About Fundraising and Membership

CHC Inclusiveness Committee develops a plan for recruiting a more inclusive donor base.

Mrs. Dreyfuss sat at the head of the table where Eleanor, Joe, Beth, and the fundraising assistant, Mary Catherine, were developing a plan for increasing the inclusiveness of CHC fundraising efforts. Their first task was to identify the benefits of a more diverse donor base.

"That's easy!" said Mary Catherine. "More money!"

"Of course," said Eleanor, smiling. "That's an important one. I'll also put down deeper community connections. It seems like our old, generous group of folks is getting, well, old! We need some new blood, and since the demographics show that the younger population of our community is much more diverse, then we better be making some new connections."

"I'd like to add the importance of receiving contributions from the community surrounding the clinic," said Joe. "If we ever had a zoning dispute, I want everyone in the surrounding neighborhood to think of this as ‘their' clinic."

"How about a more stable funding base?" said Beth. "We have all of our eggs in the basket of one small segment of the community. It seems a little fragile to be so reliant on the generosity of one group of people."

Mrs. Dreyfuss, who had been silent up to this point, finally spoke. "That fragile group has supported this clinic in fine style for fifteen years."

"Yes, Alice, they have," said Beth. "But who ‘they' are - the community leaders, the people with resources - that's all changing now. That's why so many other clinics are doing the work of expanding their donor bases."

Mrs. Dreyfuss shrugged and frowned. As the group continued to brainstorm, Joe and Beth exchanged a look of concern.

They moved on to reviewing the data from the information-gathering phase.

Mary Catherine pointed to the numbers of donors who gave through the clinic. "Just from looking at last names, we estimated that 70 percent of the donations that we receive in the clinic donation boxes are from diverse families. And some of them are pretty generous, given that most of our clients are living pretty close to the edge."

"Goodness," said Mrs. Dreyfuss. "I hadn't realized this!"

"Well, the workbook says that clinics are traditionally an area where people from diverse communities will tend to give," said Eleanor. "And that sure is borne out in Los Angeles. The health clinic in East Los Angeles has developed a circle of supporters from the Latino community. They have something like two hundred families signed up, and that's after just three years."

"I don't know if we'll have results that dramatic," said Joe. "But it's worth looking at."

Beth, who had been perusing the Board interview responses, chimed in. "I think whatever we develop has to acknowledge that most Board members love our existing events. And they don't want to change those. If we have a sacred cow in the process, it's those gala events."

"Oh, and they're so much work!" said Mary Catherine. "I'd love to add in a simple spaghetti feed every once in a while."

"And just how much can you charge for a table at a spaghetti feed?" asked Mrs Dreyfuss. She said the word "feed" as if she had a bad taste in her mouth.

"Well, it's certainly different from what we've done, and it couldn't replace our existing events," said Eleanor. "But if it gave us a chance to get people acquainted with the clinic, that would be valuable. Let's keep that on hold for our discussion of tactics we can use to recruit diverse prospects."

After examining the research and completing the associated exercise, they moved on to setting goals for their fundraising plan. They decided to:

  • increase event attendance and participation from diverse donors
  • connect with current donors from communities of color and encourage them to increase and continue their giving
  • begin cultivating major donors from diverse communities

They were looking for outcomes that included doubling the number of diverse donors who attend their signature events, a 25 percent increase in the number of gifts from donors of color, and an increase of 10 percent in total giving from these donors.

"This is great," said Eleanor. "And it will be much easier if we're able to enact some of the volunteer recruitment strategies that Marcie and I discussed. Mrs. Dreyfuss, Beth, do you feel that these goals will be able to align with the goals of the Board's development committee?"

Beth looked to the Board chair for an answer. Mrs. Dreyfuss thought for a moment, then nodded. "I do, but you're going to have to emphasize that all this will be in addition to what we're already doing. Are you sure you and Mary Catherine can manage all of this?" The two women looked at each other and laughed. "We're incredibly busy as it is!" said Eleanor. "Thanks for thinking of us, Mrs. Dreyfuss. Joe, do you think there would be money in the budget for a part time staff person to help us just with events? The increased revenue we bring in would eventually more than pay for his or her salary."

"I do think you need someone," said Joe. "But why don't we start out with an events consultant?"

"I'd rather actually hire someone who brings with them some expertise on reaching these new communities. No offense, Mary Catherine, but you and I aren't exactly the experts on the Latino community," said Eleanor.

Mary Catherine laughed again. "Nope," she said. "I'm sure willing to learn, though."

"We'll take a look at the budget and see if this can work, perhaps starting first thing next year. For now, let's put it in the plan.

We want our best case scenario to be in the blueprint," said Joe.

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