Cover Story: Worth The Gamble
Although the NVCI mails its quarterly newsletters, other informational packages and event invitations to about 5,000 people, it has yet to implement a direct-mail fundraising program. The response to the newsletters, which include an ask, is good, so Gitomer definitely sees the value in incorporating direct mail into the mix.
“Informed people are more likely to give. We’ve had very good feedback from those newsletters,” she says. Gitomer sees an annual-giving program that includes direct mail being put into place some time beyond 2006.
“In 2006, we’ll concentrate very much on mid-level giving, the $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 gifts, because right now we’re ignoring those people,” she admits. “That’s really bothering us because we don’t want to appear to be ungrateful to gifts at that level.
“Also, on the other end of the spectrum are the $50, $100, $500 gifts, and we’re going to have to face those donors very quickly because now our doors are open, and we’re getting those calls,” she adds. “People at all levels need the opportunity to give. We’re a cancer center for everyone ... we want to make every donor feel welcome.”
The NVCI hopes donors will feel welcome enough to attend its series of fundraising events. By the looks of it, they do: The center’s single largest event, Rock for the Cure, drew 1,000 people last year and netted $3 million.
Rock for the Cure is held in November, while the NVCI and various sponsors hold smaller events during the year. The NVCI currently has two people to oversee events; plans are in place to increase that number.
Being a new organization, the NVCI was aware from the start that the Internet can play an important role in fundraising and education. From a fundraising perspective, Gitomer says, it attracts folks who want to give memorial gifts, as well as younger donors.