Non-Profit Cooks up Online Fundraising Site with RealStores

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Two new exciting enterprises provide the right mix of ingredients for meaningful and mouth-watering results. RealStores, a new, free online storefront, was approached by Band of Parents, a non-profit organization made up of families of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly pediatric cancer. Their goal: to raise hundreds of thousands in research dollars to fund promising new treatments being developed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center by selling homemade cookies during the holiday season. Their window of opportunity: the next 30 days.

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It was a true test of our capabilities and our service partners, and they came through beautifully.

Two new exciting enterprises provide the right mix of ingredients for meaningful and mouth-watering results. RealStores, a new, free online storefront, was approached by Band of Parents, a non-profit organization made up of families of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly pediatric cancer. Their goal: to raise hundreds of thousands in research dollars to fund promising new treatments being developed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center by selling homemade cookies during the holiday season. Their window of opportunity: the next 30 days.

Having filed their 501C application with the IRS in early October, BOP knew they needed to act fast and have an impressive presentation to be a recipient of the holiday giving spirit. Three days after they came up with the cookie idea, they went to RealStores to build their site, which, by the way, needed to be up and running immediately! And it had to be able to support heavy holiday traffic and process the orders in a short period of time.

RealStores President Michael Levine explains, "They basically needed a store up and fully running in nine days. This is exactly how we want people to think about RealStores. RealStores is a free, online storefront. We want to enable anyone, from a non-profit organization like Band of Parents, to local retailers or individuals looking to create a new opportunity for themselves, to use the RealStores platform and build an online store with ease."

While Band of Parents was garnering support from celebrity chefs and suppliers, and preparing to bake, sell and ship 96,000 cookies, RealStores was calling on the built-in support system they offer storefront owners. "The challenge was to build a custom-designed storefront that could handle thousands of transactions (cookie sales and cash donations) over a 30-day period without blinking," says Scotty Mackenzie, VP of Technology of RealStores. "It was a true test of our capabilities and our service partners, and they came through beautifully."

Gretchen Holt, one of the founding members of Band of Parents, explains that, "We are parents of children diagnosed with a cancer called neuroblastoma who want to help further the research and drug development desperately needed to save more children. Neuroblastoma is an 'orphan' cancer; pharmaceutical companies are not developing new treatments because there is not a large enough patient base to make development profitable. Funding from the government is similarly limited. We wish to save these children and spare other families this suffering. We passionately believe that we can save lives by raising funds to support the new treatments being developed at MSKCC."

Larry Witt, VP of Marketing for Band of Parents, was impressed with the cost-effectiveness and range of functionality that comes with RealStores. "We were very excited to see how easy it was to create a storefront. We needed a way to create an effective fundraising platform and we needed it quickly. RealStores came through for us and exceeded our expectations. The final product gave us the professional look, user-friendly technology, and legitimacy we required in a very short time frame."

Find out more about Band of Parents and the research at MSKCC, visit bandofparents.org. See the storefront built by the Band of Parents, visit cookiesforkidscancer.org. Open your free storefront, visit RealStores.com.

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Michael Levine
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