Web Exclusive: Small Scope, but Not Small Time
Community-based organizations come in many flavors: small, large, health-centered, arts-centered, etc. They’re as varied in scope and size as the communities they represent. But they do have one thing in common: They are distinctly qualified to directly impact their surrounding cultures.
“Community-based programs are unique to fundraising efforts because of the potential impact they have on emerging and existing issues within their specific community — and also because of the organizations’ vast knowledge and connection to their community,” says Monique Hanson, chief development officer of the YMCA of the United States.
As in other sectors of fundraising, development directors must be aware of trends in social giving and tap into those trends that apply to their cause. CBOs are competing with national nonprofits for dollars in their community, and they need to find creative ways to stay on the donor radar, even when tsunamis and hurricanes are gaining national attention.
“When we compare our group to larger ones like the Red Cross and United Way, we see they are getting the bulk of the contributions,” says Lucia Ortega Villasana, director of development and marketing for STAND! Against Domestic Violence in Concord, Calif. “We have to remind our donors that we’re here because of a need that came out of the community.
“You have to look at social trends and correlate those trends to your work, but don’t change your mission,” she adds. “In our case, domestic violence has not changed for 30 years, but we remind donors this problem still exists and we tie this into social trends. We advise our public about changes in domestic violence issues over the past five years, such as MySpace and cell phones that keep abused partners on an electronic leash. You have to be savvy and tap into every resource that substantiates your need.”