Cover Story: Feeding the Need
“Direct marketing is critical to the success of all individual giving programs at America’s Second Harvest,” she says, in explaining why there’s been such a determined push to get the program back on track. “It feeds our planned and major giving programs, provides a stable source of income that is less likely to fluctuate in times of economic uncertainty, and is the primary method through which we brand ourselves to the donating public. Direct mail is where we start the vast majority of our individual donor contact, and then go on to stabilize them into real giving relationships.”
Using your strengths
But fundraising at A2H isn’t all about direct marketing. The relationships with Starr and Reynolds, which came about over the course of 2000-2001, helped pump the foundation relations division income from a line item of less than $500,000 a year to about $8 million a year, 29 percent of the organization’s contributed annual revenue.
A2H’s latest coup in that area is a new (as of July 2003) partnership with The Starr Foundation in which the foundation writes an annual check for $4 million to A2H, which in turn helps feed needy New Yorkers by granting the money to A2H affiliates City Harvest and Food Bank For New York City and their member agencies — soup kitchens, pantries, shelters and other food providers across the five boroughs.
The symbiotic pairing came about when The Starr Foundation wanted to expand its hunger-relief, grant-making efforts to help feed more people in the five-borough area around NYC. It was a huge undertaking that would have required the addition of staff members who could interact with local agencies and who also had some knowledge of food-handling and safety rules. Rather than add to its own administrative costs, the foundation turned to A2H, which already had a network in place to best distribute the funds the foundation was offering.