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Newsletter #1055: The “Lessons from Nonprofits” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

If anyone knows how to get creative and draw attention on a tight budget or with limited resources, it’s a nonprofit. Here are some great ideas from organizations that give back:

1. Ask your customers for ideas
2. Get creative with solutions
3. Go where people are bored
4. Check it out: Coloring famous paintings

1. Ask your customers for ideas

Magic Wheelchair makes amazing costumes for kids with disabilities that incorporate their wheelchairs into the design. It started when the founder made his son a pirate costume with the wheelchair designed as a ship. Now, they let parents and kids submit videos on their site to explain why they want a Magic Wheelchair costume and the kind of costume they want.

The lesson: Each video they get is not just a submission, but it’s also an opportunity to learn something new about their audience and come up with new ideas.

Learn more: PSFK

2. Get creative with solutions

Going to court can be a stressful situation, especially for people who have to testify against their attackers. So Courthouse Dogs connects specially trained assistance dogs with courthouses to be there for witnesses, defendants, children, and families in court. A courthouse dog’s main job is to just be relaxed, let people pet him, and possibly take a nap. It’s a good gig for an older assistance dog, but it’s also a subtle way to make a room feel more calm, less hostile, and like a safe place.

The lesson: Courthouse Dogs took an underutilized resource, calmer, older assistance dogs, and focused on helping an important yet overlooked group of people.

Learn more: Courthouse Dogs

3. Go where people are bored

Charity Arcade in Sweden collects coins for charity through retro arcade games. They place the games in Swedish airports near the baggage claim where passengers are returning from abroad with leftover foreign currency. The games help people easily get rid of foreign coins and kill some time playing Space Invaders while they wait for their luggage.

The lesson: Timing and placement can make a big difference. Charity Arcade greets a captive audience with something fun when they have nothing better to do.

Learn more: CNN

4. Check it out: Coloring famous paintings

We don’t have to convince you that coloring is fun. But did you know that there are troves of downloadable coloring pages for famous paintings? This site has coloring pages for anything from The Girl With The Pearl Earring and Mona Lisa, to Norman Rockwell and Edgar Degas paintings.

Check it out: Super Coloring

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