An Interview With Katina Bishop, Development Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising? Are you engaged with social media and social networking?
KB: EFF engages in a significant amount of outreach to supporters that is not purely fundraising. Our weekly online newsletter, EFFecter, is sent each week to more than 80,000 e-mail subscribers, keeping them updated on our current work. We are engaged with social media and social networking, maintaining active accounts on both Facebook and Twitter. Further, we encourage supporters to take part in activism campaigns through our Action Center, and we maintain an active blog on our website. We also produce events and a lecture series.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
KB: I emphasize the cultivation of relationships with donors and supporters; whether they be members who donate smaller amounts, major donors, foundations or corporations. EFF invites supporters to engage with the organization as more than simply financial donors — with very positive results. For example, one member of a family foundation that donates to EFF also hosted a major-donor event in his home, and various well-known artists who contribute on a smaller scale to EFF also collaborate with us pro-bono on projects that greatly assist our fundraising efforts.
I also believe that when donors are viewed as whole people and not simply as financial resources, it becomes much easier to ask for monetary contributions.
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
KB: We will be putting even more effort and resources into developing partnerships with like-minded organizations/supporters. This not only helps EFF to raise money, but helps to expand the range of people we reach.
FS: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces as far as fundraising is concerned? How do you overcome them?
KB: Like most nonprofits, the uncertain economic situation of recent times has presented a challenge for EFF's fundraising. However, in many ways it encouraged us to think outside of the box even more proactively than we previously had done, and to experiment with fundraising strategies that we might not have risked during more stable economic times. These strategies have often been very successful and they've taught our team to move in new, untested directions, as well as continue with the tried-and-true activities that we've been successful with in the past.