‘You Can Make a Difference’
Our Volunteer Program is integral to this process. The ultimate ask often comes organically either following or in conjunction with this engagement process. We have never done a telephone campaign and no longer rely as heavily on direct mail, although we do an annual appeal and Mother’s Day appeal — both of which have been tremendously successful as fundraising and communication tools.
FS: What fundraising challenges are unique to homeless support programs?
AA: One major fundraising challenge for homeless and housing organizations is the rapidly diminishing support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for housing and support services. Project H.O.M.E. has worked over the past two years to develop an ongoing contingency plan for funding these growing gaps and to restructure our fundraising team to adapt to changes in the funding environment. For us, at least for the short-term, there must be an increased focus on connecting with the private sector — particularly corporations and individuals. Therefore, our restructuring, among other things, has included shifting staff to individual (or major-gifts) fundraising. Our education and advocacy department is also working tirelessly with housing and homeless organizations across the country to promote the idea that cutbacks at the HUD should be offset by increases at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Christine Weiser is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and publisher of the nonprofit literary-arts publication Philadelphia Stories.