Raising Money for Nonprofits in Terrible Times
The foundation gets $50 million a year from Turner's initial gift, but it has recently had to start reaching out to less wealthy donors as the demand for its services has increased. One way it has done this is by keeping all its campaigns very easy to understand and capable of working with various media platforms. For instance, the Nothing But Nets campaign, in support of anti-malaria netting, uses YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and ThinkMTV.
Being direct with potential donors is key too. "People are moved to give, but they need a price point to get involved," Calvin says. She has set a low price point for Nothing But Nets, $10, which pays for one net and its delivery and installation. The project has raised $20 million so far, and more money came in in December than in any other month since 2006. "There is still a desire to be engaged."
Calvin says a new tack with more affluent givers is to draw on the many partnerships the United Nations Foundations has and network donors across them. For instance, she'll reach out to those who gave to the International Red Cross and get them involved with other organizations that deal with world health. "All of those levels of engagement are really important," she says.
Hard times have also brought fundraisers back to essentials--and even to some of the old-fashioned approaches. Julie Lucas, at Fordham Law School, has turned to tithing, which usually means churchgoers pledging percentages of their annual incomes to their places of worship. She managed recently to persuade several multimillionaires to give Fordham 1% of their incomes for five years.
"You have to talk business," Lucas says. "You have to be specific. If you never ask, people are never going to know what you need."