#ThursdayIdeas | Dad's Garage, GCAPP, ClearPoint

September 17, 2015
| by Editor |

Our #ThursdayIdeas blog series continues with three of the featured nonprofits from our just-published annual IDEAS issue of Georgia Nonprofit NOW.

Laughing all the way to a Kickstarter record

When their home of 18 years was sold out from under them last year, the staff at Dad’s Garage Theatre kept doing exactly what’s made them a beloved fixture of Atlanta's theater scene: They improvised.

“Just like everything at Dad’s Garage, our capital campaign was non-traditional,” said Communications Director Matthew Terrell. Their Kickstarter-fueled initiative, reflecting the theater’s “independent, underground spirit,” was a genuine phenomenon, raising $169,000 in just a few months and becoming the largest live theater campaign in the crowdfunding site's history.

Leveraging the company’s strengths, Dad’s Garage focused on funny and outrageous “perks,” the donor rewards used on Kickstarter to incentivize bigger gifts. Where most perks on the site tend toward the traditional (shirts, tote bags, etc.), Dad’s Garage offered to record a "Mystery Science Theatre"-style commentary for your favorite movie, produce an original song about you, or, for $7495 dollars, “one of our improvisers would tattoo your logo on his butt,” said Terrell. “Unfortunately, nobody took that perk.”

Further proof the campaign struck a chord: An anonymous donor volunteered to match $150,000 of their Kickstarter funds, the largest single donation in the company’s history.

Now, with a building purchased in the Old Fourth Ward, the campaign has moved into Phase Two, raising money for renovations. This time, said Terrell, “donors can get their faces painted into a mural of ‘saints’ in our new space, they can tell us what graffiti to write in our bathroom.” They haven’t done away with the classics entirely, offering more traditional funder options like seat naming.

“This has been an incredible journey for Dad’s Garage,” said Terrell. “We can’t wait to show the world our new forever home.”

A stand-up organization

Started by an acting legend who helped make personal fitness a new U.S. pastime, it’s perhaps natural that the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP) has made a major commitment to the health of its staff by investing in standing desks for anyone who wants them.

Not that it was intentional: CEO Kim Nolte said there was no plan involved, and no meetings held about it: “One day I looked around and everyone was standing. This has been, down the line, a personal choice.”

The movement began with one staffer’s request, who endured a period of questions and strange looks. Soon, however, staff began doing their own research into the benefits and requesting their own standing desks. Now, said Director of Communications Bev Jones, “we’re likely one of the very few organizations in the state, if not the country, where essentially all employees stand at work.”

Current research says the benefits of standing over sitting include lower risks of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. For their part, GCAPP staffers testify to increased energy and productivity, and decreases in health insurance premiums. Having witnessed the shift, Nolte said the return on investment—about $150 per setup—has been “priceless,” inspiring individual wellness goals, group fitness outings, and deeper workplace connections.

Broadcasting impact

Last October, Atlanta-based national nonprofit credit and housing agency ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions partnered with FOX5 Atlanta for a four-hour televised financial advice phone bank, giving viewers a spontaneous opportunity to get their money questions answered by experienced professionals. At the same time, said Media Manager Thomas Nitzsche, it gave ClearPoint a big new audience "to demonstrate how we help local consumers overcome their debt safely and effectively.”

Having conducted similar events in Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, and elsewhere, ClearPoint staff were ready to answer queries (almost 1,000 total), book appointments with certified counselors (300 of them), and share their expertise live on TV. The organization hopes they can repeat the event in the near future, Nitzsche said, to reach even more Atlantans unaware of ClearPoint's work "creating consumer health through financial education.”

Share these ideas on social media using the share buttons below. On twitter, be sure to mention @AtlantaBeltline, @AtlantaCSS, @ATLmission, and @GAnonprofits and use the hashtag #ThursdayIdeas.

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