Goodwill of Orange County
and the Orange County Rescue Mission looked inward to find solutions.
Both added new staff positions to address opportunities. To identify new
drop-off centers for items sold through Goodwill’s network of retail
stores, the nonprofit hired a location specialist. After a decline in
2009, Goodwill is reporting increases in total donations, a turnaround
that Nicole Suydam, Goodwill’s vice president of development, attributes
to more aggressive community outreach and marketing.
about being more strategic in getting the word out,” she says. “We’ve
invested to make sure that the message is strong and widespread.”
the Orange County Rescue Mission, Palmer has created a new executive
post on his staff, chief relationship officer. Like many of his
nonprofit peers, Palmer, president of the agency since 1991, is seeing a
significant shift in what donors want in return. With an annual budget
of $16 million and more than 174,000 donors, Palmer says more of his
time in recent months has been consumed with meeting donors while trying
to run an agency that has experienced a 22 percent spike in demand for
food, clothing and medical care in the past 12 months. Palmer’s solution
was to hire a specialist whose full-time focus is working directly with
donors, as well as helping the rescue mission’s 95 full-time employees
and hundreds of volunteers better understand the key importance of
relationships with donors and clients alike.
want to be much more engaged than just writing a check,” says Palmer.
“But we have a business to run at the same time. I needed to find a way
to meet our donors’ needs and, at the same time, serve our clients. So
much of what is happening is a new frontier for nonprofits.”
Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco and widely respected for his company’s support of scores of county nonprofits, believes it’s a matter of being creative.
are hurting, no question. In the past, when the economy went sour, it
was one or two industries that were hit,” says Lam. “Today, every
company and individual is feeling it. But there’s still money out there
and people who want to give. Nonprofits just have to be creative to find
new revenue streams and donors. We have to work smarter and harder to
win those checks.”
For Vivian Clecak, Human Options’ first
and only executive director in the organization’s 30 years of
confronting domestic violence, it’s sticking to the basics: the
“blocking-and-tackling” strategies that can’t be replaced by emails and
text messages. It’s about getting in front of prospects and sharing the
agency’s story and purpose.