Web Exclusive: Small Scope, but Not Small Time
Jo Haines, director of private fund development for The After-School Corp. of New York City and a regular speaker on the topic of funding for CBOs, believes all fundraising is local in terms of building relationships.
“I’ve always said funders fund people,” she says. “What many CBOs experience is they don’t have the resources in fundraising, and the executive director is wearing too many hats. We’re seeing more intermediary groups like TASC help them build community-based programs like after-school efforts.
“When promoting programs nationally, the tools are more sophisticated in terms of staff and spending,” she says. “CBOs are not always able to allocate this same time and money. The Internet can be a bit of an equalizer, but you still have to take the time to research your donors.”
Limited staff and time
Many CBOs also are faced with the challenge of limited time and staff. Callahan believes boards are the most under-utilized resource to help with this issue.
“Boards are key,” she says. “Stop just recruiting people and telling them they are not asked to do anything. Be up front about their responsibilities. Tell them this is a partnership. This partnership can be extraordinarily powerful. Sit down with the board and ask them, ‘How are we furthering your goals?’ Tell them, ‘Here are our needs; how do these coincide with your needs?’”
Haines agrees: “Board development is essential. Tell the board straight out: Every member must be willing to do something. Create an advisory/development board that has the capacity to guide your group. Ask them to open their address books and help you reach more people. Volunteers are another way to get people through the door.”
Many community-based organizations are founded by passionate people with limited fundraising experience. Both Haines and Callahan report that this sector in particular has an incredible discomfort around the subject of money.