Last Look: An Interview With Kristin Valentine, Director of Development, Bread for the City
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
KV: People have an inherent desire to help others but rarely get asked to do so. By asking them to support your cause, you are giving them an opportunity to make a difference. They want this opportunity, so get off your bum and ask them to help.
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?
KV: Bread for the City has only recently entered the social-networking arena. We started our blog about a year ago and have posted nearly every day since. Our Twitter feed is still fairly new but has also helped spark many new and interesting relationships.
FS: Can you describe a recent successful fundraising effort?
KV: We had a community picnic that cost BFC about $500. Clients, neighbors, volunteers, staff and donors came out to hear a report on our last fiscal year and had the opportunity to ask questions. This is our second year to hold the event, and it has become a great opportunity to meet with donors and solicit larger-dollar gifts.
FS: Any major difficulties or setbacks you've faced along the way? Things you would do differently with your fundraising?
KV: I've had some pretty bad ideas that I thought were good ones at the time. Thankfully, I have a board and executive director who are OK with me trying new things and forgive me when I fail. I still need to be more efficient with my time and resources. I think that will be an ongoing challenge. It's not always easy to tell what person or group will yield the greatest return.
FS: What advice would you give to organizations similar to yours, in size and annual operating budget?