It’s a tough economic environment for nonprofit organizations. Grant funders have been beat up in the stock markets, and government agencies have much less to offer than they did a decade ago. What to do?
It’s a problem that most organizations struggle with, and it was identified as the top priority in a local nonprofit survey conducted last winter by the Ravalli County Nonprofit Partnership (RCNP).
Now, the RCNP plans to do something about it. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, they’re presenting “Tools for Fundraising Success,” from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The workshop takes place at Corvallis United Methodist Church, and the $10 cost includes lunch.
Their survey was the first comprehensive look at the entire range of tax-exempt, non-profit organizations in the Bitterroot. More than 200 such groups are on the IRS rolls, though not all are currently active.
Though most valley non-profits are small operations with little staff, the study revealed that they represent a $20 million piece of Ravalli County’s economy, an astonishing number. That number would be higher still, if it included Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, which operates as a non-profit corporation.
Sustaining that $20 million figure, and the jobs it represents, requires constant and creative fundraising.
Such fundraising is particularly problematic in rural, low-population regions, which are easily overlooked by urban-based major foundations
Geography isn’t the only problem, though, according to RCNP member Diane Thomas-Rupert. “There seem to be a lot of people who do not have a good handle on how to fundraise.
“People do not tend to think very big,” she concludes. Her solution is to build relationships with stakeholders who have the resources to provide larger sums on an annual basis, but who also may be able to connect organizations to resources outside the valley.
RCNP co-chairs, Dave Schultz and Terry Moran, write that nonprofits “provide essential services that contribute to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our communities.
“Many of them partner with private citizens, businesses, and government agencies to provide a broad spectrum of services for all sectors of our communities. They provide opportunities for citizens to give of themselves to their communities. In many cases, they provide essential services that local government would otherwise need to provide.”
The planned workshop will provide hands-on fundraising tools for nonprofits of any size.
The keynote speaker will be Jean Bowman, who helped to found Legacy Montana, a group of 51 nonprofits that share in a “planned giving” campaign. Planned giving involves soliciting people to name an organization as a beneficiary of their estate.
Her theme will be “Fundraising for Success and Sustainability.”
Other breakout sessions will focus on other paths to fundraising success, including endowments and bequests, special events, retail services, and soliciting major gifts and donors.
Presenters will include Thomas-Rupert of Raymond James Financial Services, on how estate planning can benefit organizations and their donors, and John Ormiston, past president of the Bitter Root Land Trust, on pursuing large donations. Other community organization leaders will be participating on panels, as well.
After lunch, Cynthia Rademacher of Maverick Marketing will speak on the uses of social media in fundraising.
The schedule also includes time for networking among attendees.
The workshop is directed at nonprofit board members and executive directors, though other staff members are welcome.
To reserve a place at the workshop, or to ask about the workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org.