Based on our fundraiser experience with H4SD, we wanted to share some lessons learned for any nonprofits or other groups who are considering working with them in the future. We all know the pandemic made it a challenging year, but believe these lessons still apply:
(1) Make sure you fully understand the profit sharing terms prior to agreeing to work together and what documentation/accounting will be provided by both parties
(2) Understand and document what expenses will be incurred by/reimbursed to both parties
(3) Understand what you are expected to contribute (time, money, people, merchandise, resources, etc.) for the fundraiser and what is optional
(4) Discuss proper use of social media graphics and soliciting donations during the time period leading up to the fundraiser
(4) Review H4SD's financials and past fundraising events to set expectations
(5) Sign a document covering all of these areas to ensure agreement and transparency.
I imagine the intention of this organization is or was good at some point, but it fell short on so many levels. Especially the reckless manner in which donors money was spent as "expenses".
You can see for yourself in the list below, what we were presented with after the event. We received about 25% of the money collected. Far, far below what any charity watch would measure as a successful ratio.
Our non profit worked with Hearts for San Diego for a Halloween event. Every year this time of the year, as Halloween arrives I am reminded of what an awful experience it was. It has been several years, the event stands out as one of our worst fundraising experiences ~ on so many levels.
For the four years prior to the event, we had held our very own event Halloween fundraising event. We thought this might be a great change for our donors and supporters. Bigger venue, fresh ideas, and maybe not as much work. (I will preface this review by saying I initially wrote a positive review in another forum BEFORE I received the expense report and check).
I wanted to share the following information for those who might be considering working with this organization. We were not allowed any say or input in the event. In fact, we were not even "allowed" to place the event on our social media to help promote the event. We were actually asked to remove our post, although there was a link back to Hearts for San Diego to purchase tickets.
We understood there was a 50% split, less expenses. We had no idea how recklessly the money would be used for "expenses". We received about $1200, which worked out to be about 25% of the what the event raised. We donated several items to the event, including a hotel stay for downtown hotel, which we could have raised several hundred dollars on our own. We also provided 6 volunteers for the evening.
We were frankly shocked to see how the "expenses" were calculated. Shocked to see how money was totally wasted. For example, a whooping $392.73 was taken out of the proceeds to buy "gas" for the organizer and founder of Hearts for San Diego. That works out to be about a 1/3 of what our non profit received from the event. About $200 was spent on ribbons for the costume contest, something we would have never been so wasteful with. Nearly $200 was spent on coffee etc for "meeting expenses"? $200 was given to have a couple "DJ" the event. We would have easily had volunteers who would have done that, as we had done the past 4 years with our own sound system. $240 was used to purchase a hot air balloon ride... the total auction items show value of over $3500, but ALL of that only brought in $535? So much wasted money could have been used to help save lives and feed homeless dogs at our dog rescue. This accounting shows a reckless use of donors money. Can you imagine if we tried to run a non profit like this?
At the event, our booth/table was placed in the back along the side where it was buried among other vendors selling jewelry, etc. Yet, the "advertisers" tables were front and center next to the stage. Anyone at the event would have thought it was an event to simply promote the advertisers.
Instead of being able to stay at our booth to talk to guests, and promote and share what we do in the community as the founders, my husband and I were "required" to judge the costume contest which took up the majority of the evening. A ridiculous use of our time as the founders. We should have been free to mingle with our donors and supporters. And after the event we weren't "allowed" to have any of the email addresses of the attendees who attended.
All in all, if you are desperate and inexperienced to have a fundraising event, that would be the only situation where I could recommend. You have absolutely NO say in how the founder spends the money for unbelievable "expenses", no say where your booth is located, no mailing list from the event, no say in what you are required to do at the event and you aren't allowed to promote it to your friends and followers on FB and social media.
It still was one of the most awkward events we have ever participated in the last ten years.
Always a pleasure to participate in a "Hearts for San Diego" Charity Event. I'm honored to support Hearts for San Diego Charity Events and share my music with their enthusiastic & appreciative audiences.
Karen Moy & her Hearts for San Diego Team continue to lead by example how positivity, kindness, hard work & infinite care can change the world for the better one event at a time.
Billy Fedak - fedakmusic.com
I am a new team member at H4SD and I have to say, the camaraderie is awesome! Everyone's hearts are truly focused on how we can continue to improve San Diego as a community. If you have an opportunity to attend one of the events - DO IT! The goal is FUNdraising to give back, and it can't be done without our amazing community.
I've been fortunate enough to work with Karen and the Hearts4SD team at a handful of events. They are always welcoming and fun and will listen to see where you might best be utilized at a particular event. Highly recommend becoming involved with their events if you're able to.
H4SD is one of the greatest non-profits I've worked with. Karen and the team are constantly working on finding new creative ways to celebrate local non-profits through fundraising, sponsoring, promoting products and throwing crazy fun events! I 100% recommend Hearts for San Diego to anyone looking volunteer or give back to the San Diego community.
What an incredible Nonprofit organization Hearts for San Diego that seeks to support our wonderful San Diego community. Imahen Taotao Tano volunteered for their event Toast to the Coast and it was all positive vibes. Many gathered together to help support the cause of Saving Our Ocean. This reminds us that we are one with the sea, the sky, and the land. So it is our responsibility to help preserve these resources for future generations. Standing ovation that is much deserved for this Nonprofit and all the incredible volunteers
I am so grateful to have connected with Karen Moy, who founded this fine volunteer-run nonprofit, Hearts for San Diego❣️ Love their fun-filled “family” of volunteers, generosity and collaboration with so many great organizations to make a difference in the lives of the ones in need! Cheers to great 5 years and many more ahead❣️
We cannot thank Hearts for San Diego enough for the outstanding work and generosity! Freedom Dogs was the beneficiary of the 5th Annual Bow Wow Beer Bash, which was a huge success! Karen, her fellow board members, and other amazing volunteers did such an incredible job putting on this event! Our board members, trainers, and of course our dogs, had a wonderful time! They certainly know how to put the FUN in FUNdraising! We are so grateful for the support and look forward to working with them again in the future!
Freedom Dogs - Board Member
Had a wonderful time of the Bow Wow Bash! Have also been to the Toast to the Coast events. They do such great work and throw fun events! I especially love it when Chef Syd cooks.
We are so grateful for your support and yes, Chef Syd is the best! :)
Was very excited to join the board of Hearts for San Diego this year after having been one of the 'founding' volunteers. I appreciate that Hearts for San Diego is a non-profit for other local non-profits. Being able to help smaller (and larger) organizations with fundraising can be a big help with them continuing the good work that they do and takes a little burden off them in planning fundraisers giving them the chance to focus on their mission.
I first got involved with Hearts for San Diego as a vendor at the Bow Wow Beer Bash event. Working with Karen and her team of volunteers was so exciting and fun! This organization does so much for our community and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be a part of it when I was asked to sit on the board this year! Truly an honor to work with all of you! I am looking forward to our future and all the good work you guys are doing!
Hearts for San Diego’s mission to give back to our amazingly beautiful community, while raising awareness and supporting local nonprofits, is in line with my personal desire to mobilize for the welfare of others. I’ve had the honor of serving several roles within the organization: volunteer, volunteer coordinator, and currently a board member, I have many reasons to continue serving alongside some remarkable people, and many reasons to provide a formal review; recommending H4SD (Hearts For San Diego) with enthusiasm, to those who may answer the call to serve the community.
For starters, the altruistic concerns for the welfare and advancement for others is evident throughout our organizational structure, culture, as well as the varied cause-driven events in which H4SD hosts in outstanding fashion. As an armed service veteran, parent to a school aged child, and educator, I appreciate that we offer a myriad of volunteer roles and responsibilities, which promotes more chances to demonstrate both equability and diversity within our ranks.
Working together to increase our impact on building social ties with nonprofit leaders, community ambassadors, and business partnerships within Greater San Diego is another reason I keep coming back to be a part of something greater than me.
From what I've observed thus far for more than four years, the benevolent efforts organized by H4SD, has made quite impression in the Greater San Diego community. I’m excited to be a part of future collaborations, meaningful connections, raising more awareness and supporting nonprofits, for the next five years, and beyond.
I've been a part of Hearts For San Diego since its inception three years ago. I'm an advocate of community building, promoting social causes and networking. Volunteering with H4SD has allowed me to do exactly that all the while supporting the mission of this wonderful organization.
The exemplary leadership, and insightful vision of Karen Moy, Events Director H4SD President, continues to inspire me and other neighbors of Greater Dan Diego (and beyond) to find ways to contribute to Hearts For San Diego and the community.
I currently serve on the Board as the Volunteer Coordinator, and more than happy to further the cause of serving our community alongside my fellow San Diegans and members of this amazing organization.
I've been a board member from the beginning and I can't tell you enough how much I love Hearts, how much I love Karen (and her drive and passion!!) , and how much I LOVE our sponsors, volunteers, donors, and our partner charities!! OMG SO MUCH LOVE!!!
I can't tell you enough how proud I am to be a part of this organization!! We just celebrated our THIRD anniversary and we've been able to work with SO many amazing community non-profits to help FUND-raise, FUN-raise, and FRIEND-raise for them!! And we couldn't do this without the help of our AMAZING volunteers, community partners and YOU (the people who come to party and play with us!!) THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who helps our organization a success!!
As a volunteer, I feel as though I'm truly part of a team of like-minded individuals. We are all working closely together to pull off amazing events which highlight local organizations. It's truly inspiring to be able to dedicate my free time to assisting a variety of causes while also socializing and expanding my network of amazing, talented, and creative individuals!
Working with Karen and Hearts for San Diego has been an incredible experience! Torrey Holistics was a Title sponsor for their recent event, Toast to the Coast, and having the chance to work with like-minded local businesses was a breath of fresh air! Everything from initially meeting with Karen to the day of the big event - was a seamless process. I look forward to working with Hears for San Diego again and encourage all businesses alike to join forces!
Hearts for San Diego outperformed our expectations. As Title Sponsor for their recent event, Toast To The Coast, we experienced a seamless onboarding process, great press, and a perfectly planned event. My company Sand Straw was able to make a charitable contribution while having fun with our team.
I would highly recommend other local businesses to take part in the next event!
This was my first time working with Hearts for San Diego at the Toast to the Coast event (6/1/19) and it was such a great experience! Karen and the rest of the volunteers were great to work with. We look forward to working with them again in the future!
On behalf of Traci’s Paws, I want to give a huge round of applause to Karen & Hearts for San Diego, for their hard work on the PUP Crawl & Adoption PAWty, and we greatly appreciate being chosen as the event beneficiary!
This event was a fun twist on the common pub crawl, making for a truly unique “passport” style dog adoption event.
We had many guests come to participate and visit with the pups, and we were very grateful to have some go into new and loving homes.
Our mission with Traci’s Paws is to help save homeless pets’ lives through “Pet Rescue Assistance”, and we are so thankful that the funds from this event will help us further our mission, by assisting rescue organizations in a greater way.
Not only was Karen amazing to work with, but one of her stellar volunteers, Linda Drews is absolutely fabulous! Thank you all again for caring about our mission of saving homeless pets!
San Diego Coastkeeper was incredibly grateful to be the beneficiary for Hearts for San Diego's 2018 Toast to the Coast. Hearts for San Diego planned, organized, and executed a very fun and entertaining event. Karen, the founder, and her dedicated volunteers were always positive and passionate about the event and about San Diego Coastkeeper. Hearts for San Diego worked very hard to put on this event, and it turned out fabulous. The venue overlooked Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean, highlighting the reason why guests attended the event – to appreciate and raise a glass to our beautiful waters. The funds that were raised at this event will help support San Diego Coastkeeper’s important programs and projects that protect clean water across San Diego County. We look forward to working with Hearts for San Diego, Karen, and all of the volunteers again. Thank you, Hearts for San Diego, for everything!
I am so happy I found Hearts for San Diego! I began volunteering for them just about a year ago. They are 100% volunteer based and have events to help raise awareness and money for other non-profits. I have also had the privilege of being a vendor at a recent dog adoption event where I was representing my dog walking business! This is a group of friendly, caring individuals who give so much of their time and energy to really help the community and other local charities.
I have been involved with Hearts for San Diego for over a year. It is 100% volunteer driven. Each person has so much heart for giving back to our local community. We are involved with outreach and awareness evets for other non profits in our community. Its great to see so many people within an organization who care.
I always have a desire to try to give back to my community or to others in need. However, I have limited time to volunteer with multiple organizations and sometimes limited funds to be able to give to them all. I became aware of Hearts for San Diego at one of their events during the holidays.
I liked that they give back to other organizations who could also use a supportive boost. I attended another event of theirs and again was impreased to the point where I reached out and became a volunteer. I am proud to be an active volunteer.
I was welcomed with warmth from Karen and other volunteers. I feel like I am making an impact on mulipile organizations by volunteering and donating.
I've volunteered with Hearts for SD for almost 3 years now and it's been exciting at every turn. The people are amazing, and you get to learn so much about the surrounding communities, great venues, inspiring local causes, and those who champion those causes every day.
Each event is different and whether you're an attendee, a volunteer, or a business, it's sure to be a good time. Thank you Hearts for San Diego!
want to give a huge shout out to everyone at Hearts for San Diego for hosting Comedy for a Cause at the Comedy Palace. Comedy for a Cause was an event H4SD hosted help to bring attention and awareness to suicide while also benefiting Umtr2me - You Matter To Me.
I couldn't have been more excited to have the opportunity to partner with such an amazing group of volunteers. I'd also like to give a special thank you to Karen Moy for her passion and dedication to helping out local non profits.
Thank you Karen and H4SD, You Matter To Us!!
Amazing, amazing, amazing!!
We were 2017 beneficiary of the Toast to the Coast event. From the very beginning while planning, throughout the follow up and of course, the entire event itself: Karen Moy and her team from Hearts for San Diego did an outstanding job.
The event drew a huge crowd and the venue was perfect! We had an amazing time at the event and were able to raise a great amount for our cause. We cannot thank Karen and her team enough for what they put on for us!!
We are looking forward to work together again for upcoming events!
Malte for $1 for the Ocean
I love the variety of events and causes that this organization supports. I have fun meeting others in our community through these events. Some of these events support some amazing organizations in our community. I love how this gives me a chance to help support so many organizations and causes all with one organization.
I have been a vendor twice for Hearts for SD. Karen does an amazing job putting on the events. I have been to a ton of events but they really put their heart into getting the details right and making sure everyone has a good time - attendees and vendors included.
They also do a great job putting the charitable causes front and center at the events. It is truly a pleasure working with them.
Hearts for San Diego truly cares about making a difference. They promote charitable actions while also providing fun events. Karen leads a team who is trustworthy and dependable.
This is such a wonderful organization. I have done 2 events so far and am working on the 3rd. The directors of Hearts4SD are some of the kindest, most giving people I have ever met. Each event is different which I love, and they always have use for new volunteers. I wanted to get involved in something that I could really dive into and become of a part of and Hearts4SD is exactly that! I am excited to keep working with this nonprofit and give back to local charities and the community!
I've been with H4SD almost since the beginning and it's been such an amazing experience watching the organization take off and do amazing things in our community. I've met wonderful and passionate people and worked with so many charities in San Diego. It's so inspiring and I have no doubt that H4SD will continue to grow and expand their reach.
My non profit, DANCE AWAY DEMENTIA, was approached by Hearts for San Diego who was wanting to do a fundraiser for us. Hearts for San Diego put an incredible event together! Lady Luck Casino night was an elegant soirée of dancing, live music, casino tables and food and drinks , not to mention the raffles, silent auction items and giveaways. The volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure everything was perfect. Karen and her team truly went above and beyond and we are extremely grateful. What an extraordinary group of people to work with!!!
Thank you Karen Moy and HEARTS FOR SAN DIEGO!
I have had the honor of volunteering with Hearts for San Diego since its inception. I love their mission to fulfill other smaller local charities missions. What a great concept to fulfill many needs. I love the variety of charities served, from veterans to pets to cancer. I also love that the events are affordable and encourage the younger generations to get involved.
I have worked with Hearts 4 San Diego on many of their events and projects over the past few years, both as a graphic designer and as a volunteer. Karen Moy and her team of dedicated true professionals and super heroes do an amazing and thorough job of organizing, planning and throwing spectacular events which benefit a number of local non-profits. I highly recommend H4SD and look forward to a future of FUN and philanthropy!!
A mutual friend linked me up with H4SD last year because of my professional skills and passion for service. As an event photographer, I have donated my time and expertise to several H4SD productions, and each experience has been wonderful. The director is highly organized and very thorough with communication and instructions. Each event has a special spark of visual flair and sincere support for the cause at hand. I'd highly recommend H4SD to any nonprofit that needs an energetic, fun, and impactful event to raise funds and awareness!
I'm a volunteer with this excellent organization. Karen really does a awesome job in planning and executing these events. I highly recommend them.
I have been volunteering with Hearts for San Diego for a few months now and have only positive things to say! This nonprofit is well-organized and full of compassion!
I contacted the organizer to see how we could align my business with her non-profit and we immediately hit it off. She welcomed me to volunteer at the next event she was hosting and I had a great time. I've been volunteering for well over a year now and a few months ago was added to the board of directors. They are very passionate about providing meaningful and fun events for local non-profits. I'm proud to say I am part of this organization which is making a difference and create positive change in our community. Not only has it personally been rewarding but it's been great exposure for my business as well. A true win-win
Everywhere I turn I see H4SD doing such awesome work in the community, helping raise funds for other nonprofits, and raising awareness about the great efforts others are doing to help make our world a better place. Thanks for all that you do!!!
I've been volunteering with this organization since it's inception and I can't say enough good things about everyone involved and it's founder Karen. Karen is dedicated to helping local San Diego charities, while keeping it fun for all involved!
If you have an interest in helping local charities, please attend one of our upcoming events or to have even more fun, join us as a volunteer!!