An Interview With Ken Mallette, Director of Oxfam America's Annual Fund
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
KM: Social networking and online communications have changed the fundraising landscape drastically over the past few years. There’s no telling what’s next. It will be important to remain open to trying new approaches and technologies.
However, regardless of how you communicate with donors — be it a Facebook post or an in-person visit — the most important thing will remain creating an opportunity for people to engage in the work Oxfam does and learn about what is happening on the ground.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
KM: Oxfam America relies almost exclusively on private funding, and we are fortunate to have more than 250,000 individual donors. Among leading humanitarian organizations, we stand alone in our refusal of U.S. government funds, declining support from any sources that might compromise our independence. As conscientious stewards of our donors’ money, Oxfam America operates efficiently and aims to minimize fundraising and administrative costs. In 2008, we allocated 80 percent of our expenditures for development programs and emergency relief — a number that is well above the standard recommended by the American Institute of Philanthropy, one of the leading charity-rating organizations in the U.S. During this same period, at least 90 percent of funds designated by donors for humanitarian emergencies directly supported our relief efforts for those emergencies. We strive to exceed or maintain these standards each year.
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising?
KM: We engage supporters via Twitter and Facebook. They are both fantastic mediums to get supporters the latest information quickly. In addition, Oxfam’s fundraising efforts for its Haiti emergency response raised over $144,000 on Facebook.