Quite simply, because a good image in the community is good for circulation and advertising. Warm The Children newspapers tell us that the program:
- Enhances their newspaper’s image in the communities it serves
Employees feel; good that their employer, the newspaper, is doing something unselfish to help needy children in the community
- Provides an opportunity to enhance advertiser relations (stores like the idea of hundreds, even thousands of dollars, in ‘plus’ sales)
- Helps needy people who may not be eligible for help from another source
- Gets citizens of a community involved (as shoppers) in a partnership with their newspaper
- Treats recipient families with dignity and respect (as customers of the store)
- Costs next to nothing
- Is easy to implement and administer (there’s lots of assistance from Warm The Children, Inc.)
Of course there’s some because, as with any worthwhile effort, good records are a must (if for no other reason than to satisfy auditor and IRS needs).
A major part of the Stewart’s Warm The Children game plan and training is devoted to record keeping, so program coordinators receive plenty of record-keeping direction with emphasis placed on keeping accurate and truly needed records, and nothing more
When readers send donations they usually send, with their check, a coupon from the house ad – so it’s easy to keep track of donors (name, address and amount of donation in Excel is what most coordinators do). These names & address records are useful, too, in sending out thank you notes and in preparing thank-you house ads. When a child is taken shopping the shopper has a purchase order (which serves to identify them as a legitimate Warm The Children shopper), and a copy of this with a store receipt is retained as proof the shopping trip took place. These items constitute the most important pieces of Warm The Children program record keeping.
Yes. Whether a sponsoring newspaper gets its own EIN# or uses a local charity’s, donations are tax deductible.
Readers like knowing that every cent they donate will used to buy new winter clothing for needy children in their hometown – that nothing is skimmed off for administration, and that no part of their donation goes off to a national organization.
Several reasons, not the least of which is the good will sponsorship brings. Publishers of sponsoring newspapers say the program builds trust in the community toward the newspaper; employees feel their newspaper is doing a very unselfish thing helping their less fortunate neighbors; volunteer shoppers like to know they are personally involved in helping their neighbors. Donors feel kindly toward the newspaper because it is making something really good happen in the community. Of great importance, donors like the idea that every penny of their donation will be used to buy new winter clothing for needy children in their town, and that nothing is skimmed off for ‘administration.’
Warm The Children is a program, administered locally by a newspaper and, most often a charity organization partner, providing new winter clothing for needy children in the newspaper’s hometown area.
Quickly, in a nutshell, tell me how the Warm The Children program works.
Early in the fall and into the winter a newspaper asks its readers (with ‘house ads’ and news stories) for monetary donations. Every penny collected is used to buy new winter clothing and footwear for needy children in the newspaper’s circulation area, nothing is skimmed off for administration.
The newspaper partners with a local service organization (Like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions) that has IRS 501 (c) (3) recognition (this allows donations to be tax deductible). Families to be served are identified by staff at local schools, social service agencies, or similar organizations whose job it is to know of families in need. Contact information for each family is given to a Warm The Children coordinator (someone appointed by the newspaper/service organization) who assigns each family to a volunteer shopper. Shopper and family meet at a local store and together select appropriate winter wear for the children. No money changes hands, the store bills the Warm The Children program for all purchases.
Sure, there’s some work involved but Warm The Children’s founder, a retired newspaper publisher, designed the program to provide great benefit for needy people who might otherwise do without, and to accomplish this with the least amount of effort and cost (there’s hardly any). Sponsoring newspapers say if you follow the Warm The Children game plan the work is minimal – and if you don’t (follow the game plan) it can be a lot of needless work.
Warm The Children Inc. (Mack and Natalie Stewart) provides everything a newspaper needs to implement a successful program, and continues after implementation to serve as a resource. Some of the things newspapers enjoy are:
- A detailed game plan for making a Warm The Children program work
- Training for the person who will serve as program coordinator
- Access to the Stewarts as a resource when questions & problems arise
- Assistance in partnering with a local charity (so the charity’s EIN # can go on the Warm The Children bank account), or in obtaining its own EIN#.
- Camera ready “house ads” asking readers for donations
- Copies of news articles, columns and editorials sponsoring newspapers run about their Warm The Children programs
- Help (when needed) in establishing relations with stores, and help in resolving any billing disputes with stores
- Help in establishing relationship with social service providers
- Help in recruiting shoppers – especially from service clubs
- On going support and problem solving help
Nothing. There’s no fee (although voluntary contributions are gladly accepted). Beyond that there’s only the postage on thank you letters to donors.