Why YOU Need to Unleash Your Inner Fundraiser
Most of us are raised with definite ideas about money. We’re told that asking for money is taboo and that it makes people uncomfortable. Many of us are advised to steer clear of all topics related to money and finances altogether.
In the nonprofit world, the development office is one arena where all such hang-ups must go. When it comes to ending homelessness, we understand that raising private dollars allows us to be creative with developing and implementing permanent, practical solutions for our program participants. No matter what nonprofit “cause” you support, raising private dollars is key.
The Federal government’s 2010 Opening Doors Plan states that privately funded programs must play a part in the fight against homelessness. Federal funds alone will simply not suffice. What’s more, community providers who develop initiatives with private support have the flexibility to create models that are tailored to address the needs of people facing homelessness in their communities.
For rehabilitation pundits, this is a good thing. The most cost-effective and efficient solutions require programming that is adapted to local socio-economic conditions. Friendship Place currently offers two privately funded options to struggling individuals in the DC Metropolitan Area. AimHire and Direct Housing are designed to help people living in homelessness or on the brink of it.
AimHire, our job placement and rehousing program, places people in jobs all over the Metropolitan Area, 178 to date, and assists them in finding housing they can afford on their own, with no public assistance. The average placement date is just over two months, for jobs, and just under three, for housing.
Direct Housing, our newest addition, places people with benefit checks like SSI, SSDI and retirement income into housing they can afford. We are using a network of landlords to do this, creating group households as needed and developing other creative approaches. Providers in your community can develop solutions like these. In order to this, however, they need assurance that enough funding can be raised directly from community members to sustain these initiatives.
This is where unleashing you inner fundraiser comes in. There are diverse levels of fundraising from a small-scale local organization to a large-scale nationally recognized operation. Fundraising starts with a simple determination to change our world for the better.
Nobody is expecting you to become a fearless fundraiser overnight, but here are some ways you can get started:
- Get to know your organization Attend its events, and bring friends and neighbors, too. Become familiar with not only the staff and board members but also the program participants.
- Learn how to describe the organization in a meaningful, concise, and relevant way. This “elevator pitch” will help you communicate your message and goals. Once you’ve seen first-hand how the organization is changing lives, this should be a piece of cake.
- Organize a gathering. Invite some friends for coffee or dinner and chat up the organization to help generate interest.
- Ask how you can help! If you need ideas, contact the staff in the development office and ask how you can get involved. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to get you on board.
But, whatever you choose to do, remember the money is not for you. There is no room for shyness with so many people on the street, so push past those social and personal barriers and SET YOUR INNER FUNDRAISER FREE!
By Jean-Michel Giraud
This blog was originally published on The Huffington Post