A Funny Thing Happened ...
She adds that Fox's vision lies at the core of the organization's fundraising success.
"[He believes] if you have purity of motive, are clear about what you are trying to achieve and what you are doing with people's money, they will continue to support you," she says, adding that the star is adamant about impeccable stewardship. That's why the organization isn't "big into the tchotchkes" and elaborate donor-recognition programs.
"That comes back to Michael," Kelly says. "We don't like to invest our money in that stuff. If they are an event supporter, they are listed in the event program. [There is a] full donor listing in the annual report. We're not naming conference rooms or giving awards or anything, and that seems to work."
Events and individual giving account for the lion's share of donations to MJFF, Kelly says. Gifts of $2,500 or more are considered major gifts. The organization thrives on its ability to get representatives out and about to meet with donors. While nonprofits are increasingly recognizing that empty desks in the office mean more money in major gifts, MJFF has always believed that relationships are built in person.
"Our associate directors of advancement travel every other week to third week, and when they aren't traveling they are planning their next trip and working on their stewardship," she explains. "The foundation has no outside offices. We are not built for longevity. Adding field offices would be building infrastructure. The team travels all over the county.
"[MJFF's major-donor cultivation] is conversation-based. Our donors are very honest with us about where they can be giving," she adds. "We are aggressive in our model but respectful in our fundraising. We may have a number in mind, but we leave that up to the donor. We really believe that our donors are giving at the highest level they can, and when they are able to give more, they will."