An Interview With Jennifer Tierney, Director of Development of Doctors Without Borders/M
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
JT: We are working a lot on the Internet and in social networking right now, trying to marry a social-networking and event-type fundraising approach. Please see www.bethere1st.org.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
JT: We stress the importance of providing donors with specific and detailed information about the work we do in the field. Transparency about our work and the challenges we face is very important to us, and it has the simultaneous impact of bringing our donors closer to the organization, and often increases their loyalty.
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising? Are you engaged with social media sites — MySpace, Facebook, etc. — and online social networking?
JT: Throughout the United States, MSF hosts a number of awareness-raising public events, including moderated panel discussions on humanitarian issues and the "Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City" exhibit tour. MSF also regularly sends aid workers to give presentations to medical, academic and community groups. Find MSF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/msf.english, and check out MSF's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/msf.
FS: Can you describe a recent successful fundraising effort?
JT: Just launching the Be There 1st campaign earlier this month was a success.
FS: Any major difficulties or setbacks you've faced along the way? Things you would do differently with your fundraising?
JT: Online fundraising has been a challenge. Getting people to donate via e-mail only seems to work very well in emergency situations and at the end of the year, when donors are using the online form as a "virtual reply device." We have improved our strategy and raised more money than historically, but the money we generate from e-appeals is still not a significant percentage of our income.