Raising Money for Nonprofits in Terrible Times
At the United Jewish Appeal's UJA Federation of New York, many of the donors were burned in the Bernard Madoff scandal; others have lost their jobs and can't afford to give what they used to. The group has retooled its efforts so it can stay involved with those newly unemployed, both to assist them and to find ways in which they can still contribute.
"The mantra of our fund-raising campaign for the next few months is that it's 'for those who can,'" says Stuart Tauber, a senior development official at UJA-New York. He says the demand for UJA's services, like providing food to needy families, is increasing as local, state and federal governments cut back. "This is a perfect storm situation. There's no softening of the blow now, and it's coming from every side."
Tauber rejiggered the group's annual Wall Street dinner this winter to allow former donors to attend even if they'd lost a job or all their money. More people participated than before, and though the event brought in 13% less than the year before--$18.8 million--Tauber says it did far better than if those people hadn't been there at all.
Younger members helped pick up the slack, though in the past they had been largely ignored. "In general, we never thought of the younger community," Tauber admits. Just reaching out to them and encouraging groups of them to join up to pool their resources brought the UJA $350,000 in donations.
A big way to engage younger donors has been through technology. The United Nations Foundation, which was launched 10 years ago with a $1 billion gift from media mogul Ted Turner, has its own YouTube channel, uses Twitter and makes videos to document how its money is spent. "You've got to go where the people are," says Kathy Bushkin Calvin, the organization's chief operating officer.