Tips for Improving the Effectiveness of your Church Fundraiser

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7


The reach, importance and influence of the Black Church can in no way be underestimated. The church not only caters to the spiritual needs of the community, but also acts its physical foundation; it provides food and shelter for the poor, childcare for working parents, and so much more. While the Church often acts as our support system, sometimes it is necessary for us to return that same support. As a result, it is vitally important that the fundraising we do for our churches and our communities be as productive as possible. In other words, Black Fundraising Matters; Our Black Communities Matter. However, it is understandable why many are often discouraged from attempting to raise funds; often, the results of our fundraising efforts can be disappointing. If you have struggled to reach your goals in the past, you may wish to rethink your campaign has been run in the past and follow a few suggestions to make your fundraising efforts more productive.

  • Set a challenging but attainable goal: Set a goal for your congregants so that each knows what is expected of him or her. By developing a game plan, you will keep your congregants motivated and achieve your goals with greater ease and efficiency. Tangibly keeping track of progress through graphs or chart is another great way to keep the Church motivated. It is always encouraging when people can visualize the progress being made.

  • Send out teams of congregants: Sending volunteers out in a team can increase camaraderie among congregants and at the same time help to raise money faster by fostering an environment of encourage and participation.

  • Use online fundraising tools: Meeting donors face to face is always preferred but that does not mean that you should neglect to use online tools to create the Best Black Fundraiser possible. A well designed, personal web page will help manage your fundraising efforts more than you realize. Overall, a web page helps you keep track of progress, offers direct lines of communication between you and your customers, and provides another way to direct people to your efforts when materials aren’t available. The best part: it essentially runs automatically.  If a running website isn’t feasible at the moment, creating a Facebook page is always a great alternative.

Those are some of our suggestions for making your fundraiser more fruitful. Are there other lessons you’ve learned from your past fundraising experiences? We would love to hear them!



Monday Motivations -- Week 3

Good Monday to you #AAEFamily! 


We hope that you had an amazing weekend! All of us here got a chance to get a little rest and relaxation in, and during our morning meeting -- everyone seemed refreshed and ready for another week at African American Expressions.


We are motivated today, by good news. Who doesn't like good news? 


The good news for us was that we have been getting so much positive response from everyone about one of our newest products to the AAE roster. Three guesses to figure out which product we are talking about, and the first two guesses do not count. If you yelled out THE DRINKING GLASSES at the top of your lungs, then you were absolutely correct. 


The only problem for us is trying to tell which one people are loving more. What do you think? Is it the Praise Dancers (DGL01) that seems to be winning your customers over? Or is it the Ladies with Hats (DGL02) that seem to be the object of folks' affections? We can barely choose ourselves, to be honest, we love them both so much! Take a look below and tell us what you think! 

Praise Dancers Drinking Glasses     

We put our true heart and creativity into coming up with products, but you can never be sure whether people will love it or not. It's always something that leaves you on pins and needles, waiting to see what happens when the catalog drops... will they like it? Will they be happy with them? These questions constantly run through the minds of our brilliant product development staff, but when customers call us on a daily basis to let us know just how happy they are with them, we could not feel more motivated! Motivated to keep providing products that people love, and inspired to continue to come up with innovative new products that you will love.


These beautiful glasses, rooted in our faith, and proclaiming our heritage, are the perfect gift for someone you love, or are the perfect splurge for yourself to add to your homewares collection.  


Have you gotten a chance to see the glasses? Do you own a set yourself? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think! 


We would love to hear from you. <3 


Monday Motivations -- Week 2

Merry Monday to you all! The sun is shining (depending on where you live), the birds are chirping, and we are starting our day off on a blessed note. We can only hope that the same goes for you all!

We all need a reminder sometimes. You know what we mean, right? That reminder that you need to keep pushing. That little something that gets into your brain and helps you remember that you have EVERYTHING you need if you have faith, determination, and will. Whether it's a little phrase, a verse from a song, a chapter in the Bible. Here at African American Expressions there is nothing we love more than being able to be a small part of your daily reminder to keep going -- because you motivate and inspire us on a daily basis to continue doing what we do. To constantly envision, create and produce quality gifts, greeting cards, art and faith based products, and so much more, that honors our diverse black heritage.

Well there was nothing more motivating on this marvelous Monday morning in May (oooooh that flowed so nicely) than a hot, dark cup of delicious coffee. I don't know if it the aroma, the taste, or the get-up-and-go that it gives you, but they were not kidding when they said it was the best part of waking up! Okay.. maybe not the best. The best is being able to wake up to another day that the Lord has given us -- but that coffee is definitely in the top 5.

So what better place to put a little daily motivation, then smack on the front of our coffee and latte mugs?

One of our favorites right now happens to be one that would be perfect for any of the father's on your list (Father's Day is fast approaching) -- it's our absolutely eye-catching "He Who Kneels" coffee mug. Simple in design, but poignant in message, our He Who Kneels is the perfect daily reminder for any gentleman in your life. Take a look at the link below.

Whether it's coffee, a special saying, or just waking up on this beautiful morning to inhale fresh air into your lungs -- may your Monday be blessed.

Monday Motivations

It's Monday!! 


Okay, okay -- don't give us that look. We know that Monday isn't classically known as anyone's favorite. The collective groans and sighs that arise as we all get out of bed in the morning can be heard across the nation. 


We we don't buy it! We love this day over here at African American Expressions. Each Monday, we start the morning with a company wide meeting to catch up. It gives us the time to see how each other's weekends were, if anything new or exciting happened to anyone, or to talk trash about our respective sports teams.  Having these small moments before the whirlwind begins allows all of us to feel more connected to each other. We laugh. We cry. We become a family for those few moments out of the day. There is nothing we find more motivating than that. 


Often times during these Monday sessions, we get the chance to hear Greg, the founder of our company, tell a story or anecdote that gives us a special piece of the backstory of our company. We wanted to share one of our most important stories with you -- because YOU are all a big part of our AAE family. 




"It is this belief in a larger power than myself, and other than myself, which allows me to venture into the unknwon -- and even the unknowable." - Maya Angelou

There are very few among us who can say that they have not been faced with that kind of dilemma. The one in which you are standing on the edge of the metaphorical precipice, with the option to be safe... or to dangle your toes over the side, breathe deep, and jump. 


A leap of faith, a need for a product, and a desire to make a positive impact on his community is what prompted Gregory Perkins to start African American Expressions 25 years ago.  At that time, African Americans made up 11% of the population of the United States. That was a little over 25 million people.  Yet ask any of those 25 million men, women, and children where they could find a birthday card that represented black culture, or where they could find a Christmas card that showed black families on the front, and they would be hard pressed to give you an answer. 


To say that the idea for AAE came from the divine would be an accurate statement.  While on vacation visiting his brother in California the idea struck Greg like a bolt of lightning.  If he was having a problem finding cards and gifts, so was everyone else. With that, God led him to the path of what needed to be done. Our God was honest with Greg -- he told him up front that this endeavor would require a HUGE leap of faith, of a kind he had never had to take before.  Even then, Greg knew that there was no better investor a start-up business could have then our almighty God. He closed his eyes and leapt willingly. 


With that leap, the message that Greg was sending was simple, but poignant. 


"We are tired of being ignored."




Starting a company from the ground up is no easy task. Starting a company from the ground up, and becoming profitable in the first year only has a 7% success rate. 


We began with only three Christmas card designs in 1991, and over the course of 25 years, our hard work and dedication has morphed AAE into a multi-million dollar company boasting over 600 products.  Our most recent catalog boasts beautiful Black cards for all occasions -- whether it's birthday, sympathy, get well or even minister appreciation.  We have curated and cultivated a wide selection of art, whether you are looking for something that boasts the beauty of your faith, or a piece that represents African heritage. We have bible organizers, calendars that represent our rich history, that honor our first black president, or that remind you to live your life everyday walking by faith. Whether it's decor for your home, or just a small card to let someone know you care AAE has tried our hardest to make sure we have it all for you. 


We went from three cards and a dream, to 25 years and a legacy being created, for our family, and our culture. 


It could have ended there. Many companies would have continued to offer their products at reasonable prices, and it would leave them content to watch as their profits grew. That was nowhere near enough for us though. We wanted our community to be able to benefit from every dollar that we made. We wanted each and everyone of you reading this to be able to share in our success -- because the reality is that there is no US without YOU.  With that said, the AAE Fundraiser Program was born. It gives each and every one of you reading this to share in our company's success, by becoming a part of it. 


If you haven't heard of our fundraising program check out the info here and don't worry, video will be coming soon.   

Before we end this blog -- we want to leave you with an important question: What has you motivated this week? Do you have a tough decision that you have been questioning? We want to hear what motivates you -- what helps you take that leap?


African American Expressions -- it all started with a leap of faith. 


So... are you ready to jump? 


#MondayMotivations #AAEFamily