An Interview With Isabelle Benditte, Director of Development, South Florida Urban Ministries
For more than 37 years, SFLUM has been a catalyst in the development of community ministries throughout Miami-Dade and now Broward counties. From congregational-based to community-based programs, each initiative of SFLUM has served some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community. Over the years, several vital urban ministry initiatives have been spun off to become independent entities.
FS: How do you fund your mission?
IB: SFLUM partners with churches and organizations to develop ministries of compassion and justice in South Florida. We are very fortunate to be funded by extremely caring and generous people who are either church members, business professionals or simply caring individuals who want to make a difference in our community. SFLUM is also the proud recipient of several grants from larger and small foundations and some government entities. We are also slowly growing our corporate donor base and see much potential in this area.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
IB: I believe that fundraising is all about building relationships and building trust. It is so important to connect with your donors and make them feel valued, appreciated and listened to. One must also gain their trust so the donors feel comfortable with you on a personal level, as well as the organization, its mission and programs, and its future. It should always be all about the donor because without the donor’s support and dedication, we would not be able to fund all the amazing programs that impact our community in such a positive way.
I also think that seeing is believing, and whenever you can actually show your donor what you are doing, they will be more connected and more invested in your organization. Give them a tour of your facility, your program site; speak with a staff person or a client. This will truly make an incredible difference, and it will make it even harder for that donor to say no when you make the ask!