We’ve talked a lot on the blog about our five bake sale locations, how to help with the bake sale, and which local businesses are supporting us. Now it’s time to talk about one of the most important reasons we’re having the bake sale: to raise money for AmeriCares’ work in Japan
. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for AmeriCares at or before next Saturday’s bake sales.
That may seem like an audacious undertaking, but when you read more about AmeriCares and what they’re doing for people in Japan, you’ll see why we’re setting our sights so high.
AmeriCares working with Japanese partners to load an aid convoy shipment to Sendai, Japan. (Via @AmeriCares on Twitter)
We feel like AmeriCares is one of the best non-profits providing medical and humanitarian aid to earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan today. According to their 2009 fiscal report, each $100 in cash contributions to AmeriCares enables them to deliver more than $3,500 in emergency relief, including medicines, medical supplies, clothing, footwear, blankets and nutritional supplements. That means if we’re successful in reaching our $10,000 fundraising goal, Austin Bakes for Japan will be helping to send over $350,000 in emergency relief to Japan.
AmeriCares has been working on the ground in Japan and other countries in Asia for over 18 years, providing medical aid, relief supplies and health care in crisis situations and where there are long term needs for support. Their operational model is time-tested, and the organization has won national recognition for its efficient use of funds and successful humanitarian work. In response to this crisis, the AmeriCares team is in direct contact with local officials, evacuation shelters and hospitals treating the injured and caring for evacuees in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate to determine health needs. They are publishing regular updates about their progress in those areas on their website.
AmeriCares has the infrastructure in place to accept a large gift from Austin Bakes for Japan and to use the funds efficiently where they’re needed most. The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so gifts towards their efforts in Japan are tax-deductible. (More about that in a moment.) They have an extensive, transparent record of their financial information, including annual reports,
Businesses and individuals supporing Austin Bakes for Japan can give to AmeriCares via cash, check and our online giving page. Each Austin Bakes for Japan location has a committed lead volunteer who will be responsible for managing individual gifts and ensuring that they are accounted for at the end of the bake sale. We have a game plan in place to track donations, report them transparently, and to make sure every penny ends up safely in AmeriCares’ hands.
Austin Bakes for Japan is a donation-based bake sale. That means instead of listing prices on each item, we’ll look to customers to decide the value of their purchase and support AmeriCares accordingly. We’ll accept cash and checks (made out to AmeriCares, please) at the five bake sale locations in Austin. Supporters who wish to make a gift by credit card may do so at the Austin Bakes for Japan FirstGiving page
. We’ll be able to make change and break some large bills at the bake sale next Saturday, but we are asking customers who are able to please bring exact change or a check made out to AmeriCares. Here is detailed information about our handling procedures for gifts:
1. Cash: all cash collected before and during the bake sale will be combined into a money order, payable to AmeriCares, after the bake sale on Saturday April 2nd. We will mail the money order, along with all checks, to AmeriCares that day. Donors who give cash will not receive a receipt for their personal gift, but they will be able to see how much cash we raised collectively when we report the amount on here our blog and on our FirstGiving online giving page
2. Checks: should be made to “AmeriCares” with Japan written in the memo line. We will keep a log on our FirstGiving page
of all checks that we receive. That way, donors can be sure that we have received their gift and see how their contribution has increased our total fundraising. We will mail all checks to AmeriCares on Saturday, April 2nd. AmeriCares will deposit the checks and mail each donor a gift receipt for tax purposes.
3. Online: gifts in any amount can be made securely online at our FirstGiving page
using a credit or debit card. Donors will receive two emails confirming their gift to AmeriCares: one immediately after their information has been received, and a second email confirming that their card was successfully charged for the gift. Donors can see their contribution on the Austin Bakes for Japan FirstGiving page, and their support will count towards our overall goal to raise $10,000 for AmeriCares.