The celebrity-heavy Thanks and Giving campaign has been incredibly successful, raising more than $6 million online in three years: $1.9 million in 2004, $2.8 million in 2005 and $3 million in 2006 — a 31 percent growth.
O’Brien says ALSAC/St. Jude’s fundraising success also has a lot to do with the support the department receives internally.
“The reason I love St. Jude is that it encourages risk-taking in fundraising. I mean, you have to be smart about it, but if you have an idea of something that’s going to work, you have the resources to test it,” she says.
“Unlike a lot of boards that may be governing really to the point of keeping you from pushing the edge of the envelope, the St. Jude board, while being extremely fiscally minded, also understands that you have to test and we have to keep ahead of the curve,” she adds.
Increasing its publicity and creating more avenues for giving is necessary as the organization looks to donors of the future.
“We want to make sure that we’re current with the digital age. I think when 30 million Americans vote on ‘American Idol,’ that says something to me that that’s a concept that we have to tap into and grow,” says John P. Moses, chief executive officer at ALSAC/St. Jude.
“So it is a challenge, and we plan to meet it because you know the next generation of donors is not going to be people necessarily that will put a check in the envelope and mail it. And we’ve got to be able to accommodate them,” he adds.
A ‘volunteer army’
On the other side of the fundraising coin for ALSAC/St. Jude, opposite the involvement of celebrities, are the droves of ordinary people who volunteer to fundraise for the organization, which views Danny Thomas as its first volunteer.