Closing the Gap(s)
"For example, we might approach a prominent rabbi in a Jewish community for help," she adds. "We began to hear about kids who were turning their bar mitzvahs into fundraisers. A kid might ask those invited to his bar mitzvah to donate money for the hungry rather than give him a gift. He might tell them to put the money in a jar and give it to NTFB."
NTFB's focused efforts on branding during the Close the Gap campaign paid off in a big way.
"More people now know about NTFB," Brinkmann says. "Among North Texas residents, there is 81 percent unaided brand awareness of the food bank."
As brand awareness grows, more and more people are likely to contribute food products, money and volunteer service. This means NTFB's operational side will be better able to keep up with demand from those 1,000-plus affiliates, including soup kitchens and shelters, after-school programs, senior citizen centers, and other social-service venues.
The success of the affiliates depends to some degree on the effectiveness of NTFB's various feeding and education programs. In one program, potential donors are encouraged to give memorial gifts in honor of deceased loved ones and "honor" gifts to commemorate holidays, birthdays, and other personal or business-related occasions. This year, donors are being asked to give an extra $30 in honor of the NTFB's 30th anniversary.
Another program asks community groups to initiate food drives and conduct the food drives online in order to cut down on fuel costs and other expenses. Corporations are invited to organize and host employee giving campaigns and are given "employee campaign giving kits" that involve templates for fliers, e-mail blasts and other components.
Other NTFB initiatives include:
1. Free assistance to those seeking to apply for SNAP. This is important because residents of Texas who apply on their own often have to wait an inordinately long time to receive food cards even though federal regulations dictate that no one should have to wait more than 30 days.