An Interview With Moira Mulroney, Director of Development and Communications, the Support Center for Child Advocates
With an annual operating budget of $2.2 million, the Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social-service advocacy for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia County. Child Advocates is one of the most successful volunteer models serving children in the country. Since its founding in 1977, Child Advocates has trained more than 3,500 attorneys who contribute pro bono services valued at more than $3.5 million annually.
Its mission statement: "To advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect in Philadelphia with the goal of securing a permanent, nurturing environment for every child."
Here, we talk with Moira Mulroney, director of development and communications, at the center.
FundRaising Success: How does Support Center for Child Advocates fund its mission?
Moira Mulroney: More than $1.7 million of the annual budget is raised through charitable contributions from nongovernmental sources.
FS: What are Child Advocates' fundraising strengths/weaknesses?
MM: Our main fundraising strength is the diversification of funding sources. In the previous fiscal year, we received 24 percent from foundations, 21 percent from corporations and law firms, 26 percent from individuals. We accomplish this by building relationships with all supporters — whether through meetings and events, or volunteer opportunities with our child clients and on the board of directors or various committees.
As the philanthropy trends change and monies are less available from corporate and foundation sources, we hope to strengthen our individual giving program by increasing major gifts and planned gifts. To date, we have not launched a formal major-gifts program so I consider that to be our area of weakness and an area of potential growth.
FS: How do you engage donors and other supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising efforts?
MM: Child Advocates is the nation's oldest and largest pro bono legal and social services agency serving abused and neglected children. We recruit and train hundreds of attorneys a year, assigning more than 500 volunteer attorneys to represent our child clients. We believe in "whole child" representation, teaming volunteer attorneys with staff social workers and consulting lawyers to provide all needed legal and social services with the goal to secure a permanent and nurturing environment for each child. There is no better way to engage our supporters than to involve them directly in our work.