FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
BJ: We truly believe that the “proof is in the puddin.” By offering effective, consistent programs and events that help rescue groups put dogs in loving, forever homes, we’ve done our job. When the public sees how well these programs work, they want to get involved. It’s such an easy formula, but execution is key.
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising?
BJ: Funny you should ask! We are currently in the process of restructuring/redesigning our Web site to truly take advantage of the variety of social-media tools available to nonprofits. The new campaign will include blogs, a MySpace network, flickr groups, etc. We hope that by taking advantage of these free tools, we can widen our support network from primarily regional to a national reach. We believe that social networking is a huge opportunity for nonprofits to expand their reach in a very affordable, effective fashion.
FS: Any major difficulties or setbacks you’ve faced along the way? Things you would do differently with your fundraising?
BJ: Each year we host an annual gala. It is our primary fundraiser of the year. Although it is quite popular, planning and holding an event of this magnitude is quite an undertaking. It requires a lot of resources and planning. Our upcoming event on Feb. 16 will be our fourth gala, and over the years we have learned what it takes to make it successful. But had we known how involved an event like this can be, we may have taken a different route. So the moral is: Do your homework when planning a large-scale event or campaign, and make the best decision for your organization.
FS: What other route might you have gone?
BJ: We have discussed several options including smaller themed events like a barbecue or a beach-blanket bingo party. Events like these are a little less resource-intensive and offer less cost per head for attendees, but may draw a larger, more diverse crowd and achieve the same results.