Every time we finish a Sustainability Institute workshop, we ask for feedback from participants about what else they’d like to learn. Fundraising is one of the most frequently requested topics, so this autumn, our Director of Development, Henry Enright, led a fundraising workshop in Manhattan and Poughkeepsie. Asking for money can be an unwelcome task for many people—even Henry acknowledged his hesitance to solicit contributions when he first began working in the development field. However, by framing fundraising in terms of “matching needs with resources,” Henry helped us understand how to go about it in a comfortable, fruitful manner.
Henry started the morning with an in-depth look at cultivating and soliciting gifts from individuals, which amount to 72% of all charitable contributions nationwide. He took us through the process of identifying potential donors, building relationships with them and maintaining their support over time. Then participants had the opportunity to practice “The Ask” in small groups. “The Ask” conversation centers on communicating the needs of the population you serve to someone who might wish to join with you in your efforts. By first preparing the stories of our programs—including briefly who we serve, how we serve them and why our services are important—we were comfortable practicing “The Ask” and requesting gifts in specific dollar ranges from targeted donors. Overall, Henry stressed the importance of balancing reliable statistics with poignant stories in order to paint the full picture of a program during fundraising. Finally, in addition to discussing major gifts and storytelling, Henry also covered >the basics of direct mail and holding a fundraising event.
To those who attended: we hope you benefited from this workshop tailored to your questions and concerns. If you’re seeking more help with fundraising, take a look at the Sustainability Institute Resource page where we posted all the PowerPoints from the workshop or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the Sustainability Institute Google Group—a forum where programs exchange information and collaborate on solutions. Sustainability Institute workshops (and all accompanying resources) are open to any outreach program in the diocese. Our next workshop is in April, 2014. Check back on our website for details.
Photo from our annual Tribute Dinner. Purchase your ticket for this year’s dinner (November 21) here.