An Interview With Madeline Kerner, National Director of Outreach and Development, Peer Health Exchange
FS: What are the biggest challenges your organization faces as far as fundraising is concerned? How do you overcome them?
MK: Given the impact of our program, the scale of need for effective health education, and our efficiency and replicability, PHE is poised for significant growth. To realize this potential, our fundraising will need to continue to be as efficient as it has been to date. This will require a singleness of purpose, laser-like focus on our priorities and ongoing rigorous evaluation of our strategy. We will work to ensure that our fundraising is not our greatest limiting factor.
FS: Do you foresee any big changes in the way you reach potential donors and other supporters in the near future?
MK: We are currently engaged in strategic planning to chart our impact over the next three [to] five years. That vision for impact will drive our fundraising and outreach goals and strategy.
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
MK: We provide an opportunity for people to fund effective, comprehensive health education — for low-income teens not otherwise receiving it — through an exceptionally efficient model. We believe that by communicating effectively about teens' risky behaviors and the resulting harm to their bodies and futures, people become advocates for health education. By coordinating our development work across our national and local offices, by communicating effectively, and by opening our health workshops and work to visitors, we deliver our program and set the stage to achieve our long-term goals.
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising? Are you engaged with social media and social networking?
MK: Whenever we can, PHE seeks to engage potential and current donors in our work by inviting them to observe our health education work live in a high-school classroom and by inviting them to speak with our college volunteers. Our future plans for social media will align with our long-term vision for impact, or our next strategic plan, which we are in the process of writing.