An Interview With Jennifer Marrapese, Executive Director, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
FS: Can you describe a recent successful fundraising effort?
JM: In our most recent annual appeal, NESEA doubled the dollar value of board contributions by securing a match from an anonymous donor. This donor challenged the board to commit to 100 percent participation in the appeal and to increase the dollar amount given by each board member. The donor matched dollar for dollar up to twice the previous year’s contribution. The result: 100 percent of the board participated, and we more than doubled the dollar amount contributed by the board by leveraging this donor’s generous match!
FS: Have you had any major difficulties or setbacks you’ve faced along the way? Is there anything you would do differently with your fundraising?
JM: [We’ve had] no major setbacks. But [there are] definitely things we would do differently, including making or donors feel more appreciated. We inquire about their interests and how we can create a deeper value to our relationship. Additionally, we recognize the importance of diversifying our revenue streams. It is imperative to the health of the organization not to rely too heavily on any one donor or sponsor for a particular program.
FS: What advice would you give to organizations similar to yours, in size and annual operating budget?
JM: Social media has certainly become a primary way to communicate with donors and members. So anything you can do to make yourself more visible through a variety of social-media venues is helpful — as long as you have good content to share — program updates, links to other resources, kudos to members or sponsors, etc.