An Interview With the Center for Family Representation's John Linder
The minimum cost of keeping one child in foster care in New York State is $29,000 per year. CFR’s services, however, cost just $6,000 per family, regardless of the number of children. As a result, we saved taxpayers more than $6.9 million in 2011 alone.
CFR is also the first organization of its kind in the country to provide an innovative, team-based model of services to low-income families facing separation. Every CFR client works with a team of professionals comprised of a lawyer, a social worker and a parent advocate — a trained professional who has experienced the child welfare system firsthand and has successfully reunited with her family.
These, and many more messages, help CFR raise funds from donors. The data we collect was also instrumental in CFR winning our city contracts. Not surprisingly, CFR has gained traction with institutional funders and continues to see more dollars come from these donors each year. On the other hand, CFR has a nascent individual fundraising program and relatively small, but growing, gala.
While we have some very loyal individual donors at all levels, we are investing heavily in growing individual support for our mission. We find that our message of efficiency, justice and supporting families engages donors, once we finally connect with them. We focus a lot of our time on expanding the circle of friends and donors that know CFR’s work.
FS: How does CFR engage donors and other supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising efforts?
JL: CFR has several ways that it engages donors and supporters in non-fundraising activities. CFR utilizes volunteers in a number of ways — from helping to organize our donation closets to volunteering to stuff backpacks for our annual backpack drive, or from our pro bono legal opportunities to serving on our junior board. CFR regularly organizes tours of family court that donors, policymakers and new friends alike can [attend to] see our team-based model in action.