Donor Focus: Tackling an "Icky" Topic
One of TV’s hottest shows right now is “Law & Order: SVU,” which dramatizes the society-wide problem of sexual and domestic violence. The sorrowful stories make for great TV, but what about when it comes to raising money for organizations that support its victims and work to eradicate it?
Begun in 1975, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape does just that. Its work focuses on public awareness, prevention, policy and education at the state level, and it administers government contracts to a statewide network of local sexual-violence centers to provide free and confidential crisis intervention; individual and group counseling; hospital, court and police accompaniment; prevention education; and referral services.
PCAR is primarily funded with federal grants, with additional aid from state, local and private sources. In 1997, the PCAR board of directors approved creation of a development office to generate non-restricted income.
Here, Executive Director Delilah Rumburg talks more about the special challenges of raising money for organizations that rally against sexual and domestic violence.
FundRaising Success: How your organization is funded?
Delilah Rumburg: PCAR is primarily funded with federal grants. We also receive funding from state, local and private sources. Some of PCAR’s funding sources include the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Health, the Office of Justice Programs, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of Violence Against Women, and the Office of Victims of Crime.
FS: Who is the typical donor to organizations that deal with domestic/sexual violence?
DR: The typical, obvious donors are primarily women who comprehend the realities of sexual violence/violence against women and children either directly or indirectly. For the past several decades, rape and sexual assault has been largely perceived as a “women’s issue.”
Back in the 1980s, Junior League organizations began to take on the issue of domestic violence and offer their name and resources to create awareness of this issue and concurrently committed valuable funding and volunteer support to improve shelter conditions. The end result was one of legitimatization, giving the issue of domestic violence much-needed visibility and credibility, which in turn made domestic violence a “trendy” issue worthy of support. This ultimately led to significant corporate and community support, which is sustained today.