How Did We Get Here?
What an interesting question – jokes mostly. It had been years since we had lost our beloved Frankie and we were looking, in general, at ways we could impact the world. We joked about tree planting campaigns and doing other things but never was serious about any of it. Not as serious as we are now.
When mom (Rachel) raised the prospect of truly helping people who could use it we were all on board. That’s how we all gathered the energy to start. With a late night filing of paperwork The Henzi Foundation was born.
Since then it’s been a fun time getting our paperwork in order and setting up banking, essential steps to setting up a new non-profit. A lot of this seems easy to an outsider but proves to be daunting.
What are the challenges right now?
We continue to fight, but getting the word out is certainly no easy feat. We have obtained the basics and are working hard on completing our IRS 990 form (for display here as well). We have had and have been given some great suggestions on where to get listed or where to advertise our mission but there are challenges in getting on some of those platforms.
Initially I discovered that being a registered 501(c)3 non-profit isn’t enough. You must get listed on GuideStar. Some sites, such as Amazon, who runs the Amazon Smile contribution program, need you to be listed in both places and be published in the IRS publication 78. Of course, we are not yet listed though assume we will be once some time passes.
We are finding there are lots of sites like this or they requires just something additional to the things you’d expect or have in hand.
What does this mean?
Well, it means we plan while we grow slowly. We are maybe starting to irritate people on social media, but the donations are coming in. Maybe this is for the best in some ways. It has allowed us to be very thoughtful in our approach to not only what we want to do but has made us rethink – who are we?
That isn’t to say we can’t use some help. Of course, if you can, share our story on social media or with your family and friends. Let them know that hope for someone who needs it is on the way.
To be tactical, I’m personally starting to pay for more advertising. While it also feels like I’m throwing money away, it does drive traffic and all I can hope for is to spread the message to a few people as we’re starting out.
There is also probably no site too small to try and get listed on. Unfortunately there are many that seem to have good ideas around crowdfunding or fundraising that aren’t kept up any more. I’m personally curious about obtaining crypto donations for the charity but even those sites are a year old and not updated as often as you’d think (as I write this Ethereum is hitting an all time price high).
What’s the Plan?
Spread the word. Every morning I try to find one more way to get the word out. At night I sit and think about what we could be doing more or better. Starting a charity during a worldwide pandemic might not be easy, hard to run into people and share the word one on one. Getting vaccinated was a great step. Now we continue to fight, we start looking 3 months out and planning.
We’re excited that we’re in our first public event, West Side Market, held in Cheviot (adjacent to Cincinnati, Ohio). This has changed our mind space to focus on how to conduct ourselves and what it is people will want to hear, and maybe get in return for their donation. It’s even raised a few more esoteric questions about who we are on a deeper level.
The plan is to prepare for this event and have started to procure items to support it. Since it will be our first public facing vehicle, where we get a chance to tell our story, we have focused on branding ourselves appropriately. T-shirts and facemasks are here and give away plastic cups adorned with the new logo are on the way. Mom even has a stack of bookmarks that have our beloved Frankie on them. We’re getting a Frankie Fund banner to display and are crafting our message and table display for the upcoming event.
Our New Logo
Not only do I personally obsess about getting out the Foundation’s primary message of helping grieving familes in need of help – I’m addicted to the services real people provide at Fiverr. I spend a lot of time there browsing for ideas and services that could help us on our journey (but admittedly don’t buy as often as I shop). I’ve already put up a few thousand in advertising but while it’s driving traffic and spreading the word it’s not effectively driving donations. And those ads could be driving more and more people to the site.
While on Fiverr I found their logo builder and started to play. After maybe 10 iterations I finally found something that spoke to me and others that I showed it to – it was meant for The Frankie Fund.
Our lovable image of Frankie isn’t going anywhere. I personally love it too much to let it go and am happy to have things like t-shirts and COVID-19 masks (and other items coming) that proudly show him off. However I guess we do have to consider we aren’t just a group of people looking to help those in need – we’re forming a charity to pool resources to do so on a massive scale. We needed a good logo.
How can I help?
While we plan for the short term and get ready for our first big stepping out, we would hope that you’d share our message and a link to Henzi.org or direct people to The Frankie Fund’s website (frankiefund.org). Simply share and encourage others to share the word of our message if you can’t afford to donate. That’s all we ask.
Please give us your feedback as well. What would you want us to do, or what community should we be engaging with? We have plans to start meeting with funeral service providers and others on the cost-end of the process – but let us know below if you think there is someone we should be working with. Who should we be reaching out to?
What could we be doing better? Let us know.