by Carol Taylor
Our agency recently held its annual fundraising event, an auction that was attended by more than 100 people from our community who are invested in our mission. We decided to have a Getting Ahead graduate speak at the event to share her success story. Immediately after she spoke we gave the audience an opportunity to buy a raffle ticket to win an iPad Mini. Each raffle ticket was $100 for the sponsorship of Getting Ahead. From that very simple raffle we gathered $2,700! That money will cover more than half the costs for one class.
The next “live auction” item that we sold was a wood burned picture that was done by a Getting Ahead graduate. That item brought in nearly $200! This was a great opportunity for the audience to see the talent of one of the Getting Ahead grads, and it gave the grad an opportunity to give back.
Cultivating relationships with people in the community and learning to tell the story of Bridges and Getting Ahead is vital to the ongoing sustainability and success of the initiative. Often in nonprofit work we are hesitant and uncomfortable with fundraising. I always feared coming across as a pushy salesperson. I’m learning that it’s about the relationship on the donor side of the initiative as much as it is on the Getting Ahead side. Relationships are key—all the way around!
Carol Taylor is employed at Hope House in Findlay, OH as the Bridges Coordinator. Carol has been a certified Bridges trainer since June 2009 and is an author of one of the chapters in the book Vision To Action. She says the greatest compliment she receives is, “Your passion about this work is very obvious.”