Interview: A Model (Citizen) Fundraising Partnership, Part 1
By becoming a Karma member, I could network and share my story with people who are as passionate and interested in entrepreneurialism as I am. I see Karma as an all-encompassing community, where the benefits for a member are endless, and decided to inquire about how they could help Model Citizen Fund. Once I applied for a charity sponsorship, I entered a screening process like all of the charities do, and after many sit-downs and one-on-one strategy sessions, Model Citizen Fund was named one of the beneficiaries of an elite Karma event.
The event itself was spectacular: Over 4,000 attendees made it out to the Vegas-based social event, where performers like Grammy-winning artist Chris Brown, Jersey Shore's DJ Pauly D, DJ Paul Oakenfold and Rev Run entertained the crowd. Proceeds benefitted Model Citizen Fund, which in turn helped the victims of Hurricane Isaac. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome or more effective way of fundraising.
FS: Can you discuss the fundraising tactics Model Citizen Fund and Karma Foundation utilize?
DF: Model Citizen Fund has a couple of different fundraising elements, all working simultaneously to maximize donor involvement and overall effectiveness. One of the most standard fundraising strategies that most nonprofits practice is private donations — reaching out to friends, family, colleagues and anyone you personally know. This is a great "step one" approach when looking for donations, but it shouldn’t end there.
The staff at Model Citizen Fund then reaches out to suppliers — the big-name companies that want to help produce, design and distribute certain products. Instead of paying full retail price for the supplies found in each backpack, we have access to a significant discount simply by reaching out to these companies and remaining passionate when discussing our cause. Of course, buying in bulk also helps. Model Citizen Fund is operationally funded by me and other donor relationships. We have not launched our grant request program, although we plan to in 2013. This is a long process, and you never know if it will be successful. Our staff, distributors and board members all volunteer their time to the nonprofit, another example of the immense passion behind our overall mission.