy to communicate with and I appreciate that. I believe that making things easy for people in these busy and troubled times is a big plus."
Mike's Tips for Other Small, Growing Nonprofits
"Make things easy for people," Tikkanen says. "Flow with the stream. Life's pretty hard at this time, and we have to do what we're good at. Don't put your time into things that are painful and don't work."
Ready to Make Things Easier for Your Donors?
Want to learn how DonateNow might fit for your organization? Give us a call at 888.284.7978 x1 or email us [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org], and our team will be happy to discuss your fundraising goals and how Network for Good can help you meet (and exceed!) them.