Interview With Maureen Foster, Development Director, Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center
FundRaising Success: How do you fund your mission?
Maureen Foster: Fifty-two percent from donations, 19 percent from lesson/student fees, 14 percent from special events, 11 percent from the endowment and 4 percent from other.
FS: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces as far as fundraising is concerned? How do you overcome them?
MF: The amount of time needed by the development team to continue to process our usual number of grant requests, reports and individual solicitations is becoming more and more involved. More and more foundations are requesting specific grant applications, and the process can often take a significant amount of time. This, paralleled with the grant reports and the many forms of communication that are ever-changing to reach our donors, can make it hard to balance time commitments.
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
MF: During the past 10 years that I have worked at Fieldstone Farm TRC, I have seen funders become more and more interested (as they should) in exactly what their donations have accomplished.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
MF: We work really hard at communication to our donors, be it individuals, foundations or corporations. We try to bring the program to them so they can be a part of the achievements that they help to make possible. This type of work is never done. It’s constant, but that’s what keeps it interesting!
FS: Can you describe a recent successful fundraising effort?
MF: For our annual appeal, we asked a student/client to tell his story, and it was better than anyone could share! His accomplishments, which he credits to the therapeutic riding, are astounding. His words to back up his experience were very powerful.
FS: What advice would you give to organizations similar to yours, in size and annual operating budget?
MF: Communication to all of your constituents (clients, donors, volunteers and community) is of utmost importance.
Organization name: Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center
Organization address: 16497 Snyder Rd.,
P.O. Box 23129
Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
Phone number: 440.708.0013
Web address: www.fieldstonefarmtrc.com
Annual Operating Budget: $1.4 million
Annual Contributed Income (actual number and/or percentage of budget): Sixty-six percent received through donations and special events
Mission: Through a special partnership with horses, Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center offers programs designed by professionals to foster personal growth and individual achievement for people with disabilities.
Organization’s history: “Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center is a nonprofit organization that has been providing quality education and therapy-based equine programs for people with disabilities for 30 years. Originating with a handful of volunteers teaching lessons to just eight students in 1978, Fieldstone Farm TRC has evolved into a full-time, nationally accredited program that currently serves 800 students annually with the help of more than 500 volunteers! Therapeutic equine programming involves horse-related activities uniquely designed for people with cognitive, physical, emotional and social disabilities. Students of all ages learn horseback riding skills and basic horse care while receiving many benefits such as: improved balance, mobility, muscle tone, coordination and posture, enhanced independence, and increased concentration and self-esteem. The use of the horse has proven to be a highly motivational and enriching therapeutic and educational tool for students to set aside their crutches, wheelchairs and disabilities as they settle into the saddle.”
Number of employees: 31
Number of employees strictly devoted to fundraising: 2