The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Women's Fund of NH Guest Speakers Lead MLDP Session on Fundraising

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Marianne Jones, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire, led a recent MLDP session about fundraising. Marianne was joined by her colleague Lindsay Hanson, Associate Director of the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire after working as the NH Women’s Vote Director for Obama for America. Jones has over twenty years of leadership experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management, including expertise in grant-making, fundraising, and long-range, strategic planning. Ms. Jones has worked in philanthropy and nonprofit management in New Hampshire as well as in the Seattle and Boston areas.
First, Ms. Jones described the Women’s Fund, which serves women and girls at risk and uses money raised from individuals to provide grants to enact social change and improve the lives of women and communities. She then discussed the origins of philanthropy in the United States and how it is actually a concept unique to our country, partially because of the existence of tax write-offs. Though the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire only works with a small endowment of around one million dollars, most philanthropic organizations across the nation owe their endowments to early twentieth century capitalists like Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. Therefore, fundraising, for any philanthropic organization, is the oil that makes the wheels turn.
We then went around the room and each participant discussed their personal experiences with fundraising. Responses ranged from students who had no experience, to many who had raised a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for school sports teams and activities, to a few who had raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes. Jones then told the participants that one of the most important parts of fundraising is that it is really no different than asking somebody for something. The only way that one will be able to succeed is if they are passionate and are able to display that emotion and sell and potential donor. She highlighted the fact that large donors have causes asking for aid left and right, and the only way to ensure that your cause will receive funding is if you can target your pitch down to thirty seconds, distill your issue, and create an emotional hook. Lindsay Hanson discussed the difference between the fundraising that the WFNH does and the type of fundraising that she worked on during the most recent presidential campaign. Political fundraising has recently made large use of social networking and going for the masses and relying on millions of small donations. However, a campaign is a time limited issue. Fundraising for the WFNH and other philanthropic groups relies on building a foundation and relationship with donors that will last for years and result in multiple donations.
Jones discussed the four “A’s” of fundraising: Acquisition, Acknowledgment, Affinity, and Appreciation. First, one must come up with, or acquire, a cause. The next step is finding a group of people who can empathize with the cause, or a group who as an affinity with the cause and would be willing to donate. Targeting a specific group will bring the best results. For instance, women from the ages of 45-75 are the highest benefactors of environmental causes because they are thinking about the lives of their grandchildren. The two most important parts, if there is going to be any sustained, long-term funding for the cause, are acknowledgement and appreciation. Jones said, to the surprise of the participants, that when someone donates, they must be thanked at least seven times. Whether it is by phone call, newsletter, personal letter, or an invitation to a banquet, donators must be thanked so that they will continue to donate. In addition, donators must know where each of their dollars is going so that they know they are actually helping the cause. Unorganized philanthropic causes have been brought down by corruption and unaccountability. Donators should be invited to come see their money at work so that they know their donations are actually making a difference.
Jones concluded the session by telling the group that giving in the U.S. has been stagnant for the past forty years. The average charitable donation is two percent of one’s salary. She highlighted the fact that contrary to popular belief, the rich give a smaller percentage of their money than the middle class. Everyone can contribute. Joshua Lee ’13 summed it up when he said, “Now I feel much more confident about the fundraising process and making sure everyone is involved with it. Everyone can help.”

You can “Like” the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire HERE
 - Sam Lewis '13

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences