Embracing the Cosmos: Dark Sky Festival 2024

Are you ready to be awestruck by the magnificence of the universe? Come out Saturday, March 30th and prepare to immerse yourself in a celestial adventure at the Dark Sky Festival 2024! From stargazing to educational talks, this festival promises an unforgettable experience for astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds alike.

Exploring the Unknown

Hosted at the Fountain Hills Community Center, the Dark Sky Festival offers a rare opportunity to delve into the mysteries of the cosmos. Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or a novice sky-watcher, there’s something for everyone at this stellar event. Gaze upwards and witness the brilliance of the night sky like never before. With minimal light pollution, the celestial canopy above becomes a canvas adorned with countless stars, planets, and galaxies. Telescopes will be available for attendees to observe distant nebulae, star clusters, and even other galaxies millions of light-years away.

Enlightening Talks and Workshops

Expand your knowledge of the universe through engaging talks and workshops led by experts in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. From discussions on the latest astronomical discoveries to workshops on astrophotography techniques, there’s plenty to learn and explore for attendees of all ages. Speakers include; Jo Marchant, Julisa Wang,and  Marsha Diane Arnold.

Family-Friendly Activities

No matter your age or areas of interest, you’ll find fun activities for everyone, including Face Painting, Make a Moon Crater, Tour the Community Garden, Solve the Problem of Lighting Glare, Touch Real Meteorites, Virtual Reality Journey across Solar System, See Live Nocturnal Animals, and Trip to Mars with the Rover. Our auction is a great way to pick up a telescope, telescope equipment, and other great items for great nights under the stars. It includes gift baskets with night sky-themed children’s books, certificates for local resorts under the stars, stargazing experiences, and more.

Night Sky Photography Contest

Witness the captured beauty of the night sky at  the Dark Sky Festival’s photography contest. Prizes will be awarded for various categories, including best constellation photo and best Milky Way panorama.

Preserving the Dark Sky

As we marvel at the beauty of the night sky, let us also reflect on the importance of preserving it for future generations. The Dark Sky Festival promotes awareness of light pollution and its impact on both human health and the environment. Through education and advocacy, we can work together to protect our precious night skies for years to come.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this extraordinary celebration of the cosmos. Whether you’re a passionate astronomer, a nature enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys marveling at the wonders of the universe, the Dark Sky Festival welcomes you with open arms. Come join us as we embark on a journey through the cosmos and experience the magic of the night sky like never before.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Dark Sky Festival website. See you under the stars!

Nonprofit Network Retreat #3 Video Available

Nonprofit Network Retreat #3 Video Available

We had another successful retreat with area nonprofits.

Mark Dalton, FHCCA Treasurer, gave a full presentation on the GiveSmart auction software. This technology is available to Nonprofit Network members for an additional $100 per year.

Vicky Derksen, FHCCA Membership & Marketing, gave a brief presentation on volunteer recruitment and retention. This was followed up with an open discussion where various participants contributed ideas.

Tammy Bell, FHCCA Vice President, discussed the future of the Nonprofit Network and the benefits of joining as a member. There are some valuable resources that are offered for those who become members.

The meeting wrapped up with a discussion about shared resources among our nonprofits, led by Dori Wittrig, FHCCA President.

CLICK HERE to view the recorded retreat.

For questions about this network, please email us at iLoveFountainHills@gmail.com.


Does Your Nonprofit Have a Newsletter?

Does Your Nonprofit Have a Newsletter?


Does your Nonprofit organization send a regular newsletter?

A newsletter is one of the most important communication tools you have, and it probably won’t cost you a penny. With a newsletter, you show up in the inboxes of your audience and members, prompting them to make an easy connection with you regularly.


Open rates for newsletters sent from Nonprofits average 25%. That means if you send a newsletter to 100 people, you could get around 25 people to open it and read it. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s much higher than the 6% open rate that corporate emails get! That low percentage never stops them from sending emails and newsletters all the time!


How often should you send a newsletter? Mailchimp, one of the free newsletter companies (if you have under 2,000 subscribers) says that people are more inclined to open your emails if you send four per month rather than one per month. However, you have to find what makes the most sense for your organization. For example, FHCCA only sends a newsletter on the first day of every month. Occasionally, we’ll send an additional one mid-month if we have something important and timely to announce. This works for the way our organization operates and with the expectations of our membership. We average a 57.6% open rate, proving that this frequency works for our audience.


If you are going to take the time to put together a newsletter, it is important that you respect the time and attention your audience is going to give to them. These tips will help you create something they appreciate and enjoy:


Create content that your audience will appreciate. Help them get to know your organization better, give them a glimpse behind the scenes, share important news, give them links to relevant content, etc. Keep your paragraphs short and double and triple check for spelling (use Grammarly.com to help).


Some newsletters get away with not having any photos, but people are far more attracted to relevant photos. Your organization’s logo should always appear at the very top. Share photos of your volunteers, your leadership, your events. If you need to use stock photos, check out websites such as Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash for free images.

No silly cat memes…unless your organization’s name is Fearless Kitty! However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t inject humor…or even a meme. Just make sure that it is relevant to your organization and your audience.


People love videos. You can create your own videos on a smartphone, or make them professional quality if you have the means. You can even share relevant (that is the keyword) videos from YouTube. Don’t waste their time with videos that are not important to your message.


While you have your audience’s attention, be sure to give them ample opportunities to click over to your website. Share an important page, like how they can join, and provide a link. Create a blog post that you can talk about in your newsletter and share the link. You get the idea.


Many people look for these in your newsletter. They want to follow you on Facebook or Instagram. This gives you a chance to reach them as they scroll every day.


Only say what needs to be said in your newsletter. People have shorter attention spans than ever. If you have a blog post, write two sentences about it in your newsletter to pique their interest, then provide a link back to it if they want to read more. If you have numerous topics to cover, be sure to create a solid headline for each topic, or number them. Make it as easy as possible for people to read.


There are numerous newsletter platforms out there, so it’s important to do your homework and comparison shop. Constant Contact is a great resource, but there is a monthly membership fee. Mailchimp and others like it are free if you have less than 2,000 subscribers.

At this time, FHCCA uses Mailchimp. I’ll be honest and say that we tolerate Mailchimp simply because it is free. It has some frustrating limitations that probably exist so that you’ll decide to upgrade for a fee. It can also land in a lot of Junk boxes when sent to subscribers and there is nothing you can do about that. However, it meets our needs right now and allows us to communicate for free. Do your research to find what fits your needs.

5 Tips For Leveraging Social Media For Your Nonprofit

5 Tips For Leveraging Social Media For Your Nonprofit

Are you using social media to connect to your audience? If not, you may be missing an important opportunity to raise awareness, make connections regularly, and turn your audience into fans. Here are some helpful tips for using social media effectively.

Give Them A Reason To Follow You

Your social media followers do not want to see your favorite cat memes…unless you happen to be Fearless Kitty. What bits of value can you add to their social media feed? Tell stories about experiences in your organization, recognize volunteers and staff members, give information about upcoming events, and always find ways to lead them back to your website.

Respond To Comments

Did you know that 83% of Facebook fans and 71% of Twitter followers expect a response the same day they make an inquiry? Don’t just post and walk away. Monitor comments and be sure to answer all messages sent through Facebook Messenger. These interactions are powerful for building relationships and fans.

Change Your Profile Photo & Banner

Your profile pictures and banners get the most views. Make a point of keeping them relevant and changing them from time to time. Do something fun for holidays or special observances. But whatever you choose, remember to keep it relevant.

Use Humor

Nonprofits that show a sense of humor and a bit of humanity tend to rank higher on social media. You may have an important and serious mission, but people like to know that there are real people behind it all. However, remember that the content you share should be consistent with your brand and voice. Make sure the humor fits your overall message. Cat memes work for Fearless Kitty, but probably wouldn’t fit for the River of Time Museum.

Encourage Tagging

On some of your posts, you can encourage your followers to tag someone they think would enjoy it. For example, if you are posting about your chocolate candy fundraiser, you could write, “Tag your favorite chocolate lover who needs this today!” It’s a great way to bring someone to your social media page who might not have landed there otherwise.

Don’t let social media scare you from reaching out to a broader audience. You don’t have to know all the little tricks and tips to be able to get your name out there and generate awareness. Start today.