Driving Home the Point
Implemented in five locations, Raising More Money raised more than $350,000 in unrestricted cash and pledges that will be distributed to those affiliates over the next five years.
In addition to upping its donated dollars, MADD has discovered other benefits to its revitalization plan, especially when it comes to refining its mission and its case for giving.
In its 25 years, MADD’s commitment to changing laws and attitudes about drunken driving, underage drinking and victim/survivor services has saved 300,000 lives. Until recently, however, it’s done a less than stellar job communicating to the public what it does with its donations.
The organization recently better defined its “units of service,” breaking down its good work by price points to give donors a better idea of how far their donations can go. For example, a $1,000 gift will pay for a victims advocate to sit with a family through a harrowing court proceeding.
“What’s been so beautiful is that this really has refocused our field back on the mission work,” Heard says. “It’s allowing us to tell the community about what we’re doing and what we want to do.”
Part two: Special events
While large nonprofits everywhere have established big-money, crowd-pleasing events such as runs and walkathons, MADD didn’t enter the world of special-events fundraising until 2004, when it introduced its first Strides for Change Walk in six cities, with plans to expand to 23 in 2005.
The first go-round, Heard says, was more successful than anyone could have guessed, with each of the original six walks making money — an average net of about $40,000 each.
“It’s basically a pledge-based walk targeting corporations,” he explains. “We just looked at other charities and adopted their best practices.”
In its second season, the non-competitive 5K walk signed on Nissan as its national presenting sponsor. The Dallas event in April, the first of the new season, drew 2,500 people and grossed $130,000, which meant a net profit of $75,000. In St. Louis and West Palm Beach, Fla., MADD is testing a new event, the Get in Gear Road Rally, in cooperation with the Sports Car Club of America.