E9 – Donating part of the profits from her business with Margaret Steffie

Margaret has chosen to help people who are fundraising – She is donating part of her proceeds towards charities, depending on the customer’s choice.

I love her business strategy, she earns money, as well as help other people.

If you want to support my mission and are in need of some new jewelry, you can use this link before the 15th of December 2020 – When you buy, Margaret gives parts of the proceeds to the course.

If the jewelry cannot be shipped directly to you, you can send Margaret an email.

I hope you enjoy the episode.

The transcribed version of the interview is available further down.

If you want to learn more about Margaret you can find information here:


Margaret Steffie

Margaret Steffie

Episode Transcript

Diana: Welcome to today’s episode of Fun with Fundraising. Today, I have Margaret Steffie with me. Thank you so much for being here.

Margaret: Absolutely.

Diana: I’m really stoked to hear your story because you have a different story than the other persons I’ve interviewed because you have multiple ways of supporting your companies, but also with being a volunteer yourself and donating yourself as I understand it. So, tell me a bit about what is it that makes you want to help raise money for charities.

Margaret: I’m not entirely sure. I’ve always been a passionate person and have always liked to give back in ways that I can. Maybe it was something that I was raised with per se, with family encouraging, giving back. But I’ve always had passions for giving back and helping others and have done it with school and then outside of school with other organizations. As I’ve progressed in life, have very much wanted to be able to continue to do that both for myself and the things that I like to do but also help others who are looking to raise funds for something that I might not know about.

I’m that person who’s multi-passionate and will have multiple causes I like to donate to. So, I’m not that person who just likes to donate to a certain cause necessarily. I might have a couple or a number or it might change when I find something new. I mean this spring I have donated to a couple of places with some of them being animal rescues. One of them being someone who is walking across the entire United States to raise money for cancer research or other little things that I see and while, if I’m donating to many, I might not be donating as much I feel that I’m still helping with many things that I have passions in if that makes sense.

Diana: That makes total sense. I know a lot of people say that they have a certain amount a year they want to donate and so they just divide it out on the different causes that they want to donate to. Sometimes they shift from year to year or they just divide it up?

Margaret: Exactly. And I find that mine isn’t always consistent from year to year. There are certain organizations I feel consistently that I want to donate to such as maybe my local animal shelters or rescues because I have two rescue dogs and feel very passionate about rescuing animals and helping those that do not have homes. But again, that can also change. As I said, I donated to someone who was walking across the United States for cancer. I saw him on social media and felt it was very inspiring that he was walking. He wasn’t staying in hotels. He was camping out the whole time and doing it on his own without looking for funding for his expenses beyond, and just was asking for donations for cancer research. So, that was something that I felt was very moving. So, then I gave him a small amount of money because I felt that that was what I had at the time that I could donate, and obviously, every little thing adds up.

Diana: I think that’s a really important point also as being the fundraiser, seeing that, even though of course we want to have people donate as much as possible, but also being okay with if people don’t have that much to give it’s still better than getting nothing.

Margaret: Exactly.

Diana: As a private person are you’re doing any fundraising yourself or is it more of donating to causes that you’re doing in that aspect?

Margaret: I’m currently not fundraising for myself in any way or trying to ask others for funds at the moment. In the past, I do run distance races, and a lot of those do have options for fundraising, but I usually don’t go that route. Not because I’m not passionate, but I don’t always feel that it’s, for me, at least effective to continue to ask the same people to donate to those funds for me, if that makes sense. I feel that then I’m hitting them every time that I want to run a race.

How that normally would work is instead of me paying an entrance fee to a race, I’d ask people for funds, but it’s usually you have to say if you’re doing the fundraising route. It’s raising like $500 to run the race without having to pay an entrance fee, per se. That’s your entrance fee where if I would just pay to join the race, it’s about a $100. So, it’s a significant difference that I feel I’d rather do just spend, or not spend, but donate some money to them in the end anyway, instead of just asking others for money. Also, we’ll reach out to different groups or organizations, or if they find me, we’ll offer fundraising with my company and businesses that I run.

Diana: Okay. So, these runs, the $100, that’s the entrance fee but does that money go to a charity as well or?

Margaret: No.

Diana: So, what about the 500, is that then going to a charity or would it just be fundraising your own race?

Margaret: It depends on the race, how they run it. There is one race that I run that all of the profits, regardless of if you’re fundraising or not go towards the organization…

Diana: Okay.

Margaret: But that is a rarity for most races because most races, at least in the United States are very publicized. They have large national or international sponsors, and you pay an entrance fee, and that entrance fee goes to the company to pay for your running insurance so that you can’t per se sue them or something. But there are then options. It costs more but most of the money goes towards the foundation that you want to donate, the charity.

Diana: Interesting. Do you choose the charity yourself then or is that based on the specific run that you’re in?

Margaret: It’s based on the run that you’re in usually. There’s usually a number of different charities you can donate to within a run. Usually, if it’s say a race in a big city, say New York City, which I haven’t run any races there, but a lot of times you can have charity options. But it’s usually any, either local or national charities that have a branch in that city can usually ask to be a partner to then get funds from the race, through those avenues.

Diana: Okay, interesting.

Margaret: But also, it’s kind of confusing because there are so many different options with running and fundraising that way. But also, some places, if they’re small races, like sometimes less than 100 people, like a local small-town race or something, sometimes that race is being run by an organization so then they’re just getting all the profits. But big races, usually just partner with charities for fundraising.

Diana: Okay. Yeah. I’m asking because there’s a lot of races in Denmark, but there’s really not a lot that is fundraising.

Margaret: Got you.

Diana: We have like one major one where you can pick between, I think this year was 13 different foundations or charities that you could pick from but otherwise it’s mostly just people paying a fee to go run a race and then if you wanted it to do some charity fundraising, you would have to set it all up yourself in collaboration with the foundation.

Margaret: Yeah, a lot of these big races are like what you’re describing and then small races. So maybe something like I live in a small town. A sports team in the town wanted to fundraise and it’s going to only have maybe less than 100 runners. That might be a fundraiser that any profits beyond the fees they have to pay, go to them.

Diana: Interesting. It’s always funny to hear the difference between countries and how does it work because it’s never the same.

Margaret: Oh, never.

Diana: But let’s talk a bit about how you do with your company because you do collaborate with…

Margaret: Yeah.

Diana: …people who are raising funds as well. So, tell me a bit about how that works.

Margaret: I have two companies that I use and work in conjunction, but the one at this point, because the other is still in its infancy, the one is a little more established and I help individuals who are looking to raise funds with it. It is a jewelry company. I do not personally make the jewelry, but I helped sell it through a larger company.

Diana: Do you find people too and help them fundraise or is it people contacting you?

Margaret: It’s a mix.

Diana: Okay.

Margaret: I have reached out to individuals that I have gone to fundraisers for in the past and been, especially if they do the same fundraiser year to year and have established a small relationship with them in some way and then have reached out to them and been, do you want to fundraise or would you be interested in fundraising in this way? I’ve gotten some yeses. Some are not at this time. Others it just hasn’t really taken. Personally, I do a little bit of promotion for those individuals who are fundraising, but I don’t do a ton. I ask them to more share it with friends, family, coworkers, that kind of thing because for me, my market is only so big with all of it and they obviously have different friends, family, and people around them that I don’t know. So, that spreads just the information and knowledge further.

Diana: That makes sense. Okay. So, take me through that. If I were coming to you and saying, hey, I would love to do a collaboration with you because I want to raise money for my favorite charity. How would that work?

Margaret: Yeah, so basically I have a webpage for this, and I go on there, into the back office kind of thing, the part you can’t see, and I set up. It’s called a Jewelry Bar. Its kind of like a group event is what it would be considered, but I can do them in person, or I can do them online or it can be a combination of the two. And again, that’s location dependent. The last one I did was all completely online just because they were six hours away from me and I did actually try to go down and visit and it just didn’t work out time-wise because I go down and visit that city frequently.

But I go on there, I set this up for them and it basically has a specific link that they can then share with their friends and family. That link then takes people back to my page, but because it’s a special link, anything purchased using that link goes in a specific group so I can see how much has been purchased there. Basically, from purchases, I get a commission and I just donate a portion of my commission to the organization or to that person’s fundraising for that organization.

Diana: Okay so is it an online event in the form of you go live somewhere and show off the jewelry or is it just like a link that they can share for the friends to then buy jewelry through that link at a specific time of this week, for example, and then the money will go to, or is there more interaction in it?

Margaret: It kind of depends on what that person wants. I’m flexible in that way. I am happy to go live and show jewelry or show how the link and all of that work. I’m happy to create a Facebook group for everyone to be in there to ask questions and for me to go live in there but also showcase jewelry throughout a time period and just maybe show how I do things with it or how I wear it.

If some people would rather, they don’t necessarily have the time or don’t want to organize it that way, they’d rather just have the link. I’m fine with doing that as well or some people like an organization, such as an animal rescue who don’t necessarily want to hold an event, I will create like a personal piece of jewelry, which has a specific link attached to that as well. So, anyone who would purchase that specific piece I then donate a portion back to the organization.

Diana: That’s a really good idea. So, that’s the practical side of it.

Margaret: Yes.

Diana: Do you also donate, let’s say, for example, this spring I did an auction where I got a lot of companies to auction or get a lot of their stuff, and then I auctioned it off for the charity. Would you do stuff like that or is it mainly the Jewelry Bar where people are getting a percentage of the profit.

Margaret: No, I’m willing to donate a piece to be auctioned off. Again, it’s based off what someone’s asking. I’m usually pretty flexible if they come to me with either just interest and I explain options, or if they come in with an idea such as I am looking for pieces that you could donate for an auction, I’m usually flexible in that. As I said, I have another business that’s in its infancy with that. I’m also planning to have a similar component to it where I would be donating if someone asked or wanted to set up a fundraiser in a sense. I’d be willing to donate a portion of my proceeds back to them. But my other business is fitness and health-related and I, health coach. I teach group fitness through it and at this time it’s just a very new business, so I haven’t done a ton of offering that way for it because I am just waiting for it to grow and get some traction.

Diana: That makes sense. You don’t have the opportunity to donate anything if you don’t really have…

Margaret: Exactly.

Diana: …a lot coming in yet. What do you think as a business owner? Because I know that one of the things I get a lot when I am doing stuff I do for the auctions, for example. A lot of them are like, we get so many people asking, so we are only choosing to donate to this certain thing. What kind of criteria is important to you when people ask you if you want to donate something?

Margaret: I actually don’t have a ton of criteria, but I also have not been asked a ton. I have had in the last two years of running my business, maybe only had five to 10 individuals fundraise with me. So, I haven’t had that many people want to fundraise, and I think it depends on what they’re asking. If it’s me donating a portion of my proceeds I’m more willing to maybe do that than if every time people were asking for me to do donate an item, if that makes sense. It depends on either month to month or a year to year just based off my sales. If I am doing well sale wise, I’m going to be more willing to obviously just donate items, especially because I end up getting… At least with the jewelry stuff, I usually purchase extra when new things come out, and then sometimes I’m like, okay, now I have this extra, what do I do with it?

Diana: That makes sense. I hadn’t really understood the Jewelry Bar concept, but I like the idea of collaborating with businesses who have this opportunity to do stuff like that. So, do we actually know of other kinds of areas where they do this, or do you see this as an opportunity for something to set up in other industries as well, other than jewelry?

Margaret: I definitely think it’s an opportunity for other industries to do. I mean, in the United States, a lot of bigger chains, like food chains, and companies such as that will have or offer fundraising that basically, if you come on a certain day within a certain time period, you can say, show a flyer and a portion of the proceeds during those times will go back to the organization. So, it is being used in some areas. I mean, again, as I said, I am selling jewelry. I’m technically the business owner of my individual company, but there’s a bigger head that provides all of that jewelry and there are other individuals who sell like me. So, when I started, they mentioned that you can fundraise, but they kind of leave it up to me how I want to do that.

Diana: The practical side of it is just something that you’re doing yourself. It’s not something that they set up for you.

Margaret: No. That’s something I’ve developed on my own.

Diana: Okay. That’s really interesting. I think it’s a really good way because I’m thinking, of course, it’s based on people wanting to buy something, but it’s also based on that you get some profit as a business owner and then you also help the charity. So, I’m thinking it’s kind of a win-win, right?

Margaret: Definitely. Definitely. I do feel it’s a win-win because I’m usually ecstatic to be able to help another organization when obviously I did some work to get to the place where people have purchased the jewelry or where I’ve made the profit, that I can then donate a portion of it, but it makes me feel good that I’m helping another organization in so many ways. It’s also then furthering my business in a way because more people are aware of it. I’m getting more exposure through different avenues that I might have not had because I just didn’t know those people or didn’t have connections with them in any way prior to it. It makes it fun too because then I meet people along the way that I’m getting to learn more and help more people.

Diana: I think it makes so much sense here. My brain is kind of in overdrive right now because I’m thinking like, okay, so how much work would this be for me as a fundraiser to go out and motivate people to do this? I’m thinking that there’s a difference between going out and asking a company for money and asking them for like I did to donate something and then get nothing in return. Actually, because they didn’t get anything in return other than, of course, the branding of it, but they didn’t get any of the profits for it. Then doing this, whether it’s kind of a win-win, where both the company and the charity get something, but then, on the other hand, there’s also probably more marketing in it because you still need people to buy something. I would guess that most people would probably not just go out and buy because of the charity thing or do you have any feeling of if that’s the case or not?

Margaret: I feel it’s a mix. Some individuals will, I think purchase because they know they’re supporting a friend, family member, or someone who is fundraising for a cause. But I also feel with the jewelry, to an extent it sells itself. In my opinion, jewelry is very much an experience. You are selling a feeling. In my opinion, it’s a feeling of empowerment. It provides confidence and things like that and makes someone feel good when they’re wearing it. So, to an extent, once they’re exposed, it’s selling itself because people are liking it.

It’s personalized. They can build the pieces to their desires or tell a story. That part helps and I mean, to your comment earlier about how you asked for donations for these auctions. When I set up one of these Jewelry Bars, if you reach a certain number of sales, you also get actually free products. You get free jewelry that you could keep for yourself or you could use it and repurpose it for like an auction.

Diana: That’s actually smart. I’ve sold Tupperware earlier and it seems like it’s kind of the same…

Margaret: Yeah.

Diana: …set up.

Margaret: Yes.

Diana: Where you can do like home parties and stuff like that. I just never thought the charity aspect into it. It might be because it’s not as… Well, is it very normal in the States to do stuff like that?

Margaret: I don’t think so. Yes, we have Tupperware parties over here and this is a company very similar to something like that, where there’s an overhead company and you’re basically selling for them, but you’re also making a profit from it. Really for me, what came up with the idea for fundraising is the company I chose to join, put it on their flyer. Their flyer obviously said things like Jewelry Bars, sales, had you know, all their little pitches, but it also had fundraising.

So then when I joined, I asked some other people who sell this jewelry and I was like, how do you do fundraisers? How is that set up? They basically said that you absolutely can fundraise, but it is set up by you. It’s not set up. They don’t have any forms in place or systems in place for fundraising, that’s completely set up on how you want to do it.

Diana: Okay. I think that’s cool that you actually chose the company based on also the fundraising part. I think it’s really important. Would you recommend people doing this kind of fundraising? I’m an individual. I do a lot of fundraising in collaboration with the MS Foundation in Denmark. I could also just join them in whatever they’re doing, the events and stuff they are doing but then I could also do it through my company like you’re doing. But would you recommend people starting, like you’ve done to fundraising in this way versus doing it by themselves?

Margaret: I think that depends on the person and what they are trying to fundraise for. My sister recently had to fundraise. She was in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City last November. For her to be in it, she had to fundraise to pay for her equipment she needed to be in the parade as well as her stay in the city and her food and all of that. For that, it was a higher amount of money. While she didn’t necessarily fundraise with me, she did a bunch of little fundraisers that then brought her profit.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to ask people directly for money if they are willing to donate and she did some of that. But with the smaller fundraisers, basically, they were things like maybe what I’m saying, or she was selling an item to people. With that basically, she was benefiting because she was getting money towards the fundraisers to pay her way to go to the city but also the person was getting a service or a product out of it as well. Some people think they benefit more when they receive that product or service, instead of just the feel-good feeling of donating if that makes sense.

Diana: It totally does and I’m thinking also the other way around that they are feeling like if they, for example, with your jewelry. If they were thinking of buying jewelry anyway, then they get extra of actually buying it. I’m guessing at the same price, but to be able to also donate money to a good cause.

Margaret: Absolutely. Prices don’t change when it’s a fundraiser. They stay the same. If there are sales that are going on, the sales are included. There are no exclusions to it. It allows people to still get that same price, that same piece, especially if they’re going to buy something and both parties benefit. Also, it’s going to be really exciting, but in a couple of weeks, the company I sell through actually partnered with Disney for the first time in their history and they’ve been around for about 10 years.

They haven’t been able to partner with Disney, even though they’ve tried it in the past. So now we will actually have some Disney themed collections which I love Disney, but I’m not the person who’s always trying to wear jewelry or Disney products, but for many people that is the case. So, it’s something that’s going to draw more people in for their love of Disney. Yes.

Diana: That’s a good selling point. So, then you could actually do a Disney Jewelry Bar fundraising thing.

Margaret: Yes.

Diana: That’s pretty cool. That’s a really good idea, actually, and especially if the proceeds are going to something to do with kids. Well, it could be anything right but the theme.

Margaret: Yeah. I mean, and I can theme a Jewelry Bar anyway with any collection we have, or just as a general. But again, with that link, you could buy anything. You don’t have to be limited just to that Disney product. You could buy some of the Disney stuff but also buy some of the regular stuff. There’s no limit to what you are able to purchase. It’s not like you want to have a Disney or a Harry Potter-themed event, but then someone else is like, oh, I like the Harry Potter stuff, but I also want some Disney stuff. You can have both.

Diana: So, if people want to do a Jewelry Bar with you for the fundraising, how do they do that? Do they just contact you via email or Instagram or how do they get in contact with you?

Margaret: Yeah, they can definitely reach out to me on Instagram. They can also email me or if they go to the webpage where I sell the jewelry, there’s a button on there where they can hit, “I want to have a Jewelry Bar” or “Contact Margaret.” There’s both of those buttons or options on the webpage, and then they could click one of those and they’ll fill in a little bit of information and it’ll come to me.

Diana: Okay, great. I’ll link to all of these things in the show notes so that people can just go in and press the link. Is there anything that you’re thinking, okay, I really want to let people know this or some advice regarding fundraising before we end the episode?

Margaret: I think one of the things, and we touched on it a little bit earlier is no matter how much you have to donate every little bit counts. So, you might not think that you’re helping them a ton or helping them a lot, but you truly might be because again, that little bit counts that little bit adds up to something larger.

I had a Jewelry Bar last fall and made about $250. So, again it depends on who’s doing it. That was only about four people purchasing items. It was about $250, and I was able to, I think, donate close to $90 back to them and the fundraiser they were holding while you might have made maybe a $30 purchase and thought, oh, that’s not that big. Overall, when everything wrapped up, they got a pretty good amount of money at the end. So, every little bit counts.

Diana: To be honest, at least when you’re the one doing the fundraising, it also helps if people don’t have the money to buy or to donate, just help share the message. Share the link, share whatever it is so that other people get to know that this is an option.

Margaret: Exactly.

Diana: So, let’s say that you choose to donate an item. What would you expect in return for that? As a company owner donating to an auction or whatever it is that you’re donating to when it’s not money, but it’s a product, what would you expect in return?

Margaret: All I expect in return is for my information to be included on the packaging of the items. So, either it would be I attach a business card to it, or I attach my contact information to it. So, whoever receives that item knows where it came from, just because that’s how I can then advertise with them especially if I’m offering a service.

They obviously need to know how to contact me because I sometimes will offer a personal training session or something like that in my health and fitness business to a fundraiser. But, if it’s just the jewelry, having something there so that they know where it came from so that if they want to purchase then maybe they’re going to be more likely to come to me in the future, either for their fundraising needs or for their own personal desire to have a new product.

Diana: I would have thought it would have been more to be honest, like being on the website or being on being mentioned a whole lot. I do think we should as much as possible do right by the donors or by the companies who donate their time and their products, of course. But again, like with my auctions, I have a lot of people and it’s hard to keep track of how much visibility they get. So, it’s great to hear that you don’t necessarily expect that much. I want to give as much as I can in the other way, but not feeling that I did enough, something I struggle with a bit at least.

Margaret: Yeah. I think that’s something that’s difficult because companies if they’re willing to donate, it’s amazing but also they obviously are a business and so they want to promote themselves in some way. Again, I’m smaller. I’m a one-person business at this time. So, for me, those are the ways I promote myself by getting small things to go together. I don’t have anything big scale at this point. So, those small things are basically equivalent to what I would be doing business promotion wise anyway.

Diana: Well, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast and sharing how you do it with your company. I very much look forward to following you and maybe doing some kind of collaboration with you in the future. That could be amazing. So, thank you very much for joining me.

Margaret: Absolutely.

I loved speaking with Margaret about her different way of having her company and her view on helping other people through her company. I think it’s amazing when meeting people who have this idea of doing something, that’s actually, it’s a combination of doing something for herself and also doing something for charity. I love this because it can be very hard. I see three kinds of people. There are those who are working as fundraisers. That’s a job. That’s what they do and it’s still very passionate people. I can see that from all of the people I’ve interviewed up until now, but it’s still kind of, it’s a job, they get paid and that’s one kind of person.

Then there are people like me who, well, like me right now, who are doing it on a volunteer basis. So, they typically have a job and they just have some personal connection to something and they’re very passionate about raising money for that particular charity because there’s some impact in their lives. Then the last group is people like Margaret, who are doing something. They have their own company, they’re doing their thing, but then they are also doing something for someone else. This idea of having different charities, helping different charities with her business. I think that’s amazing. So, go Margaret. I would love to work with companies in that relation. I’d also love to be like Margaret actually doing a combination of the two, because I think it’s a really good way to both do something for me and do something for charity. So, I’m working on that.

Margaret has actually been so great that she set up a Jewelry Bar for us. She has set it up so that for every jewelry we sell, we get some profits back for me to donate to the MS Foundation. Use the link in the show notes if you are in the US, Canada, or Denmark, Because of logistic challenges, that’s kind of the countries that’s available right now. If you want to look at the jewelry please use the link and then some money will go back when you buy.

If you want to join the next networking call, you can go to smartbusinessplanning.com/network, and you can find the link to participate. Thank you for listening to the Fun with Fundraising podcast. I’m your host, Diana Lund and if you want to get a hold of me, you can find me on Instagram @funwithfundraising or you can email me at diana@smartbusinessplanning.com. Enjoy your week.