Written by Jennifer Fitzgerald
For nonprofits seeking an effective, long-term fundraising strategy, realizing that donor motivation can be an internal, self-determined action is key. Not to mention adapting to a constantly-changing digital world.
“Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.”
These words by Hank Rosso, founder of the Fund Raising School in 1974, which later became part of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, ring true for many nonprofits across Western North Carolina (WNC). While there are multiple ways that a nonprofit is funded—including grants, bequests, and corporate contributions—dollars generated from fundraising play a vital part in the overall budget.
“Because our daily work to fill plates provides the most basic, fundamental need for over 100,000 people experiencing hunger in WNC, we work very hard to stay on track with fundraising—our mission demands it, and our conscience requires it,” says MANNA FoodBank’s CEO, Hannah Randall. “Every dollar that comes in the door is another 3.5 meals we can provide, and considering that during our last fiscal year, we provided enough food for 15.2 million meals, we know how important it is for us to continue our fundraising efforts to support the growing need for food across WNC.”
And keeping the fundraising events relevant and fresh for the community is key. Nonprofits must assess what works best for their organization and donors and be willing to update and change up the event as needed from year to year.
Twenty-five percent of the Asheville City Schools Foundation budget comes from donors. Copland Rudolph, development director of the foundation, explains that their fundraising efforts have moved from a sit-down dinner with silent and live auctions to an engaging speaker event with a reception beforehand.
“Our board has made a strong commitment to actually have all aspects of our organization align with our mission of excellence with equity,” says Rudolph. “A semi-formal event with a $60 per person ticket isn’t equitable nor does it encourage all of our community to attend.”
If a fundraising event is not successful, Rudolph advises to analyze why, but don’t be afraid to get rid of it: “Events with the sole purpose of fundraising are a huge time/resource drain.”
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