Last Look: Gerry Brisson, vice president for development, Gleaners
We overcome those challenges through a comprehensive, integrated fundraising program that includes nine annual direct-mail appeals, individual donor solicitations, four special events, dozens of strategic grant requests and efforts to leverage government funding wherever possible. We combine our fundraising with a robust communication program with three comprehensive newsletters, a powerful and informative Web site, and integrated communications planning so that the fundraising and communications efforts maximally support each other, giving us the most return on our investments and expenditures.
FS Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
GB: The next few years will see fewer changes and more refinement and improvement of the programs we have been working to put in place for the last two years.
FS How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
GB: Fundraising is a joy, honor and privilege. But with that comes the responsibility to perform at the greatest level of excellence, efficiency and ethical standards. Effective fundraising isn’t about money. It’s about activating the community to solve a problem that needs to be solved. We measure our success by how effective we are at our core business — but that usually costs money. We communicate that need to people that can — and want to — make a difference. It is the most gratifying and humbling of jobs to be present to both great generosity and great success in making our world a better place to live.
FS How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising? Are you engaged with the new social-media sites — MySpace, Facebook, etc. — and online social networking?
GB: Gleaners has a Facebook page, which we are just starting to explore. We also have special access for our volunteers and partners on our Web site. We have a speakers bureau, a volunteer program with more than 15,000 volunteers, and are engaged in numerous community-based activities including cleaning up our neighborhood and being available to sit on other organization’s boards of directors, to name just a few things. All of these efforts are supported by our online presence, e-blasts, and interactive feedback opportunities in many places on our Web site and even in our print materials.