Fundraising With Heart
A one-week-a-year campaign that raises $200,000 over three years? Not bad.
More aggressive is increasing your development goal for that campaign to $100,000 in a single year.
That’s what Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a nonprofit organization founded by parents of children with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, had in mind as it launched its fourth annual DMD Awareness Week in February.
Over the past three years, PPMD, which has a full-time staff of three (none of whom are full-time development personnel), raised a combined $200,000 through Awareness Week programs. To meet its increased goal, PPMD corralled everything from grassroots fundraising programs to a new marketing campaign and made the 2005 campaign its most successful Awareness Week yet, far surpassing its goals.
“Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a terminal degenerative disorder that deserves national attention, as it can affect any family at any time,” says Kimberly Galberaith, associate executive director at PPMD. “Awareness Week helps us get the word out, invigorate the families we help, and raise money to boot.”
One of PPMD’s cornerstone programs is the DMD Hope Hearts national fundraising effort, planned just in time for Valentine’s Day. Through PPMD’s network of volunteers and member families, paper hearts were sold and displayed through local grocery stores and other retail outlets, spreading the message that “Your Heart is a Muscle, Too.” The results: More than 20,000 Hope Hearts were distributed and $15,000 worth of income is anticipated from this initiative.
PPMD also tested a Virtual Valentine program, which allowed visitors to its Web site to send an e-mail Valentine to a friend or loved one in the four days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Though the $450 raised hardly could be considered earth shattering, the organization plans to build on the initiative for future e-mail-based campaigns.
In addition, PPMD provided posters, literature and other resources to help volunteers create Awareness Week activities in their neighborhoods. The PPMD Web site featured “35+ Easy Things to Do for PPMD’s 4th Annual Awareness Week” and included ideas ranging from writing letters and putting up lawn signs to hosting a fundraising event in school or selling PPMD “I WILL” rubber wristbands and other PPMD merchandise at local retail locations.
Sarah Durham is president of Big Duck, a New York City-based branding, marketing and fundraising firm for nonprofits. She serves on the boards of the National Brain Tumor Society and the New York Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).