20 Mishloach Manot Themes

November 14, 2008

Here’s a list of Purim basket themes as promised. Thank you very much to all of you who emailed your favorite themes to me! Feel free to add more themes to the comments below.

-HappyPurim!

UPDATE: Need more ideas? Want to see pictures? See the beautiful Mishloach Manot pictures sent to us by our clients by clicking here.

 

1. Coffee or Café’ Manot: coffee, sugar packets/Splenda, min-container of creamer, coffee cake, biscotti, Hamentaschen. This is really cute when packaged in a large coffee mug. You can even get the mugs personalized for an extra special touch.

2. Healthy Mishloach Manot:  whole wheat Hamentaschen, nuts, fruit (fresh or dried), dark chocolate.

3. Israeli Purim Basket: Israeli crackers, a little tub of chummus, olives with a box of herbal tea and a “Jaffa” orange.

4. Israeli #2: an assortment of blue and white products.

5. Spices:  spice cake, an herbal spice tea, cinnamon sticks, and an orange. Consider adding scented candles, small scented lotion, for an extra special touch.

6. Wine Mishloach Manot: bottle of dry wine, crackers and cheese. Possibly in a small picnic basket.

7. Wine Mishloach Manot #2: a California Cabernet Sauvignon, good dark chocolate. Possibly in a small picnic basket.

8. Picnic Mishloach Manot – Salmon: can of salmon or tuna, a mini bottle of mayo (or packets), a small onion, crackers, napkins and plastic cutlery.

9. Picnic Mishloach Manot – Salami:  dried salami, a bottle of mustard, crackers or Kaiser rolls, napkins and plastic cutlery.

10. “Good Night” or “Sleepy Time”: Sleepy Time tea, hot cocoa mix, cookies and milk. Consider adding a sleep mask, for an extra special touch.

11. “Nutty Purim”, “Oh Nuts” or “Go Nuts”: a bag of nuts, a mini-bottle of Frangelico (Hazelnut liquor), hazelnut coffee, Snickers or Egozi bar, and a coconut for a unique touch.

12. “Absolut Nuts”: Same as above, but substitute a bottle of Absolut for the Hazelnut liquor. (you can use the Absolut theme for just about anything)

13. Baseball: Peanuts, popcorn, cracker jacks, cotton candy, soda.

14. “Vegas” or “Casino”: A small bottle of booze, chips (potato and chocolate) a lottery ticket, a deck of card or dice.

15. Shiva Minim Manot, The Seven Species of Israel – Hamentaschen (wheat), beer (barley), dates, grape juice/raisins/wine (grapes), olives, figs and a pomegranate (or pomegranate juice or jelly)

16. Breakfast at Tiffany: Items that would be good for breakfast such as coffee, oatmeal, breakfast bars and were able to include a coffee mug that we put our sisterhood logo on.

17. “Movie Manot”: Microwave popcorn bucket or movie theater popcorn bucket filled with Twizzlers, soda, M ’n Ms, Reeses Pieces, movie rental coupon (or a dvd).

18. Beach theme: A sand pail as the bucket and filled it with goodies one would eat at the beach along with a puzzle book that they would use at the beach.  Believe it or not salt water taffy is kosher.

19. The Big Apple: This one can either be a NY theme, or an apple theme. Either way, distribute in an “I Love NY” bag

20. Black and White Shalach Monos: Oreos, marshmallows, black and white cookies and chocolate milk.

UPDATE: Need more ideas? Want to see pictures? See the beautiful Mishloach Manot pictures sent to us by our clients by clicking here.

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The Financial Crisis, Inflation and Purim Mishloach Manot Fundraisers

November 9, 2008

We’ve been getting lots of questions recently about pricing—specifically in light of rising food and packaging costs. The most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about raising the pricing on your shalach monos, is that it’s a tough time for many of your congregants (members, parents, etc.). Even if they haven’t been personally affected by the economic slowdown, many are afraid they will be affected and are thus cutting back on their spending. You should also keep in mind that there’s a certain threshold that people are willing to spend on Purim baskets—if you exceed that price point, many will make their own shlach manot or simply choose not to participate. That specific price varies by community demographic, but typically synagogues and schools that price their baskets as low as possible, have the highest participation rates, the most orders and the highest AVERAGE order size. People seem to become “click happy” if the price is low enough, and will send to many, many people.

So what to do about your Purim project this year? If you can, leave your pricing the same and market your fundraiser as being economically sensitive. Or raise your prices a small amount, say 25 or 50 cents. Or, our Happy Purim software offers the ability to charge a higher price for reciprocity orders, so you can leave your initial pricing the same, but raise your reciprocity prices. As always, please feel free to call, email or leave comments below.

Mishloach Manot Themes – Purim Basket Themes

November 7, 2008

It’s become super popular to distribute Shalach Manot baskets with themes. I don’t know how, when, or where this “minhag” got started, but it has really caught on. Our clients are always asking us for ideas, so we thought we’d put together a comprehensive list and post them here. Please email me (ari (at) happypurim.com) if you’ve got any suggestions, or simply add the great ones you’ve seen to the comments below.

I already have a list of 15 or so; I’d like to get a few more before I post them next week. Click Here to see the list of themes.

Thanks and Shabbat Shalom,

Ari

Purim Fundraiser Calender/To Do List for 2009

October 31, 2008

It’s never too early to get started. The really organized people start around Rosh Hashanah (September), but most wait until Channukah (December) or the end of January at the latest. At HappyPurim we’ve gotten calls from organizations looking to run their first Mishloach Manot fundraiser ever, just 2 weeks before Purim! We are able to help you out even last minute, but to run a really successful fundraiser you should start your basic planning in December. Here is a suggested timeline based upon the March 10 date of Purim in 2009.  (This calendar is designed for users of Happy Purim’s Shalach Manot Software based upon our experience. There’s a post from last year with more details for anyone still doing this manually.)

  1. In December:
    1. Identify the person/s who will run the fundraiser
    2. Decide on a “theme” for your baskets (not necessary, but popular; we’ll post more about “themes” later).
  2. By January 10
    1. Compile (or get from organization office) a list of all the members in your organization. Make sure to double check for accuracy!
    2. Figure out where you’re getting your Mishloach Monos supplies or baskets from.
  3. By January 15 – Finalize all details of your Purim fundraiser; *If you’re using HappyPurim.com’s Mishloach Manot software, this is when you should setup your administrative console.
    1. Pricing
    2. Are you offering any type of deal? (early-bird discount, send to as many as you want for a flat price, etc.)
    3. Reciprocity (with our software you can easily charge a different price for Reciprocity orders)
    4. Delivering the baskets or having your members pick them up?
  4. By January 20
    1. Prepare a letter to your members informing them of the details of the Purim project. (HappyPurim has templates available)
    2. If you have a large contingent of non-internet users, prepare a physical order form or download Happy Purim’s order form.
  5. By January 31
    1. Have your order forms, envelopes and/or mailing labels printed. (not necessary if you’re emailing your members)
    2. Make sure you have volunteers to help with the folding and stuffing on February 1st.
  6. On February 1 (Sunday) – Prepare mailing: Fold and Stuff!
  7. On February 2 – Mail or email order forms.
  8. March 1 11:59pm (Sunday)Deadline for placing orders.
  9. Week of March 1-7
    1. Pack the Shalach Monos.
    2. Print your “scrolls” – that is, the personalized letters that list all the names of the people sending to each recipient.  (If using HappyPurim.com, this only takes a few clicks of your mouse!)
  10. March 10 – Deliver the Shalach Monos!
  11. Sometime after Purim – Bill for reciprocity charges.  Not necessary if using HappyPurim.com, it’s automated!

You should modify the above timeline to fit your needs. If we missed anything, or you’ve got a suggestion to add please let us know!

Tips For Raising More Money

September 8, 2008

So you’ve been running a Mishloach Manot fundraiser for a couple of years and want to increase the amount of money you raise? We’ve got some tips for you.

1. Baskets for personal use: Level of difficulty: Easy; Dollar Potential: A couple of thousand dollars

Sell baskets for “personal use” to your members. In addition to the “communal baskets” that are the mainstay of this fundraiser, offer baskets for sale to your members for them to distribute on their own. Your members likely have friends, family and neighbors who are not members of your organization, whom they would like to give baskets to. Instead of making baskets on their own, or purchasing them from a store, why not give your members an easy solution that supports your school or synagogue at the same time? You should charge a higher price than what you charge for “communal baskets” — you must ensure that you’re making a profit off of these baskets!  This is very easy to add to your Purim project by using Happy Purim’s Personal Use” module.

2. Shipping Baskets: Level of difficulty: Hard; Dollar Potential: A few thousand dollars

Selling personalized baskets with delivery or shipping included is a great way to significantly increase the revenue of your fundraiser. Many of your members probably order shalach manot from stores or websites and have them shipped to friends and family across the country. Why not capture those orders for your organization? This does add a significant amount of extra work, but people are usually willing to pay a nice premium for this service (just look online for what others charge). Happy Purim’s “shipping basket” module makes this much easier to do by capturing the addresses and personalized messages for these special orders.

We have some other ideas, and tips that can ONLY be done using our system–feel free to call 646-345-4032 or email Ari (at) HappyPurim.com to find out more!

Shalach Monos Pricing Details: Should you charge a “setup” fee?

November 1, 2007

Charging a setup fee for your purim project is not user-friendly in that you make it prohibitively expensive for those people who only want to send to a few people. Your members that plan on sending mishloach manot to many people will do so regardless of whether you charge a $20 setup fee and $2 per recipient, or simply $3 per.  You will probably make the same amount of money from these “big spenders” regardless of pricing, but you risk alienating those members who only want to send a purim basket to 2 or 3 people (those members who don’t know a lot of other members, but may be interested in sending to the Rabbi/s and Cantor). Yes, you won’t make the $20 set-up fee from them, but there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have spent $26 to send mishloach manot to 3 people—but they would likely spend $9 to send to 3 people without thinking twice.

If your logic is that people should cover the cost of their own baskets, a setup fee won’t necessarily achieve that.  Your members are paying to SEND greetings, not receive them.  If a person doesn’t participate, but someone sends to them, they’ll still receive a basket, despite not paying your setup fee. 

We would also recommend against a setup fee for reciprocity for the same reason that it may keep people from choosing this option. Reciprocity is a great feature that usually helps you raise more money by serving as a “catch-all.” That is, it is intended as a backup in case someone sends to you, and you didn’t send to them—you would select this option to ensure that everyone who sends to you receives from you. As the administrator this hopefully increases the total number of names selected, and thus, the money you raise. A problem arises when your members rely on reciprocity and either don’t place an initial order at all, or a very small one.  At HappyPurim.com we do not allow “reciprocity-only” orders because we must capture the members credit card to charge them for their reciprocal order.  We can also setup your account to require a minimum number of baskets to be ordered in order for the member to select reciprocity.  The best idea however, may be to charge a higher amount, but not much higher, for reciprocal orders.  For example, if you’re charging $2 per regular recipient, you may want to consider charging $2.50 per reciprocal.

$$$ Dollars and Sense $$$ How Much can I Raise From a Purim Fundraiser? How Much Should I Charge?

October 16, 2007

How Much can I Raise from a Purim Fundraiser? One of our clients has raised close to $80,000! A more realistic number is $20,000 for a membership of 300-500, but we have a few clients in that range that are raising around $40,000 annually. It depends on the size of your “membership” list, and more importantly, how you MARKET and run your fundraiser. If you simply send out one flyer announcing the fundraiser, you’re not going to raise all that much. Multiple mailings, emails and phone calls must be made. This is marketing just like any company does for a product–multiple impressions must be made to ensure success.

How Much Should I Charge? $2-$5 is the average per shalach manot, but $2-$3 seems to be the sweet spot. You should do really well with this Purim fundraiser as long as you send nice baskets, that is, something that would cost $20-$40 retail. Your members thus get a great deal–it only costs them $2-5 to “send” a basket that would cost them $20-$40 to send on their own.

When Should You Start Planning For Your Mishloach Manot Fundraiser?

September 18, 2007

The truth is, it’s never too early. The really organized people start around Rosh Hashanah (September), but most wait until Channukah (December) or the end of January at the latest. At HappyPurim we’ve gotten calls from organizations looking to run their first Mishloach Manot fundraiser ever, just 2 weeks before Purim! We are able to help you out even last minute, but to run a really successful fundraiser you should start your basic planning in December. Here is a suggested timeline based upon the March 21st date of Purim 2008. 

  1. In December:
    1. Identify the person/s who will run the fundraiser
    2. Decide on a “theme” for your baskets (not necessary, but popular; we’ll post more about “themes” later).
  2. By January 15
    1. Compile (or get from organization office) a list of all the members in your organization. Make sure to double check for accuracy!
    2. Figure out where you’re getting your Mishloach Monos supplies from. *Email Ari@HappyPurim.com if you’re interested in purchasing either supplies or ready-made baskets.
  3. By January 20 – Finalize all details of your Purim fundraiser; *If you’re using HappyPurim.com’s software, this is when you should setup your administrative console.
    1. Pricing
    2. Are you offering any type of deal? (early-bird discount, send to as many as you want for a flat price, etc.)
    3. Reciprocity
    4. Delivering the baskets or having your members pick them up?
  4. January 27 – Create your order form. (If using HappyPurim.com, we do this for you!)
  5. By February 1
    1. Have your order forms, envelopes and/or mailing labels printed.
    2. Make sure you have volunteers to help with the folding and stuffing on February 3rd.
  6. February 3 (Sunday) – Prepare mailing: Fold and Stuff!
  7. February 6 (Wednesday) – Mail or email order forms. (if emailing, wait until Sunday morning, February 10)
  8. March 9 (Sunday) – Deadline for placing orders.
  9. March 16 (Sunday)
    1. Pack the Shalach Monos.
    2. Print your “scrolls” – that is, the personalized letters that list all the names of the people sending to each recipient.  (If using HappyPurim.com, this only takes a few clicks of your mouse!)
  10. March 21 – Deliver the Shalach Monos!
  11. Sometime after Purim – Bill for reciprocity charges.  Not necessary if using HappyPurim.com, we do this for you!

 You should modify the above timeline to fit your needs. If we missed anything, or you’ve got a suggestion to add please let us know!

What is a Mishloach Manot (Purim basket) fundraiser?

September 12, 2007

It is an increasingly popular way for Jewish institutions to raise money while at the same time continuing a tradition that is centuries old. In short, members pay their organization to collectively deliver mishloach manot (Purim Baskets) on their behalf to other members. The organization charges a fee ($3-$5) per recipient selected by each member, and then sends one basket of food to every member that was selected, along with a card that lists the names of those sending to that person. In other words, if 10 people decide to send to you, you will only receive one basket, along with a card that lists the 10 names.

Mishloach Manot fundraisers, also called shalach manos projects, Purim shuttles, or Purim projects, can be great community builders, as well as being very profitable. However, the management of such fundraisers can become complicated when dealing with a community that is larger than 50-100 members. In such cases software can make the job easier, and web-based software, such as HappyPurim.com’s, can make the job MUCH easier.  

HappyPurim.com’s application takes the membership lists/order forms and puts them in dedicated, password protected, site so that your members can simply click on the names of the people they would like to send baskets to and pay immediately. The proprietary software automatically tabulates and organizes the data, allowing the fundraiser administrator to easily print cards or letters to attach to the Shalach Manos baskets. There’s no need for administrators or volunteers to mail lists of members and order forms, collect the lists along with payment, verify the payment and orders are correct, tabulate the names of each and every member that selects another member, and list them on card. All of this is done automatically, even collecting the payment online and calculating and charging for optional reciprocity (we’ll be writing a dedicated post on reciprocity later).

As you can easily imagine, this saves an incredible amount of time, allowing the volunteers and administrators to focus on marketing the fundraiser and creating the baskets. We’ve also seen that putting this online (i.e. making it easy!)  and accepting credit cards, can often increase the amount of money raised.

Purim, Mishloach Manot, the Megillah? Back to the Basics!

September 11, 2007

What is Purim? Purim is the Jewish holiday recorded in the Book of Esther (Megillah) commemorating the delivery of the Jews from the plot of Haman to exterminate them.

When is Purim? Purim is celebrated on the 14th of the Jewish month of Adar (in cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, on the 15th). In 2009 it is from sunset March 9, through nightfall on March 10.

There are 4 mitzvot (commandments) associated with Purim:

1) Megillah—Hear the reading of the Book of Esther.
2) Have a festive meal.
3) Matanot L’evyonim—Gifts of charity to the poor.
4) Mishloach Manot—The sending of gifts of food and drink.

What are Shalach Manos / Mishloach Manot / Purim Baskets? It is the mitzvah on Purim of sending a gift consisting of at least two items of food to another person. To fulfill this obligation, one must give food that can be consumed without further preparation, such as, baked goods, fruits, candy, wine, or other beverages. It is best that a third party deliver these gifts. The phrase mishloach manot used in the Megillah implies that this mitzvah should be performed through a 3rd party. These Purim baskets are also called: shlach monos, shalach manot, mishloach manot, shalach manos, Purim manot, shalach minot, shalach monos, mishloach manos, mishloach monos and probably a few more. If you know of another spelling or name, please let us know!