An Interview with Jenni Henry, development manager, Girls on the Run
Girls who participate in Girls on the Run Chicago programs aren't sprinting away from problems but making a mad dash toward a better, brighter future.
The nonprofit offers experiential learning programs for young girls that combine training for a 3.1-mile run with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The program's goal is less depression and fewer adolescent pregnancies, eating disorders, suicide attempts, substance/alcohol abuse problems and confrontations with the juvenile justice system.
And each year the organization is helping more girls.
Since its beginnings nearly 10 years ago, Girls on the Run Chicago has grown from serving 60 girls to nearly 3,000 per year, development manager Jenni Henry said.
Here, we talk to Henry about the organization and its fundraising strategies and challenges.
FundRaising Success: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces as far as fundraising is concerned? How do you overcome them?
Jenni Henry: The economic recession has certainly made fundraising difficult, especially concerning renewing corporate sponsors or signing on new ones. It's also hard because there are so many great nonprofits out there, and we're all competing for the same money.
In order to overcome this, we really try to make an effort to set ourselves apart and show potential sponsors how we're different from other nonprofits that might serve a similar demographic. We have a few different events that reach different types of audiences, so we use this as a way to persuade sponsors that they will gain visibility as a charitable institution to a large, diverse group of people.
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
JH: We haven't executed much of an individual-giving campaign in the past, and this is an element of fundraising we'd really like to increase in the coming year. Last month we sent out our first-ever direct-mail piece in the form of an annual appeal, and we'd like to continue that once or twice a year.